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POL200 sep 20

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Mark Lippincott

POL200 September 20 th The Trial and Death of Socrates Euthyphro - we always run out of time: what Plato wants you to feel - people that give us answers do not know what they are talking about Trial - accusing Socrates in not believing in the official Gods of Athens and corrupting the young - what Plato thinks of Socrates – the dialogue - Socrates’ first time in court – 2 charges o Formal: Meletus o Old Accusers: reputation of Socrates  make weaker arguments weak and stronger arguments strong  gossip about who Socrates is and what he does - it is important to him to represent himself to the jury, not hire a speech writer o finally see the person everyone has been talking about, hear not only him, but how he does things, what he does – be clear – change the misconceptions about who he is and what he does - question: is anyone wiser than Socrates? – NO - the Gods as we know, do not speak straightforwardly o we must investigate this “NO” – how is he the wisest of all humans? - go to the people with the greatest reputation for wisdom o found out that they knew nothing - came to the following conclusions about the answers o 2 main possibilities:  1. human knowledge is worthless • no one said Socrates was wise, just that he was wiser, so we could all be stupid - who directed you towards what is good and evil? o how do you know they are telling you anything worthwhile o method by which you can strip away nonsense (presumed knowledge) o he knows what he knows, and he knows he doesn’t know things - never had students, never charged fees – came to conclusions with his formal surveys/investigations, all he did was spend his life talking to whomever whenever to talk about important things - dedicated his life to try to wake up Athenians - Plato sees Socrates as a beginning of a new form of knowledge - what separates Socrates from everyone else is that he can start from scratch to eliminate the presumed knowledge - no one intentionally harms people he is with all the time – unintentionally – not illegal – should be instruction o don’t ask people to follow him around – free will o they imitate him and start questioning people - what he believes has annoyed people is his following and his reputation - he believes he performs a service to Athens o sees it as a strong but lazy force o calls himself the gadfly – annoying o comes to wake Athens – not think this, not follow me, not bound to that – but simply WAKE UP – to the possibilities of your own life  dream-walking due to presumed knowledge  each of you will wake up differently – what do you really know? - if you don’t wake up and examine your presumed knowledge, you will succumb to it and it will be your downfall - doesn’t tell you what to think, but what to examine o
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