It is the duty of a judge not to make a present of justice but to give judgment, for he has sworn that he will judge according to the laws and not according to his own good pleasure. After the vote had been taken, socrates expressed surprise that the size of the majority voting against him had not been larger than it was. Without the assistance of Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon, the opposition would not have amounted to more than a fifth of the votes, and Socrates would have been acquitted. It was customary in Athens for a prisoner who had been condemned to death to have the opportunity of proposing an alternate sentence, which would be accepted if approved by a majority of the judges. The penalty might be changed to the payment of a sum of money, banishment from the city for a period of time, or a number of other things, any one of which would be preferable to a death sentence. Socrates stated that he had no money with which to pay a fine, and although any one of a number of his friends would have been glad to supply him with whatever amount was needed, he could not accept it, for by so doing. Neither was he willing to be exiled from the city in which he had always lived and where he had carried on his activities in obedience to a divine command. The only alternative to the death sentence that he proposed was that of being provided for at public expense in a manner that would be appropriate for one who has dedicated his life to the service and welfare of his fellow citizens.
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I will reply "Men of Athens, i honor and love you; but I shall obey god rather than you, and while i have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet after my manner. He concludes this part of his defense by saying, "For I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties but first and chiefly to care about the greatest gulp improvement of the. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, my influence is ruinous indeed. Wherefore o men of Athens, i say to you, do as Anytus bids or not as Anytus bids, and either acquit me or not; but whatever you do, know that I shall never alter my ways, not even if I have to die many times.". If that had been the case, they would now be among his accusers. Instead, they are among his most devoted friends and loyal supporters. Socrates recognizes several of them in the audience before him. Socrates is aware of the fact that persons who have been accused of some crime will often try to win sympathy for themselves or to influence their judges by bringing in members of their own families to plead in their behalf. Socrates will not resort to any such tactics. He feels that conduct of that kind is discreditable both to himself and to the state. There is something wrong about petitioning a judge and thus procuring an acquittal instead of informing and convincing him.
The question has been raised as to whether it is proper for him to continue in a manner of living that could cause him to experience an untimely death. His answer is that he has no fear of death. Anyone in his circumstances ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying. He father's ought only to consider whether what he is doing is right or wrong. As a soldier in the army, he did not desert his post when facing the danger of death. He would choose death in preference to disgrace, for it is better to die honorably than it is to live in dishonor. As he has explained before, his manner of living is in response to a command from God to fulfill the philosopher's mission of searching into himself and other men. Therefore, to disobey this command in order to save his own life would be a disgraceful thing. Addressing his hearers, socrates spoke the following words: If you say to me, socrates this time we will not mind Anytus and will let you off, but on one condition, that you are not to inquire and speculate in this way any more, and.
Or does he insist that Socrates is an atheist and does not believe in any god at all? Meletus replies that Socrates is an atheist inasmuch as he does not believe in the godhead of the sun or moon but teaches that the sun is stone and the moon earth. Socrates then reminds Meletus that he was not the one who taught these things about the sun and moon. It was Anaxagoras the Clazomenian who stated that the sun and moon were only material substances. Meletus must have a very poor opinion of the judges at this trial if he thinks they will not be aware of his mistake. Furthermore, socrates points out that Meletus has involved himself in a self-contradiction: he accuses Socrates of introducing new and strange divinities and at the same time asserts that he is an atheist who does not believe in any god. Having replied to the charges made by meletus, socrates proceeds reviews to other matters related to his trial.
His statements imply that Socrates is the only one in the city of Athens who is corrupting the youth. Everyone else is working for their improvement. At the same time, he admits that no one would intentionally make the people worse so long as he is obliged to live among them. From this it follows either that Socrates is not making the people worse or he is doing so unintentionally. In either case, he is guilty of no crime and ought not be punished. Obviously, meletus does not understand the nature of the charges he is making, nor is he able to see the logical consequences implied in the statements he has been making. Socrates then asks Meletus to state how it is that he is corrupting the youth. Is it that he is teaching them not to acknowledge the gods that the state acknowledges but some other divinities or spiritual agencies in place of them?
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Some of the young men of the wealthier class have been attracted to him because they enjoy listening to the way in which he exposes the ignorance of those who claim to be wise. They observe that those who are examined and found to be wanting in wisdom instead of becoming angry with themselves become angry with Socrates and call him a villainous misleader of youth, a dangerous character, and one whose influence should be brought to an end. Their accusations arouse a great deal of curiosity on the part of people in general. When they inquire of the youth who have been listening to the discussions what the evil teaching is of which Socrates is accused, these young men are unable to tell. However, in order to appear that they are not at a loss to know what it is all about, they repeat the charges they have heard about philosophers teaching things up in the clouds and under the earth network and making the worse appear. Because the people making these charges are numerous and energetic and have persuasive tongues, they have filled the ears of many with their loud and inveterate calumnies.
This is the reason why meletus, Anytus, and others have charged him with crimes and are bringing him to trial. Having made his defense against the first class of his accusers, socrates proceeds to reply to the specific charges that are now being made against him. Meletus has stated that Socrates is a doer of evil in that he corrupts the youth, does not believe in the gods of the state, and has introduced new divinities of his own. To defend himself against these charges, socrates asks Meletus to come forward and answer some questions. Socrates is especially skillful in the questions he asks of his adversary, with the result that Meletus is shown to be contradicting himself and making accusations that are utterly absurd.
He went to one man who was a politician and who had the reputation of wisdom, but when Socrates began to talk with him, it became clear that he was not as wise as he had supposed himself. When Socrates pointed this out to him, the result was that the politician began to hate him, and his enmity toward the one who had exposed his ignorance was shared by several of those who were present and over-heard the conversation. Nevertheless, socrates concludes that he is better off than the individual whom he has just examined, for that person knows nothing but thinks that he knows, while socrates neither knows nor thinks that he knows. The oracle at Delphi was correct in his statement. Socrates is wiser than any of the others because he is aware of his own ignorance and they are not.
After his encounter with the politician, socrates went to one man after another, trying desperately to determine whether the statement made by the oracle was indeed the truth. He went to the poets, and after asking them to explain some of the most elaborate passages in their own writings, he found they had no understanding of the things they had written. They even insisted that their poetry was not the product of wisdom but of a kind of inspiration like that of the diviners and soothsayers. Leaving the poets, he went to the artisans, but again he observed they fell into the same error as the poets, for while they did have knowledge of some things, they were ignorant concerning matters of the greatest importance. As a result of his investigations, he reports to the Athenians that he found the men most in repute were all but the most foolish and that some inferior men were really wiser and better than those held in high esteem. Although his mission had convinced him that the oracle had spoken the truth, it nevertheless had the unfortunate consequence of making for him a large number of enemies, which has given rise to a whole series of calumnies that have befallen him. Again Socrates points out another source of the prejudice against him that has developed over the years.
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A further explanation of the way in which these rumors were started can be seen in the account of the wisdom that Socrates is said to claim for himself. The story came about in the following manner. A certain man called Chaerephon had inquired of the oracle of Delphi whether there was anyone wiser than Socrates. The oracle had answered the question in the negative, thus making it clear that Socrates was indeed the wisest of all the men in Athens. When this was reported to socrates, he was amazed, for he had never considered himself to be a wise person. To determine whether the assertion made by the oracle was true, he began a series of inquiries and investigations. He went to a number of different persons, each one of whom claimed to be wise and was so regarded by his fellow citizens. In each case, the reputation of the individual was an ill-founded one, for upon being questioned and examined by socrates it became evident that they did not possess the wisdom attributed to them.
As an example, he mentions the fact that Aristophanes in his comedy play called. The Clouds has referred to a man called Socrates who goes about claiming that he can walk on air and pretending to a lot of other nonsense concerning matters english of which there is no element of truth. While it is quite possible that Aristophanes did not intend these statements to be taken seriously, they have nevertheless contributed toward the unfavorable opinion that has been formed about him. Another factor that has been working against him is the rumor that has been circulated concerning his investigations of things in heaven above and in the earth beneath. These, too, are based on falsehoods, for he has had no interest in the physical sciences and has never claimed to have any wisdom about matters of this kind. This does not mean that he has any quarrel with the physical scientists. He recognizes the legitimacy of what they are doing, but he has preferred to give his attention to other matters, especially the ones that have to do with moral conduct and the welfare of the soul.
implied in their warning to the judges. Socrates tells them that he will indeed speak the truth, and he implores the judges not to be thinking of the manner of his speech but only of the justice of the cause for which he pleads. In making his defense, socrates will reply to two kinds of accusations. The first one is referred to as the older or more ancient accusation, and the second one is the contemporary charge being made by meletus, Anytus, and others who are present at the trial. It is the first, or older, accusation that he dreads most of all. The reason for this dread is that his accusers are many and he cannot call them all by name. Most of them are not present, and thus he is unable to give them the opportunity to reply to what he has to say. The accusations go back over a period of many years and may be summed up in the following words: "Socrates is an evil-doer, and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better. Asserting that these accusations are based entirely on falsehoods, socrates points out that they have given him a bad reputation over the years.
The first one consists of an introductory statement that Socrates makes concerning the manner of his speaking. This is followed by an account of the specific accusations made with with reference to his life and daily activities. Socrates replies at some length to each of the charges brought against him. After making his defense, an account is given of his attempt at mitigation of the penalty imposed on him. Finally, socrates makes a prophetic rebuke of the judges for supposing they will live at ease and with an untroubled conscience after pronouncing sentence as a penalty for his crimes. The dialog begins with Socrates making a short speech in which he offers an apology for the colloquial style in which he will be making his defense. His accusers have warned the judges to be on their guard lest they be deceived by the eloquence of Socrates in his attempt to convince them of his innocence. Socrates insists that he makes no claim of being eloquent in his speech. He is not a rhetorician, and they should be ashamed for suggesting that he would try to lead them astray by the force of his eloquence.
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Bookmark this page, summary, the, apology is believed to be the most authentic account that has been preserved of Socrates' defense of himself as it was presented before the Athenian council. It is in essential harmony with the references to the trial that occur in Plato's other dialogs and also with the account given in Xenophon's. It appears to record, in many instances, the exact words used by socrates while making his speech in defense of himself. To be sure, the words were not recorded at the time they were spoken, but we know that Plato was present at the trial, and hence we may conclude that the account given in the, apology contains the words of Socrates as they were remembered. However, we should bear in mind that Plato had been both a pupil and an ardent admirer of Socrates, and for this reason his version of the trial may have book been somewhat biased in favor of the one whom he regarded as a truly great. At any rate, we may be fairly certain that, even though Socrates has been to some extent idealized by his pupil, the account given represents what Plato believed to be true about his teacher. It is also possible that Socrates' defense of himself was even stronger than what has been reported. The contents of the dialog include a number of different parts.