The Essence of The Philosophy of Socrates

Throughout the years, there are and continues to be great philosophers in history. Such as Aristotle and Socrates which were great Greek philosophers. Greek philosopher Aristotle’s theory is in the pursuit of happiness. In which he believes,“happiness depends on ourselves.” According to Aristotle, world view was that humans’ actions are purposeful in such a way there is always a rhythm or pattern that is followed their central purpose and goal is to find happiness. Making Aristotle known as the first teacher or philosopher that invented formal logic. Then most important there is Socrates who is known as laying the fundamentals of modern Western philosophy his students being Aristotle and Plato.

Best know for creating the Socratic method and irony in which he brought up many important ideas in relation to moral action which brought more critical thinking in thought and actions. Claiming that, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” (pg.35) Emphasizing the importance of reflecting in past times and actions that give greater meaning to current present life today. Not many people of Athens were fond of Socrates ideas and thinking because it was different then the norms expected to think at the time. Accusations that were brought against Socrates by the people of Athens was “corrupting the young.” (pg.137) Since Socrates studies things such as the sky as well as below the earth, teaching how to make weak arguments overcome and defeat stronger ones, and is accused of not believing in the same God that the city of Athens believe in.

This is not acceptable to the people of Athens because they wanted the youth to live and think a certain way. As well there is the belief that when things such as these aspects of society are equations it could make people rebel against its leaders. Socrates tries to defend himself from these accusations by stating he is a teacher and his job is to teach as well as no one can prove that in fact he is an atheist. Socrates is then sent for trail were he is accused of ‘corrupting the youth” and ‘refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state.” (pg.128) After being found guilty by the jury casting a vote “280 to 220” he is then sentenced as well as his accuser want Socrates to be subjected to the death penalty by drinking a hemlock poison (pg.140).

Socrates is given the opportunity of being exiled of the city instead of being poisoned to death. Later he was taken to the nearest jail where he would die by hemlock poison be his own hand making him his very own executioner. His students such as Crito heard he hoped to convince Socrates not to commit that returnable act but Socrates objected to it since he believes one should not fear death because one does not know if it is bad. As well as it would be like he himself was not committing to his own ideas and actions he teaches others.

Although, Norman Melchert a philosopher of the 19th century identifies relativism as the real cause of Socrate’s execution. Arguing, that it was sophistic relativism and skepticism that really killed Socrates, not the particular members of the jury. Relativism is the philosophy that there is no moral rules that apply to one apply to all people in one culture because there is a moral wrong and right but it varies from individual to individual as well as culture to culture. As well as skepticism being the doubt to the truth of something.

I believe this explanation has much truth to it since Socrates was executed because of the beliefs of the Athenians differed from him and believed his way of thinking was wrong from theirs. Although, there was no real proof to show which was morally right just relativism that the whole city thinks the same because there has been no on that has challenged their leaders to think another way or go beyond their thinking until Socrates comes around. I believe the particular member of the jury couldn’t have changed anything even if the votes were in his favor. If the votes would have been in his favor he would have been let out of prison but still subjected to the Athenians rules of how the people in the city should act and think.

Meaning Socrates would need to abide them or he would just end up back there solely on the reason they don’t agree with his intellectual thinking and have much skepticism on what his thoughts and ideas could do to the people of the city most important the youth ones. Since Socrates took a sort of ought to himself that he would prefer an honorable death than to abide by the Athens closed minded way of thinking and going throughout life without purpose. Making this a reasonable explanation. Melchert’s views has some weaknesses and some strengths. His strength that proves his view is the term known as adulthood fallacy which makes those in charge such as the leaders of Athens believe they always know what they are taking about and have all the answers for everything.

Such as stating Socrates is a bad influence to the people especially the youth ones instead of letting these people decide for themselves and let them have the freedom to think how they want and in what they want. Yet Mlchert’s weaknesses in his view is that Socrates could have in matter in fact not have died by relativism and/or skepticism but by cowards because instead of dying an honorable death as he believes he could have lived to try to change more people’s insight and perspective and potentially done more than an impact alive then dead.

Each part relates and ties to another such as Socrates death and Plato’s allegory of the cave. In which something that has been a certain way for so long becomes your truth and way of thinking until one person is not the same as the others so is viewed differently and even rejected. Such as Socrates when he saw and discover new realms that were beyond Athenians thinking they believed he was affecting the others but in the end it was the others who were lost because like the guy from the cave he was the first to see the cave.

Plato’s concept and Theory of the Forms such as Socrates is that we are prisoners trapped in this world if we don’t seek out the truth meaning ideas and new meaning through life and experiences. The Sun represents freedom and life that once we see the light it means we are giving in to new ideas and experiences that bring new realms of thinking. Lastly, the free prisoners represent philosophers such as Socrates who climbed the wall of closed mined Athenians to freedom in essence the path to knowledge. According to Plato, “prisoners would kill anyone who would try to free them.” (pg.96) Thus doing this to Socrates when he tried to teach hid ideas and the truth about the sky and things below earth to others he was put in jain and sentenced to the death penalty.

In my opinion Socrates is put to death because of he progressive thinking that seems to be a threat to the Greek leaders. He is put to death also because of his anti-democratic views that might have scared many Athenians. Since Greeks are the first to set up a democratic system and with Socrates’ that not majority opinion yields correct competence to make up rules and regulations for the rest but only a selected few. Which could put the Greek democracy at danger if more people start thinking this way then they can completely loose the democracy they have worked in building.

As well as another reason I believe is that Socrates is put to death is as Plato describes him very critical of the well respected leaders. Meaning that if he starts to defy their form of government and its leaders maybe others will start to follow and rebel against its own leaders as well. Lastly, Socrates might have been put to death for the greater of the people that way if people don’t hear someone speaking of such ideas so progressive for its time then they won’t know what they are missing so won’t have the need to search for something unknown.

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The Essence of The Philosophy of Socrates. (2021, Jun 04). Retrieved June 7, 2023 , from

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