The apology of socrates
The apology of socrates
1) What are the primary charges against Socrates raised by members of the Athenian senate? On what authority and bases does Socrates mount his defense?
2) With what does Socrates countercharge against his accusers?
3) Why does Socrates accept the court’s death sentence against him?
4) List Aristotle’s characteristics of good literature. What is the place of tragedy among the genres (types) of literature?
5) What is the purpose of the poet? How does the role of poet differ from that of the reporter?
The story of the three Greek philosophers of Athens is legendary, but the remaining aura of awe and wonder surrounding the names of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle hardly speaks to the actual influence that they have had during the almost two millennia that have followed them. They were three philosophers of Athens whose ideas and ideals reflect the culmination of Greek enlightenment. Plato (429 – 347 B.C.) was the student of his master teacher Socrates (469 – 399 B.C.), and Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.), the student of Plato.
Socrates, who wrote nothing of his own ideas, addressed issues of virtue and the nature of justice, and introduced a system of inquiry that has come to be known as the “Socratic method.” The recorder of Socrates’ teachings and his defense before acusers in a trial that would condemn his beloved mentor to death, Plato explored the nature and origin of being, postulating the nature of a God immanently suffused throughout the natural world, and the existence of innate knowledge. Aristotle, the tutor of his famous young ruler, Alexander, the Great (356 – 323 B.C.), was to become known as the “Father of Physical Science,” and defined an alternative to Plato’s explanation of the relationship between the Creation and the Creator, premised on the concept of a God residing apart from the creation.
The thoughts of both Plato and Aristotle came, in time, to define the critical foundations for the evolution of Christian theology, one pole decidedly Platonic in its outlook and mysticism, the second, Aristotelian in its interpretations of the Christian world view.
In “The Apology of Socrates,” Plato reconstructs lengthy conversations between Socrates and his students that summarize key values and concepts of his mentor’s social philosophy, defining the role the state and citizens’ responsibilities to it, the nature of the virtuous life, and the position of religion (Socrates had been accused of atheism). In this selection from the “Apology,” Socrates defends his good name against innuendo and rumor and recall his failed quest for true wisdom among his counterparts in Athenian society.
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