Thursday, September 11, 2008



Y13 Classics:

Put your homework here please, as a 'Comment'. Remember, you will need to click on 'anonymous' and wait for me to moderate your comment before it appears- don't keep doing it!

Deadline: Monday 15th

Task: 100+ words on 'In the Apology, is Socrates defending himself of defending philosophy (Socratic methos) itself?

You must use references to the text!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

H. Ivatt

In the Apology, Socrates is giving his voice to the matter of his prosecution.

To the modern reader, the argument of what he was actually defending is still at large. Of course, like any worthwhile argument, there is supportive evidence and different opinions that embody the question whether Socrates was defending himself or philosophy itself.

It is clear from his introduction that Socrates was intent on defending himself and frequently used his age to overcome some of the accusations put against him, 'It would be hardly suitable.....student exercise'. However, this is only rarely and he mainly inserts these references to senility in order to counterattack his prosecutor who was himself young, and by doing this it seems as if he is taking the moral higher ground.

But by doing this, he has been using examples and false philosophical arguments to disprove the accusations. Surely this only reinforces the argument that Socrates was defending himself. He knocks Meletus back with false contradictions of atheism and also appears confused at times when Meletus is attempting a counter attack, this is evident when their discussion refers to atheism and false gods. Socrates raises the jury's awareness of these confusions with,'explain yourself a little more clearly' and 'I cannot make out what your point is'. And through these supposedly neutral comments, he is slowly but surely disproving the accusations.

The question still remains however: is Socrates playing the role of an aged philosopher who only wants to defend himself or is he subtly demonstrating his socratic methods to the jury through his prosecutor, Meletus?

It would certainly seem logical for him to demonstrate his abilities in this way as, if we take it from a different view, Plato wouldnt purposely write his account as if he was tarnishing Socrates' reputation. Therefore, it is clear that Socrates is using these apparent examples and arguments merely to practice what he preaches. This can be seen through Socrates not subjecting himself to those rational explanations that he is so fond of inflicting on his opposers.

Throughout the Apology, it seems as if he is switching between defending philosophy and defending himself as he uses his age for the latter and his rationality for the former. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Sorates is really defending philisophy BY defending himself. By using socratic methods showing Meletus that his accusations are false, - 'If i believe in Supernatural beings...stating that i dont believe in gods, and then that i do as i believe in supernatural beings.' - Socrates is appearing to be defending himself whilst using philosophy to defend itself. This can be seen through his discussion of his being a benefacition to the city, 'you will harm yourselves more than me'.

It almost seems that he began with defending himself to a 'neutral' jury and then comes to his conclusion as defending himself AND philosophy through examples and assurances (or even threats),such as 'you will not find another like me'.

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the law courts Socrates’ purpose is to defend himself however he also seems to want to protect philosophy itself.
To start with Socrates says to Meletus that “You are mistaken my friend, if you think that a man that is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death.” Socrates here is saying that an unexamined life is not worth living. He says that he would rather go to his execution then have to stop philosophising. Obviously here Socrates seems to be protecting philosophy more then himself and this is reinforced with the fact that he takes execution over exile. This might not only be because of the fact he greatly respects Athens and does not want to disagree to the state’s opinion but also that he just cannot stop philosophising and would rather end his life then end his quest by Apollo. Plato also leaves Athens at the same time of Socrates’ execution. This may be because Socrates warned Plato that he would find it very hard to philosophise in Athens unscathed.
There are moments however when Socrates wants his life to be spared. When the verdict that he’s guilty appears to him he instantly offers a fine. “What alternative penalty should I offer to you gentleman”. His first fine is rejected and then according to Apology all his friends including Plato, Crito, Critobulus and Apollodorus put their money in to help Socrates but this too is rejected. This comes back to the point however that Socrates in the end is protecting philosophy rather then himself because with the option of exile he rejects it as explained before.
He might have offered a fine for the reason not to save himself but to save philosophy and this view puts a new light on the matter. Socrates does not want to throw his life away meaninglessly and this might be because he wants philosophy to persevere after all he is a famous name in Athens and if he can save himself he might feel that he is saving philosophy and this might be the reason he is offering the fine. Socrates makes no effort to save himself when the opportunity with Crito emerges which shows he does not value his life highly and feels that as an individual he must follow the laws of Athens otherwise the whole state will be in jeopardy. Socrates here appears to very much be in the stance of protecting philosophy.
So to conclude Socrates purpose in the law courts is not to defend himself but more to protect philosophy.

By Matt

9:47 AM  
Blogger Mr. Davies said...

H. Ivatt

In the Apology, Socrates is giving his voice to the matter of his prosecution.

To the modern reader, the argument of what he was actually defending is still at large NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN BY 'AT LARGE'- STILL AN ISSUE GENERALLY OR JUST THAT SOCRATES POSITION IS STILL A MATTER OF DEBATE?. Of course, like any worthwhile argument, there is supportive evidence and different opinions that embody the question whether Socrates was defending himself or philosophy itself.

It is clear from his introduction that Socrates was intent on defending himself YOU MEAN, HIMSELF PERSONALLY- HIS OWN HONOUR AND HIS OWN LIFE, WHICH GIVEN HE IS UNDER THREAT OF EXECUTION IF FOUND GUILTY AMOUNTS TO THE SAME THING and frequently used his age to overcome some of the accusations put against him, 'It would be hardly suitable.....student exercise'. However, this is only rarely and he mainly inserts these references to senility in order to counterattack his prosecutor who was himself young, and by doing this it seems as if he is taking the moral higher ground.

But by doing this, he has been using examples and false philosophical arguments to disprove the accusations.GOOD, BUT DISCUSS THE OBJECTIONS TO EXAMPLES AS LAID OUT IN THE EUTHYPHRO Surely this only reinforces the argument that Socrates was defending himself. He knocks Meletus back with false contradictions of atheism DON'T YOU MEAN 'FALSE ALLEGATIONS OF ATHEISM' ?- SAYS HE IS BEING ACCUSED OF ATHEISM, WHICH IS EASY FOR HIM TO DISPROVE WITH REFERENCE TO ANAXAGORAS, TO PREVENT OR DISTRACT FROM ACCUSATIONS MORE LIKELY TO 'STICK' and also appears confused at times when Meletus is attempting a counter attack, this is evident when their discussion refers to atheism and false gods. Socrates raises the jury's awareness of these confusions with,'explain yourself a little more clearly' and 'I cannot make out what your point is'. And through these supposedly neutral comments, he is slowly but surely disproving the accusations. GOOD POINT

The question still remains however: is Socrates playing the role of an aged philosopher who only wants to defend himself or is he subtly demonstrating his socratic methods to the jury through his prosecutor, Meletus?NICE USE OF A 'SIGNPOST' IN YOUR ARGUMENT.

It would certainly seem logical for him to demonstrate his abilities in this way as, if we take it from a different view, Plato wouldnt purposely write his account as if he was tarnishing Socrates' reputation. Therefore, it is clear that Socrates is using these apparent examples and arguments merely to practice what he preaches. This can be seen through Socrates not subjecting himself to those rational explanations that he is so fond of inflicting on his opposers. WORHT DEVELOPING- INTERESTING IDEA!

Throughout the Apology, it seems as if he is switching between defending philosophy and defending himself as he uses his age for the latter and his rationality for the former. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Sorates is really defending philisophy BY defending himself. By using socratic methods showing Meletus that his accusations are false, - 'If i believe in Supernatural beings...stating that i dont believe in gods, and then that i do as i believe in supernatural beings.' - Socrates is appearing to be defending himself whilst using philosophy to defend itself.YES- THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE! IT'S BRUCE LEE AGAIN ISN'T IT- MY STYLE (JEET KUNE DO) IS SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHER STYLES AND THE VERY FACT THAT I CAN BEAT ANY OTHER FIGHTER PROVES IT (OR DOES IT JUST PROVE THAT THE MAN- SOCRATES OR BRUCE- IS SUPERIOR...?) This can be seen through his discussion of his being a benefacition to the city, 'you will harm yourselves more than me'.

It almost seems that he began with defending himself to a 'neutral' jury and then comes to his conclusion as defending himself AND philosophy through examples and assurances (or even threats),such as 'you will not find another like me'.

B+ NICELY DONE- I CAN SEE THIS DEVELOPING INTO A FULL ESSAY...
6:48 AM
Anonymous said...
In the law courts Socrates’ purpose is to defend himself however he also seems to want to protect philosophy itself.
To start with Socrates says to Meletus that “You are mistaken my friend, if you think that a man that is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death.” Socrates here is saying that an unexamined life is not worth living. AND EXAMINED MEANS EXAMINED BY SOCRATIC METHOD He says that he would rather go to his execution then have to stop philosophising. Obviously here Socrates seems to be protecting philosophy more then himself and this is reinforced with the fact that he takes execution over exile. This might not only be because of the fact he greatly respects Athens and does not want to disagree to the state’s opinion but also that he just cannot stop philosophising and would rather end his life then end his quest by Apollo. OK- TWO REASONS- REMEMBER THOUGH THAT SOCRATES ALWAYS WANTS TO UPHOLD HIS DUTY- AND HE OWES ATHENS A DUTY OF OBEDIENCE, WHICH HE WILL CARRY OUT EVEN IF ATHENS IS NOT DOING ITS DUTY OF TREATING HIM (AN ATHENIAN CITIZEN) JUSTLY. CAN YOU SEE HOW 'I WILL DO MY DUTY BY ATHENS EVEN THOUGH ATHENS IS NOT DOING ITS DUTY BY ME, FOR I AM INNOCENT OF THESE CHARGES' IS ACTUALLY A VERY SERIOUS CRITICISM OF ATHENS? Plato also leaves Athens at the same time of Socrates’ execution. This may be because Socrates warned Plato that he would find it very hard to philosophise in Athens unscathed.
There are moments however when Socrates wants his life to be spared. When the verdict that he’s guilty appears to him he instantly offers a fine. “What alternative penalty should I offer to you gentleman”. His first fine is rejected and then according to Apology all his friends including Plato, Crito, Critobulus and Apollodorus put their money in to help Socrates but this too is rejected. This comes back to the point however that Socrates in the end is protecting philosophy rather then himself because with the option of exile he rejects it as explained before.
He might have offered a fine for the reason not to save himself but to save philosophy and this view puts a new light on the matter. Socrates does not want to throw his life away meaninglessly and this might be because he wants philosophy to persevere after all he is a famous name in Athens and if he can save himself he might feel that he is saving philosophy and this might be the reason he is offering the fine. Socrates makes no effort to save himself when the opportunity with Crito emerges which shows he does not value his life highly and feels that as an individual he must follow the laws of Athens otherwise the whole state will be in jeopardy. GOOD- BUT ONE WONDERS WHAT BENEFIT TO ATHENS SOCRATES' DEATH IS, GIVEN THAT SOCRATES MAINTAINS IT IS AN EXMPLE OF INJUSTICE Socrates here appears to very much be in the stance of protecting philosophy.
So to conclude Socrates purpose in the law courts is not to defend himself but more to protect philosophy.

By Matt

B
GOOD WORK MATT- I'D LIKE TO SEE MORE CLOSE ANALYSIS OF QUOTATION, THOUGH, BUT PROPERLY EVALUATIVE.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Socrates begins his speech in the Apology defending himself, attempting to remove harmful preconceptions about his actions by explaining them as thoroughly as he can to remove their ‘false impression’. These tactics falter as Socrates’ speech goes on, being steadily replaced by an explanation of his methods, attempting to show their justified and reasonable nature to the court. Though at first Socrates appears to defend himself from the prosecution’s charges, his counter-argument changes gradually to criticising the Athenian system for not recognising his methods as beneficial, claiming he did nothing ‘unjust or unholy’. This change of tack instantly transforms Socrates’ argument into one that questions whether the state approves or disapproves of his methods which he believes are a good thing for Athens. Socrates’ life becomes secondary to his method as the hearing wears on.

J

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

R.Owens

In the apology the fact that Socrates is publicly defending education, and the fact that this leads to philosophy can be said to be an argument for Socrates defending philosophy rather than himself in the apology.

However it is evident that he is also defending himself here. We can see this we he states “in accordance with the god,” spends so much time seeking and investigating anyone he supposes to be wise that he has no “leisure” to take care of the things of the city worth speaking of, or the things of his family (23b). It is quite obvious that here he is saying he is philosophising not for any person gain, but as god has told him to. He offers his “ten-thousandfold poverty” as evidence of his devotion to the god (23c). Basically Socrates is actively neglecting the things that other citizens of Athens would regard as most important, Piety.

Socrates claims he has “never promised or imparted any teaching to anybody” (33a). This is also evidence to Socrates defending himself rather than that of philosophy. Here he seems to be distancing himself from the charge teaching people (notably the youth), as is evident with one of his more substantial quotes “All that I know is that I know nothing”.

In conclusion it begins to appear quite clear that Socrates both believes in himself and that of philosophy, so therefore is defending both to the best of his ability. I feel that he would rather philosophy live on rather than himself, or he would not have been executed, the fact that he actually turned up to court, something Euthyphro cannot understand, shows he will defend philosophy to the bitter end.

8:04 AM  

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