Skip Nav

Socrates philosophy essay

Works Cited

❶He was the first to study ethics as a science—that is, to study morality in a systematic, consistent manner.

Our Benefits

Socrates philosophy essay
Navigate Guide

Socrates was not a democrat or an egalitarian. To him, people should not be self-governing; they were like a herd of sheep that needed the direction of a wise shepherd.

He denied that citizens had basic virtue necessary to nurture a good society, instead equating virtue with a knowledge unattainable by ordinary people. Striking at the heart of Athenian democracy, he contemptuously criticized the right of every citizen to speak in the Athenian assembly. At first, most Athenians viewed him as someone probably just liked to hear himself talk and was otherwise not a threat.

However, that feeling changed when blood was spilled. The standing of Socrates among his fellow citizens suffered mightily during the two periods in which Athenian democracy was temporarily overthrown, one four-month period in and another slightly longer period in The prime movers in both of the anti-democratic movements were former pupils of Socrates, Alcibiades, and Critias.

He ceased to be just a talking head and became someone others viewed as dangerous. Socrates may have promoted unpopular beliefs, but he was not a cold-blooded killer like his former pupil Critias. This violent movement cast Socrates in a different light because his teachings may have contributed to the bloodshed. Socrates may have been known for spouting off unpopular views like a ancient greek version of Rush Limbaugh, but that did not make him a killer worthy of execution.

He was negligent as evidenced in the Thirty Tyrants debacle, but is that deserving of the death penalty? If people were executed for negligence, the death penalty would affect everybody because of the fallible nature of our existence. We know from historical accounts that Socrates refused to participate in the bloodshed, but his failure to condemn the violence led to his persecution.

Although the Thirty normally used their own gang of thugs for such duties, the oligarchy asked Socrates to arrest Leon of Salamis so that he might be executed and his assets appropriated. Socrates refused to do so. Socrates would point to his resistance to the order as evidence of his good conduct. On the other hand, Socrates neither protested the decision nor took steps to warn Leon of Salamis of the order for his arrest — he just went home. While good citizens of Athens were being liquidated right and left, Socrates, so far as we know, did or said nothing to stop the violence.

If the trial can be attributed to one person, it would most likely be Anytus. What is known about the contention between the two men is that they were on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as belief in the virtue of citizens.

Plato quotes Anytus as warning Socrates:. Religion played a role in the trial of Socrates and may have affected the outcome. His accusers branded him as impious, and he did not directly refute the charge.

Meletus accuses Socrates of believing the sun and moon not to be gods, but merely masses of stone. Socrates responds not by specifically denying the charge of atheism, but by attacking Meletus for inconsistency: His defiance led to his undoing. Socrates fathered a method of argumentation that was based on questions rather than assertions, inspiring future authors like Christopher Hitchens. The purpose of questioning was to expose contradictions that rendered the argument invalid. It can be argued that he felt his intellectual prowess would prevail in the courtroom, which may explain his willingness to forgo pleading with the court.

It was common practice to appeal to the sympathies of jurors by introducing wives and children. Socrates, however, did no more than remind the jury that he had a family. Neither his wife Xanthippe nor any of his three sons made a personal appearance.

On the contrary, Socrates — according to Plato — contends that the unmanly and pathetic practice of pleading for clemency disgraces the justice system of Athens. Linder, Therefore, the Socratic method could not save him from the punishment that would be handed down.

Should Socrates have been put to death? This query resonates as an ideological companion to the current debate about capital punishment. It can be argued that his actions led to the deaths of innocent citizens of Athens. However tragic, these deaths did not occur at his hands.

His disciple Critias carried out the murders, so one could argue that Socrates persuaded him to do it. That argument is undercut by the notion that people are responsible for their own thoughts and actions.

Hannah Arendt notes that Critias apparently concluded, from the message of Socrates that piety cannot be defined, that it is permissible to be impious:. Piety is a concept that implies the obedience to divine norms and rules and respect of gods.

Therefore, he believes his actions are pious, i. In response, Socrates questions and doubts in stories concerning gods. In such a way, Socrates challenges the essence of the argument of his opponent. Moreover, he steadily refers to examples concerning stories related to gods, which he believes to be inconsistent and incredible, whereas Euthyphro draws more and more examples of stories concerning gods, which he believes prove his position as being inspired by gods.

Thus, Socrates uncovers that the concept of piety offered by his opponent is incorrect. In other words, the distinct feature of the reasonable method in search of justice is its objectivity and reliance on facts that are processed and analyzed by a reasonable mind.

In fact, Socrates insisted that people should look for the true value of their life that was possible only with the help of careful examination and reasonable research of human life, its purposes and value. Socrates stressed the importance of happiness, self achievement and fulfilling goals without hurting yourself or others.

A person, who cannot find inner happiness or gain value, is living a life that is not worth living. In such a way, the life became purposeful and fruitful.

Otherwise, the life would be pointless and useless. The philosopher was very skeptical about the vulnerability of political decisions and policies conducted by Athens. In fact, Socrates defends himself from accusations of the neglect and offense of religion and religious beliefs of Athenian citizens. At the same time, the standpoint of Socrates is philosophical in its essence.

Socrates: The death of a philosopher

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Wisdom of Socrates - Socrates was a man that was in search of the truth about wisdom. However, it became more than just a simple search, rather it tuned into a complex assignment where the answer of true wisdom leads Socrates to be brought up on charges of corrupting society.

Privacy FAQs

Socrates is revered for his shifting of Greek philosophical thought from the contemplation of the nature of the universe, which occupied the philosophers before him, to the examination of human.

About Our Ads

Socrates (philosophy) essays Socrates was a great philosopher who had an incredible impact on philosophers of his time and even philosophers today. He lived in Athens from B.C.E to B.C.E during the Periclean Age. He taught his philosophy of life on the streets to anyone who cared to liste. In this essay I will discuss the character of Socrates as he is presented in the Apology, I will look at Socrates as a religious fanatic and an apostle of reason.

Cookie Info

The question of why Socrates was executed and if he deserved the charges put against him has been asked by historians for centuries. Socrates has a unique position in the history of philosophy. On one hand he is the most influential on another he is the least known. In his later life he is seen to. Socrates Essay Words | 3 Pages. Socrates Socrates spent his time questioning people about things like virtue, justice, piety and truth. The people Socrates questioned are the people that condemned him to death. Socrates was sentenced to death because people did not like him and they wanted to shut him up for good.