PHIL 300 Simon Fraser University Introduction to Philosophy Paper

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Simon Fraser University


You will prepare answers to two of the following questions.

1. Compare and contrast any two philosophers we have covered this term regarding the nature of God and how we could come to know this nature.

2. Compare and Contrast any two philosophers we have covered this term regarding what innate knowledge is and about what we have innate knowledge.

3. Compare and Contrast any two philosophers we have covered this term regarding the relationship between God and Morality/Ethics.

4. Compare and contrast any two philosophers we have covered this term regarding the reliability of self-knowledge, or the familiar, as a starting place for understanding the world and our place in it.

5. Compare and contrast any two philosophers we have covered this term regarding the nature of human beings.

the book we used are:

Plato, Five Dialogues 2nd Edition. G. M. A. Grube Trans. Hackett, 2002.

Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. 2nd Edition. John Cottingham Trans. Ed. Cambridge UP, 1996.

David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. J. C. A. Gaskin ed Oxford UP 2009

Søren Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling Repition. Ed and Trans Edward V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton UP, 1983.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science. Bernard Williams Ed. Cambridge UP 2001

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Five Dialogues This page intentionally left blank PLATO Five Dialogues Second Edition Euthyphro Apology Crito Meno Phaedo Translated by G. M. A. GRUBE Revised by JOHN M. COOPER Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. Indianapolis/Cambridge Copyright © 2002 by Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 12 11 10 09 5 6 7 8 For further information, please address: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. P.O. Box 44937 Indianapolis, IN 46244-0937 Cover design by Listenberger & Associates Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Plato. [Dialogues. English. Selections] Five Dialogues / Plato ; translated by G.M.A. Grube.—2nd ed. / revised by John M. Cooper. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. Contents: Euthyphro—Apology—Crito—Meno—Phaedo. ISBN 0-87220-633-5 (pbk.)—ISBN 0-87220-634-3 (cloth) 1. Philosophy, Ancient. I. Grube, G.M.A. (George Maximilian Anthony) II. Title. B358.G7813 2002 184—dc21 2002022754 ISBN-13: 978-0-87220-634-2 (cloth) ISBN-13: 978-0-87220-633-5 (pbk.) e-ISBN: 978-1-60384-226-6 (Adobe e-book) CONTENTS Preface to the Second Edition vii Introduction ix Euthyphro 1 Apology 21 Crito 45 Meno 58 Phaedo 93 Suggestions for Further Reading 155 v This page intentionally left blank PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION The translations of Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, and Phaedo presented here are taken from Hackett Publishing Company’s epochmaking Plato, Complete Works (third printing, 2001), prepared under my editorship. In the revised form in which George Grube’s distinguished translations appear here, they present Plato’s wonderfully vivid and moving—as well as challenging—portrayal of Socrates, and of the philosophic life, in clear, contemporary, down-to-earth English that nonetheless preserves and accurately conveys the nuances of Plato’s and Socrates’ philosophical ideas. For this new edition I have added a number of new footnotes explaining various places and events in Athens, features of Greek mythology, and the like, to which Socrates and his interlocutors make reference. At a number of places I have introduced further revisions in the translations. John M. Cooper vii This page intentionally left blank INTRODUCTION At the time of his trial and execution in 399 b.c., Socrates was seventy years of age. He had lived through the Periclean age when Athens was at the pinnacle of her imperial power and her cultural ascendancy, then through twenty-five years of war with Sparta and the final defeat of Athens in 404, the oligarchic revolution that followed, and, finally, the restoration of democracy. For most of this time he was a well-known character, expounding his philosophy of life in the streets of Athens to anyone who cared to listen. His “mission,” which he explains in the Apology, was to expose the ignorance of those who thought themselves wise and to try to convince his fellow citizens that every man is responsible for his own moral attitudes. The early dialogues of Plato, of which Euthyphro is a good example, show him seeking to define ethical terms and asking awkward questions. There is no reason to suppose that these questions were restricted to the life of the individual. Indeed, if he questioned the basic principles of democracy and adopted towards it anything like the attitude Plato attributes to him, it is no wonder that the restored democracy should consider him to have a bad influence on the young. With the development of democracy and in the intellectual ferment of the fifth century, a need was felt for higher education. To satisfy it, there arose a number of traveling teachers who were called the Sophists. All of them taught rhetoric, the art of public speaking, which was a powerful weapon, since all the important decisions were made by the assemblies of adult male citizens or in the courts with very large juries. It is not surprising that Socrates was often confused with these Sophists in the public mind, for both of them were apt to question established and inherited values. But their differences were vital: the Sophists professed to put men on the road to success, whereas Socrates disclaimed that he taught anything; his conversations aimed at discovering the truth, at acquiring that knowledge and understanding of life and its values that he thought were the very basis of the good life and of philosophy, to him a moral as well as an intellectual pursuit. Hence his celebrated paradox that virtue is knowledge and that when men do wrong, it is only because they do not know any better. We are often told that in this theory Socrates ignored the will, but that is in part a misconception. The aim is not to choose the right but to become the sort of person who cannot choose the wrong and who no longer has ix x INTRODUCTION any choice in the matter. This is what he sometimes expresses as becoming like a god, for the gods, as he puts it in Euthyphro (10d), love the pious (and so, the right) because it is right; they cannot do otherwise and no longer have any choice at all, and they cannot be the cause of evil. The translations in this volume give the full Platonic account of the drama of Socrates’ trial and death and provide vivid presentations of Socrates’ discussions with his friends and younger contemporaries on the nature of piety, the justice of obedience to state authority, the relation between philosophical knowledge and human virtue, and the wonders, as well as the demands, of the life devoted to philosophy. The references to the coming trial and its charges in Euthyphro are a kind of introduction to this drama. The Apology is Plato’s version of Socrates’ speech to the jury in his own defense. In Crito we find Socrates refusing to save his life by escaping into exile. Meno shows Socrates debating in his characteristic way with Meno on the nature and teachability of human virtue (goodness), and also examining Meno’s slave-boy on a question of geometry, in order to prove the preexistence of our souls and our ability to learn (“recollect”) truths by rigorously examining our own opinions. Phaedo gives an account of his discussion with his friends in prison on the last day of his life, mostly on the question of the immortality of the soul. The influence of Socrates on his contemporaries can hardly be exaggerated, especially on Plato but not on Plato alone, for a number of authors wrote on Socrates in the early fourth century b.c. And his influence on later philosophers, largely through Plato, was also very great. This impact, on his contemporaries at least, was due not only to his theories but in large measure to his character and personality, that serenely self-confident personality that emerges so vividly from Plato’s writings, and in particular from his account of Socrates’ trial, imprisonment, and execution. NOTE: With few exceptions, this translation follows Burnet’s Oxford text. G. M. A. Grube EUTHYPHRO Euthyphro is surprised to meet Socrates near the king-archon’s court, for Socrates is not the kind of man to have business with courts of justice. Socrates explains that he is under indictment by one Meletus for corrupting the young and for not believing in the gods in whom the city believes. After a brief discussion of this, Socrates inquires about Euthyphro’s business at court and is told that he is prosecuting his own father for the murder of a laborer who is himself a murderer. His family and friends believe his course of action to be impious, but Euthyphro explains that in this they are mistaken and reveal their ignorance of the nature of piety. This naturally leads Socrates to ask, What is piety? And the rest of the dialogue is devoted to a search for a definition of piety, illustrating the Socratic search for universal definitions of ethical terms, to which a number of early Platonic dialogues are devoted. As usual, no definition is found that satisfies Socrates. The Greek term hosion means, in the first instance, the knowledge of the proper ritual in prayer and sacrifice and of course its performance (as Euthyphro himself defines it in 14b). But obviously Euthyphro uses it in the much wider sense of pious conduct generally (e.g., his own), and in that sense the word is practically equivalent to righteousness (the justice of the Republic), the transition being by way of conduct pleasing to the gods. Besides being an excellent example of the early, so-called Socratic dialogues, Euthyphro contains several passages with important philosophical implications. These include those in which Socrates speaks of the one Form, presented by all the actions that we call pious (5d), as well as the one in which we are told that the gods love what is pious because it is pious; it is not pious because the gods love it (10d). Another passage clarifies the difference between genus and species (11e–12d). G.M.A.G. 1 2 PLATO 2 Euthyphro:1 What’s new, Socrates, to make you leave your usual haunts in the Lyceum and spend your time here by the king-archon’s court?2 Surely you are not prosecuting anyone before the king-archon as I am? Socrates: The Athenians do not call this a prosecution but an indictment, Euthyphro. b Euthyphro: What is this you say? Someone must have indicted you, for you are not going to tell me that you have indicted someone else. Socrates: No indeed. Euthyphro: But someone else has indicted you? Socrates: Quite so. Euthyphro: Who is he? Socrates: I do not really know him myself, Euthyphro. He is apparently young and unknown. They call him Meletus, I believe. He belongs to the Pitthean deme,3 if you know anyone from that deme called Meletus, with long hair, not much of a beard, and a rather aquiline nose. Euthyphro: I don’t know him, Socrates. What charge does he bring against you? 1. We know nothing about Euthyphro except what we can gather from this dialogue. He is obviously a professional priest who considers himself an expert on ritual and on piety generally and, it seems, is generally so considered. One Euthyphro is mentioned in Plato’s Cratylus (396d) who is given to enthousiasmos, inspiration or possession, but we cannot be sure that it is the same person. 2. The Lyceum was an outdoor gymnasium, just outside the walls of Athens, where teenage young men engaged in exercises and athletic competitions. Socrates and other intellectuals carried on discussions with them there and exhibited their skills. See the beginnings of Plato’s Euthydemus and Lysis, and the last paragraph of Symposium. The king-archon, one of the nine principal magistrates of Athens, had the responsibility to oversee religious rituals and purifications, and as such had oversight of legal cases involving alleged offenses against the Olympian gods, whose worship was a civic function—it was regarded as a serious offense to offend them. 3. A deme was, in effect, one of the constituent villages of Attica, the territory whose center was the city of Athens (though Athens itself was divided into demes, too). Athenian citizens had first of all to be enrolled and recognized as citizens in their demes. EUTHYPHRO 3 Socrates: What charge? A not ignoble one I think, for it is no small thing for a young man to have knowledge of such an important subject. He says he knows how our young men are corrupted and who corrupts them. He is likely to be wise, and when he sees my ignorance corrupting his contemporaries, he proceeds to accuse me to the city as to their mother. I think he is the only one of our public men to start out the right way, for it is right to care first that the young should be as good as possible, just as a good farmer is likely to take care of the young plants first, and of the others later. So, too, Meletus first gets rid of us who corrupt the young shoots, as he says, and then afterwards he will obviously take care of the older ones and become a source of great blessings for the city, as seems likely to happen to one who started out this way. Euthyphro: I could wish this were true, Socrates, but I fear the opposite may happen. He seems to me to start out by harming the very heart of the city by attempting to wrong you. Tell me, what does he say you do to corrupt the young? Socrates: Strange things, to hear him tell it, for he says that I am a maker of gods, and on the ground that I create new gods while not believing in the old gods, he has indicted me for their sake, as he puts it. Euthyphro: I understand, Socrates. This is because you say that the divine sign keeps coming to you.4 So he has written this indictment against you as one who makes innovations in religious matters, and he comes to court to slander you, knowing that such things are easily misrepresented to the crowd. The same is true in my case. Whenever I speak of divine matters in the assembly5 and foretell the future, they laugh me down as if I were crazy; and yet I have foretold nothing that did not happen. Nevertheless, they envy all of us who do this. One need not worry about them, but meet them head-on. Socrates: My dear Euthyphro, to be laughed at does not matter perhaps, for the Athenians do not mind anyone they think clever, as 4. In Plato, Socrates always speaks of his divine sign or voice as intervening to prevent him from doing or saying something (e.g., Apology 31d), but never positively. The popular view was that it enabled him to foretell the future, and Euthyphro here represents that view. Note, however, that Socrates dissociates himself from “you prophets” (3e). 5. The assembly was the final decision-making body of the Athenian democracy. All adult males could attend and vote. c d 3 b c 4 d PLATO long as he does not teach his own wisdom, but if they think that he makes others to be like himself they get angry, whether through envy, as you say, or for some other reason. Euthyphro: I have certainly no desire to test their feelings towards me in this matter. e Socrates: Perhaps you seem to make yourself but rarely available, and not be willing to teach your own wisdom, but I’m afraid that my liking for people makes them think that I pour out to anybody anything I have to say, not only without charging a fee but even glad to reward anyone who is willing to listen. If then they were intending to laugh at me, as you say they laugh at you, there would be nothing unpleasant in their spending their time in court laughing and jesting, but if they are going to be serious, the outcome is not clear except to you prophets. Euthyphro: Perhaps it will come to nothing, Socrates, and you will fight your case as you think best, as I think I will mine. Socrates: What is your case, Euthyphro? Are you the defendant or the prosecutor? Euthyphro: The prosecutor. Socrates: Whom do you prosecute? 4 Euthyphro: One whom I am thought crazy to prosecute. Socrates: Are you pursuing someone who will easily escape you? Euthyphro: Far from it, for he is quite old. Socrates: Who is it? Euthyphro: My father. Socrates: My dear sir! Your own father? Euthyphro: Certainly. Socrates: What is the charge? What is the case about? Euthyphro: Murder, Socrates. b Socrates: Good heavens! Certainly, Euthyphro, most men would not know how they could do this and be right. It is not the part of anyone to do this, but of one who is far advanced in wisdom. Euthyphro: Yes, by Zeus, Socrates, that is so. Socrates: Is then the man your father killed one of your relatives? Or is that obvious, for you would not prosecute your father for the murder of a stranger. EUTHYPHRO 5 Euthyphro: It is ridiculous, Socrates, for you to think that it makes any difference whether the victim is a stranger or a relative. One should only watch whether the killer acted justly or not; if he acted justly, let him go, but if not, one should prosecute, if, that is to say, the killer shares your hearth and table. The pollution is the same if you knowingly keep company with such a man and do not cleanse yourself and him by bringing him to justice. The victim was a dependent of mine, and when we were farming in Naxos he was a servant of ours.6 He killed one of our household slaves in drunken anger, so my father bound him hand and foot and threw him in a ditch, then sent a man here to inquire from the priest what should be done. During that time he gave no thought or care to the bound man, as being a killer, and it was no matter if he died, which he did. Hunger and cold and his bonds caused his death before the messenger came back from the seer. Both my father and my other relatives are angry that I am prosecuting my father for murder on behalf of a murderer when he hadn’t even killed him, they say, and even if he had, the dead man does not deserve a thought, since he was a killer. For, they say, it is impious for a son to prosecute his father for murder. But their ideas of the divine attitude to piety and impiety are wrong, Socrates. Socrates: Whereas, by Zeus, Euthyphro, you think that your knowledge of the divine, and of piety and impiety, is so accurate that, when those things happened as you say, you have no fear of having acted impiously in bringing your father to trial? Euthyphro: I should be of no use, Socrates, and Euthyphro would not be superior to the majority of men, if I did not have accurate knowledge of all such things. Socrates: It is indeed most important, my admirable Euthyphro, that I should become your pupil, and as regards this indictment, challenge Meletus about these very things and say to him: that in the past too I considered knowledge about the divine to be most important, and that now that he says that I am guilty of improvising and innovating about the gods I have become your pupil. I would say to him: “If, Meletus, you agree that Euthyphro is wise in these matters, consider me, too, to have the right beliefs and do not bring me to trial. If you 6. Naxos is a large island in the Aegean Sea southeast of Athens, where Athens had appropriated land and settled many of its citizens under its imperial rule in the mid–fifth century B.C. c d e 5 b 6 c d e 6 PLATO do not think so, then prosecute that teacher of mine, not me, for corrupting the older men, me and his own father, by teaching me and by exhorting and punishing him.” If he is not convinced, and does not discharge me or indict you instead of me, I shall repeat the same challenge in court. Euthyphro: Yes, by Zeus, Socrates, and, if he should try to indict me, I think I would find his weak spots and the talk in court would be about him rather than about me. Socrates: It is because I realize this that I am eager to become your pupil, my dear friend. I know that other people as well as this Meletus do not even seem to notice you, whereas he sees me so sharply and clearly that he indicts me for ungodliness. So tell me now, by Zeus, what you just now maintained you clearly knew: what kind of thing do you say that godliness and ungodliness are, both as regards murder and other things; or is the pious not the same and alike in every action, and the impious the opposite of all that is pious and like itself, and everything that is to be impious presents us with one form7 or appearance insofar as it is impious? Euthyphro: Most certainly, Socrates. Socrates: Tell me then, what is the pious, and what the impious, do you say? Euthyphro: I say that the pious is to do what I am doing now, to prosecute the wrongdoer, be it about murder or temple robbery or anything else, whether the wrongdoer is your father or your mother or anyone else; not to prosecute is impious. And observe, Socrates, that I can cite powerful evidence that the law is so. I have already said to others that such actions are right, not to favor the ungodly, whoever they are. These people themselves believe that Zeus is the best and most just of the gods, yet they agree that he bound his father because 7. This is the kind of passage that makes it easier for us to follow the transition from Socrates’ universal definitions to the Platonic theory of separately existent eternal universal Forms. The words eidos and idea, the technical terms for the Platonic Forms, commonly mean physical stature or bodily appearance. As we apply a common epithet, in this case pious, to different actions or things, these must have a common characteristic, present a common appearance or form, to justify the use of the same term, but in the early dialogues, as here, it seems to be thought of as immanent in the particulars and without separate existence. The same is true of 6d where the word “form” is also used. EUTHYPHRO 7 he unjustly swallowed his sons, and that he in turn castrated his father for similar reasons. But they are angry with me because I am prosecuting my father for his wrongdoing. They contradict themselves in what they say about the gods and about me. Socrates: Indeed, Euthyphro, this is the reason why I am a defendant in the case, because I find it hard to accept things like that being said about the gods, and it is likely to be the reason why I shall be told I do wrong. Now, however, if you, who have full knowledge of such things, share their opinions, then we must agree with them, too, it would seem. For what are we to say, we who agree that we ourselves have no knowledge of them? Tell me, by the god of friendship, do you really believe these things are true? Euthyphro: Yes, Socrates, and so are even more surprising things, of which the majority has no knowledge. Socrates: And do you believe that there really is war among the gods, and terrible enmities and battles, and other such things as are told by the poets, and other sacred stories such as are embroidered by good writers and by representations of which the robe of the goddess is adorned when it is carried up to the Acropolis?8 Are we to say these things are true, Euthyphro? Euthyphro: Not only these, Socrates, but, as I was saying just now, I will, if you wish, relate many other things about the gods which I know will amaze you. Socrates: I should not be surprised, but you will tell me these at leisure some other time. For now, try to tell me more clearly what I was asking just now, for, my friend, you did not teach me adequately when I asked you what the pious was, but you told me that what you are doing now, in prosecuting your father for murder, is pious. Euthyphro: And I told the truth, Socrates. Socrates: Perhaps. You agree, however, that there are many other pious actions. Euthyphro: There are. 8. The Acropolis is the huge rocky outcropping in the center of Athens that served as the citadel for Attica, and also the center of its religious life. Major temples to the gods were there, including the Parthenon, the temple of Athena, the city’s protectress. Every four years in an elaborate festival in her honor maidens brought up the ceremonial robe referred to here, in which to clothe her statue. b c d 8 e 7 b c PLATO Socrates: Bear in mind then that I did not bid you tell me one or two of the many pious actions but that form itself that makes all pious actions pious, for you agreed that all impious actions are impious and all pious actions pious through one form, or don’t you remember? Euthyphro: I do. Socrates: Tell me then what this form itself is, so that I may look upon it and, using it as a model, say that any action of yours or another’s that is of that kind is pious, and if it is not that it is not. Euthyphro: If that is how you want it, Socrates, that is how I will tell you. Socrates: That is what I want. Euthyphro: Well then, what is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious. Socrates: Splendid, Euthyphro! You have now answered in the way I wanted. Whether your answer is true I do not know yet, but you will obviously show me that what you say is true. Euthyphro: Certainly. Socrates: Come then, let us examine what we mean. An action or a man dear to the gods is pious, but an action or a man hated by the gods is impious. They are not the same, but quite opposite, the pious and the impious. Is that not so? Euthyphro: It is indeed. Socrates: And that seems to be a good statement? Euthyphro: I think so, Socrates. Socrates: We have also stated that the gods are in a state of discord, that they are at odds with each other, Euthyphro, and that they are at enmity with each other. Has that, too, been said? Euthyphro: It has. Socrates: What are the subjects of difference that cause hatred and anger? Let us look at it this way. If you and I were to differ about numbers as to which is the greater, would this difference make us enemies and angry with each other, or would we proceed to count and soon resolve our difference about this? Euthyphro: We would certainly do so. Socrates: Again, if we differed about the larger and the smaller, we would turn to measurement and soon cease to differ. Euthyphro: That is so. EUTHYPHRO 9 Socrates: And about the heavier and the lighter, we would resort to weighing and be reconciled. Euthyphro: Of course. Socrates: What subject of difference would make us angry and hostile to each other if we were unable to come to a decision? Perhaps you do not have an answer ready, but examine as I tell you whether these subjects are the just and the unjust, the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad. Are these not the subjects of difference about which, when we are unable to come to a satisfactory decision, you and I and other men become hostile to each other whenever we do? d Euthyphro: That is the difference, Socrates, about those subjects. Socrates: What about the gods, Euthyphro? If indeed they have differences, will it not be about these same subjects? Euthyphro: It certainly must be so. Socrates: Then according to your argument, my good Euthyphro, different gods consider different things to be just, beautiful, ugly, good, and bad, for they would not be at odds with one another unless they differed about these subjects, would they? Euthyphro: You are right. Socrates: And they like what each of them considers beautiful, good, and just, and hate the opposites of these? Euthyphro: Certainly. Socrates: But you say that the same things are considered just by some gods and unjust by others, and as they dispute about these things they are at odds and at war with each other. Is that not so? e 8 Euthyphro: It is. Socrates: The same things then are loved by the gods and hated by the gods, and would be both god-loved and god-hated. Euthyphro: It seems likely. Socrates: And the same things would be both pious and impious, according to this argument? Euthyphro: I’m afraid so. Socrates: So you did not answer my question, you surprising man. I did not ask you what same thing is both pious and impious, and it appears that what is loved by the gods is also hated by them. So it is in no way surprising if your present action, namely punishing your b 10 c d e PLATO father, may be pleasing to Zeus but displeasing to Cronus and Uranus,9 pleasing to Hephaestus but displeasing to Hera, and so with any other gods who differ from each other on this subject. Euthyphro: I think, Socrates, that on this subject no gods would differ from one another, that whoever has killed anyone unjustly should pay the penalty. Socrates: Well now, Euthyphro, have you ever heard any man maintaining that one who has killed or done anything else unjustly should not pay the penalty? Euthyphro: They never cease to dispute on this subject, both elsewhere and in the courts, for when they have committed many wrongs they do and say anything to avoid the penalty. Socrates: Do they agree they have done wrong, Euthyphro, and in spite of so agreeing do they nevertheless say they should not be punished? Euthyphro: No, they do not agree on that point. Socrates: So they do not say or do just anything. For they do not venture to say this, or dispute that they must not pay the penalty if they have done wrong, but I think they deny doing wrong. Is that not so? Euthyphro: That is true. Socrates: Then they do not dispute that the wrongdoer must be punished, but they may disagree as to who the wrongdoer is, what he did, and when. Euthyphro: You are right. Socrates: Do not the gods have the same experience, if indeed they are at odds with each other about the just and the unjust, as your argument maintains? Some assert that they wrong one another, while others deny it, but no one among gods or men ventures to say that the wrongdoer must not be punished. Euthyphro: Yes, that is true, Socrates, as to the main point. Socrates: And those who disagree, whether men or gods, dispute about each action, if indeed the gods disagree. Some say it is done justly, others unjustly. Is that not so? 9. Zeus’ father, whom he fought and defeated (see 6a), was Cronus; Cronus, in turn, had castrated his own father Uranus. The story of Hephaestus and his mother Hera, mentioned next, similarly involves a son punishing his parent. EUTHYPHRO 11 Euthyphro: Yes, indeed. Socrates: Come now, my dear Euthyphro, tell me, too, that I may become wiser, what proof you have that all the gods consider that man to have been killed unjustly who became a murderer while in your service, was bound by the master of his victim, and died in his bonds before the one who bound him found out from the seers what was to be done with him, and that it is right for a son to denounce and to prosecute his father on behalf of such a man. Come, try to show me a clear sign that all the gods definitely believe this action to be right. If you can give me adequate proof of this, I shall never cease to extol your wisdom. Euthyphro: This is perhaps no light task, Socrates, though I could show you very clearly. Socrates: I understand that you think me more dull-witted than the jury, as you will obviously show them that these actions were unjust and that all the gods hate such actions. Euthyphro: I will show it to them clearly, Socrates, if only they will listen to me. Socrates: They will listen if they think you show them well. But this thought came to me as you were speaking, and I am examining it, saying to myself: “If Euthyphro shows me conclusively that all the gods consider such a death unjust, to what greater extent have I learned from him the nature of piety and impiety? This action would then, it seems, be hated by the gods, but the pious and the impious were not thereby now defined, for what is hated by the gods has also been shown to be loved by them.” So I will not insist on this point; let us assume, if you wish, that all the gods consider this unjust and that they all hate it. However, is this the correction we are making in our discussion, that what all the gods hate is impious, and what they all love is pious, and that what some gods love and others hate is neither or both? Is that how you now wish us to define piety and impiety? Euthyphro: What prevents us from doing so, Socrates? Socrates: For my part nothing, Euthyphro, but you look whether on your part this proposal will enable you to teach me most easily what you promised. Euthyphro: I would certainly say that the pious is what all the gods love, and the opposite, what all the gods hate, is the impious. Socrates: Then let us again examine whether that is a sound statement, or do we let it pass, and if one of us, or someone else, merely 9 b c d e 12 10 b c PLATO says that something is so, do we accept that it is so? Or should we examine what the speaker means? Euthyphro: We must examine it, but I certainly think that this is now a fine statement. Socrates: We shall soon know better whether it is. Consider this: Is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is being loved by the gods? Euthyphro: I don’t know what you mean, Socrates. Socrates: I shall try to explain more clearly: we speak of something carried and something carrying, of something led and something leading, of something seen and something seeing, and you understand that these things are all different from one another and how they differ? Euthyphro: I think I do. Socrates: So there is also something loved and—a different thing— something loving. Euthyphro: Of course. Socrates: Tell me then whether the thing carried is a carried thing because it is being carried, or for some other reason? Euthyphro: No, that is the reason. Socrates: And the thing led is so because it is being led, and the thing seen because it is being seen? Euthyphro: Certainly. Socrates: It is not being seen because it is a thing seen but on the contrary it is a thing seen because it is being seen; nor is it because it is something led that it is being led but because it is being led that it is something led; nor is something being carried because it is something carried, but it is something carried because it is being carried. Is what I want to say clear, Euthyphro? I want to say this, namely, that if anything is being changed or is being affected in any way, it is not being changed because it is something changed, but rather it is something changed because it is being changed; nor is it being affected because it is something affected, but it is something affected because it is being affected.10 Or do you not agree? 10. Here Socrates gives the general principle under which, he says, the specific cases already examined—those of leading, carrying, and seeing—all fall. It is by being changed by something that changes it (e.g., by carrying it somewhere) that anything is a changed thing—not vice versa: it is not by something’s being a changed thing that something else then changes it so that it comes to be EUTHYPHRO 13 Euthyphro: I do. Socrates: Is something loved either something changed or something affected by something? Euthyphro: Certainly. Socrates: So it is in the same case as the things just mentioned; it is not being loved by those who love it because it is something loved, but it is something loved because it is being loved by them? Euthyphro: Necessarily. Socrates: What then do we say about the pious, Euthyphro? Surely that it is being loved by all the gods, according to what you say? Euthyphro: Yes. Socrates: Is it being loved because it is pious, or for some other reason? Euthyphro: For no other reason. Socrates: It is being loved then because it is pious, but it is not pious because it is being loved? Euthyphro: Apparently. Socrates: And yet it is something loved and god-loved because it is being loved by the gods? Euthyphro: Of course. Socrates: Then the god-loved is not the same as the pious, Euthyphro, nor the pious the same as the god-loved, as you say it is, but one differs from the other. Euthyphro: How so, Socrates? Socrates: Because we agree that the pious is being loved for this reason, that it is pious, but it is not pious because it is being loved. Is that not so? Euthyphro: Yes. Socrates: And that the god-loved, on the other hand, is so because it is being loved by the gods, by the very fact of being loved, but it is not being loved because it is god-loved. Euthyphro: True. being changed (e.g., by carrying it somewhere). Likewise for “affections” such as being seen by someone: it is by being “affected” by something that “affects” it that anything is an “affected” thing, not vice versa. It is not by being an “affected” thing (e.g., a thing seen) that something else then “affects” it. d e 14 11 b c d e PLATO Socrates: But if the god-loved and the pious were the same, my dear Euthyphro, then if the pious was being loved because it was pious, the god-loved would also be being loved because it was god-loved; and if the god-loved was god-loved because it was being loved by the gods, then the pious would also be pious because it was being loved by the gods. But now you see that they are in opposite cases as being altogether different from each other: the one is such as to be loved because it is being loved, the other is being loved because it is such as to be loved. I’m afraid, Euthyphro, that when you were asked what piety is, you did not wish to make its nature clear to me, but you told me an affect or a quality of it, that the pious has the quality of being loved by all the gods, but you have not yet told me what the pious is. Now, if you will, do not hide things from me but tell me again from the beginning what piety is, whether being loved by the gods or having some other quality— we shall not quarrel about that—but be keen to tell me what the pious and the impious are. Euthyphro: But Socrates, I have no way of telling you what I have in mind, for whatever proposition we put forward goes around and refuses to stay put where we establish it. Socrates: Your statements, Euthyphro, seem to belong to my ancestor, Daedalus.11 If I were stating them and putting them forward, you would perhaps be making fun of me and say that because of my kinship with him my conclusions in discussion run away and will not stay where one puts them. As these propositions are yours, however, we need some other jest, for they will not stay put for you, as you say yourself. Euthyphro: I think the same jest will do for our discussion, Socrates, for I am not the one who makes them go around and not remain in the same place; it is you who are the Daedalus; for as far as I am concerned they would remain as they were. Socrates: It looks as if I was cleverer than Daedalus in using my skill, my friend, insofar as he could only cause to move the things he made himself, but I can make other people’s things move as well as my own. And the smartest part of my skill is that I am clever without wanting to be, for I would rather have your statements to me remain unmoved than possess the wealth of Tantalus as well as the cleverness of Daedalus. But enough of this. Since I think you are making unnecessary 11. Socrates may have been a stonemason, as his father was. In Greek mythology Daedalus’ statues (made of wood) could move themselves. EUTHYPHRO 15 difficulties, I am as eager as you are to find a way to teach me about piety, and do not give up before you do. See whether you think all that is pious is of necessity just. Euthyphro: I think so. Socrates: And is then all that is just pious? Or is all that is pious just, but not all that is just pious, but some of it is and some is not? Euthyphro: I do not follow what you are saying, Socrates. Socrates: Yet you are younger than I by as much as you are wiser. As I say, you are making difficulties because of your wealth of wisdom. Pull yourself together, my dear sir, what I am saying is not difficult to grasp. I am saying the opposite of what the poet said who wrote: You do not wish to name Zeus, who had done it, and who made all things grow, for where there is fear there is also shame.12 I disagree with the poet. Shall I tell you why? Euthyphro: Please do. Socrates: I do not think that “where there is fear there is also shame,” for I think that many people who fear disease and poverty and many other such things feel fear, but are not ashamed of the things they fear. Do you not think so? Euthyphro: I do indeed. Socrates: But where there is shame there is also fear. For is there anyone who, in feeling shame and embarrassment at anything, does not also at the same time fear and dread a reputation for wickedness? Euthyphro: He is certainly afraid. Socrates: It is then not right to say “where there is fear there is also shame,” but that where there is shame there is also fear, for fear covers a larger area than shame. Shame is a part of fear just as odd is a part of number, with the result that it is not true that where there is number there is also oddness, but that where there is oddness there is also number. Do you follow me now? Euthyphro: Surely. Socrates: This is the kind of thing I was asking before, whether where there is piety there is also justice, but where there is justice there is not always piety, for the pious is a part of justice. Shall we say that, or do you think otherwise? 12. Author unknown. 12 b c d 16 e 13 b PLATO Euthyphro: No, but like that, for what you say appears to be right. Socrates: See what comes next: if the pious is a part of the just, we must, it seems, find out what part of the just it is. Now if you asked me something of what we mentioned just now, such as what part of number is the even, and what number that is, I would say it is the number that is divisible into two equal, not unequal, parts. Or do you not think so? Euthyphro: I do. Socrates: Try in this way to tell me what part of the just the pious is, in order to tell Meletus not to wrong us any more and not to indict me for ungodliness, since I have learned from you sufficiently what is godly and pious and what is not. Euthyphro: I think, Socrates, that the godly and pious is the part of the just that is concerned with the care of the gods, while that concerned with the care of men is the remaining part of justice. Socrates: You seem to me to put that very well, but I still need a bit of information. I do not know yet what you mean by care, for you do not mean the care of the gods in the same sense as the care of other things, as, for example, we say, don’t we, that not everyone knows how to care for horses, but the horse breeder does. Euthyphro: Yes, I do mean it that way. Socrates: So horse breeding is the care of horses. Euthyphro: Yes. Socrates: Nor does everyone know how to care for dogs, but the hunter does. Euthyphro: That is so. Socrates: So hunting is the care of dogs. Euthyphro: Yes. Socrates: And cattle raising is the care of cattle. Euthyphro: Quite so. Socrates: While piety and godliness is the care of the gods, Euthyphro. Is that what you mean? Euthyphro: It is. Socrates: Now care in each case has the same effect; it aims at the good and the benefit of the object cared for, as you can see that horses cared for by horse breeders are benefited and become better. Or do you not think so? EUTHYPHRO 17 Euthyphro: I do. Socrates: So dogs are benefited by dog breeding, cattle by cattle raising, and so with all the others. Or do you think that care aims to harm the object of its care? Euthyphro: By Zeus, no. Socrates: It aims to benefit the object of its care? Euthyphro: Of course. Socrates: Is piety then, which is the care of the gods, also to benefit the gods and make them better? Would you agree that when you do something pious you make some one of the gods better? Euthyphro: By Zeus, no. Socrates: Nor do I think that this is what you mean—far from it— but that is why I asked you what you meant by the care of gods, because I did not believe you meant this kind of care. Euthyphro: Quite right, Socrates, that is not the kind of care I mean. Socrates: Very well, but what kind of care of the gods would piety be? Euthyphro: The kind of care, Socrates, that slaves take of their masters. Socrates: I understand. It is likely to be a kind of service of the gods. Euthyphro: Quite so. Socrates: Could you tell me to the achievement of what goal service to doctors tends? Is it not, do you think, to achieving health? Euthyphro: I think so. Socrates: What about service to shipbuilders? To what achievement is it directed? Euthyphro: Clearly, Socrates, to the building of a ship. Socrates: And service to housebuilders to the building of a house? Euthyphro: Yes. Socrates: Tell me then, my good sir, to the achievement of what aim does service to the gods tend? You obviously know since you say that you, of all men, have the best knowledge of the divine. Euthyphro: And I am telling the truth, Socrates. Socrates: Tell me then, by Zeus, what is that excellent aim that the gods achieve, using us as their servants? Euthyphro: Many fine things, Socrates. c d e 18 14 b c d PLATO Socrates: So do generals, my friend. Nevertheless you could easily tell me their main concern, which is to achieve victory in war, is it not? Euthyphro: Of course. Socrates: The farmers, too, I think, achieve many fine things, but the main point of their efforts is to produce food from the earth. Euthyphro: Quite so. Socrates: Well then, how would you sum up the many fine things that the gods achieve? Euthyphro: I told you a short while ago, Socrates, that it is a considerable task to acquire any precise knowledge of these things, but, to put it simply, I say that if a man knows how to say and do what is pleasing to the gods at prayer and sacrifice, those are pious actions such as preserve both private houses and public affairs of state. The opposite of these pleasing actions are impious and overturn and destroy everything. Socrates: You could tell me in far fewer words, if you were willing, the sum of what I asked, Euthyphro, but you are not keen to teach me, that is clear. You were on the point of doing so, but you turned away. If you had given that answer, I should now have acquired from you sufficient knowledge of the nature of piety. As it is, the lover of inquiry must follow his beloved wherever it may lead him. Once more then, what do you say that piety and the pious are? Are they a knowledge of how to sacrifice and pray? Euthyphro: They are. Socrates: To sacrifice is to make a gift to the gods, whereas to pray is to beg from the gods? Euthyphro: Definitely, Socrates. Socrates: It would follow from this statement that piety would be a knowledge of how to give to, and beg from, the gods. Euthyphro: You understood what I said very well, Socrates. Socrates: That is because I am so desirous of your wisdom, and I concentrate my mind on it, so that no word of yours may fall to the ground. But tell me, what is this service to the gods? You say it is to beg from them and to give to them? Euthyphro: I do. Socrates: And to beg correctly would be to ask from them things that we need? Euthyphro: What else? EUTHYPHRO 19 Socrates: And to give correctly is to give them what they need from us, for it would not be skillful to bring gifts to anyone that are in no way needed. e Euthyphro: True, Socrates. Socrates: Piety would then be a sort of trading skill between gods and men? Euthyphro: Trading yes, if you prefer to call it that. Socrates: I prefer nothing, unless it is true. But tell me, what benefit do the gods derive from the gifts they receive from us? What they give us is obvious to all. There is for us no good that we do not receive from them, but how are they benefited by what they receive from us? Or do we have such an advantage over them in the trade that we receive all our blessings from them and they receive nothing from us? 15 Euthyphro: Do you suppose, Socrates, that the gods are benefited by what they receive from us? Socrates: What could those gifts from us to the gods be, Euthyphro? Euthyphro: What else, do you think, than honor, reverence, and what I mentioned just now, to please them? Socrates: The pious is then, Euthyphro, pleasing to the gods, but not beneficial or dear to them? b Euthyphro: I think it is of all things most dear to them. Socrates: So the pious is once again what is dear to the gods. Euthyphro: Most certainly. Socrates: When you say this, will you be surprised if your arguments seem to move about instead of staying put? And will you accuse me of being Daedalus who makes them move, though you are yourself much more skillful than Daedalus and make them go around in a circle? Or do you not realize that our argument has moved around and come again to the same place? You surely remember that earlier the pious and the god-loved were shown not to be the same but different from each other. Or do you not remember? Euthyphro: I do. Socrates: Do you then not realize now that you are saying that what is dear to the gods is the pious? Is this not the same as the godloved? Or is it not? Euthyphro: It certainly is. c 20 d e 16 PLATO Socrates: Either we were wrong when we agreed before, or, if we were right then, we are wrong now. Euthyphro: That seems to be so. Socrates: So we must investigate again from the beginning what piety is, as I shall not willingly give up before I learn this. Do not think me unworthy, but concentrate your attention and tell the truth. For you know it, if any man does, and I must not let you go, like Proteus,13 before you tell me. If you had no clear knowledge of piety and impiety you would never have ventured to prosecute your old father for murder on behalf of a servant. For fear of the gods you would have been afraid to take the risk lest you should not be acting rightly, and would have been ashamed before men, but now I know well that you believe you have clear knowledge of piety and impiety. So tell me, my good Euthyphro, and do not hide what you think it is. Euthyphro: Some other time, Socrates, for I am in a hurry now, and it is time for me to go. Socrates: What a thing to do, my friend! By going you have cast me down from a great hope I had, that I would learn from you the nature of the pious and the impious and so escape Meletus’ indictment by showing him that I had acquired wisdom in divine matters from Euthyphro, and my ignorance would no longer cause me to be careless and inventive about such things, and that I would be better for the rest of my life. 13. In Greek mythology Proteus was a sort of old man of the sea, who could keep on changing his form and so escape being questioned. See Homer, Odyssey iv.382 ff. APOLOGY The Apology1 professes to be a record of the actual speech that Socrates delivered in his own defense at the trial. This claim makes the question of its historicity more acute than in the dialogues in which the conversations themselves are mostly fictional and the question of historicity is concerned only with how far the theories that Socrates is represented as expressing were those of the historical Socrates. Here, however, we are dealing with a speech that Socrates made as a matter of history. How far is Plato’s account accurate? We should always remember that the ancients did not expect historical accuracy in the way we do. On the other hand, Plato makes it clear that he was present at the trial (34a, 38b). Moreover, if, as is generally believed, the Apology was written not long after the event, many Athenians would remember the actual speech, and it would be a poor way to vindicate the Master, which is the obvious intent, to put a completely different speech into his mouth. Some liberties could no doubt be allowed, but the main arguments and the general tone of the defense must surely be faithful to the original. The beauty of language and style is certainly Plato’s, but the serene spiritual and moral beauty of character belongs to Socrates. It is a powerful combination. Athenian juries were very large, in this case 501, and they combined the duties of jury and judge as we know them by both convicting and sentencing. Obviously, it would have been virtually impossible for so large a body to discuss various penalties and decide on one. The problem was resolved rather neatly, however, by having the prosecutor, after conviction, assess the penalty he thought appropriate, followed by a counter-assessment by the defendant. The jury would then decide between the two. This procedure generally made for moderation on both sides. Thus the Apology is in three parts. The first and major part is the main speech (17a–35d), followed by the counter-assessment (35e–38b), 1. The word apology is a transliteration, not a translation, of the Greek apologia, which means defense. There is certainly nothing apologetic about the speech. 21 22 PLATO and finally, last words to the jury (38c–42a), both to those who voted for the death sentence and those who voted for acquittal. G.M.A.G. 17 b c d I do not know, men of Athens,2 how my accusers affected you; as for me, I was almost carried away in spite of myself, so persuasively did they speak. And yet, hardly anything of what they said is true. Of the many lies they told, one in particular surprised me, namely that you should be careful not to be deceived by an accomplished speaker like me. That they were not ashamed to be immediately proved wrong by the facts, when I show myself not to be an accomplished speaker at all, that I thought was most shameless on their part—unless indeed they call an accomplished speaker the man who speaks the truth. If they mean that, I would agree that I am an orator, but not after their manner, for indeed, as I say, practically nothing they said was true. From me you will hear the whole truth, though not, by Zeus, gentlemen, expressed in embroidered and stylized phrases like theirs, but things spoken at random and expressed in the first words that come to mind, for I put my trust in the justice of what I say, and let none of you expect anything else. It would not be fitting at my age, as it might be for a young man, to toy with words when I appear before you. One thing I do ask and beg of you, gentlemen: if you hear me making my defense in the same kind of language as I am accustomed to use in the marketplace by the bankers’ tables,3 where many of you have heard me, and elsewhere, do not be surprised or create a distur2. Jurors were selected by lot from all the male citizens thirty years of age or older who offered themselves on the given day for service. They thus functioned as representatives of the Athenian people and the Athenian democracy. In cases like Socrates’, they judged on behalf of the whole citizen body whether or not their interests had been undermined by the accused’s behavior. Hence Socrates can address them as if he were addressing the people of Athens at large, and in particular the partisans of the democracy against its oligarchic opponents (see, for example, 21a, 32d). Socrates addresses the jury as “men of Athens” rather than employing the usual mode of address, “gentlemen of the jury” (as Meletus does at 26d). At 40a he explains that only those who voted to acquit him deserved that honor. 3. The bankers or money-changers had their counters in the marketplace. It seems that this was a favorite place for gossip. APOLOGY 23 bance on that account. The position is this: This is my first appearance in a lawcourt, at the age of seventy; I am therefore simply a stranger to the manner of speaking here. Just as if I were really a stranger, you would certainly excuse me if I spoke in that dialect and manner in which I had been brought up, so too my present request seems a just one, for you to pay no attention to my manner of speech—be it better or worse—but to concentrate your attention on whether what I say is just or not, for the excellence of a judge lies in this, as that of a speaker lies in telling the truth. It is right for me, gentlemen, to defend myself first against the first lying accusations made against me and my first accusers, and then against the later accusations and the later accusers. There have been many who have accused me to you for many years now, and none of their accusations are true. These I fear much more than I fear Anytus and his friends, though they too are formidable. These earlier ones, however, are more so, gentlemen; they got hold of most of you from childhood, persuaded you and accused me quite falsely, saying that there is a man called Socrates, a wise man, a student of all things in the sky and below the earth, who makes the worse argument the stronger. Those who spread that rumor, gentlemen, are my dangerous accusers, for their hearers believe that those who study these things do not even believe in the gods. Moreover, these accusers are numerous, and have been at it a long time; also, they spoke to you at an age when you would most readily believe them, some of you being children and adolescents, and they won their case by default, as there was no defense. What is most absurd in all this is that one cannot even know or mention their names unless one of them is a writer of comedies.4 Those who maliciously and slanderously persuaded you—who also, when persuaded themselves then persuaded others—all those are most difficult to deal with: one cannot bring one of them into court or refute him; one must simply fight with shadows, as it were, in making one’s defense, and cross-examine when no one answers. I want you to realize too that my accusers are of two kinds: those who have accused me recently, and the old ones I mention; and to think that I must first defend myself against the latter, for you have also heard their accusations first, and to a much greater extent than the more recent. 4. This is Aristophanes. Socrates refers below (19c) to the character Socrates in his Clouds (225 ff.), first produced in 423 B.C. 18 b c d e 24 19 b c d e 20 PLATO Very well then, men of Athens. I must surely defend myself and attempt to uproot from your minds in so short a time the slander that has resided there so long. I wish this may happen, if it is in any way better for you and me, and that my defense may be successful, but I think this is very difficult and I am fully aware of how difficult it is. Even so, let the matter proceed as the god may wish, but I must obey the law and make my defense. Let us then take up the case from its beginning. What is the accusation from which arose the slander in which Meletus trusted when he wrote out the charge against me? What did they say when they slandered me? I must, as if they were my actual prosecutors, read the affidavit they would have sworn. It goes something like this: Socrates is guilty of wrongdoing in that he busies himself studying things in the sky and below the earth; he makes the worse into the stronger argument, and he teaches these same things to others. You have seen this yourself in the comedy of Aristophanes, a Socrates swinging about there, saying he was walking on air and talking a lot of other nonsense about things of which I know nothing at all. I do not speak in contempt of such knowledge, if someone is wise in these things—lest Meletus bring more cases against me—but, gentlemen, I have no part in it, and on this point I call upon the majority of you as witnesses. I think it right that all those of you who have heard me conversing, and many of you have, should tell each other if any one of you has ever heard me discussing such subjects to any extent at all. From this you will learn that the other things said about me by the majority are of the same kind. Not one of them is true. And if you have heard from anyone that I undertake to teach people and charge a fee for it, that is not true either. Yet I think it a fine thing to be able to teach people as Gorgias of Leontini does, and Prodicus of Ceos, and Hippias of Elis.5 Each of these men can go to any city and persuade the young, who can keep company with any one of their own fellow citizens they want without paying, to leave the company of these, to join with themselves, pay 5. These were all well-known Sophists. Gorgias, after whom Plato named one of his dialogues, was a celebrated rhetorician and teacher of rhetoric. He came to Athens in 427 B.C., and his rhetorical tricks took the city by storm. Two dialogues, the authenticity of which has been doubted, are named after Hippias, whose knowledge was encyclopedic. Prodicus was known for his insistence on the precise meaning of words. Both he and Hippias are characters in Protagoras (named after another famous Sophist). APOLOGY 25 them a fee, and be grateful to them besides. Indeed, I learned that there is another wise man from Paros who is visiting us, for I met a man who has spent more money on sophists than everybody else put together, Callias, the son of Hipponicus. So I asked him—he has two sons—“Callias,” I said, “if your sons were colts or calves, we could find and engage a supervisor for them who would make them excel in their proper qualities, some horse breeder or farmer. Now since they are men, whom do you have in mind to supervise them? Who is an expert in this kind of excellence, the human and social kind? I think you must have given thought to this since you have sons. Is there such a person,” I asked, “or is there not?” “Certainly there is,” he said. “Who is he?” I asked. “What is his name, where is he from? And what is his fee?” “His name, Socrates, is Evenus, he comes from Paros, and his fee is five minas.”6 I thought Evenus a happy man, if he really possesses this art, and teaches for so moderate a fee. Certainly I would pride and preen myself if I had this knowledge, but I do not have it, gentlemen. One of you might perhaps interrupt me and say: “But Socrates, what is your occupation? From where have these slanders come? For surely if you did not busy yourself with something out of the common, all these rumors and talk would not have arisen unless you did something other than most people. Tell us what it is, that we may not speak inadvisedly about you.” Anyone who says that seems to be right, and I will try to show you what has caused this reputation and slander. Listen then. Perhaps some of you will think I am jesting, but be sure that all that I shall say is true. What has caused my reputation is none other than a certain kind of wisdom. What kind of wisdom? Human wisdom, perhaps. It may be that I really possess this, while those whom I mentioned just now are wise with a wisdom more than human; else I cannot explain it, for I certainly do not possess it, and whoever says I do is lying and speaks to slander me. Do not create a disturbance, gentlemen, even if you think I am boasting, for the story I shall tell does not originate with me, but I will refer you to a trustworthy source. I shall call upon the god at Delphi as witness to the existence and nature of my wisdom, if it be such.7 You know Chaerephon. He was my friend from youth, and the friend of most of you, as he shared your exile and 6. A mina equaled 100 drachmas. In Socrates’ time one drachma was the daily wage of a day-laborer. So Evenus’ fee was a considerable sum. 7. The god Apollo had a very famous shrine at Delphi, where his oracles were delivered through the mouth of a priestess, the “Pythian.” b c d e 21 26 b c d e 22 PLATO your return. You surely know the kind of man he was, how impulsive in any course of action. He went to Delphi at one time and ventured to ask the oracle—as I say, gentlemen, do not create a disturbance— he asked if any man was wiser than I, and the Pythian replied that no one was wiser. Chaerephon is dead, but his brother will testify to you about this. Consider that I tell you this because I would inform you about the origin of the slander. When I heard of this reply I asked myself: “Whatever does the god mean? What is his riddle? I am very conscious that I am not wise at all; what then does he mean by saying that I am the wisest? For surely he does not lie; it is not legitimate for him to do so.” For a long time I was at a loss as to his meaning; then I very reluctantly turned to some such investigation as this; I went to one of those reputed wise, thinking that there, if anywhere, I could refute the oracle and say to it: “This man is wiser than I, but you said I was.” Then, when I examined this man—there is no need for me to tell you his name, he was one of our public men—my experience was something like this: I thought that he appeared wise to many people and especially to himself, but he was not. I then tried to show him that he thought himself wise, but that he was not. As a result he came to dislike me, and so did many of the bystanders. So I withdrew and thought to myself: “I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know.” After this I approached another man, one of those thought to be wiser than he, and I thought the same thing, and so I came to be disliked both by him and by many others. After that I proceeded systematically. I realized, to my sorrow and alarm, that I was getting unpopular, but I thought that I must attach the greatest importance to the god’s oracle, so I must go to all those who had any reputation for knowledge to examine its meaning. And by the dog,8 men of Athens—for I must tell you the truth—I experienced something like this: In my investigation in the service of the god I found that those who had the highest reputation were nearly the most deficient, while those who were thought to be inferior were more knowledgeable. I must give you an account of my journeyings as if they 8. A curious oath, occasionally used by Socrates, it appears in a longer form in Gorgias (482b) as “by the dog, the god of the Egyptians.” APOLOGY 27 were labors I had undertaken to prove the oracle irrefutable. After the politicians, I went to the poets, the writers of tragedies and dithyrambs and the others, intending in their case to catch myself being more ignorant than they. So I took up those poems with which they seemed to have taken most trouble and asked them what they meant, in order that I might at the same time learn something from them. I am ashamed to tell you the truth, gentlemen, but I must. Almost all the bystanders might have explained the poems better than their authors could. I soon realized that poets do not compose their poems with knowledge, but by some inborn talent and by inspiration, like seers and prophets who also say many fine things without any understanding of what they say. The poets seemed to me to have had a similar experience. At the same time I saw that, because of their poetry, they thought themselves very wise men in other respects, which they were not. So there again I withdrew, thinking that I had the same advantage over them as I had over the politicians. Finally I went to the craftsmen, for I was conscious of knowing practically nothing, and I knew that I would find that they had knowledge of many fine things. In this I was not mistaken; they knew things I did not know, and to that extent they were wiser than I. But, men of Athens, the good craftsmen seemed to me to have the same fault as the poets: each of them, because of his success at his craft, thought himself very wise in other most important pursuits, and this error of theirs overshadowed the wisdom they had, so that I asked myself, on behalf of the oracle, whether I should prefer to be as I am, with neither their wisdom nor their ignorance, or to have both. The answer I gave myself and the oracle was that it was to my advantage to be as I am. As a result of this investigation, men of Athens, I acquired much unpopularity, of a kind that is hard to deal with and is a heavy burden; many slanders came from these people and a reputation for wisdom, for in each case the bystanders thought that I myself possessed the wisdom that I proved that my interlocutor did not have. What is probable, gentlemen, is that in fact the god is wise and that his oracular response meant that human wisdom is worth little or nothing, and that when he says this man, Socrates, he is using my name as an example, as if he said: “This man among you, mortals, is wisest who, like Socrates, understands that his wisdom is worthless.” So even now I continue this investigation as the god bade me—and I go around seeking out anyone, citizen or stranger, whom I think wise. Then if I do not think he is, I come to the assistance of the god and show him that he is not wise. b c d e 23 b 28 c d e 24 b c PLATO Because of this occupation, I do not have the leisure to engage in public affairs to any extent, nor indeed to look after my own, but I live in great poverty because of my service to the god. Furthermore, the young men who follow me around of their own free will, those who have most leisure, the sons of the very rich, take pleasure in hearing people questioned; they themselves often imitate me and try to question others. I think they find an abundance of men who believe they have some knowledge but know little or nothing. The result is that those whom they question are angry, not with themselves but with me. They say: “That man Socrates is a pestilential fellow who corrupts the young.” If one asks them what he does and what he teaches to corrupt them, they are silent, as they do not know, but, so as not to appear at a loss, they mention those accusations that are available against all philosophers, about “things in the sky and things below the earth,” about “not believing in the gods” and “making the worse the stronger argument”; they would not want to tell the truth, I’m sure, that they have been proved to lay claim to knowledge when they know nothing. These people are ambitious, violent, and numerous; they are continually and convincingly talking about me; they have been filling your ears for a long time with vehement slanders against me. From them Meletus attacked me, and Anytus and Lycon, Meletus being vexed on behalf of the poets, Anytus on behalf of the craftsmen and the politicians, Lycon on behalf of the orators, so that, as I started out by saying, I should be surprised if I could rid you of so much slander in so short a time. That, men of Athens, is the truth for you. I have hidden or disguised nothing. I know well enough that this very conduct makes me unpopular, and this is proof that what I say is true, that such is the slander against me, and that such are its causes. If you look into this either now or later, this is what you will find. Let this suffice as a defense against the charges of my earlier accusers. After this I shall try to defend myself against Meletus, that good and patriotic man, as he says he is, and my later accusers. As these are a different lot of accusers, let us again take up their sworn deposition. It goes something like this: Socrates is guilty of corrupting the young and of not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other new spiritual things. Such is their charge. Let us examine it point by point. He says that I am guilty of corrupting the young, but I say that Meletus is guilty of dealing frivolously with serious matters, of irresponsibly bringing people into court, and of professing to be seriously con- APOLOGY 29 cerned with things about none of which he has ever cared, and I shall try to prove that this is so. Come here and tell me, Meletus. Surely you consider it of the greatest importance that our young men be as good as possible?9 — Indeed I do. Come then, tell these men who improves them. You obviously know, in view of your concern. You say you have discovered the one who corrupts them, namely me, and you bring me here and accuse me to these men. Come, inform these men and tell them who it is who improves them. You see, Meletus, that you are silent and know not what to say. Does this not seem shameful to you and a sufficient proof of what I say, that you have not been concerned with any of this? Tell me, my good sir, who improves our young men? — The laws. That is not what I am asking, but what person who has knowledge of the laws to begin with? — These jurymen, Socrates. How do you mean, Meletus? Are these able to educate the young and improve them? — Certainly. All of them, or some but not others? — All of them. Very good, by Hera. You mention a great abundance of benefactors. But what about the audience? Do they improve the young or not? — They do, too. What about the members of Council?10 — The Councillors, also. But, Meletus, what about the assembly? Do members of the assembly corrupt the young, or do they all improve them? — They improve them. All the Athenians, it seems, make the young into fine good men, except me, and I alone corrupt them. Is that what you mean? — That is most definitely what I mean. You condemn me to a great misfortune. Tell me: does this also apply to horses, do you think? That all men improve them and one individual corrupts them? Or is quite the contrary true, one individual is able to improve them, or very few, namely, the horse breeders, whereas the majority, if they have horses and use them, corrupt them? Is that not the case, Meletus, both with horses and all other animals? Of course 9. Socrates here drops into his usual method of discussion by question and answer. This, no doubt, is what Plato had in mind, at least in part, when he made him ask the indulgence of the jury if he spoke “in his usual manner.” 10. The Council was a body of 500 men, elected annually by lot, that prepared the agenda for meetings of the assembly and together with the magistrates conducted the public business of Athens. (On the assembly, see note to Euthyphro 3c.) d e 25 b 30 c d e 26 b c PLATO it is, whether you and Anytus say so or not. It would be a very happy state of affairs if only one person corrupted our youth, while the others improved them. You have made it sufficiently obvious, Meletus, that you have never had any concern for our youth; you show your indifference clearly; that you have given no thought to the subjects about which you bring me to trial. And by Zeus, Meletus, tell us also whether it is better for a man to live among good or wicked fellow citizens. Answer, my good man, for I am not asking a difficult question. Do not the wicked do some harm to those who are ever closest to them, whereas good people benefit them? — Certainly. And does the man exist who would rather be harmed than benefited by his associates? Answer, my good sir, for the law orders you to answer. Is there any man who wants to be harmed? — Of course not. Come now, do you accuse me here of corrupting the young and making them worse deliberately or unwillingly? — Deliberately. What follows, Meletus? Are you so much wiser at your age than I am at mine that you understand that wicked people always do some harm to their closest neighbors while good people do them good, but I have reached such a pitch of ignorance that I do not realize this, namely that if I make one of my associates wicked I run the risk of being harmed by him so that I do such a great evil deliberately, as you say? I do not believe you, Meletus, and I do not think anyone else will. Either I do not corrupt the young or, if I do, it is unwillingly, and you are lying in either case. Now if I corrupt them unwillingly, the law does not require you to bring people to court for such unwilling wrongdoings, but to get hold of them privately, to instruct them and exhort them; for clearly, if I learn better, I shall cease to do what I am doing unwillingly. You, however, have avoided my company and were unwilling to instruct me, but you bring me here, where the law requires one to bring those who are in need of punishment, not of instruction. And so, men of Athens, what I said is clearly true: Meletus has never been at all concerned with these matters. Nonetheless tell us, Meletus, how you say that I corrupt the young; or is it obvious from your deposition that it is by teaching them not to believe in the gods in whom the city believes but in other new spiritual things? Is this not what you say I teach and so corrupt them? — That is most certainly what I do say. Then by those very gods about whom we are talking, Meletus, make this clearer to me and to these men: I cannot be sure whether you APOLOGY 31 mean that I teach the belief that there are some gods—and therefore I myself believe that there are gods and am not altogether an atheist, nor am I guilty of that—not, however, the gods in whom the city believes, but others, and that this is the charge against me, that they are others. Or whether you mean that I do not believe in gods at all, and that this is what I teach to others. — This is what I mean, that you do not believe in gods at all. You are a strange fellow, Meletus. Why do you say this? Do I not believe, as other men do, that the sun and the moon are gods? — No, by Zeus, gentlemen of the jury, for he says that the sun is stone, and the moon earth. My dear Meletus, do you think you are prosecuting Anaxagoras? Are you so contemptuous of these men and think them so ignorant of letters as not to know that the books of Anaxagoras11 of Clazomenae are full of those theories, and further, that the young men learn from me what they can buy from time to time for a drachma, at most, in the bookshops, and ridicule Socrates if he pretends that these theories are his own, especially as they are so absurd? Is that, by Zeus, what you think of me, Meletus, that I do not believe that there are any gods? — That is what I say, that you do not believe in the gods at all. You cannot be believed, Meletus, even, I think, by yourself. The man appears to me, men of Athens, highly insolent and uncontrolled. He seems to have made this deposition out of insolence, violence, and youthful zeal. He is like one who composed a riddle and is trying it out: “Will the wise Socrates realize that I am jesting and contradicting myself, or shall I deceive him and others?” I think he contradicts himself in the affidavit, as if he said: “Socrates is guilty of not believing in gods but believing in gods,” and surely that is the part of a jester! Examine with me, gentlemen, how he appears to contradict himself, and you, Meletus, answer us. Remember, gentlemen, what I asked you when I began, not to create a disturbance if I proceed in my usual manner. Does any man, Meletus, believe in human activities who does not believe in humans? Make him answer, and not again and again create 11. Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, born about the beginning of the fifth century B.C., came to Athens as a young man and spent his time in the pursuit of natural philosophy. He claimed that the universe was directed by Nous (Mind) and that matter was indestructible but always combining in various ways. He left Athens after being prosecuted for impiety. d e 27 b 32 c d e 28 b PLATO a disturbance. Does any man who does not believe in horses believe in horsemen’s activities? Or in flute-playing activities but not in fluteplayers? No, my good sir, no man could. If you are not willing to answer, I will tell you and these men. Answer the next question, however. Does any man believe in spiritual activities who does not believe in spirits? — No one. Thank you for answering, if reluctantly, when these gentlemen made you. Now you say that I believe in spiritual things and teach about them, whether new or old, but at any rate spiritual things according to what you say, and to this you have sworn in your deposition. But if I believe in spiritual things I must quite inevitably believe in spirits. Is that not so? It is indeed. I shall assume that you agree, as you do not answer. Do we not believe spirits to be either gods or the children of gods? Yes or no? — Of course. Then since I do believe in spirits, as you admit, if spirits are gods, this is what I mean when I say you speak in riddles and in jest, as you state that I do not believe in gods and then again that I do, since I do believe in spirits. If, on the other hand, the spirits are children of the gods, bastard children of the gods by nymphs or some other mothers, as they are said to be, what man would believe children of the gods to exist, but not gods? That would be just as absurd as to believe the young of horses and asses, namely mules, to exist, but not to believe in the existence of horses and asses. You must have made this deposition, Meletus, either to test us or because you were at a loss to find any true wrongdoing of which to accuse me. There is no way in which you could persuade anyone of even small intelligence that it is possible for one and the same man to believe in spiritual but not also in divine things, and then again for that same man to believe neither in spirits nor in gods nor in heroes. I do not think, men of Athens, that it requires a prolonged defense to prove that I am not guilty of the charges in Meletus’ deposition, but this is sufficient. On the other hand, you know that what I said earlier is true, that I am very unpopular with many people. This will be my undoing, if I am undone, not Meletus or Anytus but the slanders and envy of many people. This has destroyed many other good men and will, I think, continue to do so. There is no danger that it will stop at me. Someone might say: “Are you not ashamed, Socrates, to have followed the kind of occupation that has led to your being now in danger of death?” However, I should be right to reply to him: “You are wrong, sir, if you think that a man who is any good at all should take into account the risk of life or death; he should look to this only in his APOLOGY 33 actions, whether what he does is right or wrong, whether he is acting like a good or a bad man.” According to your view, all the heroes who died at Troy were inferior people, especially the son of Thetis who was so contemptuous of danger compared with disgrace.12 When he was eager to kill Hector, his goddess mother warned him, as I believe, in some such words as these: “My child, if you avenge the death of your comrade, Patroclus, and you kill Hector, you will die yourself, for your death is to follow immediately after Hector’s.” Hearing this, he despised death and danger and was much more afraid to live a coward who did not avenge his friends. “Let me die at once,” he said, “when once I have given the wrongdoer his deserts, rather than remain here, a laughingstock by the curved ships, a burden upon the earth.” Do you think he gave thought to death and danger? This is the truth of the matter, men of Athens: wherever a man has taken a position that he believes to be best, or has been placed by his commander, there he must I think remain and face danger, without a thought for death or anything else, rather than disgrace. It would have been a dreadful way to behave, men of Athens, if, at Potidaea, Amphipolis, and Delium, I had, at the risk of death, like anyone else, remained at my post where those you had elected to command had ordered me, and then, when the god ordered me, as I thought and believed, to live the life of a philosopher, to examine myself and others, I had abandoned my post for fear of death or anything else. That would have been a dreadful thing, and then I might truly have justly been brought here for not believing that there are gods, disobeying the oracle, fearing death, and thinking I was wise when I was not. To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. It is perhaps on this point and in this respect, gentlemen, that I differ from the majority of men, and if I were to claim that I am wiser than anyone in anything, it would be in this, that, as I have no adequate knowledge of things in the underworld, so I do not think I have. I do know, however, that it is wicked and shameful to do wrong, to disobey one’s superior, be he god or man. I shall never fear or avoid things of which I do not know, whether they may not be good rather than things that 12. The scene between Thetis and Achilles is from the Iliad xviii.94 ff. c d e 29 b c 34 d e 30 b c PLATO I know to be bad. Even if you acquitted me now and did not believe Anytus, who said to you that either I should not have been brought here in the first place, or that now I am here, you cannot avoid executing me, for if I should be acquitted, your sons would practice the teachings of Socrates and all be thoroughly corrupted; if you said to me in this regard: “Socrates, we do not believe Anytus now; we acquit you, but only on condition that you spend no more time on this investigation and do not practice philosophy, and if you are caught doing so you will die”; if, as I say, you were to acquit me on those terms, I would say to you: “Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: ‘Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul?’ Then, if one of you disputes this and says he does care, I shall not let him go at once or leave him, but I shall question him, examine him, and test him, and if I do not think he has attained the goodness that he says he has, I shall reproach him because he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things. I shall treat in this way anyone I happen to meet, young and old, citizen and stranger, and more so the citizens because you are more kindred to me. Be sure that this is what the god orders me to do, and I think there is no greater blessing for the city than my service to the god. For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul, as I say to you: Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men, both individually and collectively.”13 Now if by saying this I corrupt the young, this advice must be harmful, but if anyone says that I give different advice, he is talking nonsense. On this point I would say to you, men of Athens: “Whether you believe Anytus or not, whether you acquit me or not, do so on the understanding that this is my course of action, even if I am to face 13. Alternatively, this sentence could be translated: “Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence brings about wealth and all other public and private blessings for men.” APOLOGY 35 death many times.” Do not create a disturbance, gentlemen, but abide by my request not to cry out at what I say but to listen, for I think it will be to your advantage to listen, and I am about to say other things at which you will perhaps cry out. By no means do this. Be sure that if you kill the sort of man I say I am, you will not harm me more than yourselves. Neither Meletus nor Anytus can harm me in any way; he could not harm me, for I do not think it is permitted that a better man be harmed by a worse; certainly he might kill me, or perhaps banish or disfranchise me, which he and maybe others think to be great harm, but I do not think so. I think he is doing himself much greater harm doing what he is doing now, attempting to have a man executed unjustly. Indeed, men of Athens, I am far from making a defense now on my own behalf, as might be thought, but on yours, to prevent you from wrongdoing by mistreating the god’s gift to you by condemning me; for if you kill me you will not easily find another like me. I was attached to this city by the god—though it seems a ridiculous thing to say—as upon a great and noble horse which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly. It is to fulfill some such function that I believe the god has placed me in the city. I never cease to rouse each and every one of you, to persuade and reproach you all day long and everywhere I find myself in your company. Another such man will not easily come to be among you, gentlemen, and if you believe me you will spare me. You might easily be annoyed with me as people are when they are aroused from a doze, and strike out at me; if convinced by Anytus you could easily kill me, and then you could sleep on for the rest of your days, unless the god, in his care for you, sent you someone else. That I am the kind of person to be a gift of the god to the city you might realize from the fact that it does not seem like human nature for me to have neglected all my own affairs and to have tolerated this neglect now for so many years while I was always concerned with you, approaching each one of you like a father or an elder brother to persuade you to care for virtue. Now if I profited from this by charging a fee for my advice, there would be some sense to it, but you can see for yourselves that, for all their shameless accusations, my accusers have not been able in their impudence to bring forward a witness to say that I have ever received a fee or ever asked for one. I, on the other hand, have a convincing witness that I speak the truth, my poverty. It may seem strange that while I go around and give this advice privately and interfere in private affairs, I do not venture to go to the assembly and there advise the city. You have heard me give the reason d e 31 b c 36 d e 32 b c PLATO for this in many places. I have a divine or spiritual sign which Meletus has ridiculed in his deposition. This began when I was a child. It is a voice, and whenever it speaks it turns me away from something I am about to do, but it never encourages me to do anything. This is what has prevented me from taking part in public affairs, and I think it was quite right to prevent me. Be sure, men of Athens, that if I had long ago attempted to take part in politics, I should have died long ago, and benefited neither you nor myself. Do not be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many unjust and illegal happenings in the city. A man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time. I shall give you great proofs of this, not words but what you esteem, deeds. Listen to what happened to me, that you may know that I will not yield to any man contrary to what is right, for fear of death, even if I should die at once for not yielding. The things I shall tell you are commonplace and smack of the lawcourts, but they are true. I have never held any other office in the city, but I served as a member of the Council, and our tribe Antiochis was presiding at the time when you wanted to try as a body the ten generals who had failed to pick up the survivors of the naval battle.14 This was illegal, as you all recognized later. I was the only member of the presiding committee to oppose your doing something contrary to the laws, and I voted against it. The orators were ready to prosecute me and take me away, and your shouts were egging them on, but I thought I should run any risk on the side of law and justice rather than join you, for fear of prison or death, when you were engaged in an unjust course. This happened when the city was still a democracy. When the oligarchy was established, the Thirty15 summoned me to the Hall, along 14. This was the battle of Arginusae (south of Lesbos) in 406 B.C., the last Athenian victory of the war. A violent storm prevented the Athenian generals from rescuing their survivors. For this they were tried in Athens and sentenced to death by the assembly. They were tried in a body, and it is this to which Socrates objected in the Council’s presiding committee which prepared the business of the assembly. He obstinately persisted in his opposition, in which he stood alone, and was overruled by the majority. Six generals who were in Athens were executed. 15. This was the harsh oligarchy that was set up after the final defeat of Athens by Sparta in the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C. and that ruled Athens for some nine months in 404–3 before the democracy was restored. APOLOGY 37 with four others, and ordered us to bring Leon from Salamis, that he might be executed. They gave many such orders to many people, in order to implicate as many as possible in their guilt. Then I showed again, not in words but in action, that, if it were not rather vulgar to say so, death is something I couldn’t care less about, but that my whole concern is not to do anything unjust or impious. That government, powerful as it was, did not frighten me into any wrongdoing. When we left the Hall, the other four went to Salamis and brought in Leon, but I went home. I might have been put to death for this, had not the government fallen shortly afterwards. There are many who will witness to these events. Do you think I would have survived all these years if I were engaged in public affairs and, acting as a good man must, came to the help of justice and considered this the most important thing? Far from it, men of Athens, nor would any other man. Throughout my life, in any public activity I may have engaged in, I am the same man as I am in private life. I have never come to an agreement with anyone to act unjustly, neither with anyone else nor with any one of those who they slanderously say are my pupils. I have never been anyone’s teacher. If anyone, young or old, desires to listen to me when I am talking and dealing with my own concerns, I have never begrudged this to anyone, but I do not converse when I receive a fee and not when I do not. I am equally ready to question the rich and the poor if anyone is willing to answer my questions and listen to what I say. And I cannot justly be held responsible for the good or bad conduct of these people, as I never promised to teach them anything and have not done so. If anyone says that he has learned anything from me, or that he heard anything privately that the others did not hear, be assured that he is not telling the truth. Why then do some people enjoy spending considerable time in my company? You have heard why, men of Athens; I have told you the whole truth. They enjoy hearing those being questioned who think they are wise, but are not. And this is not unpleasant. To do this has, as I say, been enjoined upon me by the god, by means of oracles and dreams, and in every other way that a divine manifestation has ever ordered a man to do anything. This is true, gentlemen, and can easily be established. If I corrupt some young men and have corrupted others, then surely some of them who have grown older and realized that I gave them bad advice when they were young should now themselves come up here to accuse me and avenge themselves. If they were unwilling to do so themselves, then some of their kindred, their fathers or brothers or d e 33 b c d 38 e 34 b c d e 35 PLATO other relations should recall it now if their family had been harmed by me. I see many of these present here, first Crito, my contemporary and fellow demesman, the father of Critobulus here; next Lysanias of Sphettus, the father of Aeschines here; also Antiphon the Cephisian, the father of Epigenes; and others whose brothers spent their time in this way; Nicostratus, the son of Theozotides, brother of Theodotus, and Theodotus has died so he could not influence him; Paralius here, son of Demodocus, whose brother was Theages; there is Adeimantus, son of Ariston, brother of Plato here; Aeantodorus, brother of Apollodorus here. I could mention many others, some one of whom surely Meletus should have brought in as witness in his own speech. If he forgot to do so, then let him do it now; I will yield time if he has anything of the kind to say. You will find quite the contrary, gentlemen. These men are all ready to come to the help of the corruptor, the man who has harmed their kindred, as Meletus and Anytus say. Now those who were corrupted might well have reason to help me, but the uncorrupted, their kindred who are older men, have no reason to help me except the right and proper one, that they know that Meletus is lying and that I am telling the truth. Very well, gentlemen. This, and maybe other similar things, is what I have to say in my defense. Perhaps one of you might be angry as he recalls that when he himself stood trial on a less dangerous charge, he begged and implored the jurymen with many tears, that he brought his children and many of his friends and family into court to arouse as much pity as he could, but that I do none of these things, even though I may seem to be running the ultimate risk. Thinking of this, he might feel resentful towards me and, angry about this, cast his vote in anger. If there is such a one among you—I do not deem there is, but if there is—I think it would be right to say in reply: My good sir, I too have a household and, in Homer’s phrase, I am not born “from oak or rock” but from men, so that I have a family, indeed three sons, men of Athens, of whom one is an adolescent while two are children. Nevertheless, I will not beg you to acquit me by bringing them here. Why do I do none of these things? Not through arrogance, gentlemen, nor through lack of respect for you. Whether I am brave in the face of death is another matter, but with regard to my reputation and yours and that of the whole city, it does not seem right to me to do these things, especially at my age and with my reputation. For it is generally believed, whether it be true or false, that in certain respects Socrates is APOLOGY 39 superior to the majority of men. Now if those of you who are considered superior, be it in wisdom or courage or whatever other virtue makes them so, are seen behaving like that, it would be a disgrace. Yet I have often seen them do this sort of thing when standing trial, men who are thought to be somebody, doing amazing things as if they thought it a terrible thing to die, and as if they were to be immortal if you did not execute them. I think these men bring shame upon the city so that a stranger, too, would assume that those who are outstanding in virtue among the Athenians, whom they themselves select from themselves to fill offices of state and receive other honors, are in no way better than women. You should not act like that, men of Athens, those of you who have any reputation at all, and if we do, you should not allow it. You should make it very clear that you will more readily convict a man who performs these pitiful dramatics in court and so makes the city a laughingstock, than a man who keeps quiet. Quite apart from the question of reputation, gentlemen, I do not think it right to supplicate the jury and to be acquitted because of this, but to teach and persuade them. It is not the purpose of a juryman’s office to give justice as a favor to whoever seems good to him, but to judge according to law, and this he has sworn to do. We should not accustom you to perjure yourselves, nor should you make a habit of it. This is irreverent conduct for either of us. Do not deem it right for me, men of Athens, that I should act towards you in a way that I do not consider to be good or just or pious, especially, by Zeus, as I am being prosecuted by Meletus here for impiety; clearly, if I convinced you by my supplication to do violence to your oath of office, I would be teaching you not to believe that there are gods, and my defense would convict me of not believing in them. This is far from being the case, gentlemen, for I do believe in them as none of my accusers do. I leave it to you and the god to judge me in the way that will be best for me and for you. b c d [The jury now gives its verdict of guilty, and Meletus asks for the penalty of death.] There are many other reasons for my not being angry with you for convicting me, m...
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The Nature of God and Man
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Every generation has had the same question about God, man as well as human destiny,
but the way each of them is defined is different. It is worth noting that questions revolving
around the nature of God and man started a long time ago because even Prophets and priests of
Hebrew Bible wrestled with the same concerns as does the current theologians. Every individual,
regardless of their religious or irreligious faith, develops these fundamental questions about the
nature of God and man. Different philosophers have reflected more on this issue and tried to
explain it to the people. This paper is made to compare and contrast two philosophers concerning
the nature of God and how we could come to know this nature, as well as two philosophers
regarding the nature of human beings.
Nature of God and how we could come to know this nature
Plato was a well-known philosopher in Classical Greece. He is recognized as the most
significant founding figures as far as Western philosophy is concerned. This philosopher played
a tremendous role in explaining the nature of God and how we could come to know of this
nature. Plato defines God as the highest as well as the perfect being, and one who utilizes
archetypes or eternal forms as the means to shape a universe that is eternal and also uncreated.
Again, Plato argues that the purpose and order that God grants the world is to a great extent
limited by the imperfections inherent in the material. According to Plato, God is not the author of
everything, primarily because some things happen to be evil. However, God is the author of the
punishments directed towards the wicked because tho...

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