Thursday, July 13, 2006

blog1: Impression of Socrates

Ami HerreraSocrates in his attempt to establish a correct definition for justice presents an ethos which demonstrates phronesis (common sense) and arête (moral virtue), which both tie into the logos of the speech perfectly making these two characteristics prevalent in the selected reading. Socrates uses a method of questioning in which he uses questions (based on phronesis and arête) to prove his friends’ definitions of justice wrong. The logos, or the text of the speech, is very important because Socrates is arguing for justice, which must be a commonly shared value among the audience in order for his persuasion to be successful. Because the goal is to define justice, the audience is expected to think of justice as important in their life and therefore want a definition in which they believe is correct and fits with their morals. In the case of arête, Socrates must use virtue to refute each definition one gives for justice, because it is only incorrect morals that would make the definition of justice incorrect. For example, Socrates uses the phrase, “the injury of another can in no case be just” to refute Polemarcus’ definition of justice (10). It is clear that Socrates is using the value that injuring someone is never a good thing, which he expects to be a common value among the audience. Socrates also uses phronesis in his conversations which is imperative when using his method of questioning to contest definitions. When Socrates says, “No one would say that I ought or that I should be right in doing so..” in reference to returning an insane friend his “arms” it shows his use of common sense (5). The phrase “No one would say..” implies that it is a common belief that giving an insane man arms would not be a smart decision because of the possible harm the insane man could cause(5). Also seen here is once again the use of arête, because if an insane man could cause harm to others, harming other is looked upon as having low moral values. As seen, phronesis and arête are both used as complements of each other and are necessary given the logos of the text.


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