Socrates

The Apology

Socrates on Trial

  1. Introduction:

    1. Socrates denies the charges 17a

    2. Socrates swears to tell the truth 17b

    3. Legal disclaimer- Socrates is not familiar with court system 17d

  2. The Charges:

    1. Old Accusations 19b:

      1. He's guilty of criminal meddling into physics (dangerous curiosity)

      2. He perverts the process of argument

      3. He makes disciples of this method


      Note: the inquiry into physics is the grounds for the charge of atheism. To seek a physical explanation for phenomena is to deny a theological one.

    2. Socrates Answers The Old Charges:

      1. He is not interested in physics 19d

      2. He is not a Sophist (i.e., does not receive fees) 19d-e


      Note: is it proper to suppose that the charges brought indicate some kind of guilt? 20c

      1. The accusations arise from jealousy of his "human" wisdom

        1. The Riddle of the Oracle at Delphi 21a

          1. Socrates believes he has no significant wisdom

          2. Apollo says "no one wiser than Socrates"

          3. It's inappropriate for God to lie

        2. Socrates puts the Oracle to the test:

          1. The Politicians

          2. The Poets

          3. The Craftsmen

        3. denial of wisdom 21b


        Note: does the denial contradict 20d?

        1. source of resentment 21c

        2. d) S. has a religious obligation 21e


      Note: Socrates is concerned with "practical intelligence" 22a

      1. Conclusion: Wisdom is divine - human wisdom is worth little


      Note: Is there an equivocation between knowledge and wisdom? 22d, 23a

      1. Others follow S. example 23c

    3. The New Accusations 24b

      1. Corrupting the youth and introducing foreign gods (atheism)

      2. Meletus is not serious - cross examination 24cff

        1. Meletus does not know who is beneficial 24d

        2. If only Socrates were dangerous, there would be no danger 25-26

        3. Charge of atheism a contradiction 26b-27e


        Note: Socrates is compelled to continue his inquiry by the god 29d

        1. Socrates could not corrupt since he did not teach

        2. No witnesses against him, many for him 33d-34b

      3. No appeal to the emotions of the jury

  3. Socrates' Response to the Verdict

    1. Socrates is surprised at the first vote 35e

    2. Alternate Penalty Proposal:

      1. Maintenance at the Prytaneum 36d

      2. Banishment 37d

      3. 30 mina 38b

    3. The Final Vote

  4. Final Comments:

    1. Socrates' arguments did not fail

    2. Warning to Athens 39c

    3. Socrates is convinced he is right and death not to be feared:

      1. The Divine sign did not oppose him 40a

      2. Death is an unknown: 40c

        1. Annihilation of the soul (endless sleep), or

        2. Transmigration of the soul to Hades (continuing philosophical investigations)

| Back to the Notes Index |