Apology

I am not so certain if Socrates’ approach to his defense is particularly the brightest one, and it certainly is not an apology as the title has named it, but, there is a certain wisdom in the simple, plain structured arguments he presents. One of the first things he mentions, is for the jury to pardon him, in the case that he should slip into his accustomed way of speaking, just as they would pardon a foreigner for speaking in his accustomed manner. This appears to me to be a wise idea, as it is true, even in today’s society that we tend to judge people on face value. People who do not speak English well, as Socrates would not have spoken “court language” very well, tend to be jusdged as stupid. Socrates next points out that Meletus is not the first man to accuse him. He adresses the fact that men have been accusing him in society, not courts, for many years. In doing so, he again proves himself wise, for he points out to the jury that they are probably predisposed to convict him because they already believe that he is evil, because their fathers and grandfathers have spent years saying so. He points this out, thus probably causing the jury to examine themselves, to realize that they may have already convicted him before he even spoke, and to actually listen to what he says afterward. Through all of this, Socrates continues to claim that he is not wise. This brings into question what the real deffinition of wise is. In Socrates’ case, he claims that he is not wise, and the oracle must have been referring to him as wise because he knows that he knows nothing for certain. The irony of this, is that he claims to know nothing, and then proves every man he questions or talks to, to know even less than him, or at least not more than Socrates. From a scientific point of view, I can completely understand this way of thinking, that the only way to be wise is to question everything. In science, you must question everything, and accept nothing as complete truth. If scientists had accepted without question that the sun revolved around the earth, or that life spontaneously generated from non-living matter, would we be the technological scince-rich society we are today? In science, you cannot blindly accept knowledge without first investigating it. This is what Socrates is doing, except on a larger scale. He is taking all knowledge, and examining it. In qeustioning Meletus, he again uses the mode of speaking where he examines everything. Although at first reading, it appears that Socrates is merely trying to embarrass and undermine Meletus’ credibility. However, he never attacks Meletus’ personal views, but only his definitions relating to the charges he filed against Socrates. In doing so, Socrates, in an understated way proves the charges against him to be false, for how can a person be charged when the accuser does not know how to define the nature of the crimes he is accusing Socrates of doing.

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