Socrates on Moral Value

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Socrates lived during a time of crucial transition in Athens. The city sought recover and stabilize from its defeat, and from this situation that public had began to doubt democracy as an effective form of government. The famous trial of Socrates is known to be an essential event, which revealed key themes to Socrates’ teachings and beliefs about moral and virtue. The Apology and Crito were fundamental to revealing those beliefs and played an important role in conveying Socrates’ position on living a meaningful life of moral worth; through those documents we can see that his grasps on his beliefs were firm up until his execution, denying any fear of death in pursuit of the maximal exemplification of his teachings.

The primary concern of in Socrates’ life was the foundations of moral excellence, specifically in regards to the soul. He believed a “morally excellent” soul was one that contained utmost virtue. Socrates saw the soul as the moral essence of an individual; the soul is improved by virtue and destroyed by anything opposite of virtue. This highly contrasted with the preceding outlook on the soul by the general public, which took on a more “neutral” principle on moral life.

The core aspect most stressed in regards to virtue was knowledge. Socrates believed that one couldn’t pursue a virtuous life fully without knowledge. In this sense, one couldn’t pursue virtue without first knowing what virtue is. He believed that once someone has attained that knowledge, then one couldn’t help but be virtuous because no person voluntarily commits wrongdoings. Therefore, ignorance, according to Socrates, is the pure reason behind evil and wrong. He taught that removing this ignorance was the first and most important step towards achieving virtue. This highly contrasted the general beliefs at the time about men and their actions; it was presupposed that all men do things that are morally wrong even while knowing what is morally right. In the Apology, Socrates...
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