This paper offers a new interpretation of the notorious section of Plato’s Phaedo, 96a–103a, in which Socrates discourses on the nature of cause and explanation. I offer new reasons for an old account of why Socrates rejects his predecessors’ views wholesale, before turning to a new account of his positive proposals. I steer a path between the two most influential modern approaches to the text by highlighting Socrates’ avowed methodology, arguing that he is not, in the relevant passages, trying to do anything more than provide adequacy conditions for causation. Finally I use these results to illuminate the further fragment of theory he provides in the proof of the soul’s immortality, offering some explanatory models for why Socrates develops his own position s he does. These are quite different from, and more fruitful than, those suggested by the opposing modern approaches previously navigated.


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pp. 15-32
Launched on MUSE
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