Socrates As A Sophist In Plato's Apology

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In Plato’s Apology, the reader is brought into Athenian court where Socrates is defending himself against charges of not recognizing the gods of the state, inventing new deities, and corrupting the youth of Athens. While these are the charges being brought against him presently, Socrates finds it necessary open his defense by addressing an older charge – being a sophist. While Socrates, like sophists, ruminates on God, relativism, and the use of rhetoric, he asserts that all charges of his being a sophist are false and brings up good evidence that proves his point. In this paper, I will define Sophism, and show both the similarities and the differences between they got hold of most of you from childhood and persuaded you with their accusations …show more content…
Sophists had a reputation of being atheists, and because Socrates thinks about and questions the existence of the gods he too is seen as an atheist. Socrates does think about the gods often but this does not mean that he is an atheist like many of the true sophists. Socrates defends the notion that he’s an atheist sophist by alleging that, “the people who hear [that I am a thinker of the heaven, and an investigator of all things below the earth] believe that those who investigate such things do not acknowledge the gods either” . Socrates is saying that despite views to the contrary, one can question Gods and still believe they exist, and it is apparent that Socrates does have belief in the gods in numerous places in the Apology. Take for instance Socrates’ acknowledgement of his belief in the Gods during his questioning of Meletus when he says, “I acknowledge daimonic activities, surely it’s absolutely necessary that I acknowledge daimons…we believe that daimons are either gods, or at any rate, children of gods” . While Socrates has been known to question the gods, it is clear that through these pieces of evidence that he is not an atheist like many of the sophist he is accused of being akin to. Another piece of evidence that refutes Socrates’s atheism is his divine mission, something that he would not have embarked on had he no belief in the Gods. It is also clear that he believes the Gods put him on earth to practice philosophy and question the world around him. While discussing why he cannot simply quit examining and questioning the world and its people, Socrates says, “But if, when the god stationed me here, as I became thoroughly convinced he did, to live practicing philosophy, examining myself and others, I had – for fear of death or anything else – abandoned my station. That would have been scandalous, and someone might have rightly

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