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Plato's The Apology - Essay Example

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Plato's The Apology

This metaphor occupies a pivotal place in philosophy study and practice (Ilea 6). Socrates stance is that the role of a philosopher in the society is parallel to that of a gadfly in stimulating a horse. As gadflies, philosophers have the responsibility of challenging the society to think clearly about things which may otherwise be taken for granted. Philosophers question the inconsistencies and fallacies that are acceptable to the rest of the society (8). Upham (71) supports this view of the Socratic gadfly, stating that philosophy involves uncovering assumptions, asking pertinent and unwelcome questions alongside mocking self seriousness. The analogy is immensely strong, as the gadfly is deemed irritating in a similar fashion by which philosophy in this approach may be quite unwelcome. The gadfly metaphor is of significant value in the academic and intellectual pursuit of philosophy since it spells out philosophers’ roles. This helps in defining practice of philosophy; without it, philosophy may be solely constrained to knowledge seeking and having no roles in society (72). ‘…the unexamined life is not worth living.’: In Socrates proposal for his sentence, he ponders the question of whether he should stop practicing philosophy and go into exile. To this, Socrates observes that the greatest good a man can do is to converse about virtues. He highlights the value of philosophy (examining self and others), arguing that an unexamined life is not worth living (Colaiaco 147). The context of this statement involves the issue of silencing Socrates from engaging in philosophy. As he explains in earlier passages, Socrates had been undertaking conversations with the “wise men” of Athens in a bid to determine their wisdom. Socrates believed in this as a divine calling, and in the process found out that much of the said wisdom was indeed self gratification and absent. The young people of Athens attended Socrates enquiries. Exposing the lack of wisdom among his respondents won Socrates many enemies, who then plotted his downfall based on unfounded issues. The possibility of Socrates quitting the practice is what leads to him responding that life has to be examined to be worthy. I agree with Socrates conclusion that life without examination is not worth living. As philosophy entails the examination of self and others, my argument follows the two levels of examination. First, the lack of self examination detaches one from the true values in life, thrusting him into pursuit of societal norms that may not be based on virtues and values. Lack of self examination leads one to failure to “… look into oneself and seek virtue and wisdom before looking into private interests…” (Smith and Knapp 17-18). Pursuit of self-interests above virtues and truth removes the true value of life, making it not worth living. The other argument in support of examining life revolves around the entire concept of philosophy. As gadflies, philosophers examine the society and encourage it to reflect on its beliefs and practices. The equation of philosophers to gadflies appreciates that the society may establish itself on valueless, immoral, amoral, wrong, misconceived and precarious ideas. The examination offered helps the society to realize such ills and perhaps correct them. In essence, examination helps to inculcate values into the society and, thus, make life worth living. This is ...Show more

Summary

Name Professor Module Date Plato’s The Apology: A Critical review of Socrates’ Stances The Gadfly Metaphor: In his defense, Socrates compares himself to a gadfly, and he states, “a great and noble steed who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life” (Smith and Knapp 17)…
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Platos The Apology Essay essay example
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