Plato and the Apology Essay

Pages: 6 (1790 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy

Plato and the Apology

Philosophy is an intellectual discipline that exercises logic and reason in its quest to comprehend reality. Philosophy always seeks answers to the fundamental questions of life. It also tries to answer the question concerning human nature, morality and knowledge. Every dimension of life, from the composition of democratic governments to computer software, has its origin in philosophy. The value attached to philosophy arises from the impact it creates in the society. Its spotlight on problem solving and critical thinking reinforces the need for philosophy in the society. The objective of philosophy is to amass wisdom (Plato 28). The knowledge acquired through philosophical studies help in answering life's questions. Human beings need philosophy to reinforce their thinking. Philosophy reiterates that to think is to live, when man sets the terms of thinking and acting. This paper tries to untangle the role of philosophy in the life of human beings. The paper explores the mission of philosophy and critically discusses whether Plato is trying to develop a new mission for philosophy in his book: "The Apology."

Philosophy strives to answer the questions of life with the aid of philosophical methods. The technique commences by examining one's beliefs (Fagan and John 25). This takes effect by forming doubts over the beliefs in an attempt to determine their validity. This leads to the formation of questions that narrow the quest for knowledge concerning a precise area of study. Other philosophers, who may offer rebuttals, present the arguments touching on a particular topic for review and critique. This sequence of judgments and criticism is widely known as dialect. This method enables philosophers to prove the logic behind their beliefs and unravel basic truths. The manners in which philosophers apply philosophical knowledge represent the mission for philosophy. The Apology of Socrates is a literary composition of Plato capturing Socrates thinking technique of inquiry. It is amongst his earliest works and the oldest document of Greek philosophy. The book illustrates how Socrates significantly founded a new mission for philosophy. The literary work is the best presentation to western philosophy (Plato 125).

The Apology of Socrates captures the speech of Socrates as he unsuccessfully defends himself against charges brought against him. He faces charges for corrupting the minds of young people and not worshiping the gods of the city. The charges also expose Socrates' belief in other novel daimonia. The term "apology" originates from the Greek word "apologia." The word means to speak in defense of one's belief, cause or actions. It is critical to note that Socrates sticks only to defending himself for his conducts and beliefs-surely not to apologize for it (that his reputation originates from the prophecy at Delhi (Reeve 232). The prophecy originated from an oracle who revealed that Socrates was the wisest man. Socrates confirms the prophecy by claiming that his wisdom emanates from the fact that he knows nothing. He justifies himself by suggesting that true wisdom lies in acknowledging the ignorance in most worldly affairs. He defends his actions as a quest to spread t true wisdom. He does this by exposing the ignorance that men claim to be wisdom. This mission earned him a lot of popularity amongst the youths of Athens. On the other hand, the people he mocked and embarrassed developed great hate and anger towards him. He refers to their contempt as the reason for his imprisonment.

During the judicial proceedings, Socrates interrogates Meletus, the man who brought Socrates before the jury (Reeve 235). This extract forms Socrates' main arguments. It has also taken a central position in most Platonic dialogues. The cross-examination exposes the weakness of Socrates. This is because most of his interrogation of Meletus focuses more on embarrassing him rather than arriving at the truth. In a celebrated passage, he claims that the State needs positive influence from him. This is in spite of how irritating he may sound. The state faces the risk of drifting into insomnia. It is through his influence that the State could be oriented toward productive and virtuous action (Reeve 536).

The trial founds Socrates guilty, and the jury asks him to propose his own penalty. He responds rather jokingly by suggesting that the State should honor him with a great meal for his service. He rejects exile and prison, and later opts for paying a fine. The jury is not contented with this option and instead passes a death sentence on him. He brushes them off by showing his lack of fear for death. He maintains that only the gods know what happens after death, thus the death penalty would do the court system no good (Fagan and John 536).

As the most influential and interesting thinker, Socrates dedicated himself to careful reasoning. He developed a new purpose for the same logical tricks used by the Sophists. He boasts as the first clear advocate of critical philosophy. This is because of his willingness to question everything. In addition, his reputation of accepting nothing less than an ample description of the temperament of things makes him stand out. Though highly celebrated during his lifetime because of his public speech and conversational skills, he found himself into trouble with influential personalities in the city. He was widely envied. This is because he would tell off those who esteemed themselves highly (Fagan and John 239). He used his philosophical background to expose their folly. Plato's book reveals the mode used by Socrates to apply his philosophical knowledge. Philosophy entails the development of an attitude toward doctrines inconsiderately entertained.

The mission of philosophy is to attempt to enlarge the understanding of the extent of application of every idea and thought pattern. Philosophy strives to maintain an active originality of basic ideas and developing notions for the social system. The trial of Socrates presents Socrates as distinct philosopher. The trial exposes how Socrates uses philosophical insights contrary to the mission of philosophy. At the trial, he surprises his listeners by appearing to deliberately aggravating the jury. He rejects an offer to suggest his own penalty, instead, triggers his own death penalty. He was not apologetic for the charges brought against him; neither was he making excuses. The fact that he professes to know nothing makes him different from other philosophers. In addition, he did not write any philosophical accounts of his experiences. He highly esteems ignorance as the highest level of knowledge. At the trail, he states that he knows nothing thus he could not possibly teach the youth anything. Now, Socrates is assumed to be inventing a new mission for philosophy (Plato 693). The general principle is that philosophy empowers man to make critical choices. It sharpens the judgment of human beings by broadening their understanding.

During the proceedings, Socrates maintains that the corruption of the youth is unintentional. Analysts view Socrates stance to insinuate that no one does evil voluntarily. This puts Socrates at odds with proponents of the power of choice. They believe that human existence is founded in the choice between good and evil. Philosophy equips man to develop a perception of a being who is in control of every phenomenon. It also reveals the situations that humankind find themselves in, and the choices that they make. The role of philosophy is to help man develop his inner capacities and understand his existence in the universe. Philosophy tests man's ability, for instance, it tests man's ability to love, to influence, and to grow (Reeve 852). His reaction toward the opposite sex (female), his dominion over the other animals and plants, and his choices are placed into different perspectives. The aim of philosophy is to reveal the power of choice. Socrates goes against this notion in his odd defense, in the Athens trial. This is because; through the "Socratic paradox," he reiterates that man is morally responsible for knowledge, or the lack of it. He continues that an individual is responsible for the unknown. The Socratic paradox puts it thus:"people act morally; nonetheless, they do not do so intentionally." The paradox explains that every individual pursue his/her own interests.

In order to maintain that Socrates is seeking a new mission for philosophy, it is critical to understand the mission of philosophy (Fagan and John 966). This analysis employs the nature of Socrates philosophizing to show how he went against that mission. His affirmed reason for philosophizing did not raise any command or god. The outstanding place of the oracle tale in the book makes one to believe that Socrates is not even a philosopher. In addition, his accounts of his peculiar practice show that he does not pursue genuine wisdom, like other philosophers.

Through characterizing of the making of "logoi," Socrates maintains that he is philosophizing. Nonentity suggests that philosophizing typically means making logoi. Philosophy is concerned with cross-examining and questioning oneself. It is evident that making logoi, examining, and discussing are the major activities of the philosopher in light of Socrates view. Nevertheless, they do not represent his true purpose of philosophy, simple and plain.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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