Socrates was born in 469 BCE and died in 399 BCE. In fact, because Socrates kept no writings of his own, his students are the lenses in which we view Socrates. In fact, all of his students portrayed different perspectives of Socrates’ character. This is called “the Socratic problem,” according to the Oxford Classical Dictionary. Plato, however is understood as the most reliable source to understand the elusive character known as Socrates.
As Plato writes in his Apology of Socrates, Socrates makes an incredible defense for himself in front of the Athenian court. Before understanding this text, the definition of an apology must be made clear. Today, “apology” is often used as “an expression of regret for a wrong,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. But, apology also has another meaning. One that is linked to the word apologetics. An apology can also be “a formal justification, defense.” This is Socrates’ apology, or defense, of himself in court. He is accused of not worshiping the Greek gods and indoctrinating the youth.
These charges are mostly associated with his radical idea of “philosopher kings.” Plato and Socrates both ...
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...uggests that Socrates is one that sparked this movement of asserting rights by defiance. He says, “To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.” Even the father of the Civil Rights Movement found inspiration in Socrates’ ideology.
This is why the Athenian government wanted to get rid of Socrates. In the Oxford Classical Dictionary, Alexander Nehamas suggests that there were political reasons for putting Socrates on trial. Free thinking is beneficial, but to the people in power, it is scary, threatening, and dangerous. A government never wants a revolution on their hands. Unfortunately, the people of Athens were not ready for this disruption to their everyday lives. Their response to this disruption was attempting to silence these great thinkers. Although they were silenced, their legacy lived on throughout the ages.
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