This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
This article is within the scope of WikiProject Greece, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Greece on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
From Socratic Irony and Aristotle's "Eiron": Some Puzzles
By: P. W. Gooch, Scarborough College (University of Toronto)
Published: Phoenix, Vol. 41, No. 2. (Summer, 1987), pp. 95-104.
Obtained from JSTOR Sunday March 2nd, 2008
This Article adresses my some of my comments. (See blockquote below. The text is from a footnote.)
At the end of the last century J. A. Stewart wrote, "Aristotle is the first to make Socrates the type of refined Irony" (Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle [Oxford 18921 1.359). Next Burnet: "This passage seems to be the origin of the current phrase 'Socratic irony,' a thing which is almost as mythical as 'tragic irony'" (The Ethics ofAristotle [London 19001 196). Then T. Marshall: "Irony, in the sense in which it is now commonly taken, as meaning an affectation of ignorance, is here attributed to Sokrates . . . . The authority of Aristotle has had a good deal to do with fixing the present meaning of the word" (Aristotle's Theory of Conduct [London 19091 264). And G. G. Sedgewick: "our ideas of Socratic irony spring ultimately from Aristotle's definition of eironeia as a pretence which takes the form of self-depression . . . .[Aristotle] fixed the general sense of Socratic irony for all time" (OfIrony, Especzally in Drama2 [Toronto 19481 11-12). (Works mentioned in this note will be cited by author's name, as will R. A. Gauthier and J. Y. Jolif, ~ ' f ' t h i ~2u eNicomaque [Louvain 19591 and T. Irwin, tr., Nicomachean Ethlcs [Indianapolis 19851).
Edit Request April 18 2013: Third Death Hypothesis
Arry Gonickcartoon network adventure time]]'s The Cartoon History of the Universe, Volume I, there is a third hypothesis the article fails to mention regarding the meaning of Socrates' last words: As it says, Asclepius is the Greek god of healing. Socrates' owing a sacrifice to the god implies he could have been sick - he may have already been dying and known it, which would provide another explanation for his not bothering to try to flee, accepting his execution as he did instead.
Socrates was charged with impiety and corrupting Athenian youth. The charges and trial proceedings, as reported by Diogenes Laertius were:
"This indictment and affidavit is sworn by Meletus, the son of Meletus of Pitthos, against Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus of Alopece: Socrates is guilty of refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state, and of introducing new divinities. He is also guilty of corrupting the youth. The penalty demanded is death. The trial of Socrates took place over a nine-to-ten hour period in the People's Court, located in the agora, the civic center of Athens. The jury consisted of 500 male citizens over the age of thirty, chosen by lot. Most of the jurors were probably farmers. The jurors sat on wooden benches separated from the large crowd of spectators--including a twenty-seven-year-old pupil of Socrates named Plato--by some sort of barrier or railing."
To view the charge of corrupting Athenian youth from the viewpoint of the Athenians who suffered from Socrates student's actions it must be known that one student, Alcibiades, brought defeat and occupation at the hands of the Spartans, and another ruled Athens as a cruel tyrant, Critias, on behalf of Sparta. Alcibiades persuaded Athens to make war in Sicily, and as the fortunes of that war turned against Athens, popular sentiment turned against him. When Alcibiades learned that he had been condemned to death in absentia he turned traitor and went over to the Spartans. He provided to the Spartans information about Athenian defenses which enabled Sparta to conquer and occupy Athens. Another of his students, Critias, was one of the ruling tyrants during the Spartan occupation. He confiscated his political opponents' property and had many prisoners executed. His time as one of Athens' rulers has been described as a reign of terror. Socrates students were: a traitor to Athens, Alcibiades, and a cruel puppet strongmen ruling on behalf of a foreign power, Critias. Thus the charge that Socrates corrupted Athenian youth.
The charge of impiety can be linked to the losses and deaths from war and occupation brought upon Athens by Socrates' students, in that by teaching differently than what most Athenians believed and acting on Socrates' teachings, the gods and the god's favor were turned against Athens.
We have descriptions of Socrates' character based on his students' favorable report, and thus we have received an unfavorable report about the Athenians who condemned him. Athens suffered defeat and death in war and foreign occupation from traitors who were tutored by Socrates. Given that Socrates was openly opposed to democracy, and his unrepentant response to the charges against him, it is not that unlikely that he was an enemy of Athenian democracy to the extent of seeking to have it overthrown, and deliberately preparing Athens' youth to end democracy in Athens. The Athenians who were intimately familiar with the deaths and suffering brought upon their city and families, and knowing who taught the men who brought those deaths and sufferings, might have been right to treat Socrates as a deadly enemy of the state.