Intellectual Heritage A (Spring 2008) - Handout - Socrates on Death

Two Arguments from the Apology

I. The Unknown Argument Against the Rational Fear of Death (29b)

1. It is irrational to fear an event with an unknown outcome.

2. You don't know if death brings bliss or torture. (Death is an event with an unknown outcome.)

3. Therefore, you shouldn't fear death.

II. The Two Options Argument Against the Rational Fear of Death (40d)

1. Death is either (a) nothing or (b) a change.

2. If (a), then death would be as desirable as a dreamless sleep.

3. If (b) then death is the market in the sky (heaven).

4. Either way, death is an advantage. It's good for us.

5. We shouldn't fear what is good for us.

6. Hence, we shouldn't fear death.