Socrates and the Apology Essay

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Socrates and the Apology

One of the main charges against Socrates revolved around the fact that he was a natural philosopher. This was so problematic as it was in opposition with the views set forth by this early society: these views believed that the society was created via the gods and a great many narratives were developed around the idea of the gods, and what they were capable of and how they impacted the natural world and how it was viewed. Philosophy, particularly Socrates' variety of natural philosophy, was viewed as being in direct opposition to these traditional viewpoints. Another charge against Socrates was one which aligned him with the Sophists. The sophists were a group of public speakers who had uncovered certain methods of persuading others that permitted them to adopt a particular viewpoint even if that viewpoint was not the best or truest one. These individuals travelled, often helping those who wanted to gain political power. They were not at all trusted, and Socrates was viewed as being a member of their ranks: thus, he was essentially charged with being a manipulative orator. These were the earliest charges against Socrates which had developed throughout the years and were the results of a general prejudice against him. As Socrates summarizes, these accusers stated that, "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 cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others" (mit.edu).

In conjunction with these two charges, was the charge that Socrates did not have faith in the gods of the city: there was a pressure and an expectation to give requisite honors to the gods as a failure to do so amounted to a certain level of treason. For instance, Socrates has been quoted as saying that the sun was a hot rock, expressly denying that Apollo, and thus negating the legitimacy of anyone who claimed to rule the Greek metropolis as a result of tracing their lineage back to Apollo. As a result of all of these charges, Socrates was accused of corrupting the young. Finally, Socrates was charged with impiety.

The first way in which Socrates seeks to defend himself is by going after Meletus: he accuses his accuser of not having a sincere interest in the things he claims to actually care about. The crux of Socrates defense in this arena is contained in the following quote: "But you have just admitted that the good do their neighbors good, and the evil do them evil. Now is that a truth which your…

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References

Mit.edu (2013). The Apology. Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html

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