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It is perhaps on this point and in this respect, gentlemen, that i differ from the majority of men, and if i were to claim that i am wiser than anyone in anything, it would be in this, that, as i have no adequate knowledge of things in the underworld, so i do not think i have.

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Instructions:
Do not quote from the text; rephrase everything in your own words.
In the Apology (29e-30b), Socrates explains why his examination of people’s opinions is beneficial to the citizens of Athens. He does so by arguing that it allows them to pursue the most important thing for a human being, namely virtue, which is what turns a human being into an excellent human being.
Start by explaining in what Socrates’ examination consists, and why he decided to engage in it. Then explain why this examination, according to Socrates, allows one to pursue the most important thing, i.e. virtue, and what virtue is. Finally, explain why virtue is the most important thing for a human being (what kind of good is it?).
The paper must start with an introduction. The role of the introduction is to provide some context for the topic you are going to examine. The length of the
introduction must be proportionate to the length of the paper.
After having briefly introduced the topic, you need to give a coherent presentation of the subject(s) you are asked to examine.
Reading:
This is the truth of the matter, men of Athens: wherever a man has
taken a position that he believes to be best, or has been placed by his
commander, there he must I think remain and face danger, without a
thought for death or anything else, rather than disgrace. It would have e
been a dreadful way to behave, men of Athens, if, at Potidaea, Amphipolis, and Delium, I had, at the risk of death, like anyone else, remained
at my post where those you had elected to command had ordered me,
and then, when the god ordered me, as I thought and believed, to live
the life of a philosopher, to examine myself and others, I had abandoned
my post for fear of death or anything else. That would have been a 29
dreadful thing, and then I might truly have justly been brought here
for not believing that there are gods, disobeying the oracle, fearing
death, and thinking I was wise when I was not. To fear death, gentlemen,
is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one
knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not
be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew
that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy b
ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. It is
perhaps on this point and in this respect, gentlemen, that I differ from
the majority of men, and if I were to claim that I am wiser than anyone
in anything, it would be in this, that, as I have no adequate knowledge
of things in the underworld, so I do not think I have. I do know,
however, that it is wicked and shameful to do wrong, to disobey one’s
superior, be he god or man. I shall never fear or avoid things of which
I do not know, whether they may not be good rather than things that c
12. The scene between Thetis and Achilles is from the Iliad xviii.94 ff.
34 PLATO
I know to be bad. Even if you acquitted me now and did not believe
Anytus, who said to you that either I should not have been brought
here in the first place, or that now I am here, you cannot avoid executing
me, for if I should be acquitted, your sons would practice the teachings
of Socrates and all be thoroughly corrupted; if you said to me in this
regard: “Socrates, we do not believe Anytus now; we acquit you, but
only on condition that you spend no more time on this investigation
and do not practice philosophy, and if you are caught doing so you
will die”; if, as I say, you were to acquit me on those terms, I would
say to you: “Men of Athens, I am grateful and I am your friend, but I
will obey the god rather than you, and as long as I draw breath and
am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in
my usual way to point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet:
‘Good Sir, you are an Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the
greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed
of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputation, and honors as
possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth,
or the best possible state of your soul?’ Then, if one of you disputes
this and says he does care, I shall not let him go at once or leave him,
but I shall question him, examine him, and test him, and if I do not
think he has attained the goodness that he says he has, I shall reproach
him because he attaches little importance to the most important things
and greater importance to inferior things. I shall treat in this way anyone
I happen to meet, young and old, citizen and stranger, and more so
the citizens because you are more kindred to me. Be sure that this is
what the god orders me to do, and I think there is no greater blessing
for the city than my service to the god. For I go around doing nothing
but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your
body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best
possible state of your soul, as I say to you: Wealth does not bring about
excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for
men, both individually and collectively.”

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