Is Socrates Guilty as Charged?

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Justin Billmeyer
Final Paper
Philosophy 1100
Burton
May 10, 2011
Is Socrates guilty as charged?
One of the most controversial issues in the history of Philosophy involves the trial of Socrates’ conviction. Socrates was accused on two charges. The charges were that he had corrupted the youth of Athens in his teachings, and that he advocated the worship of false gods. I believe Socrates is a good man and should not be convicted of the charges brought upon him. I find Socrates innocent, and after investigating the issues, I discovered the Athenian government was scared of change.

The new accusers, Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon have accused Socrates of corrupting the youth of Athens. This was a sad attempt by the government to avoid conflict. The government was scared that the youth would realize that we are not virtuous. The government is not virtuous, but they try to keep it quiet instead of looking for a new way to find the answers, as Socrates did.
Socrates was trying to figure out what virtue is and instill it in the youth. Meno informed us of that. Meno had a conversation with Socrates about the definition of virtue. Socrates said that he never met anyone who could define virtue, but was challenging Meno to come up with the definition. He also challenged Meno to leave his Sophist’s teacher’s views out of it. He wanted to hear Meno’s own words. Socrates wasn’t going to give up, in the pursuit of, the true explanation of virtue. Meno had several definitions of virtue that were close to being right but were a little bit off. These answers didn’t cut it for Socrates, and nothing but the truth would satisfy him.

Socrates was on a mission to find the truth, but the government was afraid of the truth. Socrates asked questions, which people didn’t like. It makes them nervous, especially when they have something to hide. Obviously, Meletus, Anytus, and Lycon have something to hide. They know that the youth of Athens are very persuadable, and Socrates is...
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