Are Socretes' Arguments About Death Sound?

825 words - 3 pages

Are Socrates Arguments Sound?

Socrates believes one cannot fear what one does not know. He believes since no one has an absolute knowledge of what follows death in the natural world, man should not fear death. He has several arguments to back this up. In this paper I will look at two of his arguments and conclude that his arguments are unsound due to the fact that opinions are not truths.

First of all, to prove Socrates' arguments are not sound, one must know what a sound argument is. In a sound argument all of the premises must be true. For example:

People under 18 are not eligible to vote;

Some students in college are under 18;

Therefore, some college students are not eligible to vote.

This argument is not only sound but also it is valid. It is sound because both premises are true. One must be 18 to be eligible to vote. Some students in college are not 18 yet, so the conclusion that some college students are not able to vote is valid.

Now that it's clear what a sound argument is, I want to take a look at one of Socrates arguments that man should not fear death. Here is the first argument I will look at.

No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man.

It is the most blameworthy ignorance to think one knows what one does not know.

If one fears death, then one claims to know that death is not the greatest of all blessings for man.

Therefore, it is the most blameworthy ignorance to fear death. (Pace)

Premise one is sound because it is true. No one can actually know whether death will be the greatest blessings for a man because it is impossible to communicate with the dead to see if it is good or bad.

Premise two does not follow what a sound argument is. When Socrates declares that to think one knows what one does not as the most blameworthy ignorance is an opinion. No one can know what the most blameworthy ignorance is. It is not an absolute truth that it's the most blameworthy ignorance; therefore, it is not a sound argument.

I have proven by the second premise that Socrates first argument is not sound. If the word "most" is taken out of that premise, then I believe it would become a sound premise. Socrates would then be stating that it is merely ignorant to think one knows what one does not...

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