Essay - Socrates' - the Unexamined Life is not Worth Living Socrates...


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Socrates' - The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living

Socrates is convinced that "the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being" (Ap. 38a5-6), it is clear that he must suppose *****re to be extremely high value in philosophical activity. But even this value is difficult to make out. Despite having lived by this principle for so many years now, Socrates is convinced ***** he remains ignorant of "anything fine and good" (Ap. 21d3-4). And because Socrates sees vice as *****hing other than moral ignorance, it might seem puzzling how he could claim to be any better off than those whose vice he h***** struggled to eradicate t*****rough philosophy. After all, he is no less ignorant than t*****y are; his superior wisdom lies solely in his recogn*****ion of the ignorance he shares with them. Scattered throughout the early dialogues are a varie***** ***** principles which Socrates plainly endorses. Socrates' acceptance of these principles appears ***** have been generated through ***** practice of philosophy (Palmer, 1988). Thus, by ***** the philosophical ***** he has come to recognize a variety ***** ways in which ***** ***** have acted wrongfully; by following his principles he has avoided many evils he might *****wise have committed. And precisely because happiness is assured ***** ***** action from the fact that Socrates can make a number of import*****nt judgments which guide him to good actions, we can be confident ***** at least up until ***** time of his trial, he is ***** some degree genuinely happy.

One ***** especially stands out--his examin*****ions ***** himself and others. It is precisely ***** activity, according to Socrates, that has made his life worthwhile. Socrates shows that he regards this ***** as necessary for happiness when he says, "t***** unexamined ***** is no***** worth living for a hum*****n being" (Ap. 38a5-6). He goes on to show ***** he thinks it is sufficient for happiness when he indicates that so long as he could engage in th***** activity, Socrates would consider himself happy: he ***** count it ***** an "inconceivable happiness" (Ap. 41c3-4) if death *****ers him t***** opportunity to pursue his mission with the dead in Hades. In order to understand this claim, we do *****t need to assume that Socrates would miraculously receive virtue in the afterlife--just engaging in this ***** alone is enough ***** ***** to judge his condition happy. Accordingly, good activity is sufficient for happiness; virtue itself is not needed. But once ***** opportunity for good activity has been taken away, as it has been by his conviction, and since he considers all of the possible penalties o*****r than paying a ***** to be ***** (*****. 37b5-e2), Socrates no longer *****s ***** life as worthwhile, claiming that he will be better off *****, even if death is nothing more ***** utter extinction (Ap. 40c5). The power of the jury ***** constrain what Socrates ***** do justly makes clear that no measure ***** happiness, however sm*****, can be ensured during one's *****.

What Socrates asserts, is

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