Socrates’ Perception of the Common Good
What did Socrates believe so firmly that eventually caused him to be sentenced to death? Why must the Oracle of Delphi have proclaimed Socrates the wisest man of all? In Socrates’ eyes, there were a few qualities every human being is capable of possessing which make up the common good. He ardently believed that in order to achieve this, one must be humble, selfless, and open-minded. More importantly, Socrates seemed to stress that a person must stand up for his belief in the common good and never conform to anything different because of pressure or fear. According to the ancient god, the Oracle of Delphi, Socrates was wiser than any other man of his day. Socrates at first questioned this, but then found out, after investigation, that it was mainly due to the tremendous extent of his humility. He discovers that men who are supposedly wise and claim to be wise really aren’t because they claim to know more than they actually do. Unlike these “wise” men, Socrates is not afraid to admit to what he does not know and still does not concern himself with the judgment of others. He understands that it is impossible for someone to be absolutely certain about anything in this world, and it would be foolish to convince oneself otherwise. If all people held the same sort of convictions Socrates did about humility, it would promote the common good by terminating many of the petty quarrels and larger-scale arguments which, time after time, provoke great rage within us. As we already know, admitting what he did not know is what made Socrates the wisest man of all. Another great attribute of Socrates’ was his self-sacrifice. Although not particularly stressed within “The Apology”, it is quite obvious that this quality is essential to advocate the common good. In the Compendium, it is stated that we must not only live “with” others, but “for” others, as well. When reading “The Apology”, we find out just how Socrates embodies the...
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