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Lecture 5

PHIL 100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Meletus, Socratic Method

Course Code
PHIL 100
George Yancy

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Site of Delphic oracle priestess pythia Apollo
Socrates deploys the narrative of Chaerephon to inform people that Chaerephon went
to the Delphic oracle and Apollo himself spoke through the oracle to say that Socrates
was the wisest. So, Socrates goes on a journey to see if this was actually true, so he
went to the poets and the craftsmen, the politicians, and the orators and he found out
that they thought they knew way more than they did and that he was wiser than all of
them (21d).
Chaerephon places Socrates on his divine mission. When Socrates said he was going to
determine if what Apollo said through Pythia is true, he was also inferring that he
believes in god. So, he goes to the marketplace and asks questions to everyone, trying
to prove Apollo wrong that he wasn’t the most wise. But they knew only about their
craft nothing else, even though they arrogantly think they know much more, so he
concludes he is the most wise.
o Poets can’t even explain their poems because they said it was just inspiration
from G-d.
Socrates says “I do not think I know what I do not know”- he doesn’t pretend to be a
Religion (religare= “to blind’)
Meletus- Melete- to care
His name is a contradiction, he is actually against the youth according to Socrates
Socrates advances 3 arguments against Meletus
Argument 1: The horse analogy on 23b
The explanation: Socrates is to the youth as the horse expert is to horses.
Only the horse expert can best serve the interests of the horses. Hence, Socrates can
best serve or take care of the youth.
o Expert according to Socrates- the one who does good by the youth because
he practices elenchus/ cross examination
o Socrates emphasizes the one over the many. He sees the masses as ignorant.
Nobody raises an objection, which is very interesting because this argument is crazy/
The argument was absolutely EVERYONE improves the youth except for Socrates
Argument 2: No one wants to be harmed (25c- 26a)
No one wants to be harmed. If I corrupt and harm the youth, then I run the risk of
being harmed. But since no one wants to be harmed, it must be false that I have
corrupted the youth
o (If I corrupt the youth then I risk the fact that they could come against me and
harm me)
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