Plato's Apology the Vocation of Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :


With his bold and sweeping statements about a divine mission to seek out and expose false wisdom, and his assertions that nothing short of death will stop him from completing that mission, Socrates makes it clear that, to him, the vocation of a philosopher is a dangerous one. He demonstrates an awareness that his practices have not only brought him enemies, but will likely lead to his death. However, Socrates repeatedly asserts that a true philosopher could not stop questioning, practicing, and sharing his philosophy any more than a true philosopher could willfully cease to exist. In fact, Socrates makes it clear that if he is given the option to live without philosophy or to die with it, that the only choice he could make would be to die. Socrates tells the jury, "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."

Finally, Socrates makes it clear that, even though the practice and teaching of philosophy has exposed him to danger, it has not exposed him to injury. He tells the jury, "if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me." He further extorts the jury, "as you will not easily find another like me, I would advise you to spare me. Socrates compares the revelations that he has shown his accusers and the jury to his having awakened them from a nap and asks them if they would have preferred to remain asleep for the rest of their lives. For daring to practice his philosophy, and for demonstrating his own lack of wisdom, as well as the lack of wisdom in those around him, Socrates discovered that truth and the search for truth can be deadly. In that, Socrates revealed the true danger in the vocation of philosophy: many would rather sleep than have their weaknesses revealed to themselves and others.

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