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Socrates’ Warning Against Misology (Plato, Phaedo 88c-91c)

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image of Phronesis

In the Phaedo, Socrates warns his listeners, discouraged by the objections of Simmias and Cebes, against becoming haters of logoi. I argue that the ‘misologists’ are presented as a type of proto-skeptic and that Socrates in fact shows covert sympathy for their position. The difference between them is revealed by the pragmatic argument for trust in the immortality of the soul that Socrates offers near the end of the passage: the misologists reject such therapeutic uses of logos. I conclude by assessing the relationship of the positions of Socrates and the misologists in the Phaedo to those of later ancient skeptics.

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