On Specious Reasoning

Whist re-reading excerpts from Plato’s Republic for the umpteenth time I have discovered, much to my own amazement, one of the lost Platonic dialogs, “On Specious Reasoning,” which I have taken the liberty of reproducing below.

Socrates: On to the topic of happiness: we would not want any of the citizens of our ideal city to be unhappy.

Agreeacles: Of course not.

Socrates: Would you agree that suffering is an essential part of the human condition? To know heartbreak, loss of friends and family, illness, and eventually death- these all bring pain, correct?

Agreeacles: I cannot deny this.

Socrates: Would you concede, then, that life is suffering, with only moments of happiness?

Agreeacles: That’s seems correct.

Socrates: It follows then that to be alive is to be unhappy.

Agreeacles: I agree completely.

Socrates: And since we only want happy people to live in our city, and since life makes people unhappy, I should destroy the world, shouldn’t I?

Agreeacles: Yes, that’s a great idea.

Socrates destroys the world, the world ends.

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