Written by Plato as given as his version of Socrates’ speech to the people of Athens
The speech was a defense of himself (Socrates) against the charges of corrupting the youth in 399 BC
Almost persuaded by the accusers even though he claims they were all lies. This lie was to not be “deceived by the force of my eloquence”
Slyly agrees that he is eloquent but not a liar
He declared the speech will be improved “words and arguments which occur to me at the moment”
Comes off defensive by asking for no interruption if he is redundant and by reiterating that he is 70 years old, first time being in court
The accusation which cannot be defended
Very afraid of the charges that he “ speculated about the heaven above, and searched into the earth beneath, and made the worse appear the better cause”
He can’t fight these accusers because they are nameless and remain in the shadows
Begin at the Beginning
The accusation – he is an “evil-doer” and calls out Meletus.
Summary of the accusation “ searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrines to others”
Respects teachers getting paid and gives good examples i.e. Prodicus, Hippias, and Elis. Claims that students are thankful they are allowed to pay them
Claims he has no such knowledge that should be worth charging for
Dares audience to ask him, Why they should be sorry for accusing him?”
Answers, “Reputation came with the wisdom he possesses, such wisdom that is attainable by man”, and not a superhuman wisdom which people falsely claim he says he has.
The Wisest Man?
Credits his wisdom to the god of Delphi, but not from his own experience, Delphi said he is the wisest man there is. And the man who heard this is now dead… but his brother can confirm the story
Socrates wondered, “Why did Delphi say this and what does it mean?”
Answer: If he were to find a wiser man, he could prove the god Delphi wrong
Found a politician who was widely regarded as wise, realized he was not wise, tried to tell him so, and was thus hated by the politician and many others
Conclusion: “I’m better off because we both know nothing, but at least I can admit that I am not wise, thus dude thinks he is when he isn’t.”
Repeated this process with another and made even more enemies.
Result of the experience was that he found reputed men to be foolish while inferior men were wiser and better
Claim poets write beautiful things but do not know the meaning behind them, and made the same conclusion about them as he did with the politicians, claimed superiority again
Now he tried the Artisans: Knew their crafts but claimed to know thing about high matters and…