Apology, in greek, means ‘to give defense’ (###). In Plato’s Apology, Socrates is blamed for numerous acts and elegantly defends himself in front of the court. To start off, he was first accused of studying astrology and demonology and passing his knowledge and beliefs to other people. His first response to this was blatantly asking who has heard him speaking of such acts: “…should tell each other if anyone of you has ever heard me discussing such subjects to any extent at all” (19d). He also claims that if anyone has heard of him charging fees for his teachings, that that is a lie as well. Socrates continues by saying that god at Delphi claims that he is the wisest man in Athens, and he challenges anyone who believes they are wiser. Even though Meletus refuses to believe the words that Socrates speaks, he continues to listen as Socrates further explains his viewpoint. Socrates continues by saying that the reason behind his unpopularity lies behind his ability to analyze others. He criticizes the politicians, the poets, and the craftsmen for their apparent wisdom. Socrates first examines the Politicians, saying that “…I found that those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most deficient…” (22a) meaning that they possessed little to no wisdom. Next, Socrates examined the Poets. He simply stated that the poets had no clue what they were writing about. He believes that their poems come from sheer inspiration and natural talents, and their wisdom has nothing to do with it. Finally, Socrates speaks about the craftsmen. He shares his belief that the craftsmen are very wise, but they only possess knowledge of their crafts. Secondly, Socrates was accused of corrupting the minds of the young. Meletus originally claimed that only Socrates is guilty of corrupting the minds of the youth. Socrates asks Meletus a few questions such as: Who improves the young? In which Meletus responds by telling Socrates that the law is held responsible for improving the law. Socrates then follows up by asking who contains the knowledge of the law? : Where Meletus answers with the jurymen, audience, members of council, etc. Socrates then summarizes all of the premises for Meletus by concluded that everyone in Athens besides Socrates improves the young.
Socrates continues his argument with an analogy. He uses an anaglogy involving a horse trainer. He states that there are very few horse trainers who are experts in their field, and their job is to improve them to the best of their abilities. If an ordinary person, one whom isn’t trained on horses, were attempt to train a horse, they would simply only make matters worse. What Socrates is trying to say here is that ther are very few ‘trainers’ that train people, and contrary to Meletus’s beleifs, Socrates is one of those trainers. Socrates quickly turns the boat around towards Meletus and claims that he has never given any thought towards the youth. He then continues to upgrade his argument by saying that most people, if not all, would rather live in a town full of good people rather than bad: “Do not the wicked do some harm to those who are ever closest to them, whereas good people benefit them?” (25c). This quote shows how he agrees with the previous statement that most people would rather live with good people. He states here that bad people will harm the ones that are closest to them, whereas good people will only bring them goodness. Socrates then follows up on his argument by repeating Meletus’s thoughts that he, Socrates, intentionally corrupted the minds of the young. He concludes by saying that, usually, when people harm another person, a harmful return should be expected. Therefore, if he intentionally harmed the youth, then he would be expected to be harmed as a result. He asks Meletus “…namely that if I make one of my associates wicked I run the risk of being harmed by him so that I do such a great evil deliberately, as you say?” (25e). Here, Socrates explains that if he were to...
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