Monday, October 7, 2013

The Defiant Defense of Socrates

The Apology of Socrates: A Defiant Defense

  1. No appeals to pity (34c-35c).  It was common practice for defendants to bring family to court to make a show of pity.  Socrates notes this and explicitly rejects this as a strategy for persuasion.  He thinks it is best to appeal to reason than to appeal to emotions.  He also asks his audience to focus on the content of his speech and not his style (18a).
  2. Ridicule of accusers
    1. Why would I corrupt others and thereby risk harming myself? (25e)  Socrates points out that to corrupt someone is to make them wicked.  Wicked people harm those who are close to them.  So why would he knowingly want to make the people around him harmful?
    2. I cannot be harmed by anyone! (30d)  Socrates says that the real harm is to harm your soul, or our virtue.  It is worse to execute a man unjustly than to be executed unjustly.  Meletus is a worse man than him, so he cannot harm Socrates simply by being unjust.
    3. Why don’t the victims of my corruption accuse me themselves? (33d)  Socrates points out that none of those he has apparently corrupted have stepped forward to accuse him of crimes.  Their families have not complained, either.
  3. Appeal to Oracle (21a)  Socrates explains how his friend was told my the Oracle at Delphi that there is no man wiser than Socrates.  This got him started on his quest to try to find someone who was truly wise.  After questioning poets, politicians and craftsmen, Socrates was unable to find someone who possessed wisdom.  He figures that this is why he is so unpopular, but he things of it as a divine quest.
  4. Reminds jury of his divine sign (31d)  Socrates also talks about his divine sign, which is a voice that speaks to him to warn him not to do something.  The voice never tells him what he should do.  It only tells him what he should not do.
  5. I am god’s gift to this city (literally!) (30e-31a) I was placed at this post (28d)  Socrates claims that the gods got him started on his quest to find a wise man, and that he has been sent to Athens to be a kind of gadfly.  His role is to wake people up and make them examine their own lives.  He says that he will be hard to replace unless the gods decide to provide Athens with another gift.  

1 comment:

  1. I think that you meant to write by instead of my!

    Appeal to Oracle (21a) Socrates explains how his friend was told my the Oracle at Delphi that there is no man wiser than Socrates.