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International Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 54, Issue 4, December 2014

Shane Drefcinski
Pages 411-427

What Does It Mean, To Become Like God?
Theaetetus 176a–177b

In the Theaetetus Socrates states that we should become like God. Recent commentators disagree over the meaning of his directive. David Sedley argues that it urges us to assimilate to God in our present lifespan by a life of philosophical contemplation. Julia Annas thinks that it is just another way of stating that virtue (including moral virtue) is sufficient for happiness. Sandra Peterson denies that Socrates’s directive should be taken seriously. I argue that his directive is serious and includes both moral virtue and philosophical contemplation. Furthermore, I argue that this goal does not fall within the confines of our present lifespan. By this directive Socrates means that to become like God we should live virtuously in order to escape the cycle of reincarnation and achieve a specific, fulfilling kind of immortality.

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