Socrates was a man of very strong convictions. A conviction to live his life in search of knowledge, true wisdom, mercy and the will of God. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates made a passionate defense of his chosen way of life. He believed that this way of life was not only right in every sense of the word, but also prosperous for himself and the people who came in contact with him. This is evident when he says: “Certainly, men of Athens, I am far from making a defense now in my own name, as might be thought, but in yours, to prevent you from doing wrong by mishandling the god’s gift to you by damning me; for if you kill me, you will not easily find another like me” (35, 30d).

Socrates begins his arguments by inverting the general belief of what true knowledge is. Socrates amused himself by asking questions of those who were believed to be very wise. He does not claim to have this knowledge himself, “I would certainly be proud and strut if I had this knowledge, but I have not, gentlemen” (25, 20c), but he does argue that this knowledge is not true wisdom. , and does not lead to an “examined life.” “What has caused my reputation is nothing other than a certain kind of wisdom” (25, 20d). The fact is that Socrates believes in true wisdom that feeds on curiosity. The wisdom he has was gained by examining his life and the lives of others. He is not concerned with personal gain and “knowledge” like those who are considered the wisest of all. Instead, he is firmly rooted in God’s will and takes his pursuit of life selflessly examined. For example, Socrates believes that he is wiser because he knows that he knows nothing, while others believe that they know when they do not know: “I am wiser than this man…he thinks that he knows something when he does not know it, whereas when he does not I don’t know, nor do I think I know; so it is likely that I am wise…” (26, 21d).

Socrates drives home his argument with a statement telling the jurors that he would rather be as he is, without knowledge or ignorance than be like “wise” people and have both, “I asked myself…would I rather to be as I am, without his wisdom now his ignorance, or to have both. The answer I gave to myself and to the oracle was that it was convenient for me to be as I am” (27, 22e). Finally, he tells the oracle jurors and interprets the oracle’s message as holding up Socrates as a model for other people, “as if he had said: ‘This man among you mortals is the wisest who, like Socrates, understands that his wisdom is worth nothing'” (27, 23b).

Socrates believes that the examined life is devoted to seeking inner and spiritual wisdom, asking questions and examining the lives of others, and seeking the best possible state of soul, “For I do nothing but persuade young and old among you to than not taking care of your body or your goods with preference or with as much intensity as for the best possible state of your soul” (34, 30b). He questioned those who thought they had wisdom and helped them to see that what they were looking for in life was not the path to true wisdom and contentment.

This statement by Socrates about the unexamined life not being worth living makes sense from one point of view, but it is false from the point of view of someone who is ignorant of this kind of wisdom and lacks the motivation to seek it. . . It is the same principle as saying that ignorance is bliss. People can lead very happy lives, however simple, even without asking the questions that people like Socrates dare to ask. However, when it comes to those who have an intrinsic desire to understand and have that passion for true wisdom like Socrates, not pursuing that desire would be very unsatisfying. So, from Socrates’ point of view, the statement makes perfect sense and should hold true for those who have that curiosity, but from the point of view of many others, it just doesn’t apply. There could be an argument that a life lived by someone unaware of true wisdom still leads a worthless life, but only from the point of view of someone looking on from the outside. For those who live it, their life has all the meaning in the world. It just depends on which point of view you take. This statement is so bold that it is impossible for everyone to agree with it. I think Socrates thinks purely from the point of view of someone who has this knowledge, and he doesn’t consider the possibilities of someone who doesn’t care about curiosity.

Essay 4: The clash between what is “fair” and what is “correct”

Socrates makes a couple of very strong arguments in the dialogues of the Apology and the Crito. In the Apology, he states that if he were released, he would still continue to live the lifestyle he was living. He believes with all his heart that what he is doing by asking questions and seeking answers and true wisdom is the right way to live. He gave it to him from God and he is simply doing his duty. Socrates argues that he must do the right thing and if this means going against the law, then he certainly would have to, because what God commands is more important than what the state or laws command. Nothing should come before what is right, and Socrates believes that this overrides what the people who rule say is fair.

Later in Crito, Socrates meets Crito, who suggests that he run away and escape. In this dialogue, Socrates argues that it would in fact be wrong for him to break the law, even if his sentence was not just. In this situation, the law is above anything else. He is saying that if he were to run away, he would be living as a bad example of what he believed in and that he would rather face his death than live a life in which he was a coward, or at least in which he would be tagged. have a coward Crito suggests several reasons why it should be right for Socrates to escape. He brings up his own reputation and the fact that he would always be looked down on as someone who valued money more than he valued his friends. He also brought up the fact that he believes that those who accuse and execute him are, in fact, his enemies. He must do what he can to avoid benefiting them, and so he must escape to defy them. Finally Crito tells Socrates that he is remiss in refusing because he is abandoning his own children. His children are the ones who must convince him to stay, because they need a father figure in their lives to raise them properly. Socrates listens intently to each of these reasons for running away, but in the end, he still refuses to run away. He argues that breaking the law is not okay, no matter how unfair the law seems.

So, in the Apology, we have an argument that tells us that we should do what we know to be right and at all costs. This means that since Socrates believed that God commanded his way of life, he should follow that path no matter what. On the other hand, we have an argument in the Crito that tells us that breaking the laws, even if they seem unjust, would be wrong. He supports these arguments in his own situation. In the first case, we reason that righteousness in living the lifestyle that God has commanded overrules everything else, and in the second case, it is wrong to go against his rule, even if the condemnation is unfair.

After reading and observing each of these situations and examining Socrates’ words in both cases, it is concluded that they are incompatible with each other. In the Apology, Socrates talks about the evils in politics and corruption. He states: “Do you think I would have survived all these years if I were involved in public affairs and, acting as a good man should, come to the aid of justice and regard this as the most important thing? Far from it, the men of Athens , nor would any other man” (37, 32). When Socrates points out that the justice system is corrupt, he defends the fact that what he is doing with his life is simply what God commanded him to do. He refuses to live his life any other way, even if it means giving up his life. Later in the Crito, Socrates argues that it would not be right for him to go away and escape death because he would be breaking the law. He also makes it clear that his values ​​and principles have not changed. He says that he still holds true to the things he has said in the past and upholds those values ​​just as much now as then. This becomes clear when he states: “I cannot, now that this fate has come to me, dismiss the arguments I used; they seem very similar to me. I value and respect the same principles as before…” (48). , 46b).

One argument for saying that these two claims are inconsistent may be to say that one simply undermines the other. In other words, Socrates only uses law-breaking hypothetically when thinking about what would happen if he were released on the terms that he doesn’t talk the way he does. The other situation in the Crito is more powerful in that what he says about following the law is actually right and just, and is, in fact, the actual situation in which he finds himself. I think the argument that they are simply inconsistent makes more sense, because these are two very extreme claims that boldly contradict each other. It doesn’t seem right to say that government is secondary in one argument and then say that government is at the core of justice and should be followed in another.