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[91a] and I because of my impending death; for I fear that I am not just now in a philosophical frame of mind as regards this particular question, but am contentious, like quite uncultured persons. For when they argue about anything, they do not care what the truth is in the matters they are discussing, but are eager only to make their own views seem true to their hearers. And I fancy I differ from them just now only to this extent: I shall not be eager to make what I say seem true to my hearers, except as a secondary matter, but shall be very eager [91b] to make myself believe it. For see, my friend, how selfish my attitude is. If what I say is true, I am the gainer by believing it; and if there be nothing for me after death, at any rate I shall not be burdensome to my friends by my lamentations in these last moments. And this ignorance of mine will not last, for that would be an evil, but will soon end. So,” he said, “Simmias and Cebes, I approach the argument with my mind thus prepared. But you, [91c] if you do as I ask, will give little thought to Socrates and much more to the truth; and if you think what I say is true, agree to it, and if not, oppose me with every argument you can muster, that I may not in my eagerness deceive myself and you alike and go away, like a bee, leaving my sting sticking in you.

“But we must get to work,” he said. “First refresh my memory, if I seem to have forgotten anything. Simmias, I think, has doubts and fears that the soul, though more divine and [91d] excellent than the body, may perish first, being of the nature of a harmony. And, Cebes, I believe, granted that the soul is more lasting than the body, but said that no one could know that the soul, after wearing out many bodies, did not at last perish itself upon leaving the body; and that this was death—the destruction of the soul, since the body is continually being destroyed. Are those the points, Simmias and Cebes, which we must consider?” [91e] They both agreed that these were the points.

“Now,” said he, “do you reject all of our previous arguments, or only some of them?”

“Only some of them,” they replied.

“What you think,” he asked, “about the argument in which we said that learning is recollection and that, since this is so, our soul must necessarily have been somewhere


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