Essay about Socrates: Delphi and City

Submitted By tutz_33
Words: 1023
Pages: 5

Socrates uses arrogance to defend himself to the city of Athens, while on the other hand he does not use ignorance . The city of Athens is at odds with Socrates’ philosophy; it contradicted several Athenian beliefs. The city believed that Socrates was an atheist, that he was responsible for corrupting the youth, and that he made the weaker argument the stronger. Socrates believed that he was the most important teacher in the city therefore he continued to defend his actions and beliefs even when his life was on the line. He saw himself as the most important teacher after his visit to the oracle. This gave him much arrogance to his arguments and questioning, which ultimately gave Socrates great confidence . He was a great philosophizer and he knew how important he was to the city. The city did not share Socrates' own view of himself as the most important teacher. They believed his philosophies were evil and they were willing to put him to death for his ideas. In Socrates’ first defense, he uses the story of the Delphic oracle. According to Socrates, the oracle once declared that no one was wiser than Socrates. At first Socrates thought the oracle to be wrong so he began to obtain evidence by conversing with wise people in order to refute the oracle "...he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know" (26) Socrates claims he will admit to being unknowledgeable, which proves ignorance is not expressed by him. Thus Socrates began to believe that he was the wisest person in the city. The oracle was a turning point in his life. Instead of focusing on astronomical and physical studies, he began to concern himself with moral and political opinions. The fact that Socrates knew he was the wisest and that he began to concern himself with philosophies of the city shows that he saw himself as the most important teacher in the city. He knew that what he was teaching was in contradiction to the beliefs of Athens, but he also believed that what he taught would eventually bring about change. Arrogance is shown here through the claims Socrates makes about being the wisest and contradicting a whole cities teachings. Socrates was on a mission to change the city’s beliefs and outlook on life. He truly believed he was essential to changing the Athenians. Socrates was completely against how the Athenians valued money and material possessions over ones soul. Socrates showed his belief of his own importance as a teacher by how he relentlessly questioned and examined the beliefs of the Athenians. He taught the young because he knew that they would be able to produce change whereas the elders would not change their beliefs. Socrates knew that what he was teaching would anger most of the people in Athens. He was in reckless pursuit of the truth and he knew that he could be put to death for what he was teaching but he went ahead and did it anyway. He wanted to make change and that is why he taught the young and not the old. He regarded himself as so important that he was willing to die in order to make change. Although this seems like it is the right thing to do, Socrates would not be able to accomplish any of this without arrogance. Socrates believed that being dead is one of two things. It is either like being nothing without any perception, or it is a change of place and a transition of the soul from one place to another place. He regarded either one to be great so he had no fear of dying. He truly felt that he had something worth dying for and he was truly convinced of his importance to the city. In class we had discussed what each of us individually thought of death and majority ruled