The Apology Of Socrates: A Closer Examination



In 399 BCE an elderly gentlemen named Socrates was brought before an Athenian jury. He was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens and not believing in the gods. At his trial Socrates tried to prove that he was innocent of the charges against him but it was to no avail. Socrates was handed the verdict of death and shortly afterwards he drank a stout potion of hemlock and died. Plato, a disciple of Socrates, depicted this trial in the Apology of Socrates. This trial demonstrates Socrates at his best, using Socratic reasoning to argue the charges against him. While the ultimate verdict is not in favor of Socrates, his eloquent defense sways many jurors.
Socrates spent his entire ...

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believe it or if not be able to reject the idea. (Nussbaum, pg. 16).
Three men brought Socrates to trial: Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon. Together they represented the "old school" that was frightened and angered by Socrates philosophies. At the beginning of the text they have finished with their prosecution and Socrates is beginning his defense.
The first step Socrates takes is to prove quite a peculiar point, that he does not possess any knowledge. While at first glance this sounds oxymoronic, but Socrates eloquently proves his point. He tells how his friend Chairephon visited the god at Delphi. There Chairephon asked the god if any man was wiser then Socrates and the god testified that there was not anyone wiser then Socrates. Socrates tells of how after hearing this he went to a courtyard and question a Sophist (a hired debater) and learns that, similar to a modern day lawyer having to defend a position that is unpopular and often in conflict with his own beliefs, the Sophist ...

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to justify that he never corrupted the young. Socrates questions Meletus that he alone is the only one to corrupt the young, which Meletus answers yes. Socrates then analogizes this to horses. Socrates states that it is not the horse breeders that corrupt horses, but the majority. The horse breeders try to improve horses, while many others are involved in corrupting the horses. Thus it is not the few who try to improve the young that corrupts them but the fast majority of other people (Apology of Socrates, pg. 33)
In a similar way, he uses this Socratic reasoning to prove his belief in gods. Socrates begins by questioning Meletus that if a person believes in spiritual signs, they ...

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Added: 3/15/2006 06:26:54 PM
Category: Biographies
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1377
Pages: 6

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