The Socratic Psyche Essay Research Paper I — страница 2

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and Socrates got poor Euthyphro so confused, that he felt like a fool. In the aforementioned dialogue, Socrates asks Euthyphro, ^Is the pious loved by the Gods because it is pious or is it pious because it is loved by them?^(10.a) Do the gods love us because we are pious to them or does the everyday person by being pious (following the laws of the city and the laws of the gods) make himself a better person? The problem here is that the gods did not have a single absolute conception of piety. The gods did not always agree. The gods were relative in their piety and so were the citizens, (most of them) for following what they thought was loved by the gods. The citizens had an interesting dichotomy, on one hand they followed nomos and on the other hand, the law of physis. Although

the citizens would follow all of the human laws and the laws of religion, bad things still occurred, due to the unpredictability of nature. So, did being a pious citizen mean they were above man^s law and only had to answer to the laws of the gods? This is where Socrates demolished the premise that Euthyphro had used for dragging his father to court. After dealing with Socrates, Euthyphro understood even less than he at first claimed to. Euthphro could not get away from Socrates soon enough, ending the conversation. Socrates was incredible in his “midwives’ art” of discourse. This method of dialectic process, it was a purifying process, like that of a water filter, removing all scum and sediment, until the results were pure. It is like the cream that rises to the top. For

Socrates, the inner truth is covered by layers of veils, untruths, (opinions) and we try to peel away these layers until we achieve true knowledge (episteme). Socrates is sometimes confused with the sophists of his time. A clear distinction must be made here between the two. Sophists of Socrates’ time would use or find the argument that worked best. Socrates believed in finding the truth; the sophists did not. The sophists in Athens at this time were not usually citizens and they traveled throughout the Greek world. They charged substantial fees for their services, while Socrates did not. Their teachings would include ethical, social, and political issues (G&W xx). Socrates spent most of his life in Athens, whereas the sophists did not. As Martin L. King Jr. wrote in his

Letter From Birmingham Jail, in 1963, he was asked why he was doing the things he was doing by his fellow clergymen. He answered, “that there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth and just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind, so that individuals could arise from the bondage of myths and half-truths, to the unfettered realm of created analysis and objective appraisal.” Juries in Athens were quite large, 501 citizens in Socrates’ case. They would combine to be both jury and judge and would also convict and sentence. The job of assessing the penalty was handled by a prosecutor. This type of “tension in the mind,” in part, led to Socrates being charged with religious heresy and corrupting the youth of

Athens. Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death. While he was awaiting his fate, Crito, a dear and old friend, came to Socrates and told Socrates that there was a plan for him to escape and to avoid death (Crito 46). Socrates explained that he could not, that two wrongs do not make a right. Socrates had lived his life as an Athenian citizen and lived by her laws. It would have been wrong for him to violate the unjust verdict given to him. He had an obligation to obey the laws of Athens. As with most of the citizens of Athens, the state was first and the people came second. Socrates made people think. Most people fear the truth, as if it were death. Socrates did not, believing in the immortality of the soul. He went to his death not afraid, but eager to go and enjoy the

fortunes of the blessed (Phaedo 115 d). He also tells the jurors who acquitted him: ^but the time has come to go. I go to die and you to live; which of us goes to a better thing is clear to none, but the god^ (Apology 42a). Socrates, felt that the afterlife would be a pleasant and learning experience. There is a another side to the trial of Socrates. Some people think he was guilty as hell and deserved what he got. We know that he was not a well-liked person. Going back to the oracle of Delphi, after Socrates was told of the reply of none wiser than he in Athens, he was baffled. He then sets out to prove the god incorrect. He first goes to a politician, who was considered wise by many and was full of himself. Socrates found this politician not to be wise and told him so.