Why Socrates Hated Democracy

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When we think of ancient Greece, we think right away of Athens. Several of socrates death options trading philosophers we have already discussed considered it the pinnacle of their careers to come and teach in this great city. It began as a collection of villages in some of the poorest agricultural land in Greece.

Only carefully tended grapes and olives provided early Athens with a livelihood, that and trade. The distance between the haves -- the ruling aristocratic trading families -- and the have nots -- peasants working the land -- and the accompanying feudal oppression, grew so great that it looked like the city and its surrounding area would collapse under the weight.

In bc, the leaders of the middle class recruited a merchant named Solon to accept leadership of the city and restore some peace and prosperity. He began by canceling all debts and freeing all who had been enslaved on socrates death options trading of debt.

Socrates death options trading he proceeded to draft a constitution in which the population was divided into four classes based entirely on economic worth, with the highest retaining the greatest power, but the lowest being exempt from taxes. This, of course, falls short of a complete democracy, but don't judge them too harshly: Slavery would not outlawed untilwhen Mexico would become the very first sovereign nation to permanently ban slavery. The US wouldn't free its slaves until with the 13th amendment.

And women didn't get to vote until New Zealand gave them the vote in It would take the US until and the 19th amendment. Unfortunately, at about the same time the democratic experiment began, the great Persian Empire to the east decided to expand into, first, Ionia, socrates death options trading then Greece proper. But in bc, 20, Greeks defeatedSocrates death options trading troops at Marathon, socrates death options trading of Athens.

A messenger named Pheidippides ran the 26 miles -- In socrates death options trading, the Persian emperor Xerxes sent an army of over two million men, assisted by a fleet of ships, to attack Greece again. The army ravaged the north of Greece and prepared to attack Athens.

They found the city deserted. The Persian navy, however, found the Greek fleet waiting for it in the Bay of Salamis. The Greeks won the day against enormous odds. Bysocrates death options trading Persians were forced back into Asia Minor. If this seems like just a little piece of history, consider: This victory allowed the Greek adventure to continue to produce the kind of thinking that would set the tone for the next two millennia in Europe and the Mediterranean.

During the time period we are looking at in this chapter, Athens had as many aspeople, socrates death options trading it one of the largest cities in the world. About half were free, one third were slaves, and one sixth were foreigners metics.

The free adult males who could vote numbered about 50, He married, but had a tendency to fall in love with handsome young men, in particular a young soldier named Alcibiades.

He was, by all accounts, short and stout, not given to good grooming, and a lover of wine and conversation. He was irritated by the Sophists and their tendency to teach logic as a means of achieving self-centered ends, and even more their promotion of the idea that all things are relative.

It was the truth that he loved, desired, and believed in. Philosophy, the love of wisdom, was for Socrates itself a sacred path, a holy quest -- not a game to be taken lightly. He believed -- or at least said he did in the dialog Meno -- in the reincarnation of an eternal soul which contained all knowledge. We unfortunately lose touch with that knowledge at every birth, and so we need to be reminded of what we already know rather than learning something new.

He said that he did not teach, but rather served, like his mother, as a midwife to truth that is already in us! Making use of questions and socrates death options trading to remind his students of knowledge is called maieutics midwiferydialectics, or the Socratic method.

One example of his effect on philosophy is found in the dialog Euthyphro. He suggests that what socrates death options trading to be considered a socrates death options trading act is not good because gods say it is, but is good because it is useful to us in our efforts to be better and happier people.

This means that ethics is no longer a matter of surveying the gods or scripture for what is good or bad, but rather thinking about life. He even placed individual conscience above the law -- quite a dangerous position to take! Socrates himself never wrote any of his ideas down, but rather engaged his students -- wealthy young men of Athens -- in endless conversations. In exchange for his teaching, they in turn made sure that he was taken care of.

Plato reconstructed these discussions in a great set of writings known as the Dialogs. It is difficult to distinguish what is Socrates and what is Plato in these dialogs, so we will simply discuss them together. Inhe was ordered to drink a brew of poison hemlock, which he did in the company of his students.

The event is documented in Plato's Apology. Socrates' final socrates death options trading were "Crito, we owe a socrates death options trading to Asclepius the god of medicine. Pay it and do not neglect it. From a wealthy and powerful family, his actual name was Aristocles -- Plato socrates death options trading a nickname, referring to his broad physique. His friends raised money to ransom him from slavery, but when he was released without it, they bought him a small property called Academus to start a school -- the Academy, founded in It was free, depending entirely on donations.

True to his ideals, Plato also permitted women to attend! The Academy would become the center of Greek learning for almost a millennium. Plato can be understood as idealistic and rationalistic, much like Pythagorus but much less mystical. He divides reality into two: On the one hand we have ontos, idea or ideal. This is ultimate socrates death options trading, permanent, eternal, spiritual. Phenomena are appearances -- things as they seem to us -- and are associated with matter, time, and space.

Phenomena socrates death options trading illusions which decay and die. Ideals are unchanging, perfect. Phenomena are definitely inferior to Ideals! The idea of a triangle -- the defining mathematics of it, the form or essence of it -- is eternal. Any individual triangle, the triangles of the day-to-day experiential world, are never quite perfect: They may be a little crooked, or the lines a little thick, or the angles not quite right They only socrates death options trading that perfect triangle, the ideal triangle.

If it seems strange to talk about ideas or ideals as somehow more real than the world of our experiences, consider science. If you believe that there is order in the universe, that nature has laws, you believe in ideas! Ideas are available to us through thought, while phenomena are available to us through our senses. So, naturally, thought is a vastly superior means to get to the truth.

This is what makes Plato a rationalist, as opposed to an empiricist, in epistemology. Senses can only give socrates death options trading information about the ever-changing and imperfect world of phenomena, and so can only provide you with implications about ultimate reality, not reality itself. Reason goes straight to the idea. According to Plato, the phenomenal world strives to become ideal, perfect, complete. Ideals are, in that sense, a motivating force. In fact, he identifies the ideal with God and perfect goodness.

If the world is not perfect, it is not because of God or the ideals, but because the raw materials were not perfect. I think you can see why the early Christian church made Plato an honorary Christian, even though he died three and a half centuries before Christ! Plato applies the same dichotomy to human beings: The soul includes reason, of course, as socrates death options trading as self-awareness and moral sense.

Plato says the soul will always choose to do good, if it recognizes what is good. This is a similar conception of good and bad as the Buddhists have: Rather than bad being sin, it is considered a matter of ignorance. So, someone who does something bad requires education, not punishment. The soul is drawn to the good, the ideal, and so is drawn to God.

We gradually move closer and closer to God through reincarnation as well as in our individual lives. Our ethical goal in socrates death options trading is resemblance to God, to come closer to the pure world of ideas and ideal, to liberate ourselves from matter, time, and space, and to become more real in this socrates death options trading sense.

Our goal is, in other words, self-realization. Plato talks about three levels of pleasure. First is sensual or physical pleasure, of which sex is a great example.

But the highest level is ideal pleasure, the pleasures of the mind. Here the example would be Platonic love, intellectual love for another person unsullied by physical involvement.

Paralleling these three levels of pleasure are three souls. We have one soul called appetite, which is mortal and comes from the socrates death options trading. The second soul is called spirit or courage. It is also mortal, and lives in the heart. The third soul is reason. It is immortal and resides in the brain. The three are strung together by the cerebrospinal canal. Plato is fond of analogies.

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Enter supporting content here. Sample Answers to Review Questions on Socrates. What is the meaning of the title of this dialogue?

Who was the author of this dialogue? Who is the main character? What was the relationship between Plato and Socrates? Plato was a pupil of Socrates. What is the setting of this dialogue? It is the trial of Socrates.

Does Apology represent an historical event? If Apology describes an historical event, how accurate is the description? Plato was present, but he was not a stenographer. How old was Socrates at the time of his trial? When and where did the trial take place? What were the legal charges brought against Socrates? Who were his accusers? What did Socrates mean by "the old charges" against him? He meant the rumors that were spread about him for many years. Why would the rumors that he had studied geology and astronomy harmful to him?

Why would someone be accused of being a scientist? There was a perception that science was a denial of religion. Why does Socrates fear the "old accusers" more than Meletus, Anytus and Lycon? What part did Aristophanes play in the reputation Socrates had acquired? Socrates realized that the reputation one has, whether deserved or not, may have a serious effect on how they are treated.

Aristophanes was a comic playwright who used a character named Socrates in a play called "Clouds;" that character had the worst characteristics attributed to the Sophists. How did Socrates offend the jury by his response to the "old charges? How does Socrates explain the origin of the prejudice against him? What was the importance of Chaerophon's visit to the oracle at Delphi? At Delphi, Chaerophon was told that no man is wiser than Socrates.

While Socrates refused to believe that a god could lie, he knew the oracle spoke ambiguously - in a Delphic way - and so he decided to discover what the oracle meant by finding people wiser than him and then asking the god at Delphi what was meant by saying he was the wisest.

This led to him questioning people in public, and making many enemies. How and where did Socrates attempt to test the oracle's pronouncement? What was the result of this testing?

He tested people's wisdom in public, and this led to his making many enemies. No one likes to be shown up in public. How did Socrates refute Meletus in the course of his cross-examination? Socrates showed, with his example of the raising of horses, that the majority was probably wrong, and the minority correct. Thus Meletus had to be wrong in asserting that everyone in Athens improved the youth except Socrates. What new charge is raised against Socrates during the cross-examination of Meletus?

How does Socrates reply to this charge? Socrates tricks Meletus into changing the second charge from not worshiping as they did to atheism. Socrates could then refute this by reminding the jury of his belief in a divine sign or guardian angel.

Since the minor deities demi-gods were thought to be the offspring of the gods, he must believe in the gods. Thus he used a fact that could have proved him guilty of not worshiping as they did and used it to prove he was not an atheist, which was not one of the original charges.

How does Socrates respond to the charge that he ought to be ashamed of living the sort of life which caused him to be brought to court? He compares himself to Achilles, who knew that if he avenged the death of Patroclus he would die, but did avenge it because it was the right thing to do.

The point was that just because something bad may happen to you, it does not mean you have done something to be ashamed of. The text includes notes on Martin Luther King's similar statement. Why does Socrates consider the fear of death to be the mere pretense of wisdom? We act as if we know that death is worse than anything else that may befall us.

But if we do not know what death is like, we are only pretending to know, e. In what way did he come to accept the pronouncement of the oracle that, "no man is wiser than Socrates?

That made it possible for him to honestly try to attain it. This recognition that we do not have all the answers is known as Socratic Ignorance. In what ways did Socrates force the jury to bring in a verdict of "guilty?

He offended the politicians, by saying one could not be a successful politician without compromising with evil. He told the jury he would listen to god rather than to them. He refused any sort of compromise. He attacked democracy by attacking the majority.

He refused to modify his customary speech or dress for the trial. There are probably many other examples you can come up with. What is meant by the characterization of Socrates as a "gadfly?

In what sense can it be said that Socrates followed his mother's profession of midwife? He was an intellectual midwife, helping people give birth to their ideas, not giving them answers. Think of the example of the proof of the Pythagorean Theorem we did in class as an example of Socratic midwifery. What evidence does he offer for his claim that he is "god's gift to Athens? He claimed that the only reason one would take on such a role is that they were called to it by god.

How does Socrates respond to the argument that he ought to have gone into politics if he sincerely wanted to improve the citizens of Athens as he claimed? As already noted, he alienated many jurors by stating that if he had gone into politics he would have been dead long ago because he refused to compromise with what he thought was wrong.

He provided two examples of how he refused to compromise and how it almost cost him his life in each case. The first was the trial of the Generals, which he would not allow to take place despite the anger of the Athenians, and the second was his disobeying the Thirty Tyrants when they ordered him to bring in Leon of Salamis.

In both cases he narrowly escaped death, but refused to go along with what he thought was wrong. In what dramatic way did Socrates challenge the claim that he had been a corrupter of the youth of Athens? He invited every member of the jury to become a witness for the prosecution by stating that they knew someone who had been corrupted by him.

Not one of the five hundred jurors came forward to accuse him of corrupting the youth. How old were the "youth of Athens? How does Socrates feel about those who would do or say anything in order to be acquitted? He states that either on a field of battle or in a court of law there are things one might do to save one's life.

But in both cases there are some things an honorable person would not do, not even at the risk of his or her life. How close was the vote by which he was found guilty? It surprised him that the vote was so close, to If only thirty people had changed their vote from guilty to innocent he would have been acquitted.

How did Socrates' suggested "punishment" affect the jury? Was the reaction predictable? His suggestion that he be treated like an Olympic hero outraged the jury, and left them no choice but to choose the death penalty proposed by Meletus, Anytus and Lycon. Olympic heroes were the most honored heroes the Athenians had, and were treated with more respect than war heroes.

Socrates certainly would have known the reaction his proposal would have. Yet he insisted he deserved to be honored more than the Olympic heroes because he helped people find true happiness while they merely amused them. Why did he reject banishment or a prison sentence as a reasonable sentence? If he were banished he would be treated as a convict in some strange land, and would not be able to continue to question people, particularly the young men who were so attracted to him. If he were in prison, he would also be prevented from doing the work he believed god Apollo wanted him to do.

What was odd about the result of the vote for death as the appropriate punishment? He had so outraged the jury with his proposal that he be treated like an Olympic hero that more people voted for death than had voted for his guilt in the first place. What prophecy did Socrates make about the reputation Athens would receive because he had been sentenced to death? Has the prophecy proved correct? He predicted that Athens would have the reputation of killing Socrates, who was a wise man, even though he claimed he had no wisdom.

The reputation they received for this trial was so unpleasant that the Athenians retried Socrates toward the end of the 20th century and found him innocent this time. How did he feel the youth of Athens would behave when he was no longer here to "corrupt" them?

Socrates thought the youth of Athens would be even more aggressive after he was dead.