Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plato: Apology

“The unexamined life is not worth living. Know thyself”

Socrates is brought to trial for corrupting the youth of Athens and for promoting impiety. He must now deliver his defense speech, or apologia.

Socrates is known as someone who always asks questions and seeking the truth. He compares himself to a gadfly stirring the horse (Athens) into motion with his meddlesome questions. Socrates says that the Oracle called him the wisest of all men because he admits he does not know anything. Therefore, he knows what he does not know.

Socrates is found guilty by a vote of 280 to 221. When asked to choose a penalty, he suggests a fine, although he admits he will never stop philosophizing. The jury then sentences Socrates to death. Socrates suggests that they try to live a better life rather than kill off their critics. He then marches off to prison awaiting his date with the hemlock.

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