Reputation In Plato's The Defense Of Socrates

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After reading The Defense of Socrates, many may question the premises on which Socrates’s argument rests. However, I believe there is a more important matter to consider that lies not within his words Socrates, but within his deductive reasoning and the unstated conclusion of said rash reasoning. The cornerstone of Socrates’s dashing defense is simple: one should value tr¬¬uth, wisdom, and self-worth over superficial gains and reputation. However, in making this case he also crafts a potentially controversial claim: that the best life is one in which one ignores their reputation and superficial desires. While reputation and materialism are not the crux of Socrates’s argument—they are really just asides he brushes off—they are an aspect of…show more content…
Reputation is the concern for what others perceive one to be. It embodies what one believes in, what they do, and what they aim to represent externally. It can refer to a living or deceased person alike. Oftentimes, reputation is the springboard for one’s overall legacy and there are an infinite number of ways it may be shaped: by one’s status in society, the deeds one does, or simply the people one associates with. Materialistic desires can be defined as any non-essential item one owns. And lastly, a noble life is a life full of purpose and adherence to said purpose or purposes. Socrates’s argument rests upon two essential premises. One, that truth, self-discovered wisdom, logic, and reason are the most important aspects of life. And secondly, that one should forgo material desires and concern over reputation for the sake of the first premise. This line of reasoning leads to a rather controversial claim: that there is no real value in one’s…show more content…
His main argument—his premises—is not diluted by this jump in reasoning. When one finishes this work they are not really contemplating taking his advice to wholly ignore reputation and superficiality, but rather one is reminded to try to pursue nobler aspects of life: truth, wisdom, and self-knowledge. The overall significance of my critique is that a literal interpretation of The Defense of Socrates can be dangerous as it promotes disregard for fellow humans. It can be used as an excuse for scholars to hermit themselves away, never abide by societal norms when interacting with others, and, due to a terrible reputation, never effectively share their ideas with the rest of society. While I am sure that there are not many literalist readers, the fact that this severe deductive reason and broad, dangerous conclusion exist in this work should still be noted as a flaw in sound
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