Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Apology and Euthyphro

Read the whole texts
Text available at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/apology.html
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Guidance questions (but your journals do not have to be limited to answering them)
1. What is in common among politicians, poets and craftsmen according to Socrates?
2. Why Socrates thinks he is wiser than them?
3. What does Socrates consider as his contribution to Athens?

1. What does Socrates seek to know from Euthyphro? Be precise.
2. What's the relationship between gods and piety?
3. Though there is no conclusion, what have you learned from this discussion?


  1. what is common among the politicials, poets and craftsmen? according to socretes he believes that all of them think they are wise but really are not. he says politicials was thought to be wise by many and thought himself to be wiser. but because he thought he was already wise his cup was too full to be filled by anything else. the poets were thought to be wise by socrates but ended up coming up short because even though they wrote elequent things they couldnt break them down themselves in fact others could find there work to be more elequent than the writers themselves. and the crafstman/ artisans socrates found to be wise but not wiser than him. the artisans were wise and versed in many things that socrates did not know but they believed they knew everything and thats were there fault lies socrates also believes this because if you think you know everything your unable to learn something new because your cup is full but if you know that you do not know everything it allows you to listen to everyone be they smarter than you or dumber than you depending on what jewels they drop and you can fill your mental cup with whatever wisdom they share that you can justify and choose to accept. socrates believes that he is wiser than the politicians poets and craftsmen because they believe they know everything and they know nothing and Socrates knows that he knows nothing. Socrates's contribution to the state are summed up to basically being this, "that virtue is not given by money but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man public as well as private". which basically means that you can not pay money to become riotous but that by being riotous or virtuous that you gain every other good there is.

  2. In Apology by Plato, Socrates is disliked by the politicians, artisans, and poets because he had told them that they are not wise despite their own opinion. Socrates does not think he is wise so he knows that he is wiser because man he doesn't think he is wise is, plainly is. Socrates believes he is a contribution to Athens because he offers knowledge and to those who would except it.
    In Euthyphro also by Plato, Socrates pushes Euthyphro to tell him what is piety and impiety. In doing so figures out piety is the act of tending to the gods or in other words praying and offering gifts to them. Even though there is no conclusion I have learned that asking questions about tough subjects can lead knowledge.

  3. Politicians,Poets, and craftsmen were esteemed to be believe of themselves to be superiorly wiser than the average man by believing that they know everything when in reality they knew nothing. Socrates proved that true wisdom is knowing and accepting that you don't know everthing and by that he was actually wiser. They also seemed to be all jealous of Socrates because deep inside they knew that his wisdom exceeded theirs and were intimidated by his eloquent speech. It has been said, "Fear comes from the unkown." They feared him, hence, charging him with false accusations and finding him guilty. Socrates had given Athens an infinite wisdom beyond their understanding as he stated, "as you will not easily find another like me, I would advise you to spare me." Socrates said, that their conceit of knowlege was a disgraceful sort of ignorance. I thought it quite amazing, as I read this story his choice and use of words. As a religous person that I am, I realize that he actually manipulated many biblical versus using them indirectly at them without them even knowing throught his entire defense.

  4. Socrates wanted a clear concise definition and understanding of Peity and Impiety with the correlation of murder that Euthyphro's father had committed. As Socrates went in depht to understand the meaning of piety and impiety and the coorelation of the case to Euth.'s father he realized that in reality Euth. had no idea or knowledge of what the consise definition really was. Socrates, although holding Euth. in high regards, as much to say that he himself (Socrates) could be a student of his; in the sense that he may be able to use this rather exquisite knowledge to his defense against Meletus. Along the middle of the conversation, to no avail of getting Euth. to providing him with the true meaning of peity and impiety, Socrates realizes that Euth.'s abundance of wisdom made him lazy. Socrates understood in some way that piety was a reverance or devout fullment in doing whats pleasing to God. But as all religious debates, there is never a concise answer when it comes to God. Therefore, leading the conversation no where! I was enlighted by the circulation of the conversation. In fact, I came to understand that the deeper in depth you challenge your mind, the more you begin to understand the true meaning of philosphy. And sometimes, you will never find a conclusion to your initial question.

  5. According to Socrates, the commonality between politicians, poets, and craftsmen is that they do not like him simply because they all believe that they themselves are wiser than he is and that all he is telling are lies. On the other hand, these people believe that Socrates wants to deceive the people into giving him credence for the things he says because of the fact that he says what he does through a manner of eloquent speaking. They assume that he does this in order to make himself more believable since he is a man of older age. Socrates refuses to accept this because he believes that he is the wiser person of all the rest being that he, as he believes to be true, is the only person whom tells “the whole truth” as well as the fact that he is the only one who accepts that he does not know everything there is to know meanwhile the politicians, poets, and the craftsmen think that they know everything so they do not give others a chance to teach them something new which indeed they would not have known in the first place. What Socrates considers to be his contribution to Athens is that he taught them to accept that they truly do not know everything there is to know in order for them to be able to learn much more than they actually do and, in exchange, end up being the wiser of the few.

  6. APOLOGY, BY: PLATO-According to Socrates in "Apology", the politicians, poets, and craftsmen are all similar because they are inferior to him. What makes them inferior is not the fact that these groups of men don't know everything, but that these men refuse to admit, or to realize that they are unknowing of many things. Socrates thinks that he is wise because he is aware that naivety exist in everyone including himself, "I am better off than he is- for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows." Throughout Socrates' defense in court, Socrates starts to question Meletus, resulting in Meletus contradicting himself with his answers. Socrates tells his accusers that they need to improve themselves, instead of attacking others, and as he leaves for his death sentence he says, "The hour of departire has arrived, and we go our ways- I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.", implying that no one can ever know everything unless that person were God himself.

  7. EUTHYPHRO, BY: PLATO- In Euthyphro, Socrates seeks to learn the true definition of piety and impiety. Socrates says to Euthyphro, "and is your knowledge of religion and of things pious and impious so very exact, that, supposing the circumstances to be as you state them, you are not afraid lest you too may be doing an impious thing in bringing an action against your father?" Here, Socrates is questioning Euthyphro on whether he is doing the right thing by prosecuting his own father for murder. The relationship between the Gods and piety is that what may be considered pious was not necessarily holy from the beginning until the Gods declared it so. What I have taken from this reading is that what we truly beleieve to be wrong and right depends on what we are told, or how we personally feel about something. There is no right or wrong answers, only more questions that lead to even more questions.

  8. In Plato’s Apology, he speaks of a few main ideas like religion, wisdom, faith and morals. He’s in this constant battle between what he feels is right, his beliefs and the negative perception Athens has grown to have for him because of those beliefs.
    He arrives at a point in his life where he finds it necessary to go on a mission. Not to spread or share knowledge but to compare himself to the politicians and craftsman who basically thought were more knowledgeable than the rest. To see what others knew of the faith but on the contrary of things he walked away with more than just that. He realized the ones who said knew didn’t know. In Plato’s eyes it is better not to know or think to know. In other words it’s better to not be wise than to think you are and not be. Could this have been that Plato wasn’t confident in what he was representing? Although he did stand his ground when it came to defending himself to the Athenians but was he actually questioning himself?
    Plato knew that it was wiser for individuals to have a right to believe what they wanted. He felt it was better to live doing right. At some points it seemed a bit hypocritical. He found it necessary in teaching the young of he and Socrates philosophy but considered it unrighteousness when the government manipulated the young and convinced them there way was right. Were Plato and Socrates actually wiser than the rest?
    Euthyphro and Plato debated whether it was better to have piety or impiety. You know it’s almost like everyday decisions that a good majority of people sub concisely make on daily basis. It’s do good or do evil. It’s not only believing in yourself and you’re God/s but to be true to them. Now the question is does doing right mean your being true to God?

  9. Plato portraits Socrates as pure knowledge, mostly out of the fact that he knew the limitations of his own knowledge . The accusations that are placed upon Socrates in "The apology" are mostly out of the discomfort that the truth casts on the members of society in Athens who consider themselves wise.
    In the part of the dialogue between Socrates and Meletus; Socrates demonstrates that the accusations are based on a fallacy. "For he certainly does appear to me to contradict himself in the indictment as much as if he said that Socrates is guilty of not believing in the gods, and yet believing in them - but this surely is a piece of fun." Socrates kept addressing his speech to Athenian society. This may have decided, in a way that Socrates wanted to prove that the average man if paying close attention to the facts can realize that the reasoning behind the accusations is flawed. Socrates goes beyond, even when he is found guilty of corrupting the youth, and points out that if he was guilty on the eyes of everyone, a vast majority of the 30 judges would have found him guilty but they did not. Why is the truth so uncomfortable sometimes? Is that because we haven not been truth to ourselves and we would like to conceal it? Or it just makes us uncomfortable that ignorance has been our path and when the truth comes on the open we are not able to abide by it?

  10. On the Euthyphro text, Socrates is excercising a cross examination of Euthyphro in the same way he cross examined the poets and the so-called wise men from "The Apology" text. At first it seemed that Socrates was thrilled about finding someone who will be wiser than him, but as time passed by, he realized that Euthyphro did not have all the answers that he proclaimed he had.
    Euthyphro's train of thought was not as clear as he expected. When asked a few question in the matter of piety, which he felt he was completely an expert in, he could not put an argument together.
    Socrates's way of questioning makes sure that there are not descrepancies between what you say you know and what you actually know. I believe that in the religious structure the greeks had the piety was very relative. The gods were always in quarrel and what was good for some was not so good for others. I believe Socrates was always in a quest for the truth.

  11. According to Socrates, the most common thing between politicians, artist, and craftsmen is the fact they are not wise. Socrates, after being accused of, “corrupting the youth” and being an, “evil-doer,” he sets out to find how the accusers know these accusations to be true—after all, all the Athenians had said that it was Socrates that is the wisest. Socrates sets out to learn from wiser men than him so he may understand that the charges against him where just. As he goes and talks to the politicians whom he thought would be the wisest because of who they were, learns that they do not know the things they think they know. This goes for the Artists and the Craftsmen as well. They all claimed to know of high things, but instead, they knew nothing…nothing but themselves. To Socrates, for a man to claim wisdom, he must know exactly what it is he is wise about.

  12. What I learned from the discussion between Socrates and Euthyphro is that you must understand unanimously, that the choices and actions you make are, right and just. That you must understand the very reason on why it is you have made this choice and that it fits with the situation that has brought about this decision. That you must be able to explain exactly why this choice was made and, that it is the right choice because you have learned all about the situation; understand all the reasons why it happened and played out all the scenarios on how it could have been prevented. Now, there is one other thing I learned from this discussion, and that is, beliefs are not always good to swear by or even have. Example, if you choose to believe in something and you are faced with a situation you clearly see as being just, but it goes against your belief, do you choose the decision that goes with your belief, or do you choose the decision that goes against your belief? And is it good to have beliefs when there are many situations which are always contradicting those beliefs?

  13. Socrates considers himself wiser because he posseses a certain kind of wisdom that is attainable by man, but not the superrhuman kind. He says he is the wisest of men beacuse Chaerephon went to the Delphi and asked the oracle if there was anyone wiser than he, and answered that there was not. Socrates builds his credibility by bringing the word of a God as testimony, even though the man who heard this died at that time saying that "a god cannot lie" because it is against his nature.
    Socrates further attempts to prove his point by going on a mission in search of a man wiser than himself. He examined politicians, artisand, and even poets; making enemies of them all. He said that when questioning the most reputable men they were "all but the most foolish;" Those who consider themselves wise aren't. He observed from poets that they thought themselves wise based upon the strength of their poems and believed to be wise in things which they had no wisdom in, beacuse they couldn't give real meaning to the things they described in their poetry. He tested the artisans as well and concluded that their presumption of wisdom stemming form their knowledge in good craftsmanship was sufficient to declare themselves full of wisdom. Socrates considers his contribution to Athens the deed of instructing everyone to look into himself and seek virtue and wisdom within instead of private interests. "to thine self be true," are the famous words that Socrates is best remembered by.
    Socrates goes to Euthryfro seeking to understand the concept of piety. At first Euthryfro claims piety is "prosecuting anyone who is guilty of murder, sacriledge" and to leave them unpunished is impious no matter if the person is one's own father or mother. He then goes on to describe piety as that which is dear to the gods and beloved by them, and impiety that which is not. It was asserted that piety is the act of exerting holiness in action. It is the learning of how to please the gods in words and deeds by prayers and sacrifices. As Socrates calls it, "the science of asking and giving;" a sort of business between man and the gods, althought what is loved by some of the gods are hated by others and satisfaction isn't truly met with all this conflict, beacuse conflict between the gods often leads to war, or worse. It is then stated that piety/holiness is an art of attending to the gods in form of ministration. However, their conversation ends in that premise.
    The thing that struck me as truth from what I read is that you can only be true to thineself. You cannot define your beliefs by what everyone says and beliefs. Otherwise, you are not yourself. Your merely a replica of the whole. Also, I liked Socrates commentary on death when he was sentenced to it. He said, "no evil can happen to a good man either in life or after death." It made me think about my personal belief of what death is. Is death when you die with your thoughts, and in those seven minutes your mind is awake and your body dead is not it it a passage of waking sleep into the eternal one, and is sleep eternal? Is life eternal if we must die? Things like this I think about you. Thank you Socrates for ever being alive.

  14. I totally disagree with Euthyphro unwise choice to put his father's freedom at stake. It was simply an unfortunate brawl between his servant and dad. It was obviously an accidental death due to the fact his father was under the influence of alcohol. I feel prosecuting his father will only show his disloyality and dishonor for him. Euthyphro preach about the Gods so where is his mercy and compassion for his own flesh and blood? The fact of the matter at the end of the day this is his biological father,not some random mass murderer or serial killer at large. His family have every right to be upset with him. I agree with Socrates that prosecuting his dad is an act of unrighteosness before the gods. I also feel Socrates got exposed by Meletus and is now looking for escape by blaming others instead of owning up to his faults.Socrates should had just took full responsibility for his beliefs and teachings. He might have got justice. Socrates also demonstrates fear when he eagerly beseech Euthyphro to teach him the revelation between holiness and unholiness. Socrates was being vindictive by even thinking of using Euthyphro as a defense mechanism@court,to blame him as his teacher. He is only concerned with protecting his fame and life. Socrates wants all the credit when his reputation is undeserved.

  15. “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.”

    Being that this was our first entry, I was unsure as to how to begin. I chose this last sentence from The Apology because I thought I found it insightful in terms of whop Socrates was. Throughout the Apology, he was quite comical. I could only imagine our court system today with a 70-year-old man being on trial and instead of being questioned by attorneys and judges, he is making jokes and pointing fingers at his accusers. “And these are the doctrines which the youth are said to learn of Socrates, when there are not unfrequently exhibitions of them at the theatre (price of admission one drachma at the most); and they might cheaply purchase them, and laugh at Socrates if he pretends to father such eccentricities.”

    Socrates was judged by 3 main accusers -Meletus and Anytus and Lycon, Meletus - on behalf of the poets; Anytus, on behalf of the craftsmen; and Lycon, on behalf of the rhetoricians. While these were his main accusers, it was interesting to see that the youths were actually their followers. Socrates challenged the youths. Of course they were ignorant and less knowledgeable about some things, it was only obvious that they would slander and repeat the same charges that have been stated before because, well, they couldn’t come up with anything better.

    Speaking of the three main accusers, Socrates’ actions caused him to make many enemies - some of the most dangerous ones in fact. Anytime he would come into contact with some one, whether it be a politician, poet or artisan, they would be on-lookers. These people would judge him and said that he was evil and unwise but in actuality, he found that his wisdom was worth nothing. He believed that being wise was just a title that God gives to man and anyone could be labeled as such. His personal mission to prove the oracle wrong created enemies, ridicule, poverty and eventually death. But all in all, he could not derail from his devotion to God. And from my understanding (but I could be wrong) his death was due to accusations and judgments of being the ultimate atheist.

    I enjoyed the “reading flow” of Euthyphryo. I found it to be engaging and of course, clearer than the Apology. I got the sense that this was a sincere conversation between two close friends. The just so happen to meet up at the entrance of what we typically know as the courthouse and they begin to discuss there reasons for being there.

    I actually wished that I would have read Euthyphryo first because I feel now that I have a better sense of who Socrates was and what his missions were all about. This reading explained quickly and conveniently what and who was bring charges against Socrates and why. It also gave an insight to who Meletus was and the possible reasoning behind his charges. (The entire process/charges against Socrates would ultimately catapult him into being a wealthy public figure.

    I also appreciated learning that Euthyphryo was in a better position than his friend because he didn’t “push the envelope” like Socrates did. He was a philosopher as well but also known as a knowledgeable and acceptable religious advisor. His position in regards to bringing charges against his father were also interesting because this was something that if given the choice, many people may not be able to do. He received ridicule behind this from his own family but understood that he must follow his religious teachings and sacraments.

    All in all, the reading was much more entertaining and provided me a better insight to who the characters were.

  16. True wisdom and virtue is found in questioning the self and others and holding onto a doubt of supposed goodness. Perhaps when hearing of the Oracle's words, Socrates had not been the wisest of men, but in pursuing a greater answer he attains wisdom neither found among the common nor distinguished men who maintain feigned astuteness. It is Socrates's desire for Athens to not succumb to the mindset that plagues politicians, poets and craftsmen by acting as the supposed gadfly. In this way he hopes to ensure Athens will remain aware of what true justice is and free of the pretenses that hold the aforementioned “wise men” that keep them in “sleep on for the remainder of their lives.”

  17. Socrates doesn’t consider himself to be a wise man but compared to the politicians, poets, craftsmen and all the other men who have a reputation of being wise he is wiser then they are in the sense that he doesn’t know anything. When he went to these men in search of wisdom he found out that although they were very good at what they did, they didn’t understand it because they were more focused in their reputation and appearing to be wise. Yet Socrates thinks he is wiser then they are because he questions them in search of true wisdom instead of claiming to know everything. However, Socrates considers it’s his contribution to Athens to expose these men with their false wisdom which he basically refers to it as ignorance. I personally agree with Socrates because wisdom is not something that is learned in a specific period of time but a never ending learning experience. Also because since we are only humans we cannot know everything and although we are wise in some aspects, we are also ignorant in others.

  18. Socrates thinks that he is wiser than all poets and politicians.so,He went on his journey to discover who is wise and who is not, but he came to the conclusion that no one is really wise but GOD.he also believes and i quote "if a man is able to teach, i honor him.." Socrates also mentioned that on one of his visits to politician he said a very interesting comment " so i left him saying to myself as i went away: well, although i do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good, i am better off than he is. for he knows nothing and think that he knows. i neither know nor think i know..." i can very much relate that comment to what we spoke about in class, is it better to know and have no evidence or to be ignorant?.He also claimed that they were good workers but their defect of thinking that they knew everything overshadowed their wisdom. and he also ends his speech with a very interesting question.. " i to die and you to live. which is better?? God only knows..

    Also, in Euthyphro socrates discuses the issue of piety and impiety.. he said and i quote " piety is as i am doing; that is to say, prosecuting any one who is guilty of murder, or any similar crime- whether he be your father or mother.." and that bring a question to mind. would you sacrifice love for justice? for a human bing to send their parent to jail for murder for any type of reason is pretty harsh, not everyone is willing to do it. but he took a step forward and mad a choice to be justice and do whats right. he later on also describes it as and i quote " piety, then, is that which is dear to the gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them. so that shows you that he love for the gods is more stronger than his love for his father because he chooses to kill his father to please the gods.


  19. Apology:
    1. What is in common among politicians, poets
    and craftsmen according to Socrates?

    The similarities between the politicians, poets, and craftsmen are their sense of pride concerning their reasoning beyond their professions.Socrates, through methods of questioning inspired by an oracles statement, made it his mission to verify if he was actually the wisest man in all of Athens.His conclusions were that politicians didn't know anything, Poets wrote with inspiration which did not constitute being wise and the craftsmen didn't know anything either.Through his ventures he came to make enemies of all of them.

    2. Why does Socrates think that he is wiser than them?

    Socrates does not think that he is entirely wiser than them partly because they know so much about the workings of their profession but he sees that their are blinded by their ego,which might be due to the amount of praise that they might be getting(who knows?) but he sees their inability to be thorough. The notion that Socrates was trying to get across was not that he was better but better off because he realized that he did not fully understand everything,which kept him open-minded. He wasn't gloating about his wisdom he knew that he didn't not understand everything and being humble might have been what the oracle meant when stating that he was the wisest man in all of Athens.

    3. What does Socrates consider as his contribution to Athens?

    Socrates considers being a critic and provoking Athens his great contribution.

    1. What does Socrates seek to know from Euthyphro? Be precise.

    He seeks to understand what pious and impious means so that he may in some way use it in his defense against Meletus. (or so its perceived and I say that because at a certain point he gets a bit sarcastic in his manner of questioning which i found funny)

    2. What's the relationship between gods and piety?
    The relationship between gods and piety are not really co-dependent but religiously necessary.Pietys don't really have much to offer except devotion with prayers and sacrifices but as Socrates points out not really beneficial in the way that the gods provide with their omnipotent powers...

    3. Though there is no conclusion, what have you learned from this discussion?
    Ive learned that you shouldn't always accept things as they are. Verification is key and its important to understand as well as appreciate all forms of knowledge.Being open-minded to different methods of reasoning helps in getting a grasp of how ideas come into fruition.

  20. Tawnya Ridi

    "The wisest man is he who knows that he knows nothing" Corinthians 8:2

    I choose this quote because I feel that it is a common theme in Socretes's Defense. Through out Socrates' speech to the court he is trying to persuade the people of Athens that he has done nothing wrong. He is not wiser than any other man, because he knows nothing. He just happens to think a little deeper, and listen to other philosophers. Plato knows that the only knowledge he has over other wise men is that he knows nothing. It is more dangerous to believe in your own hype then it is to search truths because you know no truths.

    Socrates's fellow philosophers and artists had extreme feelings of enmity towards him, because they could not face the facts that in this world it is humans that are blind to fate and to divine wisdom. It is only arrogance and hubris that drive these men to create their poems, govern their people, and create their crafts.

    Socrates contribution to Athens is reminding the people "that God only is wise". He wants to inquest the people of Athens and improve the youth of the country so that Athens can remain strong and the leader in military, art, philosophy, and economy. Socrates left a legacy of questions to open people's minds to a new and broader reality so that new things can be discovered.


    Socrates seeks advise from Euthyphro so that he is not accused of corrupting the youth through false deities and poems. By inquiring guidance from Euthyphro Socrates is opened to the question of pious and impious actions when understanding gods verses people, and right verses wrong. In finding these truths and questions from Euthyphro, Socrates develops a profound devotion to Euthyphro and wants to be not only a dear friend but a disciple.

    The relationship between gods and piety is similar to the relationship between right and wrong, and human and divine. These similarities are in themselves, because without one does the other exist? Piety is what a religious god brings to it's people. Piety is the quality of being religious, just, and dutiful, such is what one believes to be a god or god like in nature.

    I learned through this discussion that to do the right thing is not easy and people will judge and hate you for seeking the truth, but it is the righteous thing to do so that no one is falsely accused or wrongfully prosecuted. I also learned that people will throw religion into a debate to make a point, but is this point valid if all we have to prove religion is our faith.

  21. socretes seeks to know the nature of piety and impiety of murder and of other offences against the gods.
    socrates believes that piety in every action will alwayse be the same and impiety will always be the opposite
    of piety euth believes that piety is prosecuting anyone who is guilty regardles if there your mother father or whoever
    it makes no difference, and being impiet is simply not holding charges against that person when you know there guilty
    and let them go unpunished.basicaly piety is that which is dear to the gods and impiety is not dear to them
    the relationship that euth relates to the gods regarding piety
    is that zeus a god is known that he bound and punished his father cronos because he had ate his children
    and similarly cronos had done the same to his own father uranus for a similar reason. but the difference
    with euth father is that he accidently murdered a murderer. from this reading i find that socrates is a very persistant guy.
    in trying to find the truth in piety and impiety holy and unholy, whats favorible to the gods and what is not favorable
    i do not believe that ultimately searching for the truth of pious or impious acts could have helped socrates with his trial
    or do i believe that he can ever ultimately get a answer to this question as to the definition of piety
    for the reason being that piety is supposedly dear to the gods and impiety is against them for we are never really granted
    a oppertunity to converse on such things with the gods but only speculate with each other. i believe that euth is a educated
    individual but i believ he is foolish for bringing charges against his father when his father was trying to do things in the
    right way it was not his fault that the prisnor had died.