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Analysis Of Plato's Apology

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The most influential philosopher of the 5th century BCE is a man by the name of Socrates. His life and teachings are the foundation of Western Philosophy. Socrates was dedicated to reasoning and the development and investigation of the truth. Unpopular then, Socrates employed a strategy to pursue the truth by using dialectic. Socrates was one to question everything and anything less than the truth was received with more questions. Socrates never wrote anything down, and therefore any dialogues and teachings are dependent on his students Xenophon and Plato account. This gives rise to the Socratic Problem. What we do know, according to Plato’s Apology, is that Socrates’ divine mission is a complex one. Using two of Plato’s written accounts of…show more content…
The name of the dialogue is derived from the Greek word “apologia” which translates into “defense.” Socrates mission has led to animosity from his fellow Athenians and is in trial for what he claims he is just following orders from God. To examine why Socrates is determined to continue this mission regardless of any consequences, we must first understand how Socrates began his philosophical mission. Socrates had a friend, Chairephone; he went to Delphi and asked the oracle if anyone was wiser than Socrates. In The Apology Socrates is recorded saying “he asked if any man was wiser than I, and the Pythian replied that no one was wiser” (The Apology, 21a). Trying to understand this “riddle”, Socrates was at loss and goes to question someone who was considered wise in Athens. After finding out that this man was no wiser than he was he thought to himself, “he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent.” (21d). Socrates did not just stop with this one man. He went on to question politicians, poets, generals among others and received a similar experience with each one. What Socrates derived from these dialogues was that he was aware of his own ignorance rather than being completely wrong. This awareness of one’s own ignorance is known as “Socratic Ignorance” and is the premise of Socrates’
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