Reply to at least two other student Discussion postings in at least 100 words. For this Discussion, you must post first before you will see the postings of your classmates.
- What did you learn from the other student’s post?
- What can you add to their Discussion post?
- Can you offer a different interpretation of the trial and defense of Socrates?
Socrates was a Greek philosopher born in Athens who had a profound influence on ancient as well as modern philosophy. He was often referred to as the father of Western philosophy. His life mission was to arouse people or awaken them and energize their thinking thus allowing us to be intellectually open. “Socrates believed that his special wisdom consisted in his ability to stimulate and guide other in the philosophical exploration of profound questions, enabling them to “give birth” to their own understanding” (Chaffee, 2016, page 52). Socrates left no writings or documentations of his teachings what is known of him comes from accounts of other sources, primarily his student Plato. “His style of teaching—immortalized as the Socratic method—involved not conveying knowledge, but rather asking question after clarifying question until his students arrived at their own understanding” (Onion, 2009). The Socratic method uses a sequence of carefully crafted questions in order for them to engage them in dialectic. Socrates was striving to birth a knowledge or insight he believed one already had within his or her soul. His method is dialogue referred to as the art of midwifery. The ultimate significance of this was to achieve clear understanding in areas of justice, religion, beauty, goodness in human experiences. In The Republic Socrates use of irony makes his dialogue partner Thrasymachus appear foolish and create a false sense of security. Thrasymachus notes justice is complex and difficult to define. “Justice is simply what is in the interest of the stronger party, the person or people who have the authority to command what they think is just and right “(Chaffee, 2016, page 57). Socrates dismantles Thrasymachus’ and forces him to acknowledge the nature of his view of justice results because it is based on human desire not a clear defined standard. “Socrates believed that people were not inherently evil; they were simply unaware of how they ought to live to achieve what they most desire- happiness and fulfillment” (Chaffee, 2016, page 60). According to the video The Apology Socrates finds himself on trial for corrupting the minds of the youth and being a total atheist, not believing in the gods (First Person Philosophy, 2021). Socrates defends himself in that he speaks the truth, that he doesn’t speak of foolish things. He is not a teacher, he learned that those with a reputation for wisdom were often the ones with the least wisdom. He defended himself by arguing in that he doesn’t corrupt the youth they follow him willingly and in regards to him being an atheist not being true because he believes in spiritual things. In the video the apology Socrates states that he didn’t respond to the jury in order to gain acquittal but to persuade them to live virtuous lives (First Person Philosophy, 2021). His trial and ultimate execution had a profound effect and ultimately effected Socrates contribution to philosophy. “It was in court that Socrates allegedly uttered the now-famous phrase, “the unexamined life is not worth living” (Onion, 2009). Socrates is a model for the philosopher’s way in that he chose his life’s work and his commitment to knowledge in order to awaken the soul and wisdom. Socrates embraces his death is the right thing to happen in order to impact his teachings for future generations.
There were a lot of philosophers before Socrates and the one I am discussing is Anaximander. To summarize the video “Anaximander in 5 min” it discussed three key points. The first is that extraterrestrial objects orbit the earth, during this time people believed that the sky was a ceiling with something holding up the Earth. With Anaximander’s research of stars and where they were positioned he found the only way this was possible was if the Earth and those around it had to orbit. Also he had a pre-evolution idea of human social science. Essentially he believed that everything came from and was by water, so the only way humans came to be had to be through evolution. Lastly, he founded metaphysics by explaining things outside the physical world to understand how things work by the word “aperion”. This would explain how water, earth, and fire are able to exist in one space. By each substance combining they are able to form simple substances that make up Earth. Anaximander took his teachers’ platitudes and through further reflection had created the idea of metaphysics and found further explanation in what those of his times could not understand.
Similar to Anaximander, Socrates was also very important to the history of philosophy, because he changed the process of how philosophy was practiced. The invention of the Socratic Method, was not only a way of engaging dialogue, but used as a tool for awake the souls for those who are involved in the conversation. ‘Care for your soul’ is one of the ideas of Socrates. He believed it was one of the primary exercises of philosophy. Knowledge is essential to attain high moral standards and to be virtuous is necessary to achieve happiness “The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Apology, 38) This is why he fought against moral relativists because they replaced internal truth with tools to achieve social success compared to finding happiness. An explain can be found now a days with buying “luxury” name brands and flaunting it on social media and society wonders why mental health is the worst it has been even though everyone is living a deceiving life. Another Socrates teaching is corrupt acts are executed out of ignorance and nearly uncontrollable. With a lack of knowledge and self-reflection there is no growing as a person because you cannot change what you do not know. This is why Socrates never claimed to be literally wise but knew the path to find ultimate wisdom was through the path of awareness to your own ignorance. Lastly, committing and injustice is far worse than suffering an injustice. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” (Phaedo, 91) Going back to the soul being very important to achieve happiness and with committing injustice creates a never ending circle of living a pointless life.
Socrates trial was the end of his legacy. He was charged with corruption of the youth and impiety by Meletus and Anytus with the demand of the death penalty. This was not an overnight decision, it was the false images of him that circulated around for years, which finally reached the social conclusion of him doing wrong. With the claim that he was harming the youth through questioning everything would have be involuntary, because he believed that evil begets evil. So it would be irrational for him to want to hurt himself. Socrates thought death was an unfitting punishment for this crime since he was supposedly causing pain from ignorance, it would be more beneficial to be educated instead. With the accusation of him being impious he though it did not make sense since he believes in god i.e. believes in divinities and his teachings contained a good amount of thought around his religion. At the end of the day Socrates was found guilty and put to death. He had a good outlook on the outcome with his view of death being deep sleep and that sounds peaceful or if he ends up in hell there would be a plethora of opportunities to talk to all of the great Greek thinkers. In conclusion, Socrates sounded very annoying and if he talked a bit less there might have been a chance of him dying of natural causes, compared to death by hemlock.