Critical Thinking Course Coordinator:
Is Socrates Guilty As Charged?
In any case of law, when one is considering truth and justice, one must first look at the validity of the court and of the entity of authority itself. In Socrates case, the situation is no different. One may be said to be guilty or not of any said crime, but the true measure of guilt or innocence is only as valid as the court structure to which it is subject to.
Therefore, in considering whether Socrates is guilty or not, we must keep in mind the societal norms and standards of Athens at the time, and the legitimacy of his accusers and the validity of the crimes that he allegedly committed. Having said this, we must first look at the affidavit of the trial, what exactly Socrates was being accused with… "Socrates does injustice and is meddlesome, by investigating the things under the earth and the heavenly things, and by making the weaker speech the stronger, and by teaching others these same things.
Firstly, Socrates is charged with impiety, a person who does not believe in the state gods of Athens and, not only that, but by its literal meaning, does not believe in the authority of gods at all. To this, Socrates seems baffled. As Socrates said, " As Socrates points out, it is impossible for him to be both atheistic and to believe in demons or false gods, for if he believes in the latter, then that would contradict his not believing in gods at all since even demons are considered to be at least demi-gods.
The second part of the charge was that Socrates was attacking the very fabric of the Athenian society by corrupting its citizens, namely the youth.
In other words, Miletus and the other accusers are accusing Socrates of a crime of non-conformity - instead of bowing to those who are held in places of authority and those who have reputations of being wise, Socrates believes that it is his role in life to question these people in their wisdom, and to expose those who claim that they are knowledgeable and wise, but who really are not.
The true nature of this charge was vengeance carried out on the part of the power-holders of Athenian society - The politicians, poets, manual artisans. Socrates, in effect, made fools out of these people, exposing their speeches are mere rhetoric than actual wisdom and knowledge.
By being a teacher as such, but never collecting any fees and therefore innocent from profiting from such ventures, he was said to have been corrupting and citizens of Athens into believing that these so called people of wisdom were not actually wise at all.
As Socrates says, " This has convicted many other good men too, and I suppose it will also convict me. And there is no danger that it will stop me. But Socrates states that, at least for him, voluntarily corrupting any human being would simply be impossible, " I am not even cognizant that if I ever do something wretched to any of my associates, I will risk getting back something bad from him?
Socrates says after his verdict has been read that if his trial could have carried on for a longer period of time, as it might have in other cities such as Sparta, then he might have been able to convince the jury of his innocence.
Alas, Socrates quickly became the victim of the wealthy elites in Athenian society, who did not want their hold on the power and minds of the rest of society who be tampered with.
If justice is to be questioned in the charge of Socrates, then I do think that Socrates should have been found innocent, since no real crimes were committed. As for a question of the Athenian laws and the structure of the Athenian justice system, one could say that Socrates might have dabbled in a bit of treason in a way, since those who he was publicly making a mockery out of were those who were in positions of authority.
But overall, it cannot be denied that Socrates suffered a great injustice by being found guilty, by being put on trial in the first place. The true substance of the trial was never a criminal matter nor a strain on democracy, but a challenge to an oppressive and oligarchical ruling class and Socrates became a symbol of true wisdom and knowledge, a symbol that needed to be disposed of for the elites to remain the power-holders in society.
List of Works Cited:Feb 14, · Socrates' paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to accusations of wrongdoing. He was nevertheless found guilty as charged, and sentenced to death by drinking a mix of the poisonous alphabetnyc.com: Resolved.
Then I will argue the position that Socrates is innocent, and should not be have been found guilty. To introduce, Socrates was placed on trial and charged with the crime of impiety.
Impiety is the lack of reverence for the gods and other sacred things. Simply to do so for personal reasons, or out of fear, would be petty and disgraceful. The only reason for commuting the penalty would be if it were an unjust penalty.
Socrates does indeed consider the penalty to be unjust, not because it is so harsh, but because it was laid down at all. Socrates was guilty as charged One of the most famous trials in history has been misrepresented as a miscarriage of justice, when it was really a legitimate case of democracy in action, a controversial new study claims.
Oct 09, · The fact remains that Socrates was tried and found guilty in an Athenian court. In the absence of any externally valid conception of justice, Socrates was found guilty by the method of Athenian practice, and insofar as this constituted justice for that society, it was what he deserved.
Why Socrates should be found guilty?In B. C or B.
C a Greek Philosopher named Socrates was born in Athens. He was the son of Sophroniscus who was a sculptor. Researchers has said that Socrates was brought up as a sculptor/5(10).