Get Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths PDF

By Robin A. H. Waterfield

ISBN-10: 0393065278

ISBN-13: 9780393065275

[b]A revisionist account of the main recognized trial and execution in Western civilization— one with nice resonance for American society today.[/b]

In the spring of 399 BCE, Socrates stood trial in his local Athens. The courtroom was once packed, and after being came across to blame through his friends, Socrates died by way of consuming a cup of the poison hemlock, a defining second in old civilization. but time has transmuted the proof right into a myth. conscious of those myths, Robin Waterfield has tested the particular Greek resources and offers a brand new Socrates, no longer an atheist or the guru of a peculiar sect, yet a deeply ethical philosopher whose convictions stood in stark reduction to these of his former disciple, Alcibiades, the hawkish and self-serving army chief. Refusing to give up his ideals even within the face of loss of life, Socrates, as Waterfield unearths, was resolute to save lots of a rustic that was once tearing itself aside, one in ethical decline. Why Socrates Died isn't just a strong revisionist ebook but additionally a piece whose insights translate basically from old Athens to fashionable the US.

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Additional resources for Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths

Example text

Cicero’s point, and that of his Stoic sources here, is that humans can owe nothing to creatures that are so alien to themselves that they cannot understand and verbalize a conception of morality: that is, animals cannot express their intention to respect the rights of humans and their desire to have their rights 25 THE NATURE OF THE BEAST respected in turn by humans. 73 In practical terms, the assertion of an unbridgeable gulf between animalkind and humankind gave humans permission to use animals as they saw fit.

To illustrate the topic just discussed at length, namely that some species naturally aim more toward virtue than do some others, Autobulus observes (962F) that hippopotamuses will eat their parents while storks care for theirs, just as some species of birds are more solicitous in caring for their nestlings than are others. To make such observations, Autobulus argues (963A), strikes us as perfectly sensible, while to assert that one tree is less intelligent than another strikes us as absurd, and this is so precisely because all animal species have some share of the rational faculty while we tacitly recognize that mute creations like trees do not.

We may after all owe something to those who cannot owe us anything in return. Philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark eloquently expresses his doubts concerning the assumptions of the Stoics and their contractualist offspring: Contractual theorists from Protagoras onward have imagined society as a sort of corporation. Stoics employed this analogy to give men a sense of companionship in the whole kin-group of humanity. 86 Clark, who demonstrates a deeper appreciation for the ancient contribution to philosophical speculation on the intellectual and moral status of animals visà-vis their human counterparts than is in general encountered in contemporary animal rights literature, advocates what might be termed an ethic of inclusion that focuses on what he perceives to be similarities between human beings and animals as the starting point for ethical discourse on man’s proper stance toward non-human species, in contrast to the ethic of exclusion observable in the Stoics and their intellectual descendants.

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Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths by Robin A. H. Waterfield

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