Outline of Socrates’s “Apology”

In the old days, “apology” meant “defense.” This post is an outline of Socrates’s Apology of himself.

Let’s begin his remarkable apology.

I. Introduction

A. His eloquence: not so high, unless it’s truth-telling

B. His court protocol: not so informed

II. Older Charges, First Class of Accusers

A. Socrates was a speculator about things in sky

B. Shyster

C. Aristophanes, comic poet, turned him into a buffoon.

III. Defense

A. Affidavit

“Socrates is an evil-doer and a curious person, who searches into things under the earth and in heaven, and he makes the worse appear the better cause; and he teaches the aforesaid doctrine to others.”

1. Matches Aristophanes’ play about Socrates.

B. I am not a natural philosopher (studies basic elements of the world)

C. I am not a teacher

1. I take no fee

D. Where there’s smoke, there’s a fire

1. Certain wisdom to saying

2. What the oracle said: Socrates is the wisest

3. The smoke and fire comes from my accusers, not me

E. Question, Question, Question!

1. Politicians: They thought they knew things, but didn’t know.

2. Poets: Trained, and got in trance, but unwise.

3. Artisans: Also unwise about ultimate issues.

4. This is why I got bad reputation: Too many Q’s! I pointed out their ignorance.

5. I found out that I didn’t know things and knew that I didn’t know!

6. Those I questioned didn’t know things, but they didn’t know that they didn’t know!

F. Youth voluntarily listened to me (I didn’t twist their arms)

IV. Current, Second Class of Accusers

A. Affidavit:

“. . . Socrates is a doer of evil, who corrupts the youth, and who does not believe in the gods of the state, but has other divinities of his own.”

B. Corrupter? The next point answers the accusation.

C. Interrogation of Meletus (one of his accusers)

1.. Incidentally, Meletus is related to word care, so Socrates puns on it, similar to your saying “Mr. Carey doesn’t care! He’s no caretaker of youth!”

a. That extra-clever tactic probably angered some people in jury.

2. Many or few make best improvers of youth? Few or only one? I’m one and the youth is allegedly corrupt, so how can I be the lone corrupter? The entire city must share blame for “corruption.”

3. Analogy: Horse trainer v. everyone; it’s better for horse to have one trainer

4. Atheist?

a. It is commonly known (and I agree) that demigods and divinities are the offspring of the (state-approved) gods.

b. If I believe in demigods and divinities (so says your affidavit), I affirm that the (state-approved) gods exist (you can’t have one without the other).

c. You acknowledge that I believe in them.

d. Therefore, I affirm that the (state-approved) gods exist.

V. Divine Mission (I’m not an evil-doer)

A. No fear of death

1. That’s how committed I am to my mission

B. I will remain true to divine mission no matter what

1. I’m doing some good in Athens

C. Meletus is therefore committing a great wrong

D. I’m a good Gadfly that stings sluggish horse (Athens) into action

E. Actions speak louder than words

1. Trial of the generals (I thought their arrest was unjust)

2. Leon of Salamis (I didn’t arrest a just man when disobedience to politicians’ order could get me executed)

3. Inference: I have integrity, even unto death

VI. Conclusion

A. I will not engage in sympathy whining

B. I do believe in the (state-approved) gods

VII. Vote and Death Sentence

A. Fine? Imprisonment? Exile?

B. He sarcastically suggests state support!

1. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” so he will never stop questioning

C. Verdict: Death sentence

1. Customary “sign” did not oppose me, so I figure the verdict would happen this way.

2. Death

a. It is either sleep-death without dreams . . .

b. Or it is the Underworld with persons, heroes of old

3. I face my death with courage.

ARTICLES IN SERIES (alphabetical order)

Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics

Clifford’s Ethics of Belief

Descartes’s Meditations I and II

Hick’s Evil and God of Love

Hume’s Argument against Design

Hume’s Theory of Knowledge

James’s Will to Believe

Kant’s Ethics

Locke’s Theory of Knowledge

Mill’s Ethics

Nietzsche’s Madman and the Death of God

Paley’s Watchmaker and Design Argument

Plato the Soul Man

Plato’s View of Justice and the Soul

Rachels’s Moral Objectivism

Ryle’s Category Mistake

Sartre’s “Existentialism and Humanism”

Socrates’s “Apology”



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