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Published on January 17, 2008

Author: Petronilla


WEEK #2 INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND & THE SOCRATIC MISSION (Apology and Crito) (1-20-04) :  WEEK #2 INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND & THE SOCRATIC MISSION (Apology and Crito) (1-20-04) AGENDA:  AGENDA Introduction Next week The Socratic Problem Historical Background Outline of the Apology Informal Charges Charges Response #1 Response #2 Divine Mission Formal Charges Charges The Three Arguments Sources of the Historical Socrates:  Sources of the Historical Socrates Aristophanes Clouds Xenophon Apology Memorabilia Symposium Plato Aristotle Excerpts from the Clouds:  Excerpts from the Clouds Strepsiades That house is a Thinkery for clever souls. Some gentlemen live there who argue that the sky is a casserole-cover -- and make us all believe it -- and that it covers us all, and we’re charcoal briquets. These people train you, if you pay them money, to win any argument, whether it’s right or wrong. Pheidippides Who are these people? Strepsiades I can’t exactly name them. Reflective cogitators, upstanding gentlemen. Slide5:  Pheidippides Yuk! That scum! I know who you mean. The charlatans, the pasty-faces, the ones who don’t wear shoes, like that miserable Socrates, and Chaerephon! Strepsiades Hey now, be quiet! Don’t speak childishly. And have a care about your father’s daily bread. Lay off the racing and join their company. Pheidippides No way, no, by Dionysus! Not even if you gave me those fancy pheasants that Leogoras breeds! Strepsiades Come on, I implore you, dearest of all to me, matriculate. Slide6:  Pheidippides And what do you want me to study? Strepsiades I’m told they have both kinds of argument: the Better, whatever that is, and the Worse. And one of these Arguments, the Worse, I’m told, can argue even an unjust case and win! So if you could learn this Worse Argument for me, then all these debts I owe on your account I wouldn’t have to pay, not even a penny! Pheidippides I just can’t. How could I even dare to look at the Knights with all the tan scraped off my face? Strepsiades Then, by Demeter, you’ve had your last meal here, and so’s your yoke-horse and your thoroughbred. I’m throwing you out of the house, and go to hell! Xenophon:  Xenophon It seems to me fitting to hand down to memory, furthermore, how Socrates, on being indicted, deliberated on his defense and on his end. It is true that others have written about this, and that all of them have reproduced the loftiness of his words,--a fact which proves that his utterance really was of the character intimated;--but they have not shown clearly that he had now come to the conclusion that for him death was more to be desired than life; and hence his lofty utterance appears rather ill-considered. [Todd trans.] Xenophon:  Xenophon Such, then, was his criticism of those who meddle with these matters. His own conversation was ever of human things. The problems he discussed were, What is godly, what is ungodly; what is beautiful, what is ugly; what is just, what is unjust; what is prudence, what is madness; what is courage, what is cowardice; what is a state, what is a statesman; what is government, and what is a governor;--these and others like them, of which the knowledge made a “gentleman,” in his estimation, while ignorance should involve the reproach of “slavishness.” [Memorabilia 1.1.16; Marchant trans.] Plato:  Plato The gods are moral Virtue is knowledge Virtue makes one happy Weakness of the will is impossible It is wrong to harm your enemies Aristotle Epagoge & Definition:  Aristotle Epagoge & Definition There are two innovations which, may fairly be ascribed to Socrates: inductive reasoning and general definition. Both of these are associated with the starting-point of scientific knowledge. But whereas Socrates regarded neither universals nor definitions as existing in separation, the Idealists gave them a separate existence, and to these universals and definitions of existing things they gave the name of Ideas. [Metaphysics 1078b30-32; Trendennick trans.] Aristotle Socratic Ignorance:  Aristotle Socratic Ignorance for this, too, was why Socrates used to ask questions and not to answer them; for he used to confess that he did not know. Sophistical Refutations 183b7-8; Pickard Cambridge trans.] Aristotle Intellectualism:  Aristotle Intellectualism Accordingly Socrates the senior thought that the End is to get to know virtue, and he pursued an inquiry into the nature of justice and courage and each of the divisions of virtue. And this was a reasonable procedure, since he thought that all the virtues are forms of knowledge, so that knowing justice and being just must go together, for as soon as we have learnt geometry and architecture, we are architects and geometricians; [Eudemian Ethics 1216b3-9; Rackham trans.] Aristotle Akrasia:  Aristotle Akrasia for it would be strange-so Socrates thought - if when knowledge was in a man something else could master it and drag it about like a slave. For Socrates was entirely opposed to the view in question, holding that there is no such thing as incontinence; no one, he said, when he judges acts against what he judges best - people act so only by reason of ignorance. [Nicomachean Ethics 1145b23-27; Ross trans.] Historical Background Events:  Historical Background Events Peloponnesian War (431-404) Sicilian Expedition (415-413) Athens Defeated by Sparta (404) The Thirty (404 -403) Restoration of the Democracy (403) The Apology & Socrates’ Death (399) Historical Background People :  Historical Background People Pericles Charmides Critias Alcibiades Anytus Chaerephon Outline of Apology:  Outline of Apology 1. Introduction (17a1-18a6) Prothesis (18a7-19a7) Defense (19a8-28a1) The first accusers (19a8-24b2) Formal statement of charges (19b4-c1) 1. Studies terrestrial and celestial things 2. Makes weaker argument the stronger 3. Teaches this to others Response to 1st charge (19c2-d7) Response to 2nd & 3rd charges (19d8-20c3) Delphic oracle story (20c4-24b2) Slide17:  Defense against second accusers (24b3-28a1) Formal stmt. of charges (24b8-c11) 1. Corrupts youth 2. Does not believe in the city’s gods 3. Introduces new gods First argument (24d3-25c4) Second argument (25c5-26a7) Third argument (26a8-28a1) Statement of divine mission (28a2-34b5) Conclusion (34b6-35d8) 6. Proposed Counter-penalty (35e1-38b9) 7. Closing Address (38c1-42a5) Informal Charges First mention:  Informal Charges First mention First mention (18a7-e4): There is a certain Socrates, a wise man, a ponderer over the things in the air and one who has investigated the things beneath the earth and who makes the weaker argument the stronger.” Most formidable Because: “it is not even possible to call any of them up here and cross-question him, but I am compelled in making my defence to fight, as it were, absolutely with shadows and to cross-question when nobody answers.” [Apology 18d4-7; Fowler trans.] Implicitly refers to Aristophanes Informal Charges Second mention:  Informal Charges Second mention Second mention “Socrates is a criminal and a busybody, investigating the things beneath the earth and in the heavens and making the weaker argument (logos) stronger and teaching others these same things.” [Apology 19b4-c1: Fowler trans.] Natural Philosopher Making weaker argument the stronger (Sophist) Teaching this to others (Sophist) Response to Informal Charges Direct:  Response to Informal Charges Direct 19c-d denies he is a natural philosopher And I say this, not to cast dishonor upon such knowledge, if anyone is wise about such matters (may I never have to defend myself against Meletus on so great a charge as that!),--but I, men of Athens, have nothing to do with these things. And I offer as witnesses most of yourselves, and I ask you to inform one another and to tell, all those of you who ever heard me conversing--and there are many such among you--now tell, if anyone ever heard me talking much or little about such matters. Denies he is a sophist 19d-20c:  Denies he is a sophist 19d-20c Socrates relates the following conversation with Callias as evidence that he does not try to teach people nor charge a fee for it: “I said ‘O Callias, if your sons were colts or calves, we could find and engage a supervisor (epistaten) for them who would make them excel in their proper qualities (kalo t kagatho poiesin ten prosekousan areten) ... Now since they are men, whom do you have in mind to supervise them? Who is an expert in this kind of excellence, the human and social kind (tis tes toiautes aretes, tes anthropines te kai politikes, epistemon estin)?’” When Callias replies that Evenus is such a man, Socrates continues “I thought Evenus a happy man, if he really possesses such an art (techne), and teaches for so moderate a fee. Certainly I would pride and preen myself if I had this knowledge (epistamen), but I do not have it (ou gar epistamai), gentlemen.” [Grube trans.] Indirect response – The Delphic Oracle Story:  Indirect response – The Delphic Oracle Story Note the direct response to the informal charges amounts to a profession of ignorance Generates challenge – why the accusations? Socrates’ human wisdom “What has caused my reputation is none other than a certain kind of wisdom (sophian tina). What kind of wisdom? Human wisdom (anthropine sophia) perhaps. It may be that I really possess this (sophos), while those whom I mentioned just now are wise with a wisdom more than human (meizo tina e kat’ anthropon sophian sopoi eien); else I cannot explain it, for I certainly do not possess it, and whoever says that I do is lying and speaks to slander me (ou gar de egoge auten epistamai)” [Apology 20d6-e3; Grube trans.] Chaerephon & the oracle Socrates’ interpretation The Delphic Oracle:  The Delphic Oracle Channel to Apollo Chaerephon Chaerephon “asked if any man was wiser than I (ei tis emou eie sophoteros), and the Pythian replied that no one was wiser (medena sophoteron einai).” [Apology 21a5-7; Grube trans.] Delphic Oracle Interpretation:  Delphic Oracle Interpretation ‘Whatever does the god mean? What is this riddle? I am very conscious that I am not wise at all; what then does he mean by saying that I am the wisest? For surely he does not lie; it is not legitimate for him to do so.’ For a long time I was at a loss as to his meaning, then I very reluctantly turned to some such investigation as this. I went to one of those reputed wise, thinking that there, if anywhere, I could refute the oracle and say to it ‘This man is wiser than I, but you said that I was.’ [Apology 21b3-c2; Grube trans.] Slide25:  “but the fact is, gentlemen, it is likely that the god is really wise and by his oracle means this: “Human wisdom is of little or no value.” And it appears that he does not really say this of Socrates, but merely uses my name, and makes me an example, as if he were to say: “This one of you, O human beings, is wisest, who, like Socrates, recognizes that he is in truth of no account in respect to wisdom.” Therefore I am still even now going about and searching and investigating at the god’s behest anyone, whether citizen or foreigner, who I think is wise; and when he does not seem so to me, I give aid to the god and show that he is not wise. And by reason of this occupation I have no leisure to attend to any of the affairs of the state worth mentioning, or of my own, but am in vast poverty on account of my service to the god. [Apology 23a7-c1; Lamb trans.] Three Features of Socratic Philosophy:  Three Features of Socratic Philosophy Method (elenchos) Similar to but distinct from ‘sophistry’ Appears to teach it (but not for a fee) Not unique to Socrates, but characteristic of him Accounts for his reputation of wisdom Profession of Ignorance Two kinds of wisdom? Wisdom/knowledge Human/’Divine’ Human wisdom = knowledge of ignorance Scope of the ignorance Craftsmen’s wisdom Natural philosophers’ wisdom Sophists’ wisdom Concern for the Soul Divine mission Slide27:  Gentlemen of the jury, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: ‘Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation and honours as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul? Then, if one of you disputes this and says he does care, I shall not let him go at once or leave him, but I shall question him, examine him and test him, and if I do not think that he has attained the goodness that he says he has, I shall reproach him because he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to the inferior things. I shall treat in this way anyone I happen to meet, young or old, citizen or stranger, and more so the citizens because you are more kindred to me. Be sure that this is what the god orders me to do, and I think there is no greater blessing for the city than my service to the god. For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul. [Apology 29d2-30b2; Grube trans.] Divine Mission Statement:  Divine Mission Statement Leading people to recognize ignorance = caring about wisdom, truth, and best possible state of soul How does that work? If a person cared about this, he/she would either have (or be seeking it) Wisdom = truth = best possible state of soul = virtue (arete) Socrates the moral philosopher Formal Charges :  Formal Charges it states that Socrates is a wrongdoer because he corrupts the youth and does not believe in the gods the state believes in, but in other new spiritual beings. [Apology 24b8-c1; Lamb trans.] 1. Corrupts youth 2. Does not believe in the city’s gods 3. Introduces new gods Xenophon:  Xenophon Apology 10: “Hermogenes stated that with this resolve Socrates came before the jury after his adversaries had charged him with not believing in the gods worshipped by the state and with the introduction of new deities in their stead and with corruption of the young, …” Response to Formal Charges:  Response to Formal Charges Such is the accusation. But let us examine each point of this accusation. He says I am a wrongdoer because I corrupt the youth. But I, men of Athens, say Meletus is a wrongdoer, because he jokes in earnest, lightly involving people in a lawsuit, pretending to be zealous and concerned about things or which he never cared at all. And that this is so I will try to make plain to you also. [Apology 24c4-9; Lamb trans.] Three Arguments:  Three Arguments First Argument (24d3-25c4) Second Argument (25c5-26a7) Third Argument (26a8-28a1) First Argument:  First Argument The citizens of Athens benefit the youth and only Socrates corrupts the youth. (25a9-11) In the case of horses, most people corrupt them, only a few (the horse trainers, hoi hippikoi) benefit them. (25a13-b6) So, in the case of youths, most people corrupt them, only a few benefit them. (25b7-c1) So, it is not the citizens of Athens that benefit the youths and only Socrates that corrupts them. (supplied) Second Argument:  Second Argument Socrates intentionally corrupts the youth. (25d5-7) Wicked people harm their associates, good people benefit their associates. (25c7-10) So, anyone who corrupts his associates runs the risk of being harmed by his associates. (supplied) No one would prefer to be harmed rather than benefited by his associates. (25d1-4) So, no one who knows that by corrupting one’s associates one risks being harmed by them would intentionally corrupt his associates. (supplied) Socrates knows that by corrupting the youths that associate with him he risks being harmed by them. (25e1-6) So, Socrates does not intentionally corrupt the youth. (25e6-26a1) Third Argument:  Third Argument Socrates does not believe that there are any gods at all [and corrupts the youth by teaching them not to not believe this as well]. (26e5) Socrates believes that there are specific divine activities [and corrupts the youth by teaching them believe this as well]. (27c6-8) Everyone who believes that there are human activities believes that there are humans, or horse activities believes that there are horse, or musical activities believes that there are musicians (or musical instruments?). (27b3-7) Everyone who believes in divine activities believes that there are divinities. (27c1-3) So, Socrates believes that there are divinities. (27c8-10) Divinities are either gods or children of the gods. (27c10-d3) Everyone who believes that there are children of horses or donkeys or X’s believes that there are horses or donkeys or X’s. (27d8-e3) So, Socrates believes that there are gods. (supplied)

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