Class Notes (806,718)
Canada (492,422)
POL2107 (107)
Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - The Apology

5 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Ottawa
Political Science
Sophie Bourgault

Sept. 19, 2013  431-404: Peloponnesian War  427: Plato was born  411: Oligarchic revolution (rule of “The 400”)  404: Oligarchic revolution (rule of the 30 Tyrants  one of them is Plato’s uncle)  399: Trial and death of Socrates The “Socratic problem” and the trauma of Socrates’ death  Xenophone – paints Socrates as a pious man Plato paints Socrates as an atheist  Various accounts of what he was like -Socrates’ dialogue in some pieces contradict Socrates’ dialogue in other works  Plato was at the trial  Socrates is the most influential figure in Western thought  Many have compared his story to that of Jesus (impact on the Western world, traumatic deaths, etc.) Dedicated to their causes, both extremely virtuous, developed a new way of thinking/set of principles.  The events surrounding Socrates forever changed the development of the Western world  Genuinely cared about the good, the truth, and the well-being of Athens  Killed by the very city he cares so much about  His trial and execution took place in a democratic regime  We don’t like to think of democracies as executing critical thinkers  Influenced the US Constitution – why a radical constitution would be wrong The old accusations and the new ones -Socrates’ rebuttal: convincing?  Indicted by 3 specific individuals – no public prosecutor – up to private citizens to bring charges against people and serve as lawyers.  This is why rhetoric was so important – in case they needed to defend their own case in the courts  Melatus, Glaucon…  Socrates wants to start with the old accusations first – “fighting shadows”  Not the reason why he’s in court, but will affect the outcome of the jury  He thinks they are more problematic because (Aristophanes’ play with accusations – false picture of Socrates) give false prejudice – rumors which many juror members have heard: p. 22 a student of all things in the sky and below the earth; someone who makes the worst argument the stronger. Socrates rejects both as false  Socrates is a natural philosophers (studies the elements) – threatening because it’s impious; considered dangerous because they denied the Gods as causes for plagues, storms, etc. Goes against the word of priests. Natural philosophy was equated with hubris; an excessive faith in the power of reason. Athens will be punished for its hubris. Equated with atheism. Natural philosophy is pre-Socratic.  Socrates is considered by many to be the first philosopher; founder of political philosophy  Cicero – ancient philosophy before Socrates dealt with number…celestial matters. …Socrates brought philosophy down from the sky and brought it into homes; questions morals, good, and evil.  Who’s right? Aristophanes or Cicero? Textual or historical evidence – most accounts of Socrates that we have claim Socrates was not a natural philosopher. Cared more about good and evil than the elements.  Socrates denies the charges p.23.  Socrates makes the weaker argument the stronger; he’s using sophistry. Presenting something that is wrong as something true; sophist. Playing with words, being clever, being a moral relativist. Sophists – travelling rhetoric teachers. Plato did not consider them thinkers, they simply had good tricks. In it for the power and money. Twist words to win arguments. People did not like the sophist, but would pay them to learn rhetoric skills – defend oneself in court, avoid being humiliated, build your reputation, etc.  Plato accuses the sophists of not giving a damn about truth and justice – all that mattered to them was that their speech would be well-received in council and power/money. Associated with corruption and selfishness  How does Socrates refute the charge of Sophistry? -Says he never took money or ask for money or anything. Sophist never taught for free. Never asked for anything in return. My poverty is proof that I’m not a sophist. Relatively poor. -Always cared for his interlocutor’s soul – only concerned with making them good men. P. 24 – one of Socrates’ friend goes to the temple to ask if there is anyone wiser than Socrates. He decides to test it to know if it’s true, if so, what does being the wisest man mean? Starts asking people questions – different social groups, occupations, reaches different conclusions. First, to the politicians – distinguished public men. Men with the highest reputation to see if they truly have knowledge. They have none – and worse, those with the greatest reputation for critical thinking are the most ignorant. Not enough to just establish that these men did not know more than he did, he tells them they’re ignorant.  Second group…knowledge based on divine inspiration. Thirdly, craftsmen, do have knowledge – they know things he doesn’t know. He gives more credit to the commoners than those in power. Those considered inferior were more knowledgeable.  Considered a democratic man because he talks with commoners, people other than the rich, and recognizes their wisdom.  Socrates claims to be the wisest because he “knows that I kno
More Less

Related notes for POL2107

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.