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Plato's Speech About the State and the Individual

Another charge is that Socrates claims a certain wisdom for himself, and he finds that this prejudice has derived from a statement by the oracle at Delphi that no one was wiser than Socrates. The fact that the oracle said it does not mean that Socrates himself believes it, but the idea has been ascribed to him just the same. Another source of prejudice, he says, is the fact that over the years many of the young men of the wealthier class have come to him because they enjoy listening to the manner in which he exposes the ignorance of those around him. Those he exposes in this fashion have become angry and have called Socrates a destroyer of youth.

Socrates addresses the issue that he corrupts the young by noting his method and how all he does is expose the wrongheadedness of others, something the youth of the city like to see. He states that when the young people who follow him are queried as to what evil teachings Socrates has made, they are not able to give an answer because there are no evil teachings at all. Many do not want to appear not to know how to answer, though, and so they repeat the charges that they have heard of philosophers who teach about things in the clouds and things under the earth and who make the worse appear the better cause. It is because of the constant repetition of these claims that the charges have now been brought against Socrates. In order to show that he is not corrupting the youth, Socrates calls forth Meletus and asks him a series of questions, and Socrates leads Meletus from one logical point to the next. He shows that the statements made by Meletus seem to indicate that only socrates is corrupting the youth and that everyone else in the city works for the improvement of the young. he gets Meletus to state that no one would intentionally make the people worse than they are while he had to live among them, and clearly Socrates has to live among these young people. It follows that Socrates ...

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Plato's Speech About the State and the Individual. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:37, July 22, 2017, from
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