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Socrates and the importance of philosophy and the examined life

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  1. Introduction
  2. Examination of Socrates' thesis
  3. The Socratic method
  4. Socrates' goal
  5. The Apology
  6. The notion of philosophy
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

Those who have studied Socrates know that his thesis is: ?the unexamined life is not worth living.? (Plato: 443). This is a statement that he says in his defense after he has been found guilty of corrupting the youth of Athens, making the stronger appear to be the weaker, and for worshiping false gods (impiety), and it is part of the account that takes place in The Apology which is captured by Plato. One of the prosecutors has suggested that Socrates receive a death sentence but it is Socrates' intention to receive a different sentence. He is firm in the stance that he cannot give up his habit of thinking philosophically as that would be going against the will of the gods. He proposes just a monetary punishment but the jury agrees that he should be put to death. This essay will examine Socrates' thesis, and from there explain why it is that philosophy is important. From this it will be clear that philosophy gives us a way of answering these questions, of attaching meaning to the daily realities of our lives and Socrates was influential in the development of philosophy because of the way he made us question and enlighten our lives.

[...] They tell themselves one thing and stick to it, but philosophy takes away the excuses that stand in the way of getting to know the true self, and in doing so opens the door to a new level of meaning and happiness. This is how we can explain the existence of unhappy executives who make millions of dollars and happy caretakers who earn a modest income but have the ingredients in their life to make them happy. One might say that the notion of philosophy is somewhat void as it is not feasible to avoid examining oneself. [...]

[...] The way that Socrates takes his punishment and does not opt for other types of punishment shows that he has deep ethical convictions. He truly believes that no person or state should be able to deny him the opportunity to examine his own life, thus the unexamined life is not worth living. In The Apology¸ Socrates reaches an impasse: virtue is neither innate nor can it be acquired. Virtue is not knowledge. However, Socrates investigates whether we would call virtue right opinion rather than knowledge. [...]

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