Essay: The role a philosophical attitude plays in a life that is intelligently and morally lived?


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Write a short philosophical essay on the following topic: What role should a philosophical attitude play in a life that is intelligently and morally lived?

In developing your account, you must use arguments and ideas found in at least three of the readings from this section of the course (Plato’s dialogues Euthyphro, Apology, Crito). In drawing on Plato, it is not sufficient merely to mention a dialogue; rather, you should explain one of Socrates’ arguments and/or show how his actions manifest a philosophical attitude.

I attached plato three readings that you must use all

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APOLOGY b cord of the actual speech that The Apolo~' prof~ss~. to e ~;ense at the trial. This makes the Socrates delivere~ m_ _,sown t than in the dialogues in which tiOn of its h1stonc1ty more acu e d h ques • th Ives are mostly fictional an t e question of the conversations emse h h · th t S · . . • zs• concemed Only with how far t e• t eones a ocrates is hzstonczty • l S -ing were those of the h,stonca ocrates. Here ' represen ted as exPr.,.,., d however, we are dealing with a speech that Socrates ma e as a matter of history. How far is Plato's account accura!e? ':Ve should alw_ays remember that the ancients did not expect hzstoncal accuracy m 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. At?enian iuries_ were very large, in this case 501, and they com~zn~d the duties of iury and judge as we know them by both ~onvzc~ng 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 pros~cutor, after conviction, assess the penaity he th;ught ~ppropnate, followed by a counter-assessment by th d £ d t Th 7ury would then decide be . e e,en an . e th e two. Thzs procedure generally made ,,1'0 r modera ti'on on botwhee~ t sides. Thus the Apology is in three Parts Th . . main speech (17a-35d) fi fl · e first and ma7or part zs the and finally, last words ;0 ;heo~:d by the counter-assessment (35e-38b), for the death sentence and t/ ry (iBc-42a), both to those who voted ose w O voted for acquittal. • I l 17 I do not know men of Ath zh ' ens, ow my ffi c me, I was almost carried a . . accusers a ected you; as 1or 10 . way spite of myself, so persuasively did 1. !he word apology is a transliteration which means defense. There is certaini n~t a ~anslation, of the Creek apologia, 2. Jurors were selected by I0 t fr Y 0th1 ng apologetic about the speech. old h ff, om all the J · • er w o o ered themselves on th . ma e citizens thirty years of age or e given day fi . . d or service. They thus funchone 20 APOLOGY 21 they sp~ak. And yet, hardly anything of what they said is true. Of the many hes 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 J 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 disturbance on that- account. The position is this: this is my first appearance in a Iawcourt, 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 w~uld certainly excuse me if I spoke in that dialect and manne~ m which I had been brought up, so too my present request se~ms a Just one, for you to pay no attention to my manner of speech- be 1t be~i: _or worse but to concentrate your attention on whether what I say 1s Just 0 ~ n~t, for the excellence of a judge lies in this, as that of a speaker hes m telling the. truth. · th fi ·It is right for me, gentlemen, to defend myself first agamst de hrst . • t me an d my first accusers, an t en lying accusations ma d e agams ---------:---:--:---:-.--:-=-;le and the Athenian democracy. In cases as representatives of the Athenian:~?f th whole citizen body whether or not like Socrates', they judged on b~ ad: the ccused's behavior. Hence Socrates 1 their interests had bee_n under!l1 :~dre~sine ~he people of Athens at large, and can address them as if he wef feh d gcy against its oligarchic opponents . , . I th artisans o t e emocra f Ath " m part1cu ar e P S 't ddresses the jury as "men o ens (see_, for example, 21a, 32d). olcra eds aofaddress "gentlemen of the jury" (as I · the usua mo e ' · rather than emp oymg h ·ns that only those who voted to acquit Meletus does at 26d). At 4oa e exp1ai him deserved that honor. h d their counters in th~ marketplace. It 3 The bankers or money-changers 8 · s~ems that this was a favorite place for gossip. b C d 18 PLAT'o b C d e 19 b 22 . d the later accusers. There have be ccusat10ns an en I against the ater a d t you for many years now, and none f accuse me o h Ir o many who have Th e I fear much more t an 1ear An\/f... . ti are true. es . , •us theH accusa ons h th too are formidable. These earlier on and his friends, th oug ~~men; they got hold of most of you froes, however are more so, gen d .t f: I I rn h'ldh 00'd persuaded you and accuse me qm e a se y, saying that c1 . ' II d Socrates a wise man, a student of all things • there 1s a man ca e ' in the sky and below the earth, who makes the worse argument the stronger. Those who spread ~at rumor, gentlemen, are my dangerous accusers, for their hearers believe that those who study these things do not even believe in_ the gods. ~oreover, these accusers are numerous, and have been at 1t a lo~g bm~; also, they spoke to you at an age when you would most readily believe them, some of you being childr and adolescents, and they won their case by default, as there w:~ no defense. What is most absurd in all this is that one cannot even k · th · now or mention eir names un1ess one of them is a writer of corned· 4 Th who maliciously and slanderously persuaded you - wh Iles. hose o a so, w en d d th persua e emseIves then persuaded others all th c It tO d 1 ·th ose are most diffi u ea WI : one cannot bring one of th · him; one must simply fight with shad .em mt~ court _or refute defense and cross-exam· h ows, as It were, m makmg one's ' me w en no one an I too that my accusers are of tw k' swers. want you to realize O nd th0 recently, and the old I '. s: se who have accused me d£ d ones mention· and t0 th. k h e en myselfagainstthe I tt fi ' m t at I must first first, and to a much grea/ er, or you have also heard their accusations Very we II then, men of er extent than th Ath e more recent. attemp~ to uproot from your .ends .. I must surely defend myself and has resided th mm s in so sh t · b ere so long I · h h· or a hme the slander that etter for you a d . w1s t IS may ha 'f . think th· . n me, and that m d , ppen, I It is in any way 1s 1s very d'ffi Y erense m b I I Even so let th cu It and I am fi II ay e successful, but the law ~nd \matter proceed as th u Ydaware of how difficult it is. Let us the:: { my defense. ego may wish, but I must obey tion from wh· ha e up the case from I·ts b . ic arose ti eg1 · wrote out the ch le slander in h' hnnmg. What is the accusa? arge ag · w 1c M 1 me. I must, as if th amst me? What d. d th e etus trusted when he they would have sw ey Were my actual I ey say when they slandered orn. It goes someth·prosl~cutors, read the affidavit 4. Tu· 1· . ing 1ke th Is: · Socrates 1s . gmlty · . h is s Anstoph in · C/ anes S is ouds (22 5 ff ) .fi ocrates refers b I . ' rst prod e ow (I 9c) t h Uced in 423 ° t e character Socrates B.c. APOLOGY 23 of lwrongdoing · th'mgs m · th e sky an d th hin hthat he busies himself studymg be ow e eart ; e makes the worse into the stronger argument and he teaches these s~me things to others. You have seen this yours~lf in the comedy. of Anst?phanes, a Socrates swinging about there, saying he wa~ walkmg on au ~nd talking a lot of other nonsense about things of which I ~now nothmg at all. I do not speak in contempt of such knowledg_e, if someone is wise in these things-lest Meletus bring more cases agamst 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 011e 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 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 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). C d e 20 b PLATO 24 C d e 21 b C . ,, th h E . happy man, if he really possesses this art mmas 6 I oug t venus a Id 'd , · h c oderate a fee Certainly I wou pn e and preen an d teac es 1or so m · · 1 myself if I had this knowledge, but I do not have I~, gent emen. One of you might perhaps interrupt me and say: But So~rates, what · - 7 From where have these slanders come. For surely 1s your occupa11on. . if you did not busy yourself with something out of the ~ommon, 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 s~ys that s~ems to be nght, 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 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 disturbancehe 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 mea n.7 What 1s· h'1s n'ddl e? I am very conscious that I ~m not wise at all; what then does he mean by saying that I am the wisest? For surely he does not lie·, it 1·s not leg1·t·1mate 1or c h 1m · to do so. " . For a long hme I was_at a l?ss ~s to his meaning; then I very reluctantly tu_medtht_o ks?me hsuch mveshgahon as this; I went to one of those reputed m mg t at. there twise, ·t 'Th' . ' if anywhere, I couId refute the oracle and say oI: is man is wiser than I, but you said I was." Then, when I 6. A mina equaled 100 drachmas I S , . wage of a day-laborer S E ·, en ocrates time one drachma was the daily . o venus ree was a considerable sum 7. The god Apollo had a very famous shrine at D 1 . .. delivered through the th f . e phi, where his oracles were mou o a priestess, the "Pythian." APOLOGY . d I. 25 exam me t m man -there i was one of our public m s no need f?r me to tell you his numc, he 1 I thought that he ·ippe e'. 1~Y expenence was somcl'hing like this: himself but he wa: tarelc lw1se to many people and cspcci11lly to ' ' no · t 1en tried to h 1· 1 I 1 1 himself wise but tt1 t h . s ow mn t iat 1c t 10ug 11' 'd ' f a e w,1s not. As a result he came to dislike rne d anc · myself:' 1 and thought to "I 1so d•I many h oh't11e bystande ' rs. 0 I wit• hcrew am wiser . . t an t 1s man· ' , it 1·s )'k 1 eIy th at ne1t. her of us knows anyth111g worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, wherea~ when I do not ~now, 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 e 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 22 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 were labors I had undertaken to prove the oracle irrefutable. After the politicians, l b 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 t~ken most trouble and asked them what they meant, in order th,1t I might at the same time learn something from them. I am ashamed to tel_! you the truth gentlemen, but I must. Almost all the bystanders might l~ave C expl; ined the poems better than their ;n1!l10rs could. I soon realized that poets do not compose their poems with knowledge, some inborn talent and by inspiration, like seers and prophets w,.o, u so say fi . things without' any understanding of what tl1ey suy. I he _poet~ many ne I I similar experience. At the same time seemed to me to have 1~' a the thou ht themselves very wise saw that, because of the•~ hotry, ynot. there again l withdrew, men in other respects, wh,c dt1 twereover them as I had over the poli• thinking that I had the same a v,in age ticians. ft for I was conscious of knowing Finally I went to the era smen, I s bt b~ ? s~ - - - - - - --.. ~11--;-:Iby Socrates, it appears in o longer form • th occas1 ona Y usec , ." 8. A curious oa , th god of the U:gypt111118 1 th in Gorgias (482h) as "by e 'og, e PLATO 26 d e 23 b C d e . knew that I would find that they had know]. 1 th' was not mistaken; they knew things practically nothing, a_nd 1 I edge of many fine tm~ t~~t they were wiser than I. But, men of I did not know, an to a ex d to me to have the same fault as Athens the good craftsmen seeme h· ft ' h f th because of his success at 1s era , thought the poets: eac o em, · d th· . If · · ther most important pursmts, an 1s error of h1mse very wise m o · overs hadowed the wisdom they had, so that I asked myself, on . th eus 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 b~ as I am. As a result of this investigation, men of Athens, I acqmred 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 i~~estigation 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 wi;e. Beca_use o~ this occupation, I do not have the leisure to engage in ~ubhc affaus to any extent, nor indeed to look after my own, but I live m great poverty because of my service to the god. fr Fur:t;e;iore, the young men who follow me around of their own ee wi ' . ose ~ho have most leisure, the sons of the very rich take Pleasure m hearmg peopl ' . e ques ti. one d; they themselves often imitate me an d try to question oth I th· k h who believe th h erks. m t ey find an abundance of men ey ave some now! d b k . . result is that those whom the e .ge ut now 11ttle or nothing. The but with me. They sa . "Th YqueSti on are angry, not with themselves corrupts the young" Iyf.o atkmahn Socrates is a pestilential fellow who · ne as s t em h t h d to corrupt them they are .1 t hw a e oes and what he teaches , s1en as t e d k appear at a loss, they mention th' Y ~ not now, but, so as not to all philosophers, about "th" ?se ahccusahons that are available against about " not believing in themgsdm,, t edsky and th·mgs below the earth ," go s an " k" argument"; they would not t ma mg the worse the stronger have been proved to lay clai;at kto tell the t ...
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The Role of a Philosophical Attitude in a Moral and Intelligent Life
What is philosophical attitude, and for what good would it be for an individual seeking
to live a moral and intelligent life? These are prompts that initiate an intense level of thinking
and imagination as one tries to develop a sense of wonder or curiosity for with which to
provide answers not only to these questions, but also to many other challenges that emerge in
different points in life. It is imperative that a society is made up of people who comprehend
the meaning that their processes of articulating perspectives have in life, along with ultimate
contributions that these articulations have on their insights toward better understandings,
since it is only then that life would be termed moral and intelligent. This is what
philosophical attitude is about (Sorley, 143). In this paper I will discuss the role that
philosophical attitude should play in a moral and intelligent life.
Morality and intelligence are some of the most important themes in life. Ranging from
political practices to religious or legal settings, morality and intelligence are themes that are
given much weight; they are ultimately primary to many practices in life, on which many
quests or desires in life are based. Therefore, imagine the state of mind that only sieves good
judgments from all the dirt of the world, and directs choices and actions based on these
‘good’ judgements. Personally, I think having such an attitude is essential to living a moral
and intelligent life. This notion that this paragraph has portrayed in the previous statements
describe what philosophical attitude ...

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