The Relation between Politics and Philosophy in Plato's Apology of Socrates

In Plato’s Apology of Socrates, Socrates claims that any just person who becomes involved in politics will be destroyed by the “multitude” and that the philosopher must therefore lead a private life. I argue that Socrates’ elaboration of his relation to the political community, especially in the trial of the generals of Arginusae and the arrest of Leon, raises more questions than a cursory reading can answer both with respect to the logical structure of the argument in the Apology and in comparison with other Socratic formulationsof the relation of philosophy and the city. Far from demonstrating the incompatibility of philosophy and politics, Socrates in the Apology and other dialogues limns the features of a conception of political life that incorporates philosophical principles of moderation anddialectical examination into an understanding of politics directed towards the moral and intellectual development of the citizens
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DOI 10.5840/ipq200949466
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