THE DEATH OF SOCRATES
What are your What can you infer based What do you predict “The
observations? off of your observations? Apology” will be about?
SOCRATES 469-399 B.C.
“The only thing I know is that I know nothing”
Foremost thinkers of his time
Wandered the streets unbathed and dressed in
rags questioning people about their ideas and
Compared himself to a gladfly because he knew
he was annoying.
Teacher who refused to receive money
Method was to teach by questioning
Socrates argued with people
Took apart what they knew and revealed their
ignorance (Socratic Method)
The Delphic Oracle: "There is no person living wiser than
Socrates interpreted this response as indicating he was
wise because he knows he was not wise.
If knowledge can be learned, so can virtue. Thus, virtue
can be taught.
The unexamined life is not worth living. One must seek
knowledge and wisdom before private interests.
We seek the good, but fail to achieve it by ignorance or
lack of knowledge as to how to obtain it.
STORY BEHIND “THE APOLOGY”
Trial occurred in 399 B.C.
People in Athens were threatened by
him because he was a skillful speaker
Socrates is on trial for two
Socrates was found guilty of impiety
(not worshipping the gods the state
worships), corruption of the youth
(infusing into the young persons the
spirit of criticism of Athenian society)
During the trial, he was sentenced to
PLATO 428-354 B.C.
“Is there a perfect world?”- Plato
His writing has survived practically undamaged and
more completely than any other ancient Greek writer
Studied under Socrates for eight years
Since Socrates never write down his teachings, Plato did
it for him
Wrote down Socrates’ discussions so he wouldn’t be
forgotten (“The Apology”)
Considered the most influential thinker in the
history of the Western culture
Wrote The Apology (the defense of Socrates),
the Crito (on Socrates' willingness to die), and
Phaedo (on immortality)
Focused his energy and study on The Academy
First University in the Western world
ANCIENT ATHENIAN COURT SYSTEM
All actions are brought by private individuals
No formal prosecutors or district attorneys
Power is in the hands of the jury (501 jurors)
Free adult male citizens who show up
Individuals make their speeches
The defendant makes his/her speech (where “The Apology”
After the defense, the jury votes innocent or guilty
Only majority is needed (Socrates is convicted with only 30 more
The individuals propose a punishment that is fitting
Socrates gets the death penalty
The defendant can propose an alternative punishment
Socrates was condemned to death