Socrates Essay, Research Paper
“Because he was unjustly convicted, Socrates had no obligation to remain in prison.” Socrates was convicted by a system of government where the people decided what was going to happen to him, a form of democracy. Since Socrates lived under this type of a government, he was accountable to any punishment that they saw fit. This type of government is chosen by the people, Socrates had the right to vote and whether or not he chose the people in charge directly or indirectly, the majority of his peers believed that this type of government and those representatives under it was the best system for them. I believe that Socrates had an obligation to the people of the country that he lived in to remain in prison. It is what, in theory, the people wanted, because their representatives chose this punishment for Socrates. I believe that Socrates was also in agreement with my opinion. Socrates believed that if sending him to prison was what the people wanted and was what would make them feel better, that it would be beneficial to society for him to be in prison. I also think that Socrates was not averse to going to prison because it would show the people that he was a man of his word and that he believed in the good of society. People would also realize that having Socrates in jail is not the key ending corruption of the young people in their society. Hopefully they would realize that Socrates was not the cause of the problems that society was having and that the problems were always there, Socrates just brought them into realization.
An objection to my opinion would be that Socrates deserved to be free because he was unjustly convicted. In some ways I believe that Socrates should have been free. The only thing Socrates was guilty of was expressing his opinion and getting other people to open their minds to his opinion. In that aspect I believe that he should be free. But in the system of government that he lived under, majority rules. They believed that he should be in jail and that by having him in jail, society as a whole would be better. Life is not fair, but by sending Socrates to jail, it gave many people peace of mind who believed that Socrates was the origin of all of the problems that the youth of society were facing. Whether or not Socrates was unjustly convicted is beside the point, society believed that it was best for him to be in prison for the good of the many. Socrates was one of the greatest thinkers that this world has ever know, and though it was a great tragedy that he was executed, society at that time believed that it was in their best interest. I believe that what society did was not in the best judgement, but at that time it was what they thought was best for the good of society.
“Socrates makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger.” I don’t believe that Socrates made the weaker argument defeat the stronger. His arguments were just better thought out and were easier to defend when questioned. Through his amazing reasoning capabilities, Socrates was able to make his arguments become the stronger arguments. Socrates knew what the stronger argument was and was able to defend it from most aspects of criticism. What was considered the stronger argument was what the majority of society believed to be true. Just because society believes something to be true doesn’t mean that is right. Socrates argued that just because most people believe something to be true, doesn’t automatically make it true. For hundreds of years, people believed that the earth was flat, that didn’t make it true. So the argument of the earth being flat was actually the weaker argument, not the stronger. If people had actually taken time to think about what they were being presented with in great detail, as Socrates did, they would realize what the stronger argument actually was. But the majority of the people who lived during Socrates time were not independent thinkers, they were conformers. They believed what they had always been taught by their elders and what the majority of society believed to be true. If society in Socrates time had had more great thinkers or even average people who were willing to question the common beliefs, society would have been more accepting to change. Socrates roused questions that shifted away from the norm, and therefore made people believe that he was trying to corrupt the youth by proposing his thoughts to them. Socrates wasn’t trying to make society change their views, he was just trying to get people to become more independent thinkers. I think that Socrates had a hard time accepting people who believed everything they were told and never questioned anything. My opinion is that Socrates simply made his argument the stronger argument by backing it up with well thought out statements and by going into detail about his thoughts. I consider the arguments of society the weaker arguments because they contained little or no truth and had no evidence to back them up.
An objection to my opinion would be that Socrates does make the weaker argument defeat the stronger. This statement can be viewed in a few different ways. If you believe that Socrates argument was the weaker argument, then the weaker argument does defeat the stronger. I believed Socrates arguments to be the stronger argument, not based on whether the majority of society believed it, but based on the facts, evidence, and well thought out ideas that his arguments presented. Either way, Socrates arguments contained the most plausible evidence and ideas and were therefore more believable than the arguments that were just accepted by the people.
“The philosophical interests of Socrates were fundamentally different from those of his philosophical predecessors.” Socrates views were very different from those philosophers before him. Pre-Socratic philosophers focused on the metaphysical problem of the One and the Many. They tried to unify everything in reality into one single element. Though the pre-Socratic philosophers had very different views of reality, collectively they all held that there was one single unifying aspect of reality. Socrates believed that human nature was the only relevant aspect of reality. Material objects, the world around us, and all aspects of reality besides human nature were irrelevant in Socrates view of reality. Pre-Socratic philosophers asked very broad questions about reality that encompassed the many different aspects that they believed were part of the One. Socrates focused all of his attentions on what he believed reality to be; human nature. Socrates asked questions that concerned the soul, morals, virtue, and wisdom among others. Examples of the differences between pre-Socratic philosophers and Socrates are many. Thales, a pre-Socratic philosopher, believed that reality is controlled by one broad aspect, that there is on unifying force behind all of reality. Thales believed that everything in reality was unified by the single element of water. He believed that everything was in some way connected to water, that everything started as water in some form and that everything would eventually return to being water. Socrates believed that there was other reality than human nature, but that any other reality besides human nature was irrelevant. Socrates doesn’t contemplate whether or not there is a unifying force behind all of reality; he just concludes that all aspects of reality besides human nature are irrelevant and should not be focused on. Pre-Socratic philosophers asked questions about whether or not the Many is real or an illusion. Socrates completely bypasses the questions of reality that do not deal with human nature. Socrates asks questions about matters of the soul as well as questions that deal with wisdom, courage, and self-knowledge. I think that Socrates questions are most relevant to what people deal with in everyday life. People don’t usually contemplate whether or not there is a unifying aspect of all of the pieces of reality. I think that people question aspects of human nature more frequently. Socrates raises questions that cause people to really think about how they act and about how they should approach aspects of the nature of other people in their society. In the readings dealing with Socrates in the Euthyphro and the Apology, Socrates investigates aspects of human nature. In the Euthyphro, Socrates asks Euthyphro about what holiness is, a much more defined question than, “What is One?” as pre-Socratic philosophers may ask. In the Apology Socrates appeals to the jury and raises questions of whether or not the jury believes that he should be prosecuted for simply causing people to question certain aspects of society and human nature. Pre-Socratics would have made people question aspects of reality as whole, to look for a unifying aspect. I think that Socrates was much more defined in his questioning of reality and only focused on the important and relevant aspect, human nature.