Charges Against Socrates Essay, Research Paper
One of the most famous philosophers of all times, Socrates, was put to trial in Athens around 347 BCE in behalf of three major counts. First of all he was indicted for corrupting the youth of Athens. Secondly, he was indicted for not believing in the gods in whom the city of Athens believed in; thirdly he was charged for believing in other new divinities which were not traditional to the city. In this paper, I will assess the guiltiness and innocence of Socrates as portrayed on two major works, the Clouds and the Apology. I will give reasons to back up my decision on why I found the Aristophanic Socrates to be guilty on the three counts, and also why I found the Platonic Socrates to be innocent in all the 3 counts.
If one were to read through the Clouds, one would soon start to realize that Socrates is nothing more than a buffoon, a clown. He, while claiming to be a sophist, does nothing more, but to lead his students, at the Thinkery, astray with strange and easy answers to complicated, philosophical questions. He, claiming to teach philosophy lead his students in morally wrong conclusions by means of teaching the Worse Argument, which was the new view, be the Better Argument, which was the old traditional view.
Such was the case with Pheidippides, the son of Strepsiades. Pheidippides was transformed from a father-loving, parent-respecting kid, to a ?philosophical punk?, who had not even the slightest sign of respect for his own father. In the beginning of the Clouds, Pheidippides was just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary passion for horses. Before he went to the Thinkery, he could not even think to disobey, or offend his father. At a time when asked by his father, Strepsiades, if he loved him, Pheidippides simply and sincerely replied, ??By this Poseidon, Lord of horses I do?(Clouds, 82).
But he was transformed to a vagabond, thanks to the ability of making the Worse Argument the Better, and beat his father up in plain cold blood, while giving ?proof? that what he was doing was the right thing to do. When Strepsiades asked Pheidippides if he dared to put his hands on him, Pheidippides replied, ??Yes, by God; what?s more, I?ll prove it?s right to do so.?(Clouds, 334). This clearly shows that Pheidippides was corrupted by the lessons he had taken while at the Thinkery, lessons taught by Socrates. In this basis I find the Aristophanic Socrates to be guilty on the count of youth corruption.
The second count