The fight to do what is right is not an easy path to traverse, but is one which demands a noble and enduring character. Defending principles of justice with logic and reason in the face of political opposition, is a difficult task to take, but the elusive Socrates boldly undertook this endeavor. In Plato’s Apology, he recalls the daring defence of the principles of truth that Socrates took against all odds. Plato’s recollections, much like the trial of Socrates at the time, has sparked numerous debates amongst scholars who seek to understand the events of the trial more deeply. One such debate has centered on what Socrates meant when he said his speech was nothing more than words spoken at random. Brumbaugh and Oldfather, in their scholarly analysis, contend that Socrates’s speech is riddled with fine polish and organization suggesting that his speech was not random. As will be discussed, there are several examples of organization in Socrates’s speech such as when he provides his jurors with an outline of his speech. Additionally, masterfully woven throughout his defence, Socrates employed many diverse modes of argumentation in a logical and consistent manner lending credence to the notion that he planned his speech beforehand. This skillful use of these modes in Socrates’s argument, all vindicate an intentional design and premeditation. Despite Socrates’s humble assertions
The Apology was written by Plato as an account of the defense that Socrates presented during the trial in which he was condemned to death. Socrates gave this apologia, or defense of one’s actions, against the accusations that he did not believe in any gods, and that he was corrupting the young men of Athens. Not being as skillful in the art of oratory as his accusers, Socrates admitted that he would, as plainly as possible, present only truthful and logical refutes to the accusations that were against him. Being wise in the way of rhetoric, Socrates used pathos, ethos, and logos to argue in his defense. Although ultimately executed, Socrates masterfully defended himself in court and proved that he was a man of both virtue and wisdom.
In any case of law, when considering truth and justice, one must first look at the validity of the court and the system itself. In Socrates' case, the situation is no different. One may be said to be guilty or innocent of any crime, but guilt or innocence is only as valid as the court it is subjected to. Therefore, in considering whether Socrates is guilty or not, it must be kept in mind the norms and standards of Athens at that time, and the validity of his accusers and the crimes he allegedly committed. Is Socrates guilty or innocent of his accusations?
Socrates is at the age of seventy and appearing in a law court for the first time. For the people of Socrates time is accusing Socrates, for miss leading the youth corrupting them and boasting about being wise, causing him to become very unpopular. Socrates says to the jury I am going to speak the whole truth, for it is me by myself that I have to defend. He says my accusers are many and I don’t know them, they say, “you should be careful not be deceived by an accomplished speaker like me” (Cohen, Curd, & Reeve, 2000). The accuser goes on to say that Socrates is accomplished speaker; Socrates starts to praise them, because their lies are so good well put together, that Socrates himself is almost convinced but then he says that they do not
In Plato 's “The Apology of Socrates”, Socrates states, “the unexamined life is not worth living” and he would rather be put to death them stop his practice of philosophy (The Apology). In this writing, Socrates is charged with not accepting the gods recognized by the state, devising new gods, and corrupting the youth of Athens. However, the word "apology" in the title is not our modern English interpretation of the word. The name of the speech stems from the Greek word "apologia," which translates as a speech made in defense (SparkNotes Editors). The “The Apology of Socrates” is an account of the speech Socrates makes at the trial in which he defends himself, not apologizes. What Socrates meant by declaring, “the unexamined life is not worth living”, is that a life is worth living only if it is lived in as a pursuit for a life worthy of a man to live (The Apology). Socrates believed what makes a man worthy of life is that he lives up to what is best in him as a man. Therefore this quote can be better translated as, “the unexamined life is not a worthy life for a man to live”. Socrates believes a good or worthy man has virtue. Virtue is behavior showing high moral standards such as honor and nobility. An unexamined life is one that does not examine oneself for these characteristics but claims to have wisdom. This unexamined life can be also compared to living your life on autopilot with the same dull routine and beliefs. According to Socrates, to live an examined life, one
As a defender of civic virtue, the significance of obligation and authority of one’s representative government epitomizes the magnitude of respect that Socrates had for Athenian Jurisprudence, irrespective of the fact that he was prosecuted against. In the accounts of the Apology and Crito, there exists a plethora of evidence that demonstrate Socrates’s adherence of institutionalized authority. His loyalty of the Athenian State derives from his notion that the obligation to surrender to the law manifests a just society. One may ask, “how is it possible for a persecuted man to continue to profess allegiance to a polity that sought his trial and execution”? Though many would not have the capacity to sustain such integrity, Socrates had his reasons in
Socrates, the father of western philosophy, was an incredible apologist. While he never wrote any books of his own, his teaching is filtered through the ages from his apprentices. Plato, one of his students, wrote “The Apology” describing Socrates’ defense against the accusations that led him to be on trial. The story begins with Socrates opening with an appeal to the jury. His defense is simply his skills of rhetoric. Instead of bringing evidence, as seen in a normal court of law today, he decides to defend himself with logic and reason. He shows cool composure in facing prosecution from a jury that was biased against him. In the Apology, Socrates demonstrates his knowledge, courage, and fortitude when facing his accusers and responding to their challenges but also shows his natural tendency to be blunt and abrasive.
After reading “The Apology,” I decided to respond about how Socrates used the Socratic Method during his trial. Socrates, using this method, crafted a personal defense against the allegations laid upon him and, at the same time, Socrates led Miletus to trap himself as a part of that defense. I believe that Socrates’ decision to defend himself in this manner brings up some important considerations. First, Socrates using the Socratic Method as an integral part of his defense not only unraveled most of Miletus’ support, but Socrates was able to showcase his wisdom to the people of the court to show them what kind of person Socrates was when he acted as he usual did. Secondly, Socrates, through his attack on Miletus showed the people of the court the potential threat that Socrates could have been this entire time had that been his focus. Both of these considerations are possible only because Socrates’ used his method of questioning to craft a defense for himself.
According to the majority of the jury members of Athens, Socrates is a corruption to the youth, doer of evil and does not agree with the gods of his people. In the Apology, written by Plato these are the assumptions and accusations Socrates is held in court for. In court, he is faced with what most men fear, being wrongly accused leading to the death sentence. Socrates argues and strives to prove that he has no fear of being hated, being accused of serious crimes, being threatened with punishment, or being put to death.
Socrates was a pompous man who believed that he was wiser than most, if not all, Athenian men of his time. He is also credited as one of the fathers of western philosophy, his own philosophy revolving around the welfare of one’s soul and reflecting on what the good life was. He was told by an oracle that he was the wisest of men and spent a great deal of time trying to prove it false, he decided that he was considered wise for accepting that he knew nothing, and never claimed to know anything that he questioned. In Plato’s text “Apology” Socrates is depicted as a man who was arrogant, hypercritical of others, and fixed on his ways no matter the consequences. He had the qualities of a man who saw no error in what he was doing because he
Throughout the readings of The Apology of Socrates and Crito I have found that Socrates was not a normal philosopher. It is the philosopher's intention to question everything, but Socrates' approach was different then most other philosophers. From one side of the road, Socrates can be seen as an insensitive, arrogant man. He did indeed undermine the laws so they fit his ideals, leave his family, and disregard the people's values. On the other side he can be seen as an ingenious man who questioned what many thought was the unquestionable. As he can be criticized for disregarding the many's ideals he can also be applauded for rising above the daily ways of popular thought. He
Secondly, the notion of the gadfly and the horse compared to Socrates' duty as a philosopher to the state is an important metaphor in understanding Socrates' philosophical lifestyle. Socrates “clings to the state as a sort of gadfly to a horse...that needs to be aroused” (pg. 41). Socrates, questioning and probing for knowledge, arouses the “polis”. The citizens, “indignant, as drowsy persons are when they are awakened” (pg. 41) are ignorant without Socrates dialectic method. This philosophical way of living, questioning and interrogating similar to how a gadfly might irritate a horse, has caused Socrates to neglect his own personal life in search of human excellence.
Socrates traveled from one group to another visiting wise politicians, poets, and craftsmen, making enemies out of each group. After talking to the “wise” men Socrates realized they were all arrogant for thinking themselves wise. Because Socrates knew he was not wise he believed he was better off then them. In the end it was a representative from each group that charged Socrates with the crimes that got him condemned to death. This "occupation" consumed his leisure as well as his finances. Socrates told the court at his trail: "I live in great poverty because of my service to the god"(6). Socrates compared himself to a gadfly, and the city of Athens a steed he was just trying to stir into life (11). When a horsefly bites me I squash it, and that is exactly what the city of Athens did to Socrates. Instead of squashing him they made him drink poison, a little bit less messy. Socrates was a gadfly by questioning Athenians on subjects they rarely talked about, making them think about something they normally wouldn’t. He did his questioning out in the open where Athenians congregated so the public could observe and hopefully think on whatever subject that was being talked about. Socrates would question respectable Athenians making them look stupid too a crowd, because they would not know what to say. Making the person being questioned very angry towards Socrates for putting them in such a position. Socrates
Socrates uses the expression of gadfly to refer to himself. Here, the gadfly stings and makes one irritated but at the same time steering, you forward. “I am that Gadfly, given by God…to Athens,” Socrates submits (Plato, 2015). He believes that his actions, though times irritating to the state, were useful for ensuring forward movement in the society. Therefore, Socrates demonstrates his role is that of maintain regard of morals and keeping track the state. By looking at his later submission, “unexamined life is not worth”, it is apparent that Socrates believe to have done what God and society required. Therefore, his life revered as examined since he had acted as a ‘gadfly’ to the state leaving a significant role in Athens.