The Apology Written By Plato Essay

1134 words - 5 pages

The Apology Written By Plato, is a detailed account of the trial of Socrates, who was a great philosopher in Athens. Socrates was brought to trial based on charges of “corrupting the youth” and “not believing in the gods” (23d). The people of Athens believed Socrates was corrupting the youth because they simply did not understand his method of inquiry, which consisted of Socrates teaching them to question what they thought to be true. Socrates’ method of inquiry drove his listeners to question their beliefs and often brought them to a state of puzzlement, or a state Plato calls ‘aporia.’ There are many examples of the Socratic method present in The Meno, which is also written by Plato. The entirety of The Apology consists of Socrates explaining his methods, like those in the Meno, and telling the jury that his intentions were all for the best sake of the city of Athens, which he implies when he says he is “a gift from the god to the city of Athens.”
The Meno is another story written by Plato in which Socrates uses his method of inquiry on the youth of Athens. The story illustrates how successful the Socratic method is in terms of helping the city of Athens by creating a more educated and ethical community. The story’s dialogue begins with Meno asking Socrates if virtue can be taught, and Socrates responds by saying “I myself, Meno, am as poor as my fellow citizens in this matter, and I blame myself for my complete ignorance about virtue” implying that he does not know the true definition of virtue, nor does anyone else, making it impossible to teach. Meno claims that virtue is different for different people based on things such as sex or age, and Socrates rejects this idea. Meno then proposes that virtue is the desire for good things and power, however Socrates finds fault in this idea as well, pointing out the problem that many people are unable to recognize evil. This idea then leads onto the question of whether virtue is one thing or many things. Meno is then brought to aporia, now having trouble even defining virtue.
The use of Socrates’ inquiry in the Meno is a perfect example to show how Socrates pushed his listeners to question their own knowledge. Socrates never told Meno his definitions were wrong and his own were right, rather continued to question Meno’s conclusions to show him that he did not know the true meaning of virtue. The people of Athens were unable to accept the fact that many of them were ignorant on topics such as the definition of virtue, whereas Socrates himself was able to admit it. The Athenians disguised Socrates’ true desire to teach people for corruption and impiety because they believed he was trying to humiliate them. Although the people of Athens were blind of Socrates’ true intentions, his method of inquiry did in fact benefit the city of Athens. Socrates’ methods eliminated ignorance and increased proper knowledge on important things such as virtue and knowledge within the city of Athens, which is what he...

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