1_apology - 1 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof....

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1 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof. Rae Langton I. Plato Lecture 1. The Apology 1. Socrates and Plato . Plato began as a disciple of Socrates, and the early dialogues probably describe the thoughts of Socrates himself, a figure about whom little is independently known; in later dialogues Socrates becomes the mouthpiece for Plato’s own philosophical views and arguments. The Apology presents Socrates’ defense at his trial in 399 BC, where he was ultimately found guilty of corrupting the minds of the young. He was sentenced to death. Plato thereafter abandoned his own political career, and took up philosophy, establishing the first university, the Academy in Athens. 2. The charges . Socrates is ‘guilty of engaging in inquiries into things beneath the earth and in the heavens, of making the weaker argument appear the stronger, and of teaching others these same things’ (II.19); ‘guilty of corrupting the youth, and of believing not in the gods whom the state believes in, but in other new divinities’ (XI.24); he is ‘a complete atheist’ (XIV.26). The first charge arises from stereotypes about philosophers more generally, who included Presocratic cosmologists, and Sophists, who were paid teachers of arguments(X.24). (Socrates is neither a cosmologist, nor a Sophist.) The charge about divinities and atheism is contradictory (XV.27). 3. The real reason for the charges. In his incessant search for wisdom, Socrates’ questionings of his fellow citizens inevitably reveal their ignorance; and people do not like being made to look like fools. The oracle at Delphi (IV.21) had said that no-one was wiser
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This note was uploaded on 01/25/2012 for the course PHIL 201H1F taught by Professor Derekallen during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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1_apology - 1 24.01 Classics of Western Philosophy Prof....

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