In this Platonic dialogue Phaedo is asked by his friend Echecrates if he was at Socrates’ execution and to tell him how it happened and what Socrates did and said before it. Phaedo happily indulges him by explaining that Socrates before his execution was as talkative and philosophical as usual.

Cebes and Simmias (followers of Socrates) argue with Socrates about his execution, and whether he ought to take his own life (suicide), Socrates explains how his body is like a guardhouse, while his soul is the ever watchful sentry on duty, and to commit suicide would be to abandon his duty. He then explains that as a philosopher one should not fear death, as the soul is immortal and will live on, this leads to his theory on recollection and immortality which alludes to Plato’s theory of forms (in the sense that Plato may be hinting that he himself formed his idea of the theory of forms from Socrates).

Socrates then warns against misology, which is the hatred of argumentation. He compares it to misanthropy, the hatred of humankind, where the misanthrope hates people not because people deserve to be hated, but because that misanthrope cannot handle people, nor judge them effectively enough to avoid the bad traits of people. Thus the misologist, just like the misanthrope, is a failing of the rational mind to be effective and mature. Socrates then takes criticism from Cebes and Simmias and attempts to refute them, which leaves the reader asking many questions and wanting to reread this dialogue, which is why it is so great and effective as a philosophical work.

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