Are good people actually invulnerable to harm? And does philosophy actually help make us invulnerable?

What does Socrates mean when he says in the Apology that “no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death” (41d)? Another translation says “a good man cannot be harmed in life or death”. According to Plato’s view, in what sense is a good man invulnerable to evil or harm? And how does Plato think philosophy (which he has Socrates call “the practice of death” at Phaedra 81a) help make one invulnerable? In your first couple of posts, spend some time carefully analyzing Plato’s claim. Only after getting clear on his reasoning should you begin to critique it. Is Plato right about his claim? Are good people actually invulnerable to harm? And does philosophy actually help make us invulnerable?


Required Resources


Plato. (n.d.). Selections from The Phaedo (H. Frederick,Trans.). Retrieved from

·         This dialogue represents the execution of the philosopher Socrates. In it Plato (the author) uses the character of Socrates to explore the possibility of the afterlife, as well as the nature of philosophy, and the meaning of life and death. This may be the most difficult reading in the course. It will definitely stretch you and help build your thinking muscles.

Plato. (n.d.). Apology (B. Towelette, Trans.). Retrieved from

·         The Apology is Plato’s fictional account Socrates defense speech during his trial for“corrupting the youth.” The word “apology” means defense. The dialogue is not just Socrates’s defense of himself, it is also Plato’s defense of Socrates (since it was written after his death, as an attempt to rehabilitate Socrates’s reputation), and Defenselessness of philosophy itself. Plato wants to convince you that “the examined life is not worth living”(Apology 38a).


Horowitz, Damon. (2011). Philosophy in prison [Video file]. Retrieved from

·         Horowitz teaches philosophy to inmates at San Quentin State Prison in California. In his TED Talk, he illustrates how philosophy can be relevant to the everyday lives of all people, even those serving life imprison. He also perfectly captures the essence of Socratic philosophy. Transcript available.


Pushchair. E. [Nerdwriter1]. (2015). Understanding Art: TheDeath of Socrates [Video file]. Retrieved from

·         This video discusses the 1787 painting “The Death-of Socrates,” by French artist Jacques-Louis David,which depicts one of the scenes from Plato’s Phaedra this week’s required reading. Seeing the way David illustrates Plato’s philosophical ideas in his painting will help students understand Phaedra better while also learning a bit about 18th Century art.

I k, Slavonic. (n.d.) The purpose of philosophy is to askthe right questions [Video file]. Retrieved from

·         Slovenian philosopher Slavonic E i e e k is perhaps the most famous philosopher alive today. He is one of the few contemporary philosophers to practice the sort of“public philosophy” Socrates believed in. Instead of hiding away in his university,  writes and speaks for a general audience. In this short video clip, Outargues that we can’t solve a problem unless we learn to ask the right questions about it, and philosophy helps us learn to ask the right questions

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