Fear Of Death In Plato's Apology

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What happens when you die? This question entered the mind of every human being at some point in their life. Many look towards religion to find an answer; different religions have different beliefs in the afterlife. Some look toward heaven, while others see death as the end of our thought, and become nothing. No one has come back from the dead to tell us what happens (if anything at all). We are left to our own assumptions and views on how we think about death, whether fears, faith, or no thought at all. The philosopher, Socrates talks about death and the role it can play in the lives of men in the Apology. Socrates knows that many fear death, but he himself, does not. Ultimately, some saw him as courageous for being able to best a fear that …show more content…
Death itself is a concept that no one can truly understand because it is impossible to experience. Man is scared of the unknown because it means that it is something that he cannot control. In the Apology, Socrates stands before the jury and questions those who question death. His beliefs differ from most men’s thoughts on death. “To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know.” (Apology, 29A). Socrates himself does not fear death. He compares fearing death to having a false wisdom because in order to fear something, one must at least know some detail about what exactly one fears. This false wisdom is detrimental because it illustrates a sign of comfort and understanding when in actuality, there is only confusion and disbelief. As no one knows the definite outcome of dying, it makes death truly unfamiliar to all. To Socrates, because death is actually unfathomable, he believes that being afraid of its outcome is pointless. It is pointless due to the fact that the outcome is unknown to all. There is a possibility that dying results in something good. Fear of this good possibility would therefore be irrational and meaningless. Someone who has feared death all of their life would not understand that their life is being wasted until death’s door approaches. This illustrates a lack of control in one’s life and lack of

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