Criticizing the Dialogues of Plato

This is among the earliest dialogues by Plato, which shows the interaction between Socrates and a man named Euthyphro.  Socrates and Euthyphro met outside the courthouse where both of them are awaiting trial for two different cases the former as the accused while the latter was the one accusing.  Though they have different purposes for being inside the courthouse, these two intellectuals have shared their thoughts with each other, particularly the definition of the word piety.

Before they started laying down the meanings and arguments for the definition of the word, Euthyphro told Socrates that he was in the courthouse because he has laid formal charges against his own father for the death of a servant.  Socrates was astonished at this mans act, and actually, Id be, too, if I were Socrates.  Who in the right mind would file a case against his own father  What greater element could overrun ones emotional and physical bond with his father that will urge him to charge him, whatever the cause may be  Oh, but Euthyphro has an answer to that his overconfidence stems from his own judgment of ethical issues, as he was claiming to be an expert on the deities himself.  That manifestation gave birth to Socrates asking him to be his tutor and to define the true meaning of piety.

They argued over five different definitions of piety, each one criticized fervently in the context of searching for its definitive meaning.  It started with the religious expert giving his definition of the word, which Socrates argued to be just an instance, an example, and not really a definition.  Their dialogue went on like such, a definition for the word piety, and then an argument on why it is not a definition.  This gives us, the readers, an impression of the personalities of the two men.  Socrates, for one, is a man who takes nothing in face value, or as to the confusing notion of the word he is determined in his search for the true piety.

In this dialogue, Socrates stands before the people of Athens to defend himself from the charges of impiety filed against him.  He was prejudiced, as the Oracle said that there was none wiser than he is the people thought that this has caused him to be pretentious.  He was able to present himself in a laidback manner, not minding if the three of his prime accusers were there.  However, only one of these accusers had the guts to be cross-examined.

I have to commend the way Socrates has cleared that prejudice before delving further into his defense.  He humbly denied that he was the wisest, but searched far and low as to the answer to the irony of being the wisest when he himself is sure that he cannot surpass the wisdom of the gods.

The charges against Socrates were separate but actually related corruption of the minds of the young and atheism, the latter being the keyword in the discourse.  He is accused of being an atheist and then passing it on to his pupils, molding their minds into one that is polluted.  Meletus testified against his atheism the funny thing is, in his confusion and apparent lack of ample knowledge on the issue, accused Socrates of an irony.  He said Socrates believed and demi-gods but is an atheist at the same time.

I am repulsed by the attitude of Socratess accusers.  They are so deviant in accusing him of being pretentious, but they themselves were present only because they were urged by other people to be there.  Their grounds for filing charges were shallow.

Unfortunately, Socrates was still voted guilty, the verdict was laid down by a narrow difference of thirty votes.  With that, however, Socrates foresaw a future that will have angered his opposing judges.  His penalty is equivalent to an athletes privileges. He also thinks that after his death, many young people will follow him and his ideas, which I think was true.

Socratess dialogue with a friend, Crito, could be accessed as both the climax and anti-climax of these series of dialogues.  Apparently, Socrates is a fan of paradox and irony.

In this dialogue, justice plays a big role as Socrates and Crito argues on what is just and unjust.  Crito was persuading Socrates to flee prison, so much that he is actually implying that Socrates has no more say in the matter he has just got to leave.  It was funny to read that he was actually doing it partly because the people might think theySocratess friendsare cheap and has no money to fund his escape.  It is still evident, however, that Crito has deep concern over his friend that he will risk being put into public discrimination by helping Socrates leave.

Socrates, on the other hand, is adamant in his decision of staying in prison in spite of the chance to be free.  Crito argues that it is just for him to flee because he was given an unjust trial.  Sort of a What you sow is what you reap, kind of situation.  I do not know if Im going to admire Socrates with his staying or notat first, anyway.  But like Crito, I was changed and supported him with his decision.
Why  Because Socratess response is so much of a giver that he actually makes sense.  His responses make perfect moral sense.  Crito told him that he should be like a father, and that no father would like his children to be orphaned Socrates, in this case, holds this true for his pupils.  If I were Socrates and was presented with such a rare chance, with the incentive of not leaving my beloved pupils, I would have taken it.  But Im no Socrates, because Socrates said that it isnt a good example for a convicted to father to flee prison just because he doesnt want to leave his family.  He used the technicality of the Laws in his responses to Crito.  He said that by leaving, he might just prove to be a threat to his students.  Furthermore, leaving will imprint a bad impression on his pupils, because he believe that it is an immature motion.

The Phaedo is the last of Platos Dialogues and presumably the darkest, since in its pages holds the account of Socratess finals days to his death.  Basically, Socrates was relating to the people the existence and the immortality of the human soul, as related in Phaedos perspective.  He was present during the execution of Socrates, as well as a group of family and friends.

Socrates argues that the human soul is immortal, and come death, it shall live on.  The fleshthe corpsemight rot, but the soul lives.  Personally, I believe that the soul is the driver of our human bodies.  We experience with our senses because we have souls.  When we sleep, we still dream, feel we can still experience things.  Thats why I fear death, much as Simmias fears it, because I believe that when people die, their souls escape from their vessels, leaving a lifeless body behind.

Socrates has shown four arguments for the immortality of the soul in his death quest.  The first one, the Cyclical Argument, is that the soul is the eternal counterpart of our mortal and earthly bodies mortality ends a persons life, but not his soul.  The second argument was the Theory of Recollection, where the soul carries to its new vessel lessons and experiences from its previous body.  This seemed like reincarnation to me, and it manifests in ways we cannot fathom.  Sometimes we know things we arent even aware of before, like how to eat ice cream on a cone when we were still toddlers.  No one taught us that, but apparently we all know how.

The third is the Affinity Argument.  It discusses the existence of the soul after death.  Does our soul just turn into a puff of air after we die, like smoke when you quench a burning fire, or does it continue as an invisible being, waiting for a new vessel  The last argument is the Form of Life, formulating an analogy in categorical analysis.  Since four is always in the Form of Even, he points out, then the soul is always in the Form of Life. It does not die.


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