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The Overlooked Gift Of Knowledge Essay

1019 words - 5 pages

In 399 BCE, one of the wisest men in history was put to death. This man was not only extremely wise, but also highly influential. He was a leader of the highest caliber. This is Socrates, arguably one of the most prominent men in philosophical history. Socrates is a figure of evolution, when referring to the way people think. He was sentenced to death by the Athenians for corrupting the youth, not believing in the gods recognized by the state, and for introducing supernatural beings. The Athenians were unjust in in their conviction and condemnation to death of Socrates because he helped the youth rather than corrupt it, attempted to abolish ignorance, and provided sufficient evidence of his wisdom.
Rather than corrupting, Socrates definitely helped out the Athenian youth. Socrates held debates where he taught the youth how to win arguments effectively. These debates included: “The goal of the questioner was to elicit a contradictory statement from the respondent; the goal of the respondent was to anticipate logical traps in the questions and deal with them effectively and consistently” (Colaiaco 106). Here, Socrates is teaching the youth of Athens a very important approach to arguments and even life. He teaches them to approach with logic, and that logic can win arguments. These debates also taught the youth tactical planning, and other strategic ways to win difficult arguments. This also included coming up with facts, rather than relying on opinions to win arguments. Socrates also encouraged his students to think independently and for themselves. This is something that was lacking in Athenian youth before Socrates. Socrates felt that you can spark a change in people if you think about ethics, justice, politics, morals, and how to better the world around you. These are positive attributes that a young person can attain. This is why Socrates definitely helped the Athenian youth, which is why the Athenians were unjust in putting him to death.
Next, the Athenians were unjust in their conviction and condemnation to death of Socrates because he attempted to abolish ignorance within the Athenian people. The first and most important thing that Socrates encouraged was to recognize your own ignorance. “The principal lesson of the oracle story, according to Socrates, is that he is the wisest of men because only he recognizes the extent of his own ignorance” (Brickhouse 100). Socrates constantly expressed the importance of recognizing your own ignorance, in order to abolish ignorance within yourself. In addition to this, Socrates tried to open peoples’ eyes to their own ignorance, and to think with a more open mind. In the seminar reading package it says: “He (Socrates) describes himself as the “gadfly” of the state seeking to sting men into mental activity by opening their eyes to their own ignorance and thereby promoting wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul” (Jowett 247). All Socrates wanted to do here is to have the people...

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