Plato Essay

2296 Words Aug 12th, 2013 10 Pages
Due to experiencing the volatile state of the Athenian government, it is not surprising that Socrates had much to say on the topic of political philosophy. Central to his political theory was his position on how citizens ought to approach ethics and politics. In the Apology, Socrates' conduct demonstrates his belief that citizens must not be complacent when it comes to political virtue. In order to push citizens out of complacency, Socrates used a method called the “elecnhus” to prod citizens to discover the true definition of virtues (Jowett, 2009). In doing this, Socrates hoped to promote a rigorous understanding of traditional moral virtues; an understanding of what courage, justice, and wisdom, truly meant (Jowett, 2009). At first …show more content…
Therefore, Socrates held that it was necessary for citizens themselves to comprehend the essence of justice so that they could avoid being slaves to those who managed to hold legal influence at the time (Plato, 1974, 98, 505c). Such that those who held legal influence may be blind towards the “good” or essence of justice (Plato, 1974, 98, 505c). Therefore, Socrates' second motivation for using the elenchus was in order to promote the valuing of justice, and other traditional values, in hopes that Athenian citizens could identify for themselves the things which adhere to the essence of these values.
Accordingly, with these two motives in mind, Socrates engaged with the citizens of Athens, invoking them to question the traditional Greek values. His mission was to give birth in them a desire to understand the true essence of values, and then to be able to recognize it in the physical world. In response to such conduct, Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth, and questioning Greek life, giving rise to the context in The Apology. From the perspective of the Athenian jury, based on his charges, it appeared that Socrates' conduct was radical. For the second part of this essay, by using his two motives as a reference, I will now explore the various arguments for why Socrates' was not a radical, but instead a conservative.
For the purpose of this essay, I will hold that the

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