Ph. D. Final Public Oral Examination

“Self-killing in Plato’s Phaedo”
Aug 31, 2023, 1:30 pm3:30 pm
201 Wooten Hall



Event Description

Abstract: This dissertation investigates Plato’s prohibition on suicide at Phaedo 62b2-c9. I first lift two descriptions of death early in the text. At Phaedo 64c, Plato offers a description of physical death. A person dies physically when their body falls away from their soul. Plato goes on to offer a description of psychological death at 67c-d. A person dies psychologically when their soul has unencumbered itself from the body as much as is possible. Generally, I conclude, death is the separation of the soul and body from one another. Having determined what death is for Plato, I turn to the central topic of the dissertation, Plato’s prohibition on suicide. I suggest that the suicide prohibition consists of two parts. The Enclosure Argument indicates the body is an enclosure from which we should not seek freedom so as not to defy the gods. The Guardian Argument indicates that we humans should not kill ourselves because we are enslaved to the gods. In all, the two arguments cohere insofar as they both tell against abandoning right rule.