Plato's Apology to Socrates-Cross Examination

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Socrates, a famous Greek Philosopher, was formally charged at the Athenian courts for his philosophical teachings and its effect on the people of Athens. He was presented in front of hundreds of jury men and unsupportive audience to defend himself against charges that were set by Meletus, one of his prosecutors. Normally a person would plead with the jury to free himself from receiving harsh punishments, but Socrates was not among them. Despite of knowing the fact that the result of the trail would be death, Socrates presented a powerful speech and tactfully cross examined Meletus to prove to the audience and the jury that Meletus accused Socrates of an issue (the corruption of the youth) that Meletus himself was ignorant about. As Socrates says “But in fact Meletus, you have sufficiently displayed that you never yet gave any thought to the young. And you making your own lack of care plainly apparent, since you have cared nothing about the things for which you bring me here” (West, 25 c).

First of all, Meletus accuses Socrates of corrupting the minds of the youth. When Socrates questioned to Meletus who is it that has a good influence on youth, Meletus replied the laws. Socrates then asked him to be more specific in terms of people, and Meletus said it were the jurymen. In response to Socrates persistent questions, Meletus mistakenly makes an absurd overstatement that the entire population of Athens has a positive influence on youth except for Socrates.

Socrates then, draws an analogy that involves horses, saying that horse-trainers, specialized people that possess skills on how to deal with horses, can possibly have a positive influence, whereas other people would have negative influence. Socrates believes that this analogy must be correct in terms of all animals along with human beings because if it takes an expertise to improve a horse, than it…...

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