ILS 205 Essay - Daniel Pier Western Culture Pol Econ Soc...

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Daniel Pier Western Culture: Pol., Econ., Soc. Thought I Brandon Turner 31 October 2006 The Innocence of Socrates “We must not allow this man to question and discredit us in this way. This rise of wisdom and intellectual thought must be put to a stop to preserve our power. Socrates must die.” These are the thoughts that must have been running through the minds of the Athenian elites as they witnessed a seemingly harmless man named Socrates rise to importance by continually questioning and exposing their so called “wisdom” and “power”. Because of the Athenian government’s most powerful leaders, Socrates, the great mover and shaker of the time, was found guilty and sentenced to death. In the following paragraphs, I will prove Socrates’ innocence by discrediting the charges of impiety and corruption of youth brought against him, and by showing you how his subsequent actions after his conviction of not fleeing Athens and drinking the Hemlock solidify his guiltlessness. The first charge brought against Socrates by his accusers claims that he does “injustice and is meddlesome, by investigating the things under the earth and the heavenly things, and by making the weaker speech the stronger, and by teaching others these same things” ( Apology of Socrates , pg. 66). Meletus, Socrates’ main accuser, also says that he does “not believe in gods at all” (76). Now the reason that “investigating the things under the earth and the heavenly things” is seen as unjust is due to the fact that the “listeners hold that investigators of these things also do not believe in gods” (65). But how can this be true? All throughout Socrates’ apology to his accusers he swears and makes oaths in the names of the gods of the city. The first oath he takes
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in the name of a god happens towards the beginning of his apology. He is debating with Meletus and in one of his responses he says, “by Hera” (74). This is an oath that is usually taken by women but regardless, he is invoking the power of a god. Socrates is a very just, law-abiding man, shown by the fact that this is the first time he had “come before a law court, at the age of seventy” (64), so the idea that he may be taking this oath simply in an attempt to portray himself as a believer in the gods isn’t plausible. Shortly after this, he also invokes another god, Zeus.
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ILS 205 Essay - Daniel Pier Western Culture Pol Econ Soc...

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