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polphil - Stephanie Russo Political Philosophy 205.01...

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Stephanie Russo March 10, 2008 Political Philosophy 205.01 Apology of Socrates 1. In the beginning of the Apology , Socrates mentions the first accusation against him. Line 18 b-c quotes: “They got hold of most of you from childhood, persuaded you and accused me quite falsely, saying that there is a man called Socrates, a wise man, a student of all things in the sky and below the earth, who makes the worse argument the stronger. Those who spread that rumor, gentlemen, are my dangerous accusers, for their hearers believe that those who study these things do not believe in the gods.” Socrates’ first accusations argue that he is an Atheist as well as impious. Throughout the story Socrates claims that he is not an atheist, due to the fact that he is doing what the Gods have told him to do. At Delphi, the Oracle told Chaerephon that no one was wiser than Socrates. According to Socrates, he must pursue his search for wisdom and prove that no one is wiser. Socrates went to the politicians, poets and craftsmen to seek whether they were wise or not. He concluded that even the smartest of people are not wise. “So even now I continue this investigation as the god bade me – and I go around seeking out anyone, citizen or stranger, whom I think wise… but I live in great poverty because of my service to the god.” (23b) Socrates claims that his occupation is to report back to the gods whether or not he finds anyone wise. This is his duty because he needs to prove that the gods are correct in claiming that Socrates is the wisest.
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In Socrates’ conversation with Meletus, he proves that Meletus’ charge against his belief in the Gods is contradictory. At the beginning Meletus pushes that Socrates does not believe in the Gods of the city, then that Socrates does not believe in Gods at all, and toward the end he proves that if Socrates believes in spirits then he must believe in the Gods. Once Socrates proves Meletus wrong, the conversation is over and the subject is changed, proving Meletus’ defeat.
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