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Socrates’ Controversial Approaches to Philosophy

Socrates was a teacher and a very wise man. He was very controversial because of the way he approached things. He often questioned people to get his points across. In the Trial and Death of Socrates, he is charged with impiety, corrupting the youth, introducing new gods, and atheism. He is brought to trial for these accusations.

Socrates explains during the trial that a friend of his went to the Oracle of Delphi(a temple of Apollo) and is told that Socrates is the wisest of all men. Socrates goes to the politicians, artisans, and writers to see if this is true. He discovers that none of them are smarter than he. From this, Socrates explains the difference between the wise and unwise is that the wiser people admit when they do not know everything. The unwise pretend that they do know, but Socrates does not see this as wisdom. He believes the only true being is God.

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As the trial goes on, Socrates defends the charges brought against him. He explains to Meletus, an accuser, that the introduction of new gods charge and the charge of atheism are false. These two things are impossible to have together. Socrates cannot both introduce and believe in gods if as an atheist he does not even believe in gods. Also, Socrates claims that he is not a corruptor of the youth. As he argues, he asks if everyone else improves the youth, and he is answered yes. Then, he says it is not logical that he is the only corruptor of the youth in the whole world and so this accusation is false. Finally, Socrates explains that he is not a sophist. Everyone knows he is poor so how would he be receiving payment to teach.

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Socrates believes the real reason he is on trial is that others hate him for showing them that they are not as wise as he is. This makes sense because people in power do not want to be made out to be fooled, especially in front of other citizens. Socrates sees this whole thing as his mission to show others that they are not as wise as they think. He argues that people need to analyze themselves better to be wiser.

Socrates goes on to say that he is not ashamed of his life. The jury would allow Socrates to live if he stops questioning everything and stops his discussions, but he believes God wants him to continue to search and analyze to follow his duty of seeking wisdom and truth. As the jury gets angrier and angrier, he says he doesn’t argue for himself but for the good of Athens. If the jury finds him guilty he argues that they would only be depriving themselves of the gift of Socrates making them better people. Socrates doesn’t want to be paid for teaching; he just thinks it’s the right thing to do.

The jury finds him guilty, and he is not surprised. He wasn’t going to beg for his life. He refuses to be exiled because he believes that would make him disobedient to God because his mission is to help people. Socrates is finally given the death penalty.

After being found guilty, he still believes what he did was right. He would have done it a million more times. He declares that the unexamined life is not worth living. He even is bold enough to say they should put him up with the heroes. His so-called apology is nothing but a mockery.

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Socrates' Controversial Approaches to Philosophy. (2021, Feb 23). Retrieved March 24, 2023, from