Yale-NUS philosophy research seminar: “Socrates’ Final Symposium” by Matt Walker

Dear all,

Matt Walker will be presenting his paper “Socrates’ Final Symposium” this Wednesday, 30 March from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (abstract below). We will meet as usual in RC2-01-09F.

Directions to the seminar: On the campus map that I have attached, the Oculus is the circular area with a taxi icon, right next to College Avenue West. The room (RC2-01-09F) is directly south of the Oculus, in the area labeled “EC1” on the map. Simply enter the building from the Oculus and take the elevator to the top floor.

Campus map - overhead

Abstract: I briefly sketch the outline of a revisionary reading of Plato’s Phaedo. On traditional readings, the dialogue gives us Socrates’ defense of the soul’s unqualified immortality, i.e., the soul’s capacity for eternal and individual existence in separation from the body. On such readings, Socrates aims to meet Cebes’ demand that he show “that the soul still exists after a man has died and that it still possesses some capability and intelligence” (70b). I agree that the Phaedo, through the figure of Socrates, accepts that we are immortal. But the sort of immortality that Socrates accepts in the Phaedo, I propose, is only the qualified immortality that he endorses in the Symposium. Reading the Phaedo through the lens of the Symposium, I suggest, brings to light nuances of the Phaedo that commentators have overlooked. It also pays other interpretive dividends.



Neil Mehta

Assistant professor of philosophy

Yale-NUS College


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