Socrates Essay Research Paper Socrates

Socrates Essay, Research Paper

Socrates & # 8217 ; Struggle: Doctrine over Society

When covering with the extent to which Socrates is a good illustration for following the ideals of democratic citizenship, a good beginning to utilize as a point of comparing to his life is the rules laid out about that citizenship by Pericles in his Funeral Oration. In the Oration, Pericles brought forth certain thoughts about Athenian democracy and how its citizens should populate their lives in conformity with it. He held these positions to be paramount and used them in association with the rules of Athenian Law to turn out a persuasive point that Athenian democracy had to be one with the people to last. Above all other ideals he held foremost the idea that political relations was the highest naming and 2nd that the citizens should endeavor to better themselves socially/politically to break the province. These thoughts prove to good establish when their cogency is examined in replying inquiries of what is the best signifier of authorities, and does that organize better function the nature of freedom, equality and justness. However, when one looks at the actions and words of Socrates ( such as his deficiency of engagement in political relations or deficiency of desire to foster himself in society ) , it is clearly seen that he did non believe in or unrecorded by these criterions.

In the Funeral Oration, where Pericles professed that the nucleus facet put away in Athenian democracy was that political relations is the highest naming, Socrates believed doctrine to be the ageless enterprise of life. Pericles believed that stand foring the people of his metropolis was the best manner to function the ideals for which it stood and he proved this by depended on the bulk regulation built-in to that democracy to continue freedom. He saw that through difficult work and dedication to the province, self-government would be preserved by the voice of the many, non of the few. Furthermore, in the head of Pericles, any citizen who did non take some portion in the kingdom of political relations was non merely losing the nucleus of Athenian democracy, but was basically useless. This is so because Athenian democracy stood on the thought that people would take an active function in the authorities that represented them in order to protect their freedoms, and anyone who shunned that duty was a hurt to society. The statements that Pericles puts Forth are persuasive in the sense that theoretically in order for a democracy to last as intended ( which is self-representation and bulk regulation ) so people must take political relations unfeignedly.

Socrates, at the other terminal of the spectrum, saw political relations as a otiose venture for him because his life was devoted to a pursuit for cognition. He stated his manner of life, which conflicts with that of Pericles & # 8217 ; theoretical account, to differ from that of the democratic system of Athens because he saw the authorities to be corrupt and the bulk to non be merely. Socrates did non trouble oneself to take a life of servitude to the ideals of the province because he showed through his actions that an unexamined life without critical thought was non a life at all. As is made clear by the entree of Socrates himself, his defence supplication is the first clip he has appeared in a tribunal of jurisprudence, even by the age of 70. Socrates & # 8217 ; life was dedicated to the chase of farther comprehension and argument with the Athenian people on the deeper issues of life, non to a tribunal of jurisprudence ; and he saw this as baronial. The most concrete illustration of the divergency in political beliefs can be seen in Socrates & # 8217 ; & # 8220 ; Apology & # 8221 ; written by Plato when Socrates provinces, & # 8220 ; ? .I have neglected what occupies most people: wealth, family personal businesss, the place of general or public speechmaker, or public nines and cabals. These statements that Socrates admitted to non holding involvement in were inherently the nucleus rules of Athenian Law and society.

Pericles, in his Funeral Oration, besides discusses the importance of self-improvement/interest and endeavoring for excellence as characteristics of Athenian citizenship, while Socrates chooses to prosecute neither as prescribed by the province. Pericles thought that in order to farther society and in bend benefit the metropolis, its citizens had to endeavor for excellence by giving of themselves unselfishly to the cause of democracy. This is shown in his congratulations of the work forces who gave their lives and received the Oration. He praises them for endeavoring in the name of self-improvement by contending and deceasing for the democracy they loved. However, within that hunt for self-improvement Athenian rules besides dictated that equality among its citizens is besides an of import portion of citizenship. If the system is to genuinely work as a democracy of peers, each citizen must hold the same entree to jurisprudence and chance to better themselves socially. Contained within that ideal of Pericles and Athenian rules that everyone should hold a opportunity to be equal is the thought that a adult male & # 8217 ; s societal category has no bearing in Athens. No adult male was looked down upon because of his societal position and was further given equal entree to the Torahs ; nevertheless if that said adult male did non seek to better his soc

ial position at all, he was considered a bad illustration of the Athenian theoretical account. Pericles makes a persuasive statement here because in order for a society to turn and develop, each member of that society has to lend to that enlargement by giving of himself/herself via whatever means necessary. Furthermore, the thought that all people are equal under the Torahs is one of the basiss of Athenian democracy in the signifier of bulk regulation and the chance to take part in authorities in any societal category. In the life that Socrates chose to populate, self-reformation was merely attained through the hunt of cognition, non service, and societal improvement was a cause for merely those immersed in the political life. Socrates in the “Apology” says, “Because of my business, I do non hold the leisure to prosecute in public personal businesss to any extent? but I live in great poorness because of my service? ” ( 23b ) . Socrates lived a life where the ultimate intent was to function the quest of improvement and to debate with his fellow citizens about the inquiries of life. Therefore, he did non hold the clip to worry himself about his societal position and in bend in no manner did anything to better it. Socrates shows this because he professes he is non like the other work forces of his profession who collect fees. He proclaims that Teachs for the spread of cognition, non the improvement of society or wealth. He could non be seen as run intoing the standard for democratic citizenship exactly because as with the other rules, he did non see the thoughtless procedure of societal publicity and societal betterment in the eyes of the province would convey him closer to the reply of life’s inquiries.

Possibly one of the best ways to prove the theories of Pericles & # 8217 ; persuasive statement put away here and look at their cogency is to happen the true reply to whether or non Socrates was a theoretical account of democratic citizenship in line with Athens & # 8217 ; definition of a good citizen, a nationalist. It is this inquiry in which the issue becomes more complicated because Socrates shows marks of being a nationalist and being against the impression at the same clip. Those who claim that Socrates is a nationalist and hence a good theoretical account of citizenship argue that he loves the jurisprudence and will non implore for his life because he believes the metropolis & # 8217 ; s honour to be at interest and he would non stain that by imploring. They wonder why would a adult male who was non a good theoretical account for citizenship battle for the virtuousness of its citizens. However, on the other side of the statement are those who argue that Socrates stands outside of political relations because he chose to non take part in the political procedure or in office. Others would contend that he held a questionable sentiment about the bulk because they could do as much problem as a group of a few work forces with power. Therefore, when put to the trial of being a nationalist, it is non merely proven that he appears to be less a nationalist so a adult male of doctrine, but that he appears even further off from the standards of democratic citizenship by being against bulk regulation and public office.

The concluding inquiry so is raised about the deepness to which Socrates meets the standards of democratic citizenship, and a sound manner to convey it to light is to set to the trial the theoretical account of citizenship laid out by Pericles. That trial must be used to happen if he persuasively answers the deep inquiries of whether or non democracy is the best signifier of authorities, and does that democracy which he supports genuinely serve freedom, justness and equality in a mode to discredit the life supported by Socrates. Pericles considered Athenian democracy to be an instruction and theoretical account of authorities to the remainder of the universe. Through the intervention of his people and, for the most portion, positive traffics of his authorities, Pericles proved that democracy was the best signifier of authorities because it lived up to his ideals of equality and bulk regulation. Pericles & # 8217 ; theoretical account for Athenian democratic citizenship proved that populating through his rules ; the people could outdo populate a life of freedom ( freedom from an oligarchy or unjust revenue enhancement ) , equality ( represented in self-government and equal entree to the jurisprudence no affair category ) and justness ( in that people were given just tests and governed humanely ) . This position non merely helps to turn out that Pericles & # 8217 ; theoretical account is persuasive in demoing the nature of democratic citizenship to be successful ; it besides serves to demo that merely to the least extent, in the visible radiation that Socrates supported some facets of Athenian society, does he function as a good illustration of citizenship. The theoretical account of Pericles that dealt with autonomous citizenship proved to be the usher that helped the Athenian democracy last every bit long as it did ; and although Socrates did non wholeheartedly believe in those rules or run into all the standards to go a good citizen in the eyes of Pericles, he doubtless helped to determine the deliberations of the twenty-four hours and set in gesture the hereafter of argument on doctrine, authorities and the nature of adult male.


Bloomfield, Louis A. The Politics of Ancient Rome. Oxford Hill Publishing: New York, 1988.