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Socrate's Apology. Una lezione CLIL di Filosofia in lingua inglese

red - Di seguito viene proposta una risorsa didattica utile per le classi terze dei Licei Linguistici in cui sono stati attivati del percorsi CLIL di Filosofia in lingua inglese.

Socrate's Apology

The Apology is Plato’s version of the speech given by Socrates as he defended himself in 399 BC against the charges of “corrupting the young, and not believing in the gods in whom the city believe”. Many scholars believe that Plato’s Apology was one of the first dialogues Plato wrote. 

Socrates is brought to trial before the citizens of Athens, accused of not recognizing the gods of the “Polis”, of inventing new gods, and corrupting the youth of Athens. He apologizes that his defense speech will be plain, as he hasn’t learned the art of rhetoric taught by the sophists and used by politicians.

Socrates denies that he gives explanations of divìne matters and that he is payed for teaching. He challenges anyone to testify that he has ever made any claims about the heavens or earth (religion or science). 

Socrates believes that his reputation could come fom a prophecy by the Oracle at Delphi, which proclaimed he was the wisest of all men. Socrates has always admitted he knows nothing, so he was puzzled by this prophecy. 

To test it, he first examined the wise politicians of Athens and, by questioning them, discovered that they in fact knew nothing. Next he questioned the poets, only to find that they were less able than others to explain their own works, leading Socrates to believe that it is not wisdom but divine inspiration that guides their writing. Thenhe questioned the craftsmen, who are very skilful at their art, but know nothing about it. Through all this questioning, Socrates earned many enemies but also concluded that he is wiser than everyone else because he knows that he knows nothing. He takes the Oracle as a command from Apollo to question men who think they are wise to show them that they are not.

Socrates calls forth Meletus, his chief accuser, and questions him about his charges. Socrates suggests Meletus is confused about the teaching of virtue and that he contradicts himself in accusing Socrates both of atheism and of inventing new gods. 

Socrates persists in his practice, even though his life is in danger. If he fears death, he would be presuming to know what happens after death. Since he cannot know, it is foolish to fear it, and he should not avoid acting justly because he’s afraid of dying. Socrates points out that his students are honest men: not even the parents or families of these people claim that Socrates has corrupted them. 

The jury finds him guilty by a vote of 280 to 221, and Socrates is surprised only that the vote is so close. When asked to suggest a penalty for himself, Socrates rejects prison or exile, preferring death. He refuses to give up philosophy, saying that the unexamined life is not worth living. 

For Socrates philosophy is not an occupation or a hobby but rather a way of life. His goal is to seek truth and to live justly. This conception of the philosophical life is expressed in the phrase “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Our duty is to use our rationality to question ourselves and others in order to live more justly and truthfully. 

The jury sentences Socrates to death, and he warns them they are mistaken in thinking that they can silence criticism. They should try to live better, not kill off their critics. 

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