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phaedo   


be born and die again and again, and that there is a natural

strength in the soul which will hold out and be born many times-for

all this, we may be still inclined to think that she will weary in the

labors of successive births, and may at last succumb in one of her

deaths and utterly perish; and this death and dissolution of the

body which brings destruction to the soul may be unknown to any of us,

for no one of us can have had any experience of it: and if this be

true, then I say that he who is confident in death has but a foolish

confidence, unless he is able to prove that the soul is altogether

immortal and imperishable. But if he is not able to prove this, he who

is about to die will always have reason to fear that when the body

is disunited, the soul also may utterly perish.

All of us, as we afterwards remarked to one another, had an

unpleasant feeling at hearing them say this. When we had been so

firmly convinced before, now to have our faith shaken seemed to

introduce a confusion and uncertainty, not only into the previous

argument, but into any future one; either we were not good judges,

or there were no real grounds of belief.

Ech. There I feel with you-indeed I do, Phaedo, and when you were

speaking, I was beginning to ask myself the same question: What

argument can I ever trust again? For what could be more convincing

than the argument of Socrates, which has now fallen into discredit?

That the soul is a harmony is a doctrine which has always had a

wonderful attraction for me, and, when mentioned, came back to me at

once, as my own original conviction. And now I must begin again and

find another argument which will assure me that when the man is dead

the soul dies not with him. Tell me, I beg, how did Socrates

proceed? Did he appear to share the unpleasant feeling which you

mention? or did he receive the interruption calmly and give a

sufficient answer? Tell us, as exactly as you can, what passed.

Phaed. Often, Echecrates, as I have admired Socrates, I never

admired him more than at that moment. That he should be able to answer

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