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Plato - Vol. 01 - Euthyprho Apology Crtio Phaedo Phaedrus (H.N. Fowler LOEB)
Volume 60 , Issue 1 April Pages Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. Previous Figure Next Figure. Whilst interrogating Meletus, Socrates says that no one would intentionally corrupt another person — because the corrupter later stands to be harmed in vengeance by the corrupted person. The matter of moral corruption is important for two reasons: i corruption is the accusation that he Socrates corrupted the rich, young men of Athens by teaching atheism; ii that if he is convicted of corruption, it will be because the playwright Aristophanes already had corrupted the minds of his audience, when they were young, by lampooning Socrates as the " Sophistical philosopher " in The Clouds , a comic play produced about twenty-four years earlier.
Euthyphro ; Apology ; Crito ; Phaedo ; Phaedrus in SearchWorks catalog
Socrates then addresses the second accusation — asebeia impiety against the pantheon of Athens — by which Meletus says that Socrates is an atheist. In cross-examination, Socrates leads Meletus to contradict himself: That Socrates is an atheist who also believes in spiritual agencies and demigods. Socrates tells the judges that Meletus has contradicted himself, and then asks if Meletus has designed a test of intelligence for identifying logical contradictions.
That people who fear death are showing their ignorance, because death might be a good thing, but that most people fear death as an evil thing, when they cannot possibly know death to be either good or evil. Socrates says that his wisdom is in being aware that he is ignorant : "I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something, when he does not. Regarding a citizen's obedience to authority, Socrates says that a lawful authority, either human or divine, should always be obeyed.
That in a conflict of obedience to such authorities, obeying divine authority supersedes obeying human authority: "Gentlemen, I am your grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to the [Delphic] god than to you; and, as long as I draw breath and have my faculties, I shall never stop practicing philosophy". That, as spokesman for the Oracle at Delphi, he is to spur the Athenians to greater awareness of ethics and moral conduct, and always shall question and argue, even if his accusers — Lycon, Anytus, and Meletus — withdraw their accusations against him.
Therefore, the philosopher Socrates of Athens asks his fellow citizens: "Are you not ashamed that you give your attention to acquiring as much money as possible, and similarly with reputation and honour , and give no attention or thought to truth and understanding, and the perfection of your soul?
Granting no concession to his precarious legal situation, Socrates speaks emotionally and provocatively to the court, and says that the greatest good to occur upon Athens is his moral concern for them as fellow citizens. That material wealth is a consequence of goodness; that the god does not permit a better man to be harmed by a lesser man; and that he is the social gadfly required by Athens: "All day long, I will never cease to settle here, there, and everywhere — rousing, persuading, and reproving every one of you.
That statement implicitly validates Meletus' accusation that Socrates believes in novel deities not of the Athenian pantheon. Socrates says he never was a paid teacher; therefore, he is not responsible for the corruption of any Athenian citizen. That if he corrupted anyone, he asks: why have they not come forward to bear witnesses? That if the corrupted Athenians are ignorant of having been corrupted, then why have their families not spoken on their behalf?
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In point of fact, Socrates indicates relatives of the Athenian youth he supposedly corrupted are present in court, giving him moral support. Socrates concludes his legal defence by reminding the judges that he shall not resort to emotive tricks and arguments, shall not cry in public regret, and that his three sons will not appear in court to pathetically sway the judges. Socrates says he is unafraid of death and shall not act contrary to religious duty.
He says he will rely solely upon sound argument and truth to present his case at trial. The jurors of the trial voted the guilt of Socrates by a narrow margin 36a. In the Apology of Socrates , Plato cites no numbers of votes condemning or acquitting the philosopher of the accusations of moral corruption and impiety;  although Socrates did say he would have been acquitted if thirty more jurors had voted in his favour. Socrates antagonises the court by proposing, rather than a penalty, a reward — perpetual maintenance at public expense.
He notes that the vote of judgement against him was close; thirty votes more in his favour would have acquitted him. In that vein, Socrates then engages in dark humour, suggesting that Meletus narrowly escaped a great fine for not meeting the statutory requirement of receiving one-fifth of the votes of the assembled judges in favour of his accusations against Socrates. In that way, Socrates published the financial consequence for Meletus to consider as plaintiff in a lawsuit — because the Athenian legal system discouraged frivolous lawsuits by imposing a financially onerous fine upon the plaintiff, if the vote of the judges was less than one-fifth of the number of judges required by the type of lawsuit.
As punishment for the two accusations formally presented against him at trial, Socrates proposed to the court that he be treated as a benefactor to the city of Athens; that he should be given free meals, in perpetuity, at the Prytaneum , the public dining hall of Athens.
Receiving such public largesse is an honour reserved for Olympic athletes, for prominent citizens, and for benefactors of Athens, as a city and as a state. Finally, after the court's dismissal of the proposed reward — free meals at the Pyrtaneum — Socrates considers imprisonment and banishment , before settling upon a punishment fine of drachmae. Despite his poverty, this was a minor punishment compared to the death penalty proposed by the prosecutors, and encouraged by the judges of the trial. In defence of Socrates, his supporters increased the amount of money to pay as a fine, from to 3, drachmae; nonetheless, to the judges of the trial of Socrates, a pecuniary fine was insufficient punishment for the philosopher Socrates, the social gadfly of Classical Athens.
Socrates responds to the death-penalty verdict by first addressing the jurors who voted for his death. He says that instead of waiting a short time for him to die from old age, they will now have to accept the harsh criticisms from his supporters. He prophesied that his death will cause the youngsters to come forward and replace him as a social gadfly, who will spur ethical conduct from the citizens of Athens, in a manner more vexing than him 39d.
To the jurors who voted to acquit him, Socrates gives encouragement: his supernatural daimonion did not interfere with his conduct of the legal defence, which he viewed as a sign that such a defence was the correct action. In that way, the daimonion communicated to Socrates that death might be a good thing; either death is annihilation release from earthly worry and not to be feared, or death is migration higher plane of existence in which reside the souls of personages and heroes, such as Hesiod and Homer and Odysseus. Socrates concludes his self-defence by saying to the court that he bears no ill-will, neither towards his accusers — Lycon, Anytus, and Meletus — nor the jurors.
He then asks the Athenians to correct his three sons if they value material wealth more than living virtuously, or if they become too prideful.
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Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. by Plato
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Plato’s Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus (2 vols.)
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