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IS SOCRATES GUILTY?

We now know enough to understand that Socrates’s behavior corresponded to the wording of the accusation.

1. Socrates does not believe in the gods in whom the City believes and he replaces them with new divinities. As a good Idealist, he had a personal understanding of the Gods and the relationship he can have with them He claimed to be in a personal relationship with some secondary gods and ignored most of the ritual that were not required out of politeness, such as invoking the appropriate god when pouring a small amount of wine in sacrifice. Plato went even further, for at the end of his life he invented gods for the needs of a fable.

2. He corrupts the youth. This is the most serious accusation. We have seen that Socrates could have been accused of (a) having an excessive hold on students that he seemed to mesmerize into an admiring attitude; (b) teaching his students an ideology dangerous to the republic; (c) teaching a morality that led them to disdain other citizens and the authorities; (d) teaching them a morality that encouraged them to prefer their own interest in philosophy to their responsibilities toward their families; and (e) holding homosexual love as sacred at the expense of heterosexual love.

The impression that Socrates represented a danger to the republic by being an activist in political movements that threatened its existence was well founded. Aristotle, Plato’s student, became the tutor of the boy who became Alexander the Great. As a symbol of enlightened tyranny (and probably homosexual), Alexander represents Plato’s hopes and dreams. He destroyed the republic of Athens and subjugated Greece before conquering the Asia of his time.

Having arrived at the end of the first phase of the trial, the majority of the citizens thought Socrates guilty as charged; however, they waited for him to present his defense before deciding on his punishment. None of them were thinking of condemning him to death.

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