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Apology by Plato - Essay Example

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Apology by Plato

Socrates on page three denies practicing this type of philosophy, although he does not want to disrespect its practitioners.
2) “Socrates makes the worse argument into the stronger argument” (Apology,2). Socrates maintains that men of position who are examined by “young men of the richer classes” (6) who have learned his methods are humiliated. Their response is to slander Socrates: “Those who are examined by them [the young men] instead of being angry with themselves are angry with me. This confounded Socrates!…--and then if somebody asks them, why, what evil does he practice or teach? They do not know…” (6). In order to save face, these men accuse Socrates of sophistry.(6).
3) Socrates is guilty of corrupting the young. I will summarize Socrates’ examination of Meletus concerning this accusation: The laws improve the youth. All of the judges know the laws. Therefore, all the judges improve the youth. All Athenians improve the youth, according to Meletus. Socrates is an Athenian. But, according to Meletus, Socrates alone is their corrupter. This is an invalid argument. If all Athenians improve the youth, and Socrates is an Athenian, then he should also improve the youth. I understand the second argument as follows: It is better to live among good citizens, because they do good. Everyone wants to be treated well. Socrates corrupts the youth intentionally, turning them bad. Bad people do evil. Therefore, Socrates wants to be treated badly. (Apology,7-9). “But either I do not corrupt them” says Socrates,” or I corrupt them unintentionally…If my offence is unintentional, the law has no cognizance of unintentional offenses” (Apology, 9). 4) Socrates does not believe in the gods of the city. Socrates out-argues Meletus on this accusation: M: “you are a complete atheist” S: “Do you mean that I do not believe in the godhead of the sun or moon…” M: “I assure you, judges, that he does not believe in them; for he says that the sun is stone and the moon earth” S: “you have but a bad opinion of the judges, if you fancy them ignorant to such a degree as not to know that those doctrines are found in the books of Anaxogoras” (Apology,9). The argument continues: S: “can a man believe in spiritual and divine agencies, and not in spirits or demigods?” M: “He cannot” S: “You swear in the indictment that I teach and believe in divine or spiritual agencies…but if I believe in divine beings, I must believe in spirits or demigods;--is that not true?” M: “Yes, that is true” (Apology,10). On the first charge, that of Socrates practicing natural philosophy, I would find not guilty. Socrates is falsely characterized in Aristophanes’ play. He is falsely accused by Meletus of believing that the sun is stone, etc. Meletus did not bother to get his facts straight. The natural philosophers at that time were trying to explain phenomena in terms of quantities that could be studied, i.e.: Anaximenes’ theory that “all things were made of air through expansion and condensation” (http://www.academic.mu/phil/jonesj/). This type of early scientific inquiry was seen by those in power as a threat to the theocracy. The belief that the gods ruled the earth, and that the politicians could trace their lineage to the gods was a stabilizing force in society. Socrates maintains that God and the gods are wise, and that his actions are dictated by his belief in them. On the second charge, that Socrates makes the worse argument into the stronger argument, I would find not guilty. Socrates does not practice sophistry, which is a form of argument used for persuasion. The Sophists used this form of ...Show more

Summary

Apology by Plato.
The four charges are as follows:
1) “Socrates speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth below” (Apology, 2). Socrates response: “I have nothing to do with these studies” (Apology, 3). …
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