David Sedley

in Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253643
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934368 | DOI:

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Socrates at the age of seventy was executed by the Athenians on charges of impiety and corrupting the young. He is conservatively considered the key figure in redirecting philosophy, away from cosmology and towards ethics. Socrates was charged with dismissing the gods recognized and worshipped by the city of Athens, and of bringing in new gods. The latter charge in particular was associated with his personal divine sign, to which he used to refer with such expressions as “the divinity to daimonion that appears to me” (Plato, Theaetetus 151a3–4), and the particularly well-known “Socrates' daimonion.” Socrates showed persuasion on his interlocutor, a proper respect for divinity, by extolling the god's gift. The interlocutor is impressed by the divine gifts Socrates catalogues but points out that humans do not seem to be more blessed in these regards than other animals are. Socrates then proceeds to demonstrate respects in which on the contrary have been uniquely favored by the gods.

Keywords: Socrates; Athenians; daimonion; interlocutor; Theaetetus

Chapter.  8049 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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