The Trial and Charges Against Socrates

The case against Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, was instituted for several reasons. The charge contained three points – the godlessness of the thinker, the introduction of some new deities (the famous demon of Socrates, his inner voice), and the corruption of specific ideas among the youth. On all these points, the philosopher was accused precisely of a state crime because, according to the Athenian laws, both the worship of the gods and the education of the youth belonged to general political affairs.

Socrates did not have any special defense. According to him, his whole life was a preparation for such a charge, and he did nothing wrong and unjust to answer for it before the court. Thus, the philosopher did not recognize any accusations in his address and preferred to remain with his convictions.

Although the laws of the policy of that time were considered inviolable and obligatory, it is difficult to consider the actions of Socrates as a criminal. According to Kirkpatrick, the philosopher did not resort to violence, did not seek to harm the society and ruling elites, and did not use any aggressive methods. On the contrary, all his actions were peaceful and were similar to propaganda aimed at rethinking certain values and canons.

Although Socrates had an opportunity to leave Athens urgently, he did not do it, as Futter remarks. Probably, his intention was to prove the strength of his convictions and confidence in his innocence. It is rather difficult to say whether he acted correctly, staying in the city and not leaving for the sake of salvation. However, when considering this act from a critical point of view, it is a good reason to think about the absence of any criminal motives in the actions of the philosopher. Therefore, the decision to stay in Athens despite the charge was the courageous position of a person whose beliefs were inviolable.

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