The Trial and Death of Socrates (What is Philosophy)
Normal ways of finding out don‟t work
o Etymology, dictionary definitions
Part of the problem is that the nature of philosophy is itself a philosophical
o Part of ‘metaphilosophy’
Instead, look at what „philosophy‟ covers:
o Its character
o Its relation to other disciplines, etc.
Philosophy can be set apart from other endeavors by the fundamental or
foundational character of the question it asks (and sometimes answers)
o What is the point of existence
o What sorts of things exist
But that‟s not enough, other activities also claim to be fundamental in the same
o ie: religion
How should you act, what does it all mean
What sets philosophy apart is its use of and its appeal to reason
o Specifically to reasoned argument
o Philosophy will try to give reason and arguments (differ from religion)
“It‟s not the destination, it‟s the journey”
o Philosophers, live to think their way to the destination
Excerpt from the Trial and Death of Socrates
o Socrates is in prison awaiting execution, and Crito has been trying to talk
him into escaping:
SOCRATES: We must therefore examine whether we should act in this way or not, as
not only now but at all times I am the kind of man who listens to nothing within me but
the argument that on reflection seems best to me…Consider then, do you not think it a
sound statement that one must not value all the opinions of man, but some and not others,
nor the opinions of all men, but those of some and not of others? What do you say? Is this
not well said?
1 CRITO: It is.
SOCRATES: One should value the good opinions, and not the bad ones?
SOCRATES: Come then, what of statements such as this: Should a man professionally
engaged in physical training pay attention to the praise and blame of any man, or to those
of one man only, namely a doctor or a trainer?
CRITO: To those of one only…
SOCRATES: We should not then think so much of what the majority will say about us,
but he will say who understands justice and injustice-the one, that is, and the truth itself.
Socrates known for engaging others within society
Put in jail for not properly respecting the Gods and corrupting th