Notes on The Apology Themes

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The Apology Topic Tracking: Wisdom

Wisdom 1: Socrates claims that he gained his reputation from having human wisdom, and nothing else. This is contrary to the accusation that he has something better than human wisdom, which Socrates cannot describe as he does not know what it is.

Wisdom 2: Socrates says that the sophists are wise in a sort of wisdom that he does not have.He does not understand this type of wisdom, and therefore cannot possibly have it, which makes the accusations against him false.

Wisdom 3: The Delphi says that Socrates is the wisest person there is. Socrates does not believe this and goes out to find somebody wiser, or the true meaning of the Delphi.

Wisdom 4: Socrates does not believe that he is the wisest person there is, and sets out to find out what the Delphi meant.

Wisdom 5: The greater a person's reputation for wisdom, the less wise that person is. Through examining the people who have a reputation for wisdom, Socrates finds that the people who have greater reputations are less wise than those with lesser reputations, as they think they know what they do not know, and that makes them less wise.

Wisdom 6: The real wisdom belongs to the gods, and human wisdom is worthless. By reaching this conclusion, Socrates shows that when the Delphi said that he was the wisest person, he did not mean Socrates as an individual, but instead as an example of a person who realizes that human wisdom is worthless.

Wisdom 7: It is Socrates' divine duty to teach all who are wise but are not, that they are not. The greatest wisdom is knowing that one does not know. Thus, the more a person thinks they know, the less wise they are. Socrates believes that it is his divine duty to spread this wisdom.

Wisdom 8: Socrates claims that he is wiser than everybody else because he knows that he does not know everything.

Wisdom 9: People enjoy watching others who think they are wise being proved otherwise. This can be comical at times and is the reason many people watched Socrates and had opinions about him. However, when he proved that someone does not know something, the crowd assumed that Socrates did, and thus formed false opinions.

Wisdom 10: It is not honorable for a man with a reputation of wisdom to bring family into the court in order to stir pity. Thus, Socrates did not bring his family to the court, and many people resented this, and thus voted against him.

Wisdom 11: Socrates would like to examine people after death in the afterworld to see who, of all the famous people, was indeed wise and who was not. As a result, he is not scared of death, and thinks he may enjoy it. Furthermore, he cannot be condemned to death for examining people, as he would then be immortal.

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