⌛ Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay

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Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay

That Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay, the poets are rhetoricians who are, as it were, selling their products to as large a Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay Introduction Case Study: Shrader-Frechette possible, in the hope of gaining repute and Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay. But without inadvertency, the third proposal simply Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay back into the first proposal, which has Brias Argument Against Racial Profiling been refuted. Pros Of Vaccination Cons, N. Plato appears to Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay considered The Clouds a contributing factor in Socrates' trial Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay execution in BC. A skilled lawyer can Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay jurymen into a state of true belief without Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay them into a state of Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay so knowledge and true belief are different states. Saunders Epinomis Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay, trans. Three main points have to be decided: a Would Protagoras have identified his Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay thesis, 'Man is the measure of all things,' with the other, 'All knowledge Gorgias By Socrates Rhetoric Essay sensible perception'?

Plato's Gorgias, What Does Gorgias Teach?

But Socrates has no sooner found the new solution than he sinks into a fit of despondency. For an objection occurs to him:—May there not be errors where there is no confusion of mind and sense? No one can confuse the man whom he has in his thoughts with the horse which he has in his thoughts, but he may err in the addition of five and seven.

And observe that these are purely mental conceptions. Thus we are involved once more in the dilemma of saying, either that there is no such thing as false opinion, or that a man knows what he does not know. We are at our wit's end, and may therefore be excused for making a bold diversion. All this time we have been repeating the words 'know,' 'understand,' yet we do not know what knowledge is. And I must explain them now. The verb 'to know' has two senses, to have and to possess knowledge, and I distinguish 'having' from 'possessing.

Let this aviary be an image of the mind, as the waxen block was; when we are young, the aviary is empty; after a time the birds are put in; for under this figure we may describe different forms of knowledge;—there are some of them in groups, and some single, which are flying about everywhere; and let us suppose a hunt after the science of odd and even, or some other science. The possession of the birds is clearly not the same as the having them in the hand. And the original chase of them is not the same as taking them in the hand when they are already caged.

This distinction between use and possession saves us from the absurdity of supposing that we do not know what we know, because we may know in one sense, i. But have we not escaped one difficulty only to encounter a greater? For how can the exchange of two kinds of knowledge ever become false opinion? As well might we suppose that ignorance could make a man know, or that blindness could make him see. Theaetetus suggests that in the aviary there may be flying about mock birds, or forms of ignorance, and we put forth our hands and grasp ignorance, when we are intending to grasp knowledge. But how can he who knows the forms of knowledge and the forms of ignorance imagine one to be the other?

Is there some other form of knowledge which distinguishes them? Thus we go round and round in a circle and make no progress. All this confusion arises out of our attempt to explain false opinion without having explained knowledge. Theaetetus repeats that knowledge is true opinion. But this seems to be refuted by the instance of orators and judges. For surely the orator cannot convey a true knowledge of crimes at which the judges were not present; he can only persuade them, and the judge may form a true opinion and truly judge.

But if true opinion were knowledge they could not have judged without knowledge. Once more. Theaetetus offers a definition which he has heard: Knowledge is true opinion accompanied by definition or explanation. Socrates has had a similar dream, and has further heard that the first elements are names only, and that definition or explanation begins when they are combined; the letters are unknown, the syllables or combinations are known.

But this new hypothesis when tested by the letters of the alphabet is found to break down. The first syllable of Socrates' name is SO. But what is SO? Two letters, S and O, a sibilant and a vowel, of which no further explanation can be given. And how can any one be ignorant of either of them, and yet know both of them? There is, however, another alternative:—We may suppose that the syllable has a separate form or idea distinct from the letters or parts. The all of the parts may not be the whole. Theaetetus is very much inclined to adopt this suggestion, but when interrogated by Socrates he is unable to draw any distinction between the whole and all the parts.

And if the syllables have no parts, then they are those original elements of which there is no explanation. But how can the syllable be known if the letter remains unknown? In learning to read as children, we are first taught the letters and then the syllables. And in music, the notes, which are the letters, have a much more distinct meaning to us than the combination of them. Once more, then, we must ask the meaning of the statement, that 'Knowledge is right opinion, accompanied by explanation or definition.

A man may have a true opinion about a waggon, but then, and then only, has he knowledge of a waggon when he is able to enumerate the hundred planks of Hesiod. Or he may know the syllables of the name Theaetetus, but not the letters; yet not until he knows both can he be said to have knowledge as well as opinion. But on the other hand he may know the syllable 'The' in the name Theaetetus, yet he may be mistaken about the same syllable in the name Theodorus, and in learning to read we often make such mistakes. And even if he could write out all the letters and syllables of your name in order, still he would only have right opinion. Yet there may be a third meaning of the definition, besides the image or expression of the mind, and the enumeration of the elements, viz.

For example, I may see a man who has eyes, nose, and mouth;—that will not distinguish him from any other man. Or he may have a snub-nose and prominent eyes;—that will not distinguish him from myself and you and others who are like me. But when I see a certain kind of snub-nosedness, then I recognize Theaetetus. And having this sign of difference, I have knowledge. But have I knowledge or opinion of this difference; if I have only opinion I have not knowledge; if I have knowledge we assume a disputed term; for knowledge will have to be defined as right opinion with knowledge of difference.

And so, Theaetetus, knowledge is neither perception nor true opinion, nor yet definition accompanying true opinion. And I have shown that the children of your brain are not worth rearing. Are you still in labour, or have you brought all you have to say about knowledge to the birth? If you have any more thoughts, you will be the better for having got rid of these; or if you have none, you will be the better for not fancying that you know what you do not know.

Observe the limits of my art, which, like my mother's, is an art of midwifery; I do not pretend to compare with the good and wise of this and other ages. And now I go to meet Meletus at the porch of the King Archon; but to-morrow I shall hope to see you again, Theodorus, at this place. The saying of Theaetetus, that 'Knowledge is sensible perception,' may be assumed to be a current philosophical opinion of the age. The same impulse which a century before had led men to form conceptions of the world, now led them to frame general notions of the human faculties and feelings, such as memory, opinion, and the like. The simplest of these is sensation, or sensible perception, by which Plato seems to mean the generalized notion of feelings and impressions of sense, without determining whether they are conscious or not.

The theory that 'Knowledge is sensible perception' is the antithesis of that which derives knowledge from the mind Theaet. Yet from their extreme abstraction these theories do not represent the opposite poles of thought in the same way that the corresponding differences would in modern philosophy. The most ideal and the most sensational have a tendency to pass into one another; Heracleitus, like his great successor Hegel, has both aspects. The Eleatic isolation of Being and the Megarian or Cynic isolation of individuals are placed in the same class by Plato Soph. The Atomists, who are sometimes regarded as the Materialists of Plato, denied the reality of sensation.

And in the ancient as well as the modern world there were reactions from theory to experience, from ideas to sense. This is a point of view from which the philosophy of sensation presented great attraction to the ancient thinker. Amid the conflict of ideas and the variety of opinions, the impression of sense remained certain and uniform. Hardness, softness, cold, heat, etc. Thus the doctrine that knowledge is perception supplies or seems to supply a firm standing ground. Like the other notions of the earlier Greek philosophy, it was held in a very simple way, without much basis of reasoning, and without suggesting the questions which naturally arise in our own minds on the same subject. The modern thinker often repeats the parallel axiom, 'All knowledge is experience.

In what does this differ from the saying of Theaetetus? Chiefly in this—that the modern term 'experience,' while implying a point of departure in sense and a return to sense, also includes all the processes of reasoning and imagination which have intervened. The necessary connexion between them by no means affords a measure of the relative degree of importance which is to be ascribed to either element. For the inductive portion of any science may be small, as in mathematics or ethics, compared with that which the mind has attained by reasoning and reflection on a very few facts.

The saying that 'All knowledge is sensation' is identified by Plato with the Protagorean thesis that 'Man is the measure of all things. Did Protagoras merely mean to assert the relativity of knowledge to the human mind? Or did he mean to deny that there is an objective standard of truth? These two questions have not been always clearly distinguished; the relativity of knowledge has been sometimes confounded with uncertainty. The untutored mind is apt to suppose that objects exist independently of the human faculties, because they really exist independently of the faculties of any individual. In the same way, knowledge appears to be a body of truths stored up in books, which when once ascertained are independent of the discoverer.

Further consideration shows us that these truths are not really independent of the mind; there is an adaptation of one to the other, of the eye to the object of sense, of the mind to the conception. There would be no world, if there neither were nor ever had been any one to perceive the world. A slight effort of reflection enables us to understand this; but no effort of reflection will enable us to pass beyond the limits of our own faculties, or to imagine the relation or adaptation of objects to the mind to be different from that of which we have experience. There are certain laws of language and logic to which we are compelled to conform, and to which our ideas naturally adapt themselves; and we can no more get rid of them than we can cease to be ourselves.

The absolute and infinite, whether explained as self-existence, or as the totality of human thought, or as the Divine nature, if known to us at all, cannot escape from the category of relation. But because knowledge is subjective or relative to the mind, we are not to suppose that we are therefore deprived of any of the tests or criteria of truth. One man still remains wiser than another, a more accurate observer and relater of facts, a truer measure of the proportions of knowledge. The nature of testimony is not altered, nor the verification of causes by prescribed methods less certain. Again, the truth must often come to a man through others, according to the measure of his capacity and education.

But neither does this affect the testimony, whether written or oral, which he knows by experience to be trustworthy. He cannot escape from the laws of his own mind; and he cannot escape from the further accident of being dependent for his knowledge on others. But still this is no reason why he should always be in doubt; of many personal, of many historical and scientific facts he may be absolutely assured. And having such a mass of acknowledged truth in the mathematical and physical, not to speak of the moral sciences, the moderns have certainly no reason to acquiesce in the statement that truth is appearance only, or that there is no difference between appearance and truth. The relativity of knowledge is a truism to us, but was a great psychological discovery in the fifth century before Christ.

Of this discovery, the first distinct assertion is contained in the thesis of Protagoras. Probably he had no intention either of denying or affirming an objective standard of truth. He did not consider whether man in the higher or man in the lower sense was a 'measure of all things. Like Socrates, he seemed to see that philosophy must be brought back from 'nature' to 'truth,' from the world to man. But he did not stop to analyze whether he meant 'man' in the concrete or man in the abstract, any man or some men, 'quod semper quod ubique' or individual private judgment.

Such an analysis lay beyond his sphere of thought; the age before Socrates had not arrived at these distinctions. Like the Cynics, again, he discarded knowledge in any higher sense than perception. For 'truer' or 'wiser' he substituted the word 'better,' and is not unwilling to admit that both states and individuals are capable of practical improvement. But this improvement does not arise from intellectual enlightenment, nor yet from the exertion of the will, but from a change of circumstances and impressions; and he who can effect this change in himself or others may be deemed a philosopher.

In the mode of effecting it, while agreeing with Socrates and the Cynics in the importance which he attaches to practical life, he is at variance with both of them. To suppose that practice can be divorced from speculation, or that we may do good without caring about truth, is by no means singular, either in philosophy or life. The singularity of this, as of some other so-called sophistical doctrines, is the frankness with which they are avowed, instead of being veiled, as in modern times, under ambiguous and convenient phrases. Plato appears to treat Protagoras much as he himself is treated by Aristotle; that is to say, he does not attempt to understand him from his own point of view.

But he entangles him in the meshes of a more advanced logic. To which Protagoras is supposed to reply by Megarian quibbles, which destroy logic, 'Not only man, but each man, and each man at each moment. For he who sees with one eye only cannot be truly said both to see and not to see; nor is memory, which is liable to forget, the immediate knowledge to which Protagoras applies the term. Theodorus justly charges Socrates with going beyond the truth; and Protagoras has equally right on his side when he protests against Socrates arguing from the common use of words, which 'the vulgar pervert in all manner of ways. The theory of Protagoras is connected by Aristotle as well as Plato with the flux of Heracleitus. But Aristotle is only following Plato, and Plato, as we have already seen, did not mean to imply that such a connexion was admitted by Protagoras himself.

His metaphysical genius saw or seemed to see a common tendency in them, just as the modern historian of ancient philosophy might perceive a parallelism between two thinkers of which they were probably unconscious themselves. We must remember throughout that Plato is not speaking of Heracleitus, but of the Heracliteans, who succeeded him; nor of the great original ideas of the master, but of the Eristic into which they had degenerated a hundred years later. There is nothing in the fragments of Heracleitus which at all justifies Plato's account of him. His philosophy may be resolved into two elements—first, change, secondly, law or measure pervading the change: these he saw everywhere, and often expressed in strange mythological symbols.

But he has no analysis of sensible perception such as Plato attributes to him; nor is there any reason to suppose that he pushed his philosophy into that absolute negation in which Heracliteanism was sunk in the age of Plato. He never said that 'change means every sort of change;' and he expressly distinguished between 'the general and particular understanding. But as has been the case with other great philosophers, and with Plato and Aristotle themselves, what was really permanent and original could not be understood by the next generation, while a perverted logic carried out his chance expressions with an illogical consistency.

His simple and noble thoughts, like those of the great Eleatic, soon degenerated into a mere strife of words. And when thus reduced to mere words, they seem to have exercised a far wider influence in the cities of Ionia where the people 'were mad about them' than in the life-time of Heracleitus—a phenomenon which, though at first sight singular, is not without a parallel in the history of philosophy and theology. It is this perverted form of the Heraclitean philosophy which is supposed to effect the final overthrow of Protagorean sensationalism. For if all things are changing at every moment, in all sorts of ways, then there is nothing fixed or defined at all, and therefore no sensible perception, nor any true word by which that or anything else can be described.

Of course Protagoras would not have admitted the justice of this argument any more than Heracleitus would have acknowledged the 'uneducated fanatics' who appealed to his writings. He might have said, 'The excellent Socrates has first confused me with Heracleitus, and Heracleitus with his Ephesian successors, and has then disproved the existence both of knowledge and sensation. But I am not responsible for what I never said, nor will I admit that my common-sense account of knowledge can be overthrown by unintelligible Heraclitean paradoxes. Still at the bottom of the arguments there remains a truth, that knowledge is something more than sensible perception;—this alone would not distinguish man from a tadpole.

The absoluteness of sensations at each moment destroys the very consciousness of sensations compare Phileb. The senses are not mere holes in a 'Trojan horse,' but the organs of a presiding nature, in which they meet. A great advance has been made in psychology when the senses are recognized as organs of sense, and we are admitted to see or feel 'through them' and not 'by them,' a distinction of words which, as Socrates observes, is by no means pedantic. A still further step has been made when the most abstract notions, such as Being and Not-being, sameness and difference, unity and plurality, are acknowledged to be the creations of the mind herself, working upon the feelings or impressions of sense. In this manner Plato describes the process of acquiring them, in the words 'Knowledge consists not in the feelings or affections pathemasi , but in the process of reasoning about them sullogismo.

As in the Sophist, he is laying the foundation of a rational psychology, which is to supersede the Platonic reminiscence of Ideas as well as the Eleatic Being and the individualism of Megarians and Cynics. Having rejected the doctrine that 'Knowledge is perception,' we now proceed to look for a definition of knowledge in the sphere of opinion. But here we are met by a singular difficulty: How is false opinion possible? For we must either know or not know that which is presented to the mind or to sense.

We of course should answer at once: 'No; the alternative is not necessary, for there may be degrees of knowledge; and we may know and have forgotten, or we may be learning, or we may have a general but not a particular knowledge, or we may know but not be able to explain;' and many other ways may be imagined in which we know and do not know at the same time. But these answers belong to a later stage of metaphysical discussion; whereas the difficulty in question naturally arises owing to the childhood of the human mind, like the parallel difficulty respecting Not-being.

Men had only recently arrived at the notion of opinion; they could not at once define the true and pass beyond into the false. The very word doxa was full of ambiguity, being sometimes, as in the Eleatic philosophy, applied to the sensible world, and again used in the more ordinary sense of opinion. There is no connexion between sensible appearance and probability, and yet both of them met in the word doxa, and could hardly be disengaged from one another in the mind of the Greek living in the fifth or fourth century B.

To this was often added, as at the end of the fifth book of the Republic, the idea of relation, which is equally distinct from either of them; also a fourth notion, the conclusion of the dialectical process, the making up of the mind after she has been 'talking to herself' Theat. We are not then surprised that the sphere of opinion and of Not-being should be a dusky, half-lighted place Republic , belonging neither to the old world of sense and imagination, nor to the new world of reflection and reason.

Plato attempts to clear up this darkness. In his accustomed manner he passes from the lower to the higher, without omitting the intermediate stages. This appears to be the reason why he seeks for the definition of knowledge first in the sphere of opinion. Hereafter we shall find that something more than opinion is required. False opinion is explained by Plato at first as a confusion of mind and sense, which arises when the impression on the mind does not correspond to the impression made on the senses.

It is obvious that this explanation supposing the distinction between impressions on the mind and impressions on the senses to be admitted does not account for all forms of error; and Plato has excluded himself from the consideration of the greater number, by designedly omitting the intermediate processes of learning and forgetting; nor does he include fallacies in the use of language or erroneous inferences. But he is struck by one possibility of error, which is not covered by his theory, viz. For in numbers and calculation there is no combination of thought and sense, and yet errors may often happen. Hence he is led to discard the explanation which might nevertheless have been supposed to hold good for anything which he says to the contrary as a rationale of error, in the case of facts derived from sense.

Another attempt is made to explain false opinion by assigning to error a sort of positive existence. But error or ignorance is essentially negative—a not-knowing; if we knew an error, we should be no longer in error. We may veil our difficulty under figures of speech, but these, although telling arguments with the multitude, can never be the real foundation of a system of psychology. Only they lead us to dwell upon mental phenomena which if expressed in an abstract form would not be realized by us at all. The figure of the mind receiving impressions is one of those images which have rooted themselves for ever in language. It may or may not be a 'gracious aid' to thought; but it cannot be got rid of.

The other figure of the enclosure is also remarkable as affording the first hint of universal all-pervading ideas,—a notion further carried out in the Sophist. This is implied in the birds, some in flocks, some solitary, which fly about anywhere and everywhere. Plato discards both figures, as not really solving the question which to us appears so simple: 'How do we make mistakes? But is true opinion really distinct from knowledge? The difference between these he seeks to establish by an argument, which to us appears singular and unsatisfactory. The existence of true opinion is proved by the rhetoric of the law courts, which cannot give knowledge, but may give true opinion. The rhetorician cannot put the judge or juror in possession of all the facts which prove an act of violence, but he may truly persuade them of the commission of such an act.

Here the idea of true opinion seems to be a right conclusion from imperfect knowledge. But the correctness of such an opinion will be purely accidental; and is really the effect of one man, who has the means of knowing, persuading another who has not. Plato would have done better if he had said that true opinion was a contradiction in terms. Assuming the distinction between knowledge and opinion, Theaetetus, in answer to Socrates, proceeds to define knowledge as true opinion, with definite or rational explanation.

This Socrates identifies with another and different theory, of those who assert that knowledge first begins with a proposition. The elements may be perceived by sense, but they are names, and cannot be defined. When we assign to them some predicate, they first begin to have a meaning onomaton sumploke logou ousia. This seems equivalent to saying, that the individuals of sense become the subject of knowledge when they are regarded as they are in nature in relation to other individuals. Yet we feel a difficulty in following this new hypothesis.

For must not opinion be equally expressed in a proposition? The difference between true and false opinion is not the difference between the particular and the universal, but between the true universal and the false. Thought may be as much at fault as sight. When we place individuals under a class, or assign to them attributes, this is not knowledge, but a very rudimentary process of thought; the first generalization of all, without which language would be impossible. And has Plato kept altogether clear of a confusion, which the analogous word logos tends to create, of a proposition and a definition?

And is not the confusion increased by the use of the analogous term 'elements,' or 'letters'? For there is no real resemblance between the relation of letters to a syllable, and of the terms to a proposition. Plato, in the spirit of the Megarian philosophy, soon discovers a flaw in the explanation. For how can we know a compound of which the simple elements are unknown to us? Can two unknowns make a known?

Can a whole be something different from the parts? The answer of experience is that they can; for we may know a compound, which we are unable to analyze into its elements; and all the parts, when united, may be more than all the parts separated: e. But ancient philosophy in this, as in many other instances, proceeding by the path of mental analysis, was perplexed by doubts which warred against the plainest facts. Three attempts to explain the new definition of knowledge still remain to be considered. They all of them turn on the explanation of logos. The first account of the meaning of the word is the reflection of thought in speech—a sort of nominalism 'La science est une langue bien faite. And yet we may observe, that there is in this explanation an element of truth which is not recognized by Plato; viz.

The second explanation of logos is the enumeration of the elementary parts of the complex whole. But this is only definition accompanied with right opinion, and does not yet attain to the certainty of knowledge. Plato does not mention the greater objection, which is, that the enumeration of particulars is endless; such a definition would be based on no principle, and would not help us at all in gaining a common idea. The third is the best explanation,—the possession of a characteristic mark, which seems to answer to the logical definition by genus and difference.

But this, again, is equally necessary for right opinion; and we have already determined, although not on very satisfactory grounds, that knowledge must be distinguished from opinion. A better distinction is drawn between them in the Timaeus. They might be opposed as philosophy and rhetoric, and as conversant respectively with necessary and contingent matter. But no true idea of the nature of either of them, or of their relation to one another, could be framed until science obtained a content.

The ancient philosophers in the age of Plato thought of science only as pure abstraction, and to this opinion stood in no relation. Like Theaetetus, we have attained to no definite result. But an interesting phase of ancient philosophy has passed before us. And the negative result is not to be despised. For on certain subjects, and in certain states of knowledge, the work of negation or clearing the ground must go on, perhaps for a generation, before the new structure can begin to rise. Plato saw the necessity of combating the illogical logic of the Megarians and Eristics.

For the completion of the edifice, he makes preparation in the Theaetetus, and crowns the work in the Sophist. Many 1 fine expressions, and 2 remarks full of wisdom, 3 also germs of a metaphysic of the future, are scattered up and down in the dialogue. Such, for example, as 1 the comparison of Theaetetus' progress in learning to the 'noiseless flow of a river of oil'; the satirical touch, 'flavouring a sauce or fawning speech'; or the remarkable expression, 'full of impure dialectic'; or the lively images under which the argument is described,—'the flood of arguments pouring in,' the fresh discussions 'bursting in like a band of revellers.

There is a difference between ancient and modern psychology, and we have a difficulty in explaining one in the terms of the other. To us the inward and outward sense and the inward and outward worlds of which they are the organs are parted by a wall, and appear as if they could never be confounded. The mind is endued with faculties, habits, instincts, and a personality or consciousness in which they are bound together. Over against these are placed forms, colours, external bodies coming into contact with our own body. We speak of a subject which is ourselves, of an object which is all the rest.

These are separable in thought, but united in any act of sensation, reflection, or volition. As there are various degrees in which the mind may enter into or be abstracted from the operations of sense, so there are various points at which this separation or union may be supposed to occur. And within the sphere of mind the analogy of sense reappears; and we distinguish not only external objects, but objects of will and of knowledge which we contrast with them. These again are comprehended in a higher object, which reunites with the subject. A multitude of abstractions are created by the efforts of successive thinkers which become logical determinations; and they have to be arranged in order, before the scheme of thought is complete.

The framework of the human intellect is not the peculium of an individual, but the joint work of many who are of all ages and countries. What we are in mind is due, not merely to our physical, but to our mental antecedents which we trace in history, and more especially in the history of philosophy. Nor can mental phenomena be truly explained either by physiology or by the observation of consciousness apart from their history. They have a growth of their own, like the growth of a flower, a tree, a human being.

They may be conceived as of themselves constituting a common mind, and having a sort of personal identity in which they coexist. So comprehensive is modern psychology, seeming to aim at constructing anew the entire world of thought. And prior to or simultaneously with this construction a negative process has to be carried on, a clearing away of useless abstractions which we have inherited from the past. Brownstein, O. Burger, R. Burnet, J. Burnyeat, M. Calvert, B. Calvo, T. Rossetti ed. Capra, A. Clay, D. Cole, T. Cooper, J. Cleary ed. Hutchinson eds. Corbett, E. Corrigan, K. Curran, J. Herrmann eds. Leiden: Brill. Duffy, B. Dyson, M. Eades, T. Elias, J. Else, G. Erickson, K. Farness, J. Fendt, G. Ferber, R. Sankt Augustin: Academia.

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Urmson, J. Versenyi, L. Vicenzo, J. Vlastos, G. Wardy, R. Werner, D. White, N. White, D. Wolfsdorf, D. Woodruff, P. Kelly ed. Zeyl, D. Zimbrich, U. Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database. Related Entries Plato: aesthetics Plato: ethics. Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Mirror Sites View this site from another server:. About corrupting the rich, young men of Athens, Socrates argues that deliberate corruption is an illogical action because it would hurt him, as well.

He says that the accusations of him being a corrupter of youth began at the time of his obedience to the Oracle at Delphi , and tells how Chaerephon went to the Oracle, to ask her, the Pythian prophetess, if there was a man wiser than Socrates. Socrates then sought to solve the divine paradox — how an ignorant man also could be the wisest of all men — in effort to illuminate the meaning of the Oracles' categorical statement that he is the wisest man in the land. After systematically interrogating the politicians, the poets, and the craftsmen, Socrates determined that the politicians were not wise like he was. He says of himself, in reference to a politician: "I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not.

In that light, Socrates saw himself as a 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. Socrates tells the jury that he would rather be himself than be anyone else. He says that in searching for a man wiser than himself, he came to be regarded as a social gadfly and acquired a bad reputation among Athens' politically powerful personages. 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: i the accusation is that Socrates corrupted the rich, young men of Athens by teaching atheism; ii that if he is convicted of corruption, it will be because the playwright Aristophanes already had corrupted the minds of his audience, when they were young, by lampooning Socrates as the " Sophistical philosopher " in The Clouds , a comic play produced about twenty-four years earlier.

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. Socrates proceeds to say that people who fear death are showing their ignorance, because death might be a good thing, yet people fear it as if it is evil; even though they cannot know whether it is good or evil.

Socrates says that his wisdom is in being aware that he is ignorant on this, and other topics. Regarding a citizen's obedience to authority, Socrates says that a lawful authority, either human or divine, should always be obeyed. In a conflict of obedience to such authorities, he thinks that obeying divine authority supersedes obeying human authority: "Gentlemen, I am your grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to the [Delphic] god than to you; and, as long as I draw breath and have my faculties, I shall never stop practising philosophy" 29d. As a 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.

Therefore, the philosopher Socrates of Athens asks his fellow citizens: "Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honour , and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding, and the perfection of your soul? Granting no concession to his precarious legal situation, Socrates speaks emotionally and provocatively to the court and says that the greatest good to occur upon Athens is his moral concern for them as fellow citizens.

He thinks 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: "All day long, I will never cease to settle here, there, and everywhere — rousing, persuading, and reproving every one of you. Socrates says he never was a paid teacher; therefore, he is not responsible for the corruption of any Athenian citizen. If he had corrupted anyone, he asks: why have they not come forward to bear witnesses? If the corrupted Athenians are ignorant of having been corrupted, then why have their families not spoken on their behalf?

Socrates indicates, in point of fact, 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 not afraid 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. In Plato's version of the trial, Socrates mocks oratory as a deceitful rhetorical practice designed to lead jurors away from the truth.

Some scholarship, however, views this mockery only as a critique of narrow views of rhetoric-as-speechmaking and, in turn, sees the whole trial as an implicit depiction of a more expansive view of rhetoric that unfolds over the course of a lifetime. The jurors of the trial voted the guilt of Socrates by a relatively narrow margin 36a. In the Apology of Socrates , Plato cites no total numbers of votes condemning or acquitting the philosopher of the accusations of moral corruption and impiety; [15] [16] Socrates says that he would have been acquitted if thirty more jurors had voted in his favour. This would make the margin about 12 percent. 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. 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 a 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 Prytaneum , the public dining hall of Athens.

Receiving such public largesse is an honour reserved for Olympic athletes, prominent citizens, and benefactors of Athens, as a city and as a state. Finally, after the court dismisses the proposed reward — free meals at the Prytaneum — Socrates considers imprisonment and banishment , before settling upon a punishment fine of drachmae. Despite his poverty, this was a minor punishment compared to the death penalty proposed by the prosecutors, and encouraged by the judges of the trial.

His supporters, Plato , Crito, Critobulus , and Apollodorus offered even more money to pay as a fine — 3, drachmae thirty minae ; [18] nonetheless, to the judges of the trial of Socrates, a pecuniary fine was insufficient punishment.

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