Plato provides us with examples of Socrates’ trials in the Apology, The Defense of Socrates. Plato’s philosophical work is important because it enlightens us on Socrates’ philosophy. Socrates’ defense, in which he believed in achieving philosophical virtues and justice, is interpreted by Plato. Plato discusses why Socrates chose the philosophical course he did in his defense speech. Plato’s thesis is also important in that it clarifies ethical questions in society and our moral responsibilities. Socrates believes that making the right decision is more important than making one that will save his life. The paper explains Socrates’ philosophy of unexamined existence as well as my perspective on philosophy and its relevance. In the first part of this paper, I explain all three components of Socrates philosophy: irony, method, and ethos, provide examples for each and show that they are contained in the statement the unexamined life is not worth living. Regarding the second part of this paper, I demonstrate my thinking of philosophy and its significance.
Socrates is attributed with the statement the unexamined life is not worth living after he chose to die rather than going for exile from Athens. Socrates words could mean different things. First, a person should consider his/her life worth not living when he/she fails to seek knowledge and wisdom on how to live a better life. When you have knowledge and wisdom, you have the chance to understand life and appreciate its value (Malone-France, 2012). Socrates statement explains the need to examine the life and taking the right action on how to live in it. He made the statement while on trial for corrupting the youth and impiety. The jury charged Socrates for introducing new gods and questioning the credibility of the existing gods (Malone-France, 2012). Regarding corrupting the youth, the jury believed that Socrates was a threat to established thoughts. According to the jury, Socrates made his followers to question everything and determine for themselves the validity of their knowledge and beliefs (Malone-France, 2012). In his statements, Socrates irony could be seen when he declared that he knew nothing of significance and had the desire to listen to the views of others, yet taking the forefront in every discussion. In all his tasks, he pursued them single-mindedly. Socrates questioned people on matters concerning the state of their soul, knowledge, beliefs, moderation, courage and love (Malone-France, 2012). Questioning was part of Socrates life regardless of the reactions from his followers. The irony is the unsuitability in Socrates ignorance keeping the upper hand in questioning the thoughts of his followers.
Second, Socrates statement could mean that God gave us knowledge so that we could engage in complex activities. The mind we possess enables us to question, think and make decisions (Malone-France, 2012). When Socrates claims that the life of an individual is worthless if he/she portrays an unexamined life, means that people should have well-defined reasons for being live rather than living because they have the right to live. Socrates uses the method of elenchus to investigate for the truth. Socrates explains that people will achieve their goal and success in life when they realize their true self. A Socratic method is an ideal tool that influences communication and participation thus inspiring people to embrace their original thinking and express their desire to live an examined life. Socrates believes that asking questions and seeking answers is essential in our lives. Regarding his charges, he considered them unjustified and vowed to improve his outlook and those of the society (Malone-France, 2012). Socrates cross-examined people on virtues, wisdom, and nobility and urged them to concentrate on their soul and not external advantages.
Lastly, Socrates philosophy is significance because of his ethos. Socrates was ethical in all his tasks. He spent much time in examining the lives of other people. Although people were against his way of life, Socrates continued with the mission to educate people on the significance of examined life. Socrates used the method of question and answer to challenge people on ethical choices. He made powerful individuals in Athens to look like fools. Socrates examined people in search of the truth. According to Socrates, truth was a critical thing although it led to his demise (Malone-France, 2012). Socrates was ethical in the sense that he never took money to compensate his work. He preferred to languish in poverty because he knew that he was not working. Socrates emphasized that he was not teaching rather he was helping people to understand life.
Regarding the second part of this paper, I will begin by demonstrating my understanding of philosophy. Philosophical questions refer to questions that encompass conceptual analysis with answers open to honest disagreement, rational more than providing observations and experiments. The openness of philosophical questions means that it is hard to predict the constituent of a satisfactory solution to the problem. Besides, the use of scientific procedures cannot provide quick answers to philosophical problems. On the same note, philosophy entails studying open questions thus allowing us to understand life and the people around us. Although philosophers think that philosophical questions are open questions, I tend to disagree with the statement because I think that philosophy is more than studying open questions. According to my understanding, philosophy encompasses studying questions that associates to peoples lives and death. With philosophy, one can understand the true meaning of life and the outcome when a person dies.
In a situation when you examine philosophical questions, you will come to understand that all questions tend to relate to life and death. For instance, when you take an example of theories and philosophies by iconic individuals such as Socrates and Plato, you will find that their work talks about life and death. Theory of forms by Plato provides an excellent example of how philosophy relates to life and death. Similarly, Socrates discussion about the afterlife and Aristotle theory of soul are enough to explain the relationship between philosophy, and life and death. Therefore, from the above examples, I can confidently state that philosophical questions associate with the life of individuals and death.
Another important idea that has been troubling me is about things that happen when we die. At first, my thoughts on this were not philosophical; however, my interest and desire to understand afterlife are what changed my mind. My concern was that after a person dies, does he/she continue with the same life they used to have such as anxiety or happiness on earth or does one just stop to exist. I have always found myself in troubles when thinking about that question. It is hard to imagine about dreamless sleep for the rest of your life. Similarly, one cannot necessarily think about having a well-defined afterlife. No person will ever understand the theory of afterlife until they die. In a situation when one gets into a sleepless dream, it would be hard for one to figure out what happens in that case since we would lack knowledge or the ability to think.
In my understanding, I could say that there is no way a person can answer the question regarding the afterlife. No live individual has knowledge of what happens when a person dies. I think that many people have encountered such a question in their lives and they are still wondering how to go about it. Therefore, philosophy plays a significant role in our society because it allows people to analyze questions and provide solutions based on their personal beliefs. Similarly, philosophy allows one to determine whether his/her belief on an issue can remain valid.
In conclusion, an examined life is superior, and an individual will live such life if he/she uses the help of self-knowledge and wisdom. With Socrates, he focused on examining his life and was able to identify areas that convinced him of the need to live again despite being sentenced to death. Through Socrates life experience, we learn about the need to examine life so that it becomes worth living. Moreover, the idea of examining life guide us to develop the strength to face reality. Regarding philosophy, I think that it entails studying open questions on life and death. On the same note, there is some relation between philosophical questions, and life as well as death. When we think about issues of life and death, most people do not have a clue that they are thinking with regards to philosophy. Lastly, people should know that they are all philosopher and they can encounter questions that could alter their perceptions completely.
Malone-France, D. (2012). Political dissent: A global reader. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books.
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