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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

ISSN 1673-3436

ISSN 1673-355X(Online)

CN 11-5743/B

Postal Subscription Code 80-983

Front. Philos. China    2019, Vol. 14 Issue (1) : 111-131
Socrates’ Humaneness: What His Last Words Meant
Yasuhira Yahei Kanayama()
Graduate School of Humanities, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
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Confucius emphasises the importance of humaneness (ren 仁) and rites (li 禮). Socrates, on the other hand, is often interpreted as a person who places far more importance on rational thinking, even to the exclusion of natural human feelings, especially on the ground of his attitude towards the sorrow of his wife and friends on his last day as described in Plato’s Phaedo. Through clarifying two long-time riddles in this dialogue—namely, “What did Socrates mean by his last words, requesting Crito to offer a cock to Asclepius?” and “Was Plato really absent from the prison on Socrates’ last day, due to illness, as is mentioned by Phaedo?”—this paper argues that Socrates kept in mind the best interest of his wife and friends even at the moment of his death, and that his humane attitude is expressed in his last words, which were not only an expression of gratitude for Plato’s recovery from a critical illness but also an exhortation to his friends to continue their care of the soul.

Keywords Socrates’ last words      Plato’s illness      Phaedo      humaneness      care of the soul     
Issue Date: 16 April 2019
 Cite this article:   
Yasuhira Yahei Kanayama. Socrates’ Humaneness: What His Last Words Meant[J]. Front. Philos. China, 2019, 14(1): 111-131.
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