Sunday, August 11, 2019

Philosophy (Socrates) Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 words

Philosophy (Socrates) - Essay Example At the end, he refused to leave the city, to moderate his uncompromising stance, or to suggest a reasonable counter-penalty. By this point, the jury had no real choice but to deliver the death penalty. The context of recent political events in Athens, and the official charges brought against Socrates forced the issue, but he died because his strong personal religious conviction placed him radically outside mainstream society, prevented him from making his behavior more acceptable to his fellow citizens, and prevented him from seeing any alternative to death. Socrates had been resented in the city for decades. The nature of his defense at the trial may have had little bearing. From the mid-fifth century, professional teachers, or Sophists, appeared, and charged fees for an education. They believed in questioning traditional values – ‘the eternal verities’, and modifying or rejecting them as appropriate. This bred concerns over the threat to established systems. Alt hough Socrates did not charge fees, and there were fundamental differences of opinion between he and the Sophists, there was a link in the public mind. Aristophanes’ The Clouds makes this plain. ... It was not just The Clouds either, as quotations from other comedies suggest a similar attack on Socrates. Aristophanes’ choice of Socrates to represent the new thinkers is telling. He insisted on pushing his opinions on the streets of the city. Socrates seemed to understand this. Many of the other teachers were from outside of the city, and only visited infrequently. He spent his time in the most public places, especially the Agora, while his poverty and physical ugliness might also have made him stand out. For the nearly fifty years during which he chose to live thus, the Athenians had had to tolerate his impertinent questions. A quarter century of attacks on Socrates must have biased the jurors in 399 BCE. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates acknowledges this, even mentioning the Clouds to the jury. He says ‘You have seen it for yourselves in the play by Aristophanes, where Socrates is lifted around, proclaiming that he is walking on air, and uttering a great deal of nonsense’ (39). Nevertheless, the fact that they tolerated his existence for so long suggests that a unique conjunction of other circumstances also must have precipitated the trial in 399. Socrates’ political ideas, and the fact that he allowed rich young men to listen to them, was considered to be a cause of instability in the polis. As Hypereides reminded the Athenians in his speech against Antokles, they had punished Socrates epi logois, for his words, rather than for his actions. However, these words had a distinctly anti-democratic quality. He considered that only the virtuous should govern. He believed that by nature and training, each person was suited to a particular task in life,

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