sábado, 11 de julio de 2015

Plato - Apology (English edition).

The most unfair trial in the history of philosophy and humanity. How did the Greeks down themselves to one of the brightest minds in history? Rigid laws and conspiracies to send the greatest thinker of all time to the other world, they were responsible for the crime. We saw some references in Gorgias (or rhetoric) and Meno (or virtue) where he has already made dark predictions about his mortal fortune. Pay attention to the reasons for the condemnation of the philosopher and understand how this ignominious trial  was.


Introduction trial

Socrates, in his seventies, starts talking about how he has been judged and accused by some speakers. He is not afraid to his last accusers (as Anytus), but those who persuaded them to distrust to Socrates, moreover, all these allegations were under envy and misconceptions of who Socrates was.

Our philosopher is not an orator, but whenever he spoke, tried to reach the truth.

The charges

The first charges can be read in the following sentence:

'' Socrates is guilty of impertinence inquire with underground and heavenly things, good to pass by a bad cause and teach other such things. ''

It adds that the charge is similar to the comedies of Aristophanes ''Clouds'' which Socrates is described in a cloud talking nonsense things.

Other charges were related to what Socrates received for each lesson he delivered, but we know that is not true. However, Socrates supports the Sophists good profit by charging for their classes.

Inner wisdom

The bad reputation of Socrates is because he claims to have a kind of inner wisdom. To clarify this, Socrates calls to Chaerophon a childhood friend of Socrates who went to ask the Oracle at Delphi if anyone was wiser than Socrates. The oracle said, There is none. Chaerophon had unfortunately died, but his brother was there to testify.

Knowing this answer from the oracle, Socrates is was shocked. How can he be the wiser? The oracle can not lie, because it is prohibited. This led Socrates to question why he was the wisest of all. Then one day wanted to test the oracle and decided to visit the wisest men in the city, to see if he could understand the oracle.

The wise he found was a politician. This politician was considered by all as a wise Athenian, but Socrates to be the political, he realized he was not as wise as he thought. Then he tried with poets and neither saw wisdom in them, indeed, he saw wisdom in those who considered inferior to them. Finally, Socrates gave to the artisans who considered themselves wiser than he, but one thing ruined everything. These artisans believed to be wiser than any other; therefore, in that sense they were not wise. And says his phrase:

''I am wiser than this man. It may be that we neither knows anything valuable, but while he thinks he knows something, I do not think to know what I do not know. I think I'm a little wiser than him because I do not think knowing something what I do not know''.



We have three prosecutors in the trial of Socrates:

Meleto: who is on behalf of the poets
Anytus: who is on behalf of the craftsmen and politicians
Licon: who is on behalf of the speakers

Meleto is mentioned in Euthyphro, Anytus appeared temporarily in the Meno dialogue and Licon nothing is known..

The defense in Meleto: corruption youth

The accusation of Meleto is:

'' Socrates is guilty of corrupting youth, of not believing in the gods the city believes, but in other evil things''.

Socrates calls Meleto to explain, and at the same time, he starts a dialogue which Meleto does not seem very happy to participate.

First refutation: Who does not know can not lead young people

Meleto agree that young people should be as virtuous as possible. If we know that Socrates is not appropriate for leading young people Who would be? Meleto tells us that judges and counselors. So that all those who attend the assemblies could guide these young people to virtue, in fact, Meleto ensures that everyone can make young people virtuous, unlike Socrates.

To dismiss this argument above, Socrates talks about horses. The horses are the best when experts treat them. These experts are always a few, which means that not everyone can do better to just one person, in contrast, is one person who can; in the case of horses, the horse expert. So it would refuted the possibility that everyone can do better any young.

Second refutation: The voluntary damage is absurd

Following the defense to Meleto, Socrates asks if corruption youth is voluntarily or involuntarily. When Meleto replies that Socrates does it voluntarily, the philosopher defends himself by saying that it would not be possible, because if he corrupted voluntarily, they would be hurting himself. Sure, if I corrupt those who are next to me, I would be running the risk of be damaged from them. Therefore, we should not corrupt our people.

Third refutation: Is there anyone who believes in demonic affairs without believing in demons?

As we saw in one of the accusations, Socrates is guilty of teaching young people about gods who are not in town. Meleto ensures that it is because it says that Socrates said that the moon and the sun were giant boulders, but who actually said this was Anaxagoras.

Socrates refutes this in a very simple way. Believe in demons, it is to believe in some kind of gods; therefore, Socrates would believe in gods. It is certainly true that demons are sons of the gods, so it would be absurd to believe in the children of the gods and not gods.

The fear of death

After refuting Meletos' allegations, Socrates begins to explain why is not afraid of death. Following the logic that ''you can not believe what is not known'' the philosopher tells us that ''fear of death'' would be fear something we do not know, but it is impossible to know what is death if it is never experienced. Thus, who fears death, he/she acts as knowing something that he/she do not know.

Virtue and soul

Socrates tells us that goes around town not doing anything other than teaching that wealth is not the most important, it is the care of the soul.

Moreover, Socrates never saw the need to overrun by his teachings, and one is enough evidence of their poverty. He never profited personally as Sophists did; Socrates was like a father or an older brother trying to give advice to all he could.

Death orders: the battle of Arginusae and Thirty Tyrants

To supports further his no fear of death, Socrates tells a fact in which his life in faced a possible death.

In the sea battle of Arginusae they faced Spartans and Athenians. Athens defeated Sparta, but not without an unexpected misfortune. During the conflict, some sailors were shipwrecked at sea and the Athenian generals were unable to rescue them. As a consequence, the ten generals to come up with the Athenian people had to stand trial.

Socrates, who exercised prytany because he belonged to the tribe of the Antioquidas which was responsible for exercising executive power, was the only one who voted against the trial of the generals, despite receiving threats from speakers and people who were willing to kill him.

In the oligarchic government of the Thirty Tyrants, Socrates was ordered along with other counselors to bring Salamina to Leon of Salamis in order to kill him. Counselors obeyed orders, but Socrates went home. Obviously, Socrates risked much by not obeying, he could have been killed, but the Tyranny of the Thirty was over.

Socrates is sentenced

Finally, our philosopher was sentenced to death by the difference of 30 votes. The result does not seem unexpected for him.

Socrates proposes an alternative way for his sentence and that is if he could be in the prytany, which is exercised by athletes. Another option would be to pay a fine, but because of poverty of Socrates, he would pay only a silver mine. Even his friends present: Critobulus, Plato, Crito and Apollodorus, increase the payment to 30 mines.

Socrates is sentenced to death

The prayers for an exit alternative seem not succeed and Socrates is sentenced to death, that is, to drink the hemlock. Before being sent to jail, Socrates warns them that they made a big mistake in condemning him.

His accusers, says Socrates, have accused him with the relief that no longer they will be examined for their behavior or judged them for it. The philosopher says that this will bring worse consequences, since younger come to reproach their conduct. It is not an appropriate solution for getting rid of someone annoying, but it's better to be better worry.

Moreover, Socrates says that death can bring two things: the total extinction of being (which would be like a dream where you do not remember or feel anything) or a trip to another world where he would meet people like Homer, Hesiod, Ajax and many other prominent Greek men.

Finally, she asks your children to rebuke and examine them as he did with citizens. To guide them toward good and not for evil.

His final sentence is:

''Now it's time to leave : I go to death , you go to life . Who of us walks to a superior destination is dark for everybody: not for my god.''


Here it is described one of the most infamous trials in history in my opinion. Even only by difference of votes our philosopher had to suffer the condemnation where he will drink the hemlock juice. No doubt envy and impotence that his enemies had him was huge; however, this is not the end. In the next test we will see Socrates arguing with one of his friends that even offers escape from prison. A book that shows the man's conviction facing adversity of death .

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