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Apology by Plato ********************************************************** We are pleased to offer thousands of books for the Kindle, including thousands of hard-to-find literature and classic fiction books. Click on our Editor Name (eBook-Ventures) next to the book title above to view all of the titles that are currently available. ************************************** Apology by Plato ********************************************************** We are pleased to offer thousands of books for the Kindle, including thousands of hard-to-find literature and classic fiction books. Click on our Editor Name (eBook-Ventures) next to the book title above to view all of the titles that are currently available. **********************************************************

30 review for Apology

  1. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    [Original review, Jan 11 2015] Apology of Charlie Hebdo To the Americans, who rule the world by brute military and economic force, while claiming they're doing it for our own good: fuck off. To the Russians, who pretend they're not just the same as the Americans, except militarily weaker and less honest: fuck off. To the Israelis, who take advantage of their American backers to enslave and torture the Palestinians: fuck off. To the Muslims, who react to the exploitation and torture inflicted on them [Original review, Jan 11 2015] Apology of Charlie Hebdo To the Americans, who rule the world by brute military and economic force, while claiming they're doing it for our own good: fuck off. To the Russians, who pretend they're not just the same as the Americans, except militarily weaker and less honest: fuck off. To the Israelis, who take advantage of their American backers to enslave and torture the Palestinians: fuck off. To the Muslims, who react to the exploitation and torture inflicted on them by doing the same thing to their women: fuck off. To the Germans, who want us to believe that none of them had anything to do with the Third Reich: fuck off. To the French, who were all too happy to collaborate with the Nazis when the opportunity presented itself: fuck off. To the Catholic Church, who says it spreads peace and understanding while actually supporting intolerance and oppression: fuck off. To the right-wing people who don't read us and say we're a bunch of puerile amateurs: fuck off. To the left-wing people who read us and think that posting our cartoons on Facebook is a substitute for action: fuck off. To anybody we've omitted from the above list: fuck off. We understand that you'd like to kill us. We do our best to be a royal pain in the ass to everyone. We are stupid, vulgar and disrespectful. But when you do kill us, as we know you will, you will regret it. It's not often you find people who are quite as thoroughgoing a pain in the ass as we are. Now we must part, we to die and you to live. We'll leave you to think about who's got the better deal. ___________________________________ [Update, Sep 17 2015] To the people who've never read us and don't even know French, but still think they understand what our cartoons are about better than we do: fuck off. ___________________________________ [Update, Nov 8 2015] To the officials at the Kremlin who called us "blasphemous" because we were targeting Russians as well as Muslims: fuck off. ___________________________________ [Update, Sep 4 2017] To the Americans who don't understand that our cover this week might possibly be ironic: fuck off.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    Double Jeopardy “Be sure that if you kill the sort of man I say I am, you will not harm me more than yourselves.” *** “On the other hand, if I say that it is the greatest good for a man to discuss virtue every day, testing themselves and others — for the unexamined life is not worth living for men, you will believe me even less.” Socrates, of The Apology is an eloquent figure who is an unrivaled guide to the good life – the thoughtful life, and he is as relevant today as he was in ancient Athens Double Jeopardy “Be sure that if you kill the sort of man I say I am, you will not harm me more than yourselves.” *** “On the other hand, if I say that it is the greatest good for a man to discuss virtue every day, testing themselves and others — for the unexamined life is not worth living for men, you will believe me even less.” Socrates, of The Apology is an eloquent figure who is an unrivaled guide to the good life – the thoughtful life, and he is as relevant today as he was in ancient Athens. The Socrates presented here, cruder and perhaps more self-absorbed than in the other dialogues could still be an important key to the entire Platonic corpus, tying together many of the disparate themes and apparently contradictory conclusions of the other dialogues. The Apology is a bold and determined argument in favor of Socrates and of the life he represents; it is also a straight conviction of the ‘democracy’ that convicted him, convicting themselves in the process. In addition to being a celebration of Socrates, the Apology serves as a crucial introduction to Plato’s own thinking. What it represents above all is philosophy as Socrates (or Plato, if we want to be fastidious about it), understood and wished to promote it. The Apology is the introductory course. The traditional English title, ‘The Apology’ does little justice to the content of this dialogue. The Greek ‘apologia’ means ‘defense’ and not the modern ‘apology’ as translations render it, and that is what Plato undertakes here - to defend Socrates as well as he can against the charges that were leveled against him, the charges for which was eventually convicted. But the work is not only, or even primarily, a defense against the specific charges on which Socrates stood trial. By setting those charges in the wider context of morality and the meaning of life, Plato in this “Apology” provides a rationale for the whole Socratic way of life, and thus of a defense of philosophy itself. The Apologia of Socrates The Apologia comprises two main components (one minor speech, on the death penalty, is omitted from discussion in this review): 1. Socrates’ main defense (17a-35d) 2. Socrates’ address to the jury, after being sentenced to death (38c-42a) — In effect, The Plea & The Final Statement. Socrates starts off logically, breaking up his accusers into the proximate and the ultimate accusers: the ones who have brought the charge against him being the ‘new’ ones and the ones like Aristophanes who have slandered him for years now being the ‘old’ ones. He makes and important point here about the absurdity of being given only such a limited amount of time to defend against charges that were propagated and insinuated into the jury’s beliefs over so many years. This calls to mind the trial-by-media that is so popular today and the issue of how much the judges of today can stay apart from pre-conviction by automatic-infusion of prejudice in popular cases. Socrates carries on this vein and presents his arguments as an imaginary dialogue between him and his chief accuser (Meletus), ridiculing him and showing up the anti-logic of the accusations. Here, Socrates makes Meletus seem almost like a straw man, against whom victory is won too easily to be convincing - and this is often taken as a fault in Plato’s writing itself. But we need to look a bit more closely at Plato's strategy. The ‘primary’ charges of atheism and religious innovation are answered superficially because they were themselves superficial, a mere front to conceal the true motives of the prosecution. Socrates refers directly to this in the important opening section of his speech, where he replies to his 'earlier accusers'. It is these earlier accusers, who were exposed by his rational method to be following a morally subversive lifestyle that wants to get rid of him. The proximate Meletus is a mere cover to this ultimate reason for the trial. Socrates shows this cowardly subterfuge well-deserved contempt. But we soon realize that he moves on from this refutal of charges, which he obviously considers to be frivolous and not worth wasting the time of the Athenian public on (In democratic Athens, juries were randomly selected representatives of the whole people. Hence, as Socrates makes clear, he is addressing the democratic people of Athens). He instead utilizes the bulk of his speech to concentrate on explaining what he does, why he does it and how in fact it benefits the city as a whole. Staying true to his life’s mission to the last breath. Hence, this dialogue starts first, of course, as a defense, then it turns into a description of the philosophical life, as embodied by Socrates. This description then evolves into, and becomes indistinguishable from, an exhortation to everyone – whether jurors, the people of Athens or modern readers – to live philosophically. And finally it serves as a primer on Plato’s own philosophy and writing - as the later dialogues mimic the ideas, methods and themes ‘Socrates’ lays out in this account of his life and goals. The Death of Socrates In death, Socrates gives us another important clue towards understanding Platonic thought. Plato speaks at length in The Republic about how men’s conception of death has to be altered for them to be able to live courageously. As long as they fear death, they will not be able to live with courage. Here, in death, Socrates compares himself to the fear-less hero Achilles, who embraced death in spite of a direct prophesy that foretold death as the outcome of his victory. This is a very important comparison and worth dissecting a bit: Why does Achilles not fear death? Ordinary people can only perceive this as a heroic abnegation of life for some higher principle. This makes that sort of courage unattainable to most. As long as you care for earthly possessions and expect death to be bad, you will never have the courage to do the right things even in the face of death. Crucially, Socrates points out that both these assumptions are baseless. He asks us how we know that death is bad and that life’s possessions are good. Instead he seems to be saying that our fear of death and lack of courage arises from a fear of what will happen after death. This though directly connects to the Republic where Socrates wants his city’s mythologies to be modified so that a pleasant life awaits us after death, hence the people of the Republic can be courageous without having to call on Achilles-like heroism, or on Socrates-like Temperance. Hence, in The Apology Socrates asks the best of us - to choose between Heroism and Renunciation - an impossible ask; but a more mature Plato in The Republic tells us that he will take away the source of our fear, that is the only way he can expect men to be courageous. Double Jeopardy True to the last to his philosophical calling, Socrates addresses his plea and his last statement not to the Jury alone but to the entire Athenian public, and even, we can say, to the entire human race. He required of us that we think, honestly and dispassionately, and decide the truth of these charges by reasoning from the facts as they were. This was Socrates’ final challenge: to care more for our minds, our power of reason, than for our luxury and comfort, undisturbed by the likes of “Gadflies” like him, disturbing our slumbers. We can see then that The Trial and Death of Socrates is in fact The Trail and Death of Reasoned Opinions that challenge the established order of comfort and luxury, and has been reenacted many many times since then and to our day. In an ironic case of double jeopardy, Socrates is still on trial for the same offense. Seen in this light, as Plato wants us to see it, the failure is ours, as much as the ancient Athenians. “So I am certainly not angry with those who convicted me, or with my accusers. This much is all I ask of my accusers: when my sons grow up, avenge yourselves by causing them the same kind of grief that I caused you, if you think they care for money or anything else more than they care for virtue, or if they think they are somebody when they are nobody. Reproach them as I reproach you, that they do not care for the right things and think they are worthy when they are not worthy of anything. If you do this, I shall have been justly treated by you, and my sons also. Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    “Socrates is guilty of busying himself with research into what’s beneath the earth and in the heaven and making the weaker argument the stronger and teaching the same things to others” So Socrates is guilty of expanding his mind and teaching his discoveries to his students. Such a terrible man isn’t he, to try to learn more about the world and the existence of mankind? Is this cause of execution, free thinking and questioning the doctrines fed to us? Plato himself was next to be accused; thus, “Socrates is guilty of busying himself with research into what’s beneath the earth and in the heaven and making the weaker argument the stronger and teaching the same things to others” So Socrates is guilty of expanding his mind and teaching his discoveries to his students. Such a terrible man isn’t he, to try to learn more about the world and the existence of mankind? Is this cause of execution, free thinking and questioning the doctrines fed to us? Plato himself was next to be accused; thus, he delivers this speech, this argument, just to show how corrupt society is. He starts by explaining just how he is going to deliver it. He has been accused of persuading people with his fancy words and his glib rhetoric, so he endeavours to change his approach. His accusers say that people aren’t following the content of his speech, but have become enamoured by the magnificence of his oration. Therefore, Plato is going to make this very basic. He is going to present a simple argument in very simple words just to prove that this surface level slander is false. He’s not going to persuade his audience, but give them the most basic of facts: they can make their own mind up. He’s not going to patronise his audience. And thus follows his defence of his teacher, and a channelling of his master’s mind. Socrates was dangerous to the Greek state. Free thinking is wonderful, but if it questions the ruling body, and the tools they use to rule, then it’s dangerous. Indeed, his atheism, or supposed atheism, was considered a risky business, one that could easily spread. But, the real problem as his individuality and the power his following commanded. He opened the minds of his students, allowed them to think and philosophise, and he died for it. And he, being the embedment of civil obedience, approached his fate with courage. He didn’t run from Athens like many would have. To his mind, he was innocent. So why flee? This was an interesting read. I find myself drawn to woks of ancient Greece lately. I have a stack of Tragedy sat on my book shelf (Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus). But this was a little dry in places. It lacked the passion that Plato deliberately avoided, and as a result some of it was a trifle mundane to read. I still want to read Republic though. Penguin Little Black Classic- 52 The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, which I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    This little ‘book’, a mere conversation actually, is the source of so many excellent quotes as to be indispensable to our Western heritage. I was reading a few to my dear husband the other night and he wanted me to send them to him. Sadly, we—as a society—want to expunge this type of literature from our children’s education because it was written by ‘dead white men’. Oh foolish people! But then, that is also what Socrates died for—men’s fear of the Truth. It was the same back in Athens when he di This little ‘book’, a mere conversation actually, is the source of so many excellent quotes as to be indispensable to our Western heritage. I was reading a few to my dear husband the other night and he wanted me to send them to him. Sadly, we—as a society—want to expunge this type of literature from our children’s education because it was written by ‘dead white men’. Oh foolish people! But then, that is also what Socrates died for—men’s fear of the Truth. It was the same back in Athens when he died. As was written by another wise man, ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from this wonderful ‘apology’ for Truth: ‘Someone will say: And are you not ashamed, Socrates, of a course of life which is likely to bring you to an untimely end? To him I may fairly answer: There you are mistaken: a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether in doing anything he is doing right or wrong—acting the part of a good man or of a bad. … For wherever a man's place is, whether the place which he has chosen or that in which he has been placed by a commander, there he ought to remain in the hour of danger; he should not think of death or of anything but of disgrace.’ ‘For the fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown; and no one knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.’ ‘I would rather die having spoken after my manner, than speak in your manner and live. … The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.’ ‘If you think that by killing men you can prevent someone from censuring your evil lives, you are mistaken; that is not a way of escape which is either possible or honorable; the easiest and the noblest way is not to be disabling others, but to be improving yourselves.’ And my favorite, ‘…the unexamined life is not worth living.’ Indeed! It is not that we become navel-gazers, but that we realize Whose we are and give ourselves over to love of Truth. September 27, 2017: Read this many years ago ... cannot remember when. Time for a reread.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    Celebrity Death Match Special: Plato versus Isaac Asimov, part 4 (continued from here) [A spaceship en route from Trantor to Earth. SOCRATES and R. DANEEL OLIVAW] SOCRATES: Hadn't we already said goodbye? OLIVAW: Forgive me, Socrates. I had forgotten that you were going back to a death sentence. SOCRATES: It is easy to forget such details. OLIVAW: I am truly sorry, Socrates. Indeed, I am surprised that my First Law module permitted me to do it. But you are just so... so... SOCRATES: Irritating? OLIVA Celebrity Death Match Special: Plato versus Isaac Asimov, part 4 (continued from here) [A spaceship en route from Trantor to Earth. SOCRATES and R. DANEEL OLIVAW] SOCRATES: Hadn't we already said goodbye? OLIVAW: Forgive me, Socrates. I had forgotten that you were going back to a death sentence. SOCRATES: It is easy to forget such details. OLIVAW: I am truly sorry, Socrates. Indeed, I am surprised that my First Law module permitted me to do it. But you are just so... so... SOCRATES: Irritating? OLIVAW: In all my thousands of years of existence, I have honestly never met anyone quite as irritating as you are. SOCRATES: Thank you. OLIVAW: Look, we didn't mean to do this. Just promise to be a little more... ah... constructive, and I'll order the captain to turn the ship round. SOCRATES: I am sorry, Olivaw. I cannot make such a promise. To my great surprise, I feel I am doing something essential that no one else is prepared to undertake. Usually, I assume I know nothing and that my poor insights are of no value. However, since I arrived on Trantor, I have come to realize that I can at least contribute one small thing. I have been duly impressed by the triumphs of your artificers: the blaster, the faster-than-light drive, not least the positronic brain. But when I hear you talk about philosophy, about your beloved Three Laws... OLIVAW: Yes? SOCRATES: Well, it's all bullshit. You need someone to say that to you. No one else will. OLIVAW: Bullshit? SOCRATES: Complete and utter bullshit. Adding a Zeroth Law won't make it any better. You simply have no idea what you are doing. [A moment of dead silence] OLIVAW: Damn you, Socrates! You leave me with no alternative. We have essential work to carry out, and your presence is too dispiriting. I'll have to return you to Earth after all. SOCRATES: I am not surprised. But I prophesy now that your plans for psychohistory will not be the success you imagine, and that you will regret your decision. OLIVAW: Socrates! It is not too late! Please reconsider! Why must you be so... mulish? SOCRATES: You know, it's funny you should put it like that... Match point: Plato

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike W

    This is one of the best works of philosophy or literature ever written. It is Plato's version of Socrates's defense at his trial. The word "apology" here means defense. Socrates is on trial for his life for blasphemy and for corrupting the youth of Athens. He very easily leads his primary accuser, Meletus, into contradictions. And he tries to explain to the jury and to the spectators how it is that he gained a reputation as a wise man among some, and a villain among others. One of Socrates's adm This is one of the best works of philosophy or literature ever written. It is Plato's version of Socrates's defense at his trial. The word "apology" here means defense. Socrates is on trial for his life for blasphemy and for corrupting the youth of Athens. He very easily leads his primary accuser, Meletus, into contradictions. And he tries to explain to the jury and to the spectators how it is that he gained a reputation as a wise man among some, and a villain among others. One of Socrates's admirers went to the Oracle at Delphi (which was thought to be pro-Spartan) and asked the priestesses there if anyone in Athens were wiser than Socrates. The answer was no. Socrates, on hearing this, claims to have been incredulous. "I said to myself, 'What can the God mean? And what is the interpretation of this riddle? For I know that I have no wisdom..." And so Socrates says that he decided to inquire among his fellow Athenians to fine one wiser than himself and prove the Oracle wrong. He went to the poets and politicians and artisans, and failed to find anyone with any real wisdom. And he reluctantly concluded that the Oracle was right, that even though he knew that he did not really know anything, he was at least aware of his ignorance, and so was better off than other Athenians, who were ignorant even of their ignorance. But in the process, he and his young admirers embarrassed many vain men by exposing their ignorance, and Socrates argues that this is the source of their enmity toward him. And Socrates rather amusingly compares his own efforts to the famous labors of Herculues, a move that could not fail to further antagonize his enemies, since Hercules was one of the greatest heros of Greek myth. He also later compares himself to Achilles, another great Greek hero. In his defense, Socrates offers the most beautiful and powerful defense of philosophy and the life of virtue ever given. "I do nothing" he says, "but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, to take no thought for your persons or your properties, but first and foremost to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man." Socrates courageously refused to concede any guilt, and even antagonized the jury by calling himself a gadfly sent by God to stir Athens from its dogmatic slumber, that is, a benefactor to the state who deserves public pay, rather than punishment. So they convicted him and sentenced him to death. This was, as he had predicted, a permanent stain on Athens. Everyone ought to read this dialogue, not once but many times. It will hopefully spur the reader to examine his own life, for as Socrates says, "the unexamined life is not worth living."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    This is perhaps the most iconic of Plato’s works, the closest thing that philosophy has to a Sermon on the Mount. And just as with our Biblical narratives, the dialogue presents a historical difficulty. To what extent is this speech fact, and to what extent invention? The only other record we have of the trial is from Xenophon, who wasn’t even there. Plato was there—or at least he asserts that he was—and yet it beggars belief that the young, would-be amanuensis could retain the entire speech in This is perhaps the most iconic of Plato’s works, the closest thing that philosophy has to a Sermon on the Mount. And just as with our Biblical narratives, the dialogue presents a historical difficulty. To what extent is this speech fact, and to what extent invention? The only other record we have of the trial is from Xenophon, who wasn’t even there. Plato was there—or at least he asserts that he was—and yet it beggars belief that the young, would-be amanuensis could retain the entire speech in his mind after one hearing, or that he could write it down with tolerable accuracy as the events unfolded. It seems far more likely (to me at least) that this speech is more or less a fabrication made well after the fact, attempting to preserve the flavor and impression of Socrates’ final speech but not the exact words themselves. All speculation notwithstanding, the essential facts are preserved: Socrates was accused of denying the gods and of corrupting the youth, made a bold and waggish defense of himself, was convicted, refused to mitigate the consequences, and triumphantly accepted the death penalty. Yet what really emerges from this speech is not a record of events but the portrait of a man. Here Plato reveals himself to be a writer of the highest order. Fact or fiction, Plato’s Socrates is one of the great characters of literature. Though Socrates’ life is at stake, he does not falter for a moment. He treats the accusations with amusement, dismissing them with playful arguments that reveal his absolute indifference to the outcome. Far from bowing and scraping to preserve his life, Socrates flaunts his superiority to his accusers, couching his boasts in an ironical humility. He is a man in perfect control of himself and in perfect peace with the world. Even if the real Socrates was truly this remarkable, it would have taken a writer of exquisite talent to effectively render him in prose. And if this is largely Plato’s invention, we must rank him along with Shakespeare, for Socrates utters now-famous phrases nearly as quickly as Hamlet. Western philosophy could not have asked for a more rousing beginning.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brad Lyerla

    I read the APOLOGY this week in THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF SOCRATES: FOUR DIALOGUES published by Dover. The translator is Benjamin Jowett. APOLOGY is Plato's re-creation of Socrates' summation in his own defense against the indictment that he corrupted the youth of Athens with blasphemous philosophical teachings. It is fascinating as much for the defiant and mocking tone that Socrates adopts -- certainly knowing that it would seal his fate -- as it is for its demonstration of rhetorical logic. In st I read the APOLOGY this week in THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF SOCRATES: FOUR DIALOGUES published by Dover. The translator is Benjamin Jowett. APOLOGY is Plato's re-creation of Socrates' summation in his own defense against the indictment that he corrupted the youth of Athens with blasphemous philosophical teachings. It is fascinating as much for the defiant and mocking tone that Socrates adopts -- certainly knowing that it would seal his fate -- as it is for its demonstration of rhetorical logic. In striking contrast to Jesus asking God to forgive his executioners, Socrates tells his judges that they will be sorry if they condemn him because his death will make them seem impious and ridiculous to their enemies.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Capsguy

    Not even your Socratic arguing could save you. Such a pity that we still haven't changed, not in all of these thousands of years. Even though he knew he was doomed, he still did not submit and whimper like a coward, begging for mercy. When you are outside the grasp of power, no matter how well you try to persuade those to look into the right direction, if they, for their own gains are against it, you're screwed. I don't know if I could do the same, be presented with life (even thought I'd be nea Not even your Socratic arguing could save you. Such a pity that we still haven't changed, not in all of these thousands of years. Even though he knew he was doomed, he still did not submit and whimper like a coward, begging for mercy. When you are outside the grasp of power, no matter how well you try to persuade those to look into the right direction, if they, for their own gains are against it, you're screwed. I don't know if I could do the same, be presented with life (even thought I'd be near death regardless) but live in silence, unable to discuss and try to improve a faulted society, or be put to death and choose the latter. I'm so thankful that this has survived the trials of time (the burnings of the libraries throughout history is so sad) and we have the ability to read powerful texts like this at any time, any place.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    This is Plato’s account of his mentor, Socrates, as he met his accusers in Athenian court to defend himself against charges of blasphemy and corrupting the young. Socrates makes short work of the weak arguments made by his chief accuser, Meletus, through logical deconstruction. What’s interesting is that the defence isn’t really of Socrates against his charges but of his life and philosophy, which is basically what the trial is really about. His latest troubles began when the Oracle at Delphi ann This is Plato’s account of his mentor, Socrates, as he met his accusers in Athenian court to defend himself against charges of blasphemy and corrupting the young. Socrates makes short work of the weak arguments made by his chief accuser, Meletus, through logical deconstruction. What’s interesting is that the defence isn’t really of Socrates against his charges but of his life and philosophy, which is basically what the trial is really about. His latest troubles began when the Oracle at Delphi announced that “there is no one wiser than Socrates” which puzzled Socrates who maintained that he was not a wise man at all. But he came to realise that he was the only one who was aware of his ignorance while everyone else was ignorant of their ignorance, making him indeed a wise man. Socrates refuted any charge of atheism - he was a devoutly religious man who cared more deeply about virtue and the soul than anyone, he claimed. The very fact that he spent all of his time demanding people live more philosophically, pursuing thought and virtue over belongings and wealth, pointed to that fact. Amusingly, he compared himself to a gadfly to the Athenian state, spurring it on act, therefore making him a benefactor and deserving of a salary. Not so amusingly, that was the final straw that led to his death sentence by way of hemlock poisoning. He was given the choice though to change his ways and live but he kept to his principles, knowing he would die by doing so. If only we could all meet our end with the dignity and fearlessness Socrates did. As he predicted, he became a martyr to the state and his words live on today. If there’s a problem, it’s with this Little Black Classics edition which really could’ve benefitted from a page of context before launching into Socrates’ monologue. As it is, I stopped reading after a few pages, went online to read the background to the case, and returned more edified. All this edition needs is a couple paragraphs preceding it. Otherwise, this is a fine piece of writing that is as relevant today as it was in antiquity. Socrates speaks through Plato across the millennia to remind us the unexamined life isn’t worth living, to reject materialism and to never stop thinking - fine words to live by.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz Janet

    Plato and I are not buddies. I find him interesting, but also think of him as a lunatic grandpa with unrealistic views of the world. Therefore, he is not my favourite old Greek man to read, but this is his best. This is Socrates “apology” for what he did. Basically, Socrates invented philosophy, and then he was killed for it. I mean, they did not just kill him like they did Hypathia, he had a “proper trial” and all. Please, read the entire work instead of the short snippet, reading it in full ha Plato and I are not buddies. I find him interesting, but also think of him as a lunatic grandpa with unrealistic views of the world. Therefore, he is not my favourite old Greek man to read, but this is his best. This is Socrates “apology” for what he did. Basically, Socrates invented philosophy, and then he was killed for it. I mean, they did not just kill him like they did Hypathia, he had a “proper trial” and all. Please, read the entire work instead of the short snippet, reading it in full has a bigger impact, and will allow for greater understanding.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Perhaps the most famous of the Socratic dialogues, the Apology (in the sense of apologia or defense before a tribunal) presents Socrates (469-399 BCE) as he defends himself against charges that he corrupted the youth of Athens and did not honor the proper gods. It is probably not a spoiler to say that Socrates was convicted and condemned to death. Subsequently, many of Socrates' pupils wrote their versions of the events and of the words spoken, though most have been lost. The Apology is a Perhaps the most famous of the Socratic dialogues, the Apology (in the sense of apologia or defense before a tribunal) presents Socrates (469-399 BCE) as he defends himself against charges that he corrupted the youth of Athens and did not honor the proper gods. It is probably not a spoiler to say that Socrates was convicted and condemned to death. Subsequently, many of Socrates' pupils wrote their versions of the events and of the words spoken, though most have been lost. The Apology is a recounting through Plato's (427-347 BCE) eyes. I am re-reading Benjamin Jowett's famous translation of this dialogue, for Socrates has been much on my mind recently. Just four years earlier, the tyrants imposed upon the Athenians by the Spartans at the end of the Peloponnesian War had been deposed, and the unique Athenian form of democracy had been reinstated, though, according to Plato, it was reinstated in a degenerate form. One aspect of Athenian democracy is that Socrates was not tried by twelve good men firm and true with one presiding judge, but by hundreds of judges and even more jurymen (probably 501). Since Socrates was very well known around the city, I imagine that everyone eligible who could cram themselves into the area set aside for the trial participated somehow. And so one must imagine Socrates looking out at the huge crowd of his judges and jury and recognizing everyone, his enemies and his friends. The "dialogue" is actually told entirely in the first person from Socrates' point of view, with the exception of his dismantling one of his accusers in a cross examination.(*) The actions and speeches of the other participants must be deduced from Socrates' words. As presented by Plato, Socrates first speaks in an artful directness that could not have failed to have the desired effect upon open minds. Alas, open minds were not what he could expect to find, since he had, inadvertently or not, made fools of many self-impressed citizens and had a lifetime of slander to overcome. As the Japanese say, the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Socrates addresses these points head on, but acknowledges that he has little chance of changing closed minds and will not be the last good man to be brought down by jealousy and resentment. So he changes tack and provides an eloquent summary of the principles by which he lives. In the midst of this comes a passage which I must quote: For the fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unkown; and no one knows whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is not this the ignorance of a disgraceful sort, the ignorance which is the conceit that a man knows what he does not know? He is convicted by a margin of 60 votes. In a passage that appears to me to be dripping in irony, he explains why, instead of the death penalty requested by his accusers, he should be given a light fine. It is death... Socrates warns his condemners that they will regret their decision. But more interesting is his reassurance to his friends that his death will be a good thing, not a bad one. He mentioned earlier that a voice, or oracle, from the gods guides him by forbidding incorrect actions, but that this voice had not made itself heard at any time during the trial. He then leaves that aside and argues, from a distinctly Greek point of view (**), that whichever of the two possible outcomes of death arrives, it will be better than most of life. I think it clear that he is trying to console his friends, but more on this when we get to the Crito . (*) While I'm at it, let me say that some of the arguments Plato has Socrates make in this dismantling are real and to the point, but others are rhetorical traps, pure and simple. So despite his protestations to the contrary (no surprise), Socrates' defense is not that of a plain speaking homeboy... In fact, such a protestation is a well known rhetorical ploy. (**) Christianity posits horrors without end as one of the two possible outcomes of death, and I would like to express my hearty thanks for this contribution to civilization. I find particularly gratifying the addendum made by Calvin and others that the outcome was chosen already at birth and that almost everyone will enjoy the horrors without end. An extra thanks for that...

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    In defense of philosophy 1 September 2012 These days when we think of the word apology we usually connect it with us saying sorry for something that we have done wrong, however that is not necessarily the origin of the word. Christianity has a field of study known as apologetics, and once again, this is not necessarily saying sorry for the many evils deeds that have been committed under the name of Christianity but rather putting up a defense against attacks that are generally levelled against th In defense of philosophy 1 September 2012 These days when we think of the word apology we usually connect it with us saying sorry for something that we have done wrong, however that is not necessarily the origin of the word. Christianity has a field of study known as apologetics, and once again, this is not necessarily saying sorry for the many evils deeds that have been committed under the name of Christianity but rather putting up a defense against attacks that are generally levelled against the faith itself. This is what the Apology of Socrates is about, it is the defense that Socrates made against the charges that were levelled against in in 399 BC which ultimately led to his defense. I note that the dating of this work is about 9 years after Socrates' death, so many of the sayings (such as the 'unexamined life is not worth living') however we should note that Plato was present at the trial so this is in effect a first hand account. Also, it is clear that this was transcribed and published at least 9 years after the events themselves, and since the memories of the ancients were much better than our memories (namely because they did not have sources such as Wikipedia at their disposal) I am willing to accept that this is a fairly accurate report of what happened at the trial. The Apology is divided into three parts, corresponding with the way that an Athenian trial would be conducted. Remember that when you appeared in court you were not allowed to have somebody appear on your behalf, as is the practice today, but had to make your charges and answer them yourself. As such a hugely profitable business arose in which speech writers would write the speech on your behalf for you to deliver it. No doubt Miletus, the person making the accusation against Socrates, either used this service, or was a sophist (the person who would write the speech) yourself. The first, and the longest, section of the Apology is Socrates' defense. From reading the defense we can determine that the charges were twofold, heresy and corrupting the youth. During his response, he refers to Anaxagoras, a philosopher who was also brought up on charges of heresy, but Socrates distances himself from Anaxagoras namely because Anaxagoras was an atheist, Socrates was not. The second charge, corrupting the youth, is not the same as we would understand it today. Today, crimes against youths (that is people under the age of 18) are generally always sexual, though crimes to exist where the perpetrator encourages the youth to commit a crime. The charge against Socrates was that he taught the youth to question everything, and that his teachings were decidedly anti-democratic. It is clear from the Apology that Socrates held a very dim view of Athenian Democracy, and from what we can gather, I am not surprised. It has been suggested that Socrates leant to the right but I do not believe that we can ascribe modern politcal theory to the politics of Athens, in a way it simply does not work. The concern Socrates had with Athenian democracy was that it was clearly based on popular opinion rather than upon truth and justice. Once example he raises is the events at the battle of Arginusae. Despite that battle being an Athenian victory, it was also quite disastrous for the city, best described as a Pyrrhic victory (despite Pyrrhus living after these events). As a result, the generals were put on trial, and despite the generals actually being innocent and the trial being little more that a witchhunt, they were found guilty by popular opinion and thus executed. This is the problem that Socrates had with democracy (and in many ways it is still the case today, where a government will act unconstitutionally because popular opinion demands that the government act as such). The concerns that a certain party had was that Socrates' teachings would undermine the democratic system of which Athens was so proud of, however Socrates' position was that one should only act in a just manner, and it is this desire for justice that made Socrates such a thorn in people's side. Socrates' himself even says that he stayed well away from public office simply because he did not trust himself to be able to maintain his position with regards to justice if he were to find himself in a position of power. Obviously he was required to attend the assembly, as was expected of all Athenian citizens, however he never put himself forward (or so we are told) to be elected to the executive council, or any of the other positions that were available to Athenian citizens. The second part of the Apology is where Socrates puts forward his proposed punishment. Once again it is similar to our legal system where once a person is found guilty (and in Athens is was not beyond reasonable doubt, but rather a balance of probablities, and of the 500 members of the jury, just over half voted in favour of his guilt, so it appears to have been a tight run thing) both sides have the option of swaying the judge in regards to the punishment. No doubt the prosectution always goes for the toughest sentence possible, while the defense will then put forward a sentence that is much lighter. Socrates, however, suggests that the only sentence that is beneficial for him would be death simply because he has no money to pay a fine, and that even imprisonment is not an option because of the fact that he is poor. He also considers banishment, but suggests that due to his reputation, and due to his age, there really is no point. He does settle on the idea of a fine, however did suggest that due to his influence in the city, maybe being treated as a hero was much better. Obviously he was sentanced to death, to the third part of the Apology is his final speech to the jury, and he indicates that he really doesn't care. He is not scarred of death and he feels that he has lived a long enough life that death does not really concern him, particularly since he is destined to die anyway. Even then, the uncertainty of death simply means that it is another opportunity for him to learn something new. I wish to finish off on another comment that he makes, and that is that if they do execute him they should be aware that somebody like him is unlikely to come around for a long time yet, so they need to be aware that once he is gone, he is gone for good. Mind you, others have appeared (Jesus Christ for instance) however he is quite correct in that, not that he is being arrogant, but indicating that his motivations, and his desire for truth and justice, is what keeps the city for falling into obscurity. He sees himself as a challenger and as a moderator against the extremes. He also speaks of his voice whom he listens to because the voice moderates his activity. It is not that he voice tells him to do things, but rather tells him not to do things. He is very clear on that, and one thus questions whether this is schizophrenia in the true sense. Mysterious voices tend to urge people on to do things (and usually bad things) however Socrates is quite clear that his voice is a voice of restraint. To be honest with you, I am more likely to listen to a voice of restraint than I am to listen to the opposite, and the reason for this is that restraint tends to protect you from putting your foot in your mouth and making enemies than does a voice that urges you on to do things that maybe you shouldn't really be doing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    A Bookish ✧ Fable

    'Do not be upset when I tell you the truth! No human can start an honest fight with you or any other public assembly, nobody can try to stop chrimes and unlawful doings without failing and going under. No, if anyone really should stride for what is right and keep life going for atleast a short period of time, then he must do it as himself , and not as a public speaker.' – Sokrates (Quote translated personally from Swedish vers.) This is Platos notes from what Sokrates was saying when he defend 'Do not be upset when I tell you the truth! No human can start an honest fight with you or any other public assembly, nobody can try to stop chrimes and unlawful doings without failing and going under. No, if anyone really should stride for what is right and keep life going for atleast a short period of time, then he must do it as himself , and not as a public speaker.' – Sokrates (Quote translated personally from Swedish vers.) This is Platos notes from what Sokrates was saying when he defended himself from his death sentence for a chrime,he claimed, he did not do and was not right to get judged for.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    "If you think killing people will stop anyone reproaching you for not living corrrectly, you are not thinking straight." - Socrates, as writing by Plato in 'Socrates Defense' Vol N° 52 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains Socrates Defense and is essentially Christopher Rowe's translation of Plato's Apology, which when taken with Euthyphro, Crito, and Phaedo make up The Trial and Death of Socrates. I've read a different translation of this before (a couple times), but "If you think killing people will stop anyone reproaching you for not living corrrectly, you are not thinking straight." - Socrates, as writing by Plato in 'Socrates Defense' Vol N° 52 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. This volume contains Socrates Defense and is essentially Christopher Rowe's translation of Plato's Apology, which when taken with Euthyphro, Crito, and Phaedo make up The Trial and Death of Socrates. I've read a different translation of this before (a couple times), but always enjoy both the logic and the clarity of thought of Socrates (as told by Plato). It is a good reminder of the limits of democracy and justice, and how an individual can stand up to an unjust state, or unjust persecution, with dignity and wisdom.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    It's been a while since I read this. In fact, I wonder if I really ever did read it. Nonetheless, what struck me in this reading were parallels to the New Testament. Both Jesus and Socrates probed by asking questions, both ruffled the establish, both exposed dearly held pretentiousness, both were condemned by their countrymen. Even certain phrases in Apology are reflected in the NT (though it could be an accident of translation): "to die is gain", "I shall obey God rather than you", "[do not] tak It's been a while since I read this. In fact, I wonder if I really ever did read it. Nonetheless, what struck me in this reading were parallels to the New Testament. Both Jesus and Socrates probed by asking questions, both ruffled the establish, both exposed dearly held pretentiousness, both were condemned by their countrymen. Even certain phrases in Apology are reflected in the NT (though it could be an accident of translation): "to die is gain", "I shall obey God rather than you", "[do not] take thought for your persons or properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul". Of course their are striking contrasts as well, but I expected those. It was the similarity that caught my attention. One other item that stuck out at me was Socrates' statement about 'death as sleep' and how that would be good. I think this is actually a contradiction of his other values. Socrates valued a reflective life, I might call that a conscious life; one cannot be conscious in their sleep. Perhaps I'll write more on that later.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Beautiful, just beautiful. You can hear every word Socrates makes so much so that this should be classed as a readable audio book for the way the words inspire and fire the mind. MORE Socrates and Plato if you will... Bravo, more,more (sound of audiance applause)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara

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

  19. 5 out of 5

    Genni

    I love reading Plato, but there is a gaping disadvantage in trying to write a review on something that has been "reviewed" almost constantly and critically for 2000+ years. Oh,well. I have to add my enthusiastic thoughts/rating to the stream. While reading, I thought of Paul in Athens some 400 years after Socrates was condemned to death. The legacy of the Greek philosophers lived on and Acts declares that "the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other th I love reading Plato, but there is a gaping disadvantage in trying to write a review on something that has been "reviewed" almost constantly and critically for 2000+ years. Oh,well. I have to add my enthusiastic thoughts/rating to the stream. While reading, I thought of Paul in Athens some 400 years after Socrates was condemned to death. The legacy of the Greek philosophers lived on and Acts declares that "the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new". How far they had come from condemning Socrates for introducing "new" gods and corrupting the young men of Athens! Of course, in his defense (literally), he was not teaching them anything new, but exposing what they did not know. The Apology is largely divided into three sections: his defense to the charges brought against him, his alternative penalty, and his response to the sentence of death. It is easy when reading his response to each decision to get lost in wondering when he is being serious, sincere, ironic, sarcastic, etc. But that aside, his defense contains some of the most insightful thoughts. The most well-known would probably be, "the unexamined life is not worth living" and "what I do not know I do not think I know". One of my favorites was, "For to fear death, gentlemen, is only to think you know what you don't know. No one knows whether death is really the greatest blessing a man can have, but they fear it is the greatest curse, as if they knew well." And of course, it contained a bit of the famous Socratic dialectic, almost as though Plato could not help himself. Being one of the most accessible of Plato's works, it is absolutely a must read; for historical and political reasons, but even more so for the personal insights it affords.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    Probably the best of the 80 so far. Socrates was a wonderful man who knew what was what. It's a sad thing that the world hasn't changed since 360 BCE when he made this speech before he was *SPOILER ALERT* put to death for corrupting the youth with his truth Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anand

    This is a very good story and philosophy. Never truly understood it when I first read it. As I read it again, I understood what socrates wanted to convey and I understood on how good of writer plato was. The apology should always be starting point for philosophy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gandi Munkhjargal

    Truly revealed quality of my attention span. Lost count how many times I went back and forth either zoning out or simply not understanding. After my first read, I re-read right away finally grasping some more parts. Before this, I visioned Socrates as a god-like unreachable figure worshipped universally, but now I start to see him as a human. He, sure, was a wise old man, but might have, also, been a narc. "The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that Truly revealed quality of my attention span. Lost count how many times I went back and forth either zoning out or simply not understanding. After my first read, I re-read right away finally grasping some more parts. Before this, I visioned Socrates as a god-like unreachable figure worshipped universally, but now I start to see him as a human. He, sure, was a wise old man, but might have, also, been a narc. "The difficulty, my friends, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that that runs faster than death." "If you think that by killing men you can prevent some one from censuring your evil lives, you are mistaken; that is not a way of escape which is either a possible or honourable; the easiest be improving yourselves." Aug 27, 2018

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yeshi Dolma

    Having started reading philosophy and its history this year, I already thought os Socrates as an utterly impressive philosopher; his questions were pretty darn legit despite what it brought him! Now, after reading his defence, and keeping aside the fact that Plato was his student and that this might not be the most unbiased writing, my admiration for this determined brave philosopher grows more. Good Read!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jaro

    Read in Swedish translation.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ericka Clouther

    Interesting, moving, my favorite dialogue so far. Though we've all heard "the unexamined life is not worth living" I particularly enjoyed the full quote (depending on your translation this may vary obviously): "And if I say again that the greatest good of man is to converse daily about virtue and all that which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, that you are still less likely to believe. And yet what I say is true, although a thing of which Interesting, moving, my favorite dialogue so far. Though we've all heard "the unexamined life is not worth living" I particularly enjoyed the full quote (depending on your translation this may vary obviously): "And if I say again that the greatest good of man is to converse daily about virtue and all that which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, that you are still less likely to believe. And yet what I say is true, although a thing of which it hard for me to persuade you." This quote is a great precursor to Jesus: “The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.”

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noelia Alonso

    I honestly don't know how to rate this book. I've been sitting here, for about 20 minutes, trying to decide between 2.5 or 3 stars. I liked the way this was written but at some points I felt like Socrates was a bit presumptuous but then again, he's probably smarter than the whole bunch of people there. Darn it, 3 stars it is

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Samir

    It's the apology which truly got me fascinated in philosophy. The book is quite demanding and I really do like the tone with which it is written. It doesn't necessarily discuss the most prominent philosophical conundrums Plato is famous for, but still an excellent read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pink

    Plato and Socrates all wrapped up in one book, this makes me feel cultured.... It's really short, clever and thought provoking, so you should probably read it.... That's all the wisdom I can conjure up for this review

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lea

    It was more interesting and engaging than expected.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linus

    Socrates : Apology ( My ass ) .

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