The trial and defense of socrates

The Historical Socrates i. His family was not extremely poor, but they were by no means wealthy, and Socrates could not claim that he was of noble birth like Plato.

The trial and defense of socrates

The defence of Socrates[ edit ] Socrates begins his legal defence by telling the jury that their minds were poisoned by his enemies, when they the jury were young and impressionable. That his false reputation as a sophistical The trial and defense of socrates comes from his enemies, all of whom are malicious and envious of him, yet must remain nameless — except for the playwright Aristophaneswho lampooned him Socrates as a charlatan-philosopher in the comedy play The Clouds BC.

About corrupting the rich, young men of Athens, Socrates argues that deliberate corruption is an illogical action. That the false accusations of his being a corrupter of youth began at the time of his obedience to the Oracle at Delphiand tells how Chaerephon went to the Oracle, to ask her the priestess if there was a man wiser than Socrates.

The trial and defense of socrates

That when Chaerephon reported to him that the Oracle said there is no wiser man, he Socrates interpreted that divine report as a riddle — because he was aware of possessing no wisdom "great or small", and that lying is not in the nature of the gods.

The wisest man Socrates then sought to solve the divine paradox — that an ignorant man also could be the wisest of all men — in effort to illuminate the meaning of the Oracles' categorical statement: After systematically interrogating the politicians, the poets, and the craftsmen, Socrates determined that the politicians were impostors; that the poets did not understand their own poetry; and that the craftsmen, like prophets and seers, did not understand the things they spoke.

In that light, Socrates saw himself as spokesman for the Oracle at Delphi 22e. He asked himself if he would rather be an impostor, like the "wise people" he interrogated, or if he would rather be himself, Socrates of Athens.

As the defendant under trial, Socrates tells the jury that he would rather be himself than be anyone else.

From the SparkNotes Blog

That in searching for a man wiser than himself, his questioning earned him the dubious reputation of social gadfly to the city of Athens. Corrupter of youth Having addressed the social prejudices against him, Socrates addresses the first accusation — the moral corruption of Athenian youth — by accusing his accuser, Meletus, of being indifferent to the persons and things about which he professes to care.

Whilst interrogating Meletus, Socrates says that no one would intentionally corrupt another person — because the corrupter later stands to be harmed in vengeance by the corrupted person.

The matter of moral corruption is important for two reasons: Atheist Socrates then addresses the second accusation — asebeia impiety against the pantheon of Athens — by which Meletus says that Socrates is an atheist. In cross-examination, Socrates leads Meletus to contradict himself: That Socrates is an atheist who also believes in spiritual agencies and demigods.

Socrates tells the judges that Meletus has contradicted himself, and then asks if Meletus has designed a test of intelligence for identifying logical contradictions. That people who fear death are showing their ignorance, because death might be a good thing, but that most people fear death as an evil thing, when they cannot possibly know death to be either good or evil.

The trial and defense of socrates

Socrates says that his wisdom is in being aware that he is ignorant: That in a conflict of obedience to such authorities, obeying divine authority supersedes obeying human authority: That, as spokesman for the Oracle at Delphi, he is to spur the Athenians to greater awareness of ethics and moral conduct, and always shall question and argue, even if his accusers — Lycon, Anytus, and Meletus — withdraw their accusations against him.

Therefore, the philosopher Socrates of Athens asks his fellow citizens: That material wealth is a consequence of goodness; that the god does not permit a better man to be harmed by a lesser man; and that he is the social gadfly required by Athens: That statement implicitly validates Meletus' accusation that Socrates believes in novel deities not of the Athenian pantheon.

Socrates says he never was a paid teacher; therefore, he is not responsible for the corruption of any Athenian citizen. That if he corrupted anyone, he asks: That if the corrupted Athenians are ignorant of having been corrupted, then why have their families not spoken on their behalf?

In point of fact, Socrates indicates relatives of the Athenian youth he supposedly corrupted are present in court, giving him moral support. Socrates concludes his legal defence by reminding the judges that he shall not resort to emotive tricks and arguments, shall not cry in public regret, and that his three sons will not appear in court to pathetically sway the judges.

Socrates says he is unafraid of death and shall not act contrary to religious duty. He says he will rely solely upon sound argument and truth to present his case at trial.

Socrates' sentencing plea[ edit ] The jurors of the trial voted the guilt of Socrates by a narrow margin 36a. In the Apology of Socrates, Plato cites no numbers of votes condemning or acquitting the philosopher of the accusations of moral corruption and impiety; [11] although Socrates did say he would have been acquitted if thirty more jurors had voted in his favour.

Socrates antagonises the court by proposing, rather than a penalty, a reward — perpetual maintenance at public expense. He notes that the vote of judgement against him was close; thirty votes more in his favour would have acquitted him. In that vein, Socrates then engages in dark humour, suggesting that Meletus narrowly escaped a great fine for not meeting the statutory requirement of receiving one-fifth of the votes of the assembled judges in favour of his accusations against Socrates.

In that way, Socrates published the financial consequence for Meletus to consider as plaintiff in a lawsuit — because the Athenian legal system discouraged frivolous lawsuits by imposing a financially onerous fine upon the plaintiff, if the vote of the judges was less than one-fifth of the number of judges required by the type of lawsuit.

As punishment for the two accusations formally presented against him at trial, Socrates proposed to the court that he be treated as a benefactor to the city of Athens; that he should be given free meals, in perpetuity, at the Prytaneumthe public dining hall of Athens. Receiving such public largesse is an honour reserved for Olympic athletes, for prominent citizens, and for benefactors of Athens, as a city and as a state.Socrates of Athens: Euthyphro, Socrates' Defense, CRITO, and the Death Scene from PhAedo.

Socrates of Athens: Euthyphro, Socrates' Defense, CRITO, These themes are to the fore in Socrates' Defense, which presents Socrates at trial. We see Socrates working with arguments, drawing contradictions from. Socrates' speech, however, is by no means an "apology" in our modern understanding of the word.

The name of the dialogue derives from the Greek "apologia," which translates as a defense, or a speech made in defense. While we know many of the historical details of Socrates’ life and the circumstances surrounding his trial, Socrates’ identity as a philosopher is much more difficult to establish.

Plato the author has his Socrates claim that Plato was present in the courtroom for Socrates’ defense. The Apology At the trial for his life in BC, Socrates defense is recounted in Plato's Apology.

Here Socrates appeared, despite his lengthy defense, not to acquit himself from all accusations, but rather to deliberately ensure that he would be found guilty and thus condemned to death.

Plato’s presentation of the trial and death of Socrates inspired the writers, artists, and philosophers to revisit the matter; for some, the execution of the man whom Plato called “the wisest and most just of all men” demonstrated the defects of democracy and of popular rule; for others, the Athenian actions were a justifiable defense of.

The Apology of Socrates, by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue in three parts that cover the Trial of Socrates ( BC): (i) the legal self-defence of Socrates, (ii) the verdict of .

Socrates | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy