Defense Of Socrates Essay

Defense Of Socrates Essay

Defense of Socrates

There are times in every mans life where our actions and beliefs collide—these collisions are known as contradictions. There are endless instances in which we are so determined to make a point that we resort to using absurd overstatements, demeaning language, and false accusations in our arguments. This tendency to contradict ourselves often questions our character and morals. Similarly, in The Trial of Socrates (Plato’s Apology), Meletus’ fallacies in reason and his eventual mistake of contradicting himself will clear the accusations placed on Socrates. In this paper, I will argue that Socrates is not guilty of corrupting the youth with the idea of not believing in the Gods but of teaching the youth to think for themselves by looking to new divinities.

The first main argument in support of the thesis is that it is society’s job to educate the youth and Socrates argues that it is impossible for just one man to corrupt the youth. This is the first mistake made by Meletus, as he makes the absurd overstatement that “every Athenian improves and elevates [the youth]; all with the exception of [Socrates],” who alone is their corrupter. Socrates goes on to defend himself by alluding to a horse analogy. Socrates argues that (P1) trainers improve horses, (P2) all others who simply ride horses, injure or corrupt horses, (P3) there are fewer trainers than riders, (P4) therefore, those who corrupt horses are in smaller number than those who ride horses and we can conclude that (C) people are corrupted by a majority rather than a minority. Socrates believes that this analogy to horses must be true of all animals and furthermore, for all people. Socrates utilizes this analogy to point out that Meletus’ overstatement is rather ironic, since according to Meletus all other beings except for the youth in the world are more likely to be corrupted by a majority rather than a minority. For this reason, it is more logical that the youth have been corrupted by a majority like the judges, senators, and the Athenians rather than one man, Socrates. Meletus’ overstatement and inability to defend himself reflects poorly on his character and further gives more authority to Socrates as it seems that Meletus is only arguing for the sake of argument and that he has no true evidence to prove that Socrates is guilty of corrupting the youth.

The next step in the line of reasoning that supports the thesis of this paper is that Meletus contradicts himself by saying that Socrates both believes and does not believe in the Gods. Socrates begins by asking Meletus if he thinks that Socrates has corrupted the young by “teach[ing] them not to acknowledge the gods which the state acknowledges, but some other new divinities,” and Meletus agrees that this is the reason for his accusation. However, Meletus further states that Socrates is a complete “atheist,” meaning that he does not believe in god at all. This inconsistency in Meletus’ answers refute the entire...

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Essay about Defense of Socrates

595 Words3 Pages

Plato’s “Defense of Socrates” follows the trial of Socrates for charges of corruption of the youth. His accuser, Meletus, claims he is doing so by teaching the youth of Athens of a separate spirituality from that which was widely accepted.
     Socrates’ argument was unique in that he tried to convince the jury he was just an average man and not to be feared, but in actuality demonstrated how clever and tenacious he was. He begins with an anecdote of his visit to the Oracle of Delphi, which told him that there was no man smarter than he. He, being as humble as he is, could not take the Oracle’s answer for granted and went about questioning Athenians he felt surpassed his intelligence. However, in questioning…show more content…

And he supplements this with his second premise- if he did want to live amongst those he corrupted; it could only be because he was mad, and therefore unintentional. He reasons that those who are mad should not be killed, but institutionalized instead.
     Socrates goes on to refuse changing his ways in order to avoid death for two reasons. The first being that he feels he is doing the work of the gods, and the second being that what he does promotes a higher level of thought and wisdom; changing his ways would go against the fundamentals Athens was built upon.
     However Socrates does not fear death. He figures that death could mean an afterlife that rewards those who are good- and since he feels he has been a good person, death would be welcoming. His other theory is that death equals non-existence, which most likely resembles a deep sleep. So both of these end results are not worthy of being feared.
     Because of his stoic perception of death, he offers a ludicrous counter-proposal: the first being free meals for him in the Prytaneum. A bit later, his supporters convince him to settle on a moderate fine of 30 minas. His reasoning for proposing such ridiculous counter-penalties is that because he feels death would be good, he has no reason to subject himself to a far worse fate, such as exile.
     Socrates’ analysis of death is not extraordinary, and is

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