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Plato’s Heroic Vision: The Difficult Choices of the Socratic Life

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image of Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

Faced with charges of impiety and corruption of the youth, Socrates attempts a defence designed to vindicate the philosophic way of life. In this he seems to be successful, as Socrates is today highly regarded for his description of the good life and for his unwillingness to live any other sort of life, a position that is most obviously exemplified by his defence in the Apology. After his sentencing, Socrates’ arguments and actions—in the Crito and the Phaedo—also lend considerable support to the idea that the philosopher is committed to living a particularly good sort of life. While the sequence of dialogues that culminates in Socrates’ execution might seem to be the most obviously critical of the life of the philosopher, these dialogues actually serve to enshrine the character of Socrates as the quintessential moral hero.


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