Philosophical Essay.docx - 1 PHIL101 Trial of Socrates In...

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PHIL101 24/05/2020 Trial of Socrates In 339 B.C, one of the most famous trials in Athens and the world to come took place. The philosopher Socrates was on trial for corrupting the youth, not believing in the divine gods and various other charges like being a sophist. Meletus who made these claims against Socrates and his Socratic method, brought these charges to the Athenian court backed by heavy influencers like Anytus and Leons who all seemed to have personal grudges against Socrates and his methods. During this trial there were many moral and ethical values questioned by the court accusing Socrates and by Socrates, while defending himself, accused the court and the city itself of the very charges brought against him. In this essay, I will answer, with my opinion, if Socrates thinks one must heed popular opinion about moral matters, if Socrates accepted the fairness of the laws under which he was tried and convicted, and would Socrates have been wrong to escape. First, the question many have sought the answer to is if Socrates thinks he must heed popular opinion about moral matters instead of the truth even if the truth is unpopular. Socrates was tried and convicted of a few charges by three accusers who plotted against him. Among these were Anytus (a powerful man), Meletus (the main accuser) and Lycon. Brickhouse explains by saying, “The explanation for all of these references is that Meletus was officially the prosecutor and that Anytus and Lycon served Meletus as “supporters” (Brickhouse, 78). The main charges against Socrates were corrupting the youth, Impiety and being a Sophist. Socrates questioned the first charge of corrupting the youth in his defense by asking, “Who improves the youth?” (Leibowitz, 117). Meletus the accuser answers him by saying “All Athenians, at least all of the men, improve them making them noble and good, except for Socrates the lone corrupter” (Leibowitz, 118). This answer can also be seen as a way to discredit Socrates and make the jurors and witnesses feel flattered by Meletus. This is an example of how opinion was used to persuade the court 1
instead of fact. Socrates made a very unpopular statement in the court as well, stating that Athens itself is the corrupter of the youth because it is a sophist city (Leibowitz, 119). Socrates moves to the charge of impiety, known as not believing in the gods. He argues this charge by getting

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