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phaedo   


philosophers desire is truly death, and that they have found them

out to be deserving of the death which they desire.

And they are right, Simmias, in saying this, with the exception of

the words "They have found them out"; for they have not found out what

is the nature of this death which the true philosopher desires, or how

he deserves or desires death. But let us leave them and have a word

with ourselves: Do we believe that there is such a thing as death?

To be sure, replied Simmias.

And is this anything but the separation of soul and body? And

being dead is the attainment of this separation; when the soul

exists in herself, and is parted from the body and the body is

parted from the soul-that is death?

Exactly: that and nothing else, he replied.

And what do you say of another question, my friend, about which I

should like to have your opinion, and the answer to which will

probably throw light on our present inquiry: Do you think that the

philosopher ought to care about the pleasures-if they are to be called

pleasures-of eating and drinking?

Certainly not, answered Simmias.

And what do you say of the pleasures of love-should he care about

them?

By no means.

And will he think much of the other ways of indulging the body-for

example, the acquisition of costly raiment, or sandals, or other

adornments of the body? Instead of caring about them, does he not

rather despise anything more than nature needs? What do you say?

I should say the true philosopher would despise them.

Would you not say that he is entirely concerned with the soul and

not with the body? He would like, as far as he can, to be quit of

the body and turn to the soul.

That is true.

In matters of this sort philosophers, above all other men, may be

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