The Greatness of Socrates Socrates was born in Athens, Greece 322-399 before the Christian era and was politically indoctrinated under the cultural influences of Athena, Goddess of wisdom, skills, and warfare. (Loomis p. 5) He is well known for his philosophy of the “good life” in which he believes involves the pursuit of intellect as well as morals.
His theory in this is to not focus so much on choosing what is always necessarily right in a situation, but to be the kind of individual who refrains from allowing the wrong choice to be an option all together meaning that ultimately there will be no right or wrong because naturally your mind will be in a state that is always right. Socrates promoted that, “knowledge and understanding of life and its values was the very basis of the good life and philosophy. ” He is also known for teaching forms of rhetoric, which the subject itself makes the statement true in that form of rhetoric argument.
He used this type of teaching to educate the youth by having them go beyond the obvious appearances and made them explore what they already knew in their own reality. In other words, he didn’t need lesson plans to follow or text books to educate these children. Instead, he made them explore deeper into what they already knew by asking them questions that they could easily answer themselves. Aside from using this tactic to teach, he used it in almost every conversation he was part of.
Anyone who held a conversation with him would be bombarded with a series of questions he would mentally conjure up in search of the truth out of any dialect he encountered. He had a distinct way with his words that almost forced others to tell the truth whether they were aware of it or not. He describes this as, “the destructive cross-examination designed to cleanse conversations of lies. ” (Jowett, Apology p. 52) Traveling teachers called Sophist rhetoric, the art of public speaking, used words as a powerful weapon that stealthily influenced culturally, which deceptively covert negative intentions. Loomis pp. 4-5) Socrates deductive reasoning statements force the truth, unveiling the deceit secretly hidden in the manipulative words of Sophist, traveling teachers “professed to put men on the road to success” religiously. (Loomis pp. 4-5) Socrates reason, “Athenians are not concerned about being laughed at, for wisdom is welcome, as long as man does not teach his wisdom, influencing others away from their culture to be like himself infuriates Athenians, whether through envy or some other reason. ”
Socrates dialogue with Euthyphro, a Sophist traveling male priest teacher, is a good example of Socrates destructive cross-examination of a companion, designed to purge conversation of fallacies. (Jowett, Apology p. 52) Euthyphro, the priest, is conducting legal business prosecuting his father for the murder of a laborer who himself is a murderer, and encounters Socrates at a time Socrates was being charged for a crime indicted by Meletus for corrupting the young and for not believing in the gods in whom the city believes. Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro pp. 1-2) (Jowett, Apology p. 43) During this era, the god worshipped was Zeus, a deified man believed by the people in that era to be the “best and most just of the gods, yet they agree that he bound his father because he unjustly swallowed his sons, and that he in turn castrated his father for similar reasons. ” (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. 5) Socrates feels he is a defendant, because he “find it hard to accept things like that being said about the gods, and it is likely to be the reason why I shall be told I do wrong. However, Euthyphro feel he is doing what god did by prosecuting his father for his wrongdoing, but his “family and friends believe this course of action to be impious. " (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro pp. 3-4) Euthyphro argues “they contradict themselves in what they say about the gods” and about Euthyphro “superior to the majority of me” having “knowledge of the divine, and of piety and impiety. ”
Euthyphro argue he is acting most pious in favor of god by “prosecuting my father for murder on behalf of a murderer when he hadn’t even killed him…” (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro pp. 3-4) However, Euthyphro family and friends say, “it is impious for a son to prosecute his father for murder. ” Euthyphro theorize if he mimic the exact behavior of god, who also prosecuted his own father, he is behaving god-like in the image of his god and his family and friends “ideas of the divine attitude to piety and impiety are wrong. Socrates “conversations aimed at discovering the truth” by asking a series of questions examine what Euthyphro means asking Euthyphro what “form itself that makes all pious actions pious, for you agreed that all impious actions are impious and all pious actions pious through one form…? ” (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro pp. 4-6, 9-17) Naturally, Euthyphro reason for “prosecuting my father for murder on behalf of a murderer when he hadn’t even killed him…” (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro pp. -4) leads Socrates to analyze Euthyphro contradicting statement justifying his actions, which he theorize is righteous and just in accordance to his god actions, while his family and friends “contradict themselves in what they say about the gods” especially Zeus believed by the people to be the “best and most just of the gods, yet they agree the he bound his father because he unjustly swallowed his son and that he in turn castrated his father for similar reasons. (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. 5) Engaging in dialectic: the destructive cross-examination designed to cleanse conversations of lies (Jowett, Apology p. 52), Euthyphro argument, which he use to argue his indictment is a weak statement that contradicts the very action he charged prosecuting his father. Socrates deductive reasoning examines arguments that express opposites that are contradictory and counter the statement argued.
As in Euthyphro statement “prosecuting my father for murder on behalf of a murderer when he hadn’t even killed him…” (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro pp. 3-4) is an example of an argument that express opposites that are contradictory and counter the very statement argued, for how is possible for actions to be unjust without contradicting justice to prosecute one for murder, when he hadn’t killed? So, naturally Socrates examines, what is "piety? "(Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. ) Through deductive reasoning questioning Euthyphro who is unable to accurately define, for Socrates “destructive cross-examination of a companion, designed to purge conversation of fallacies” (Jowett, Apology p. 52) reveal the deception in the unclear words Sophist use influencing the courts to indict citizens of the city for crimes that are unjustly charge based on man’s personal religious belief of piety, which differs between the various gods. Therefore, Euthyphro’s response to Socrates question, What is pious? Which is dear to the gods is pious, what is not is impious,” (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. 6) is the response Socrates wanted Euthyphro to answer to examine what they mean by an action or a man favored to the gods is pious, but an action or man hated by the gods is impious, when they are not the same, but opposites pious being opposite impious. (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. 6, 9-17) Hence, Socrates reason with Euthyphro “the same things then are loved by the gods and hated by the gods… would be both god-loved and god-hated,” regardless of god. Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. 7) Independently gods judge what each of them considers beautiful, good, just, ugly, evil, and unjust. Thus, judgment by man through any god will be bias in accordance to what each independent god considers beautiful, good, just, ugly, evil, unjust, etc. and the reason why Euthyphro can’t accurately define piety in a “universal definition of ethical terms” with contradicting theology that promotes injustice as Euthyphro is practicing against his own father. (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. ) In conclusion, Socrates dialogue is relevant in any era where individuals are prosecuted for expressing thoughts independent from the organized religious structure instituted by the city political assembly. Socrates deductive reasoning examines the intentions behind influential words speaking morality while practicing injustice. Promoting justice that is moral as a means to determine whether a person is guilty of a crime versus using religious belief to judge a person guilty of a crime against gods who personally labeled others ungodly.
Socrates dialogues are important for he teaches the youth how to see deception in rhetoric that cleverly uses the art of public speaking as a powerful weapon to stealthily influenced culturally, which deceptively convert negative intentions allowing the youth to “reach truths by getting beyond mere appearances” exploring through its reality responding from what they already know to be just and unjust. Socrates deductive reasoning examines arguments that express opposites that are contradictory and cancel out the statement argued itself.
This sort of rhetoric Socrates use destructive cross-examination designed to purge conversation of fallacies aimed at discovering the truth. (Jowett, Apology p. 52) Socrates “mission,” was to “expose the ignorance of those thought themselves wise and to try to convince his fellow-citizens that every man is responsible for his own moral attitudes. ” (Jowett, Apology pp. 36-40) Socrates theories influenced philosophers of every era that use their independent thought to question judgmental rhetoric aimed to criminally prosecute individuals based on personal belief and not morally based on whether the murder was justified.
For, independently gods judge what each of them considers beautiful, ugly good, evil, just, and unjust. Thus, judgment by man through any god will be in accordance to what that independent god considers good, evil, beautiful, ugly, just, and unjust. (Applebaum, Weller Euthyphro p. 7). In ending, the greatness of Socrates is more than his deductive theories and forms. His greatness lies in his loyalty to his Goddess city, the human life therein, and morality to the day of his trial, imprisonment, and execution. In the words of Socrates a great thinker, “if only we knew the good, we would do the good necessarily. ” ( )