Let's try one last comparison on for size. What's Socrates like? And then we'll be done for this first lesson. At the start of Euthyphro, yes, it's the end of our first lesson and we've only just gotten to the start of the Euthyphro. That's planning. Like I said, at the start of Euthyphro, our hero Socrates and our title character Euthyphro meet outside the Archon Basilius' court. The Basileus as it's sometimes pronounced. Who's that? He's an official, in charge of overseeing religious matters for the city of Athens. I'll talk about him more next time. One of his most important duties, is holding preliminary hearings in cases of alleged religious crime. And that's what brings both Euthyphro and Socrates before him on this day. I've dropped so many hints about Euthyphro's case by now that you probably get what's up with him. Even if you haven't done your reading. Euthyphro wants to charge his dad with murder. And let me tell you it isn't a clear case, and it isn't like dad killed mom. Therefore this is a weird thing for a son to be going out of his way to do. And the ancient Athenians would definitely would have agreed too with you about that. Next lesson I promise you, we will discuss Euthyphro's case. And how the whole thing, turns into a big, inconclusive argument about holiness. But for now, we've got another case before the Basilius. Socrates explains to Euthyphro that he is here because he has been charged by a man named Melitus with, corrupting the youth, and with making new gods. This sounds like a weird sort of thing to be charged with. And indeed it was. I like to imagine the poor Basilius strolling up to his office, after a nice breakfast, seeing Euthyphro and Socrates sitting there waiting and thinking to himself, oh no. Those guys, this is not going to be a good day. Zeus, why me? Let's talk about Socrates's case. Euthyphro, who is sometimes described as a priest, but is more of a soothsayer or prophet, says he trusts Socrates will bring the whole thing to a happy ending. Which is really bad prophecy. Socrates is going to lose his case, be sentenced to death, and die. Let me say about a different dialogue. Apology, in which we hear more about this case, that's very crucially and significantly in the background of Euthyphro. No ho, you say. We finally got to Euthyphro. Don't just go talk about something else. I know, I know. But context is important. As I was saying. Apology, is not named about a guy named Apology which would be a funny name. In Greek apology doesn't mean I'm sorry either. It's more like verbal defense. The dialog purports to give us the speeches Socrates gave in his own defense at trial. A lot of people think Plato must be giving us something like the real speeches. Because there was a jury of 500 Athenians. So a lot of people would have been there and remembered. I don't know, memories fade. But anyway, we have these two speeches, corresponding to the two trial phases of an Athenian trial. First, there's determination of guilt or innocence. Prosecution gives a speech, defense gives a speech. Then, if there's a guilty verdict. If the jury votes to find him guilty, the prosecution gets to give a second speech, this is phase two. Where they ask for a punishment and defense also gives a second speech asking for a different punishment. And the jury gets to pick. You can see why that would be a good system potentially. You don't want to ask for too much, if you're the prosecutor. Or too little if you're the defense. People have an incentive, to be reasonable. In this case, after the guilty verdict, the prosecutor asked for the death penalty, for death. Probably expecting Socrates to ask for exile. And maybe expecting the jury, even, to go for that. Just get out of town for ten years, guys. Stop bothering us with your, what is X, questions. But instead, Socrates asked, for free lunch for life, at the city's expense. Lunch or death. So, death it is then. Hemlock, very poisonous stuff. I mentioned earlier I think. That when I took my first philosophy course, I read Plato. And I didn't much like it. I think one reason, was that we read Apology, and the professor said it was a very, very, very, very serious dialogue dealing with the most serious of themes. And I thought to myself did you miss the part where the guy asked for free lunch. Okay, quick note. The free lunch thing was an honor accorded to champion athletes and prominent citizens. So Socrates didn't just come up with free lunch out of nowhere. He is asking to be honored in a traditional Athenian way, but still this is a silly sort of punishment to ask for. As I was saying Apologizes struck me as sort of, like stand up comedy. Not laugh out loud funny, but funny strange, with a little dusting of funny ha ha on top. Which is even more funny strange under the circumstances. Socrates on trial for his life and all. So here's my comparison. You consider whether you like it. Socrates might be like a satyr or a martial arts master or a game player, is he like a comedian? Is he joking? Jokes are absurd, so all comedy involves contradiction. But not all contradiction is comedy. Does Socrates make jokes all the time, in addition to drawing out contradictions? Normally I like something if it's comedy. But in this case, it sort of confused me at first. I couldn't quite figure out why, Socrates was a comedian if he was one, and then why, just to this degree. Actually let me make it two comparisons. Is Socrates, this is painful to say but we, we must be strong. Is Socrates, a troll? Sorry. Is Socrates a troll or like a troll? Alcibiades said there was no one like Socrates. You could comb mythology and Homer. You won't find anyone like him. But maybe we just know better it's the 21st century. We have the internet. We know, what trolls are. Let's ask Wikipedia what it thinks a troll is. I'll leave out the bit about the internet, since Socrates didn't have one. And I'll keep the rest. A troll is, a person who sows discord. By starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages, either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response, or of otherwise disrupting normal on topic discussion. It goes on from there. You can read Wikipedia if you like, but like I said, you know what a troll is. I bet you do anyway. Are even internet trolls just footnotes to Plato somehow? The word troll is funny, as Wikipedia says, it seems like two distinct original meanings. Have sort of gotten crossed, but they actually kind of fit together. There's troll in the sense of some ugly person that might live under a bridge and make trouble, and troll in the sense of dangle a line for a fish. Trolling for newbies. Is that what Socrates was being charged with? Corrupting the youth and he is ugly, as Alcibiades says. Oh. And what is one thing you must always remember? Don't feed the trolls. That is, don't take the bait and get sucked into an awful internet argument no one is going to win. A clear corollary of that rule, would seem to be. Don't give them free lunch at the city's expense. To repeat, my old prof told me that Apology is the most serious of philosophical texts. Socrates shows that he is sincerely, seriously, piously concerned about the souls of his fellow citizens. He is stinging them like a gab fly, that is true. But it is all for their own good. That's why they should give him free lunch. But Socrates is really serious, is shown by the way he spends his days asking annoying questions, rather than holding down a regular job. Like regular folks? I remember thinking, yeah, he says that, but what he seems to be doing is trying to annoy all of them. There are a lots of people who I suspect spend their whole lives online bothering other people, and trying to get a rise out of them. I don't think it's because they're sincerely concerned about improving anyone else's soul. Trolls need to get a life. But it isn't because they've heroically sacrificed their own for the good of others. I do think that most trolls do somehow find everyone around them to be bad, and in the wrong. But how much of a spiritual accomplishment is that? At the end of the day. Speaking of which, I feel bad and in the wrong, comparing Socrates to a troll. He was willing to die for what he believed in, even if, oddly it's not clear what he believed in. But his willingness to give his life indicates a depth of seriousness, no question. That is what my old prof said. I can't argue with that. And I like Socrates. And I don't like trolls. So I'm in a bit of a state of internal conflict here. Obviously, the answer has to be something like this. One man's troll is another man's critical intellectual. It's hard to define trow in such a way that it doesn't include anyone, who really thinks that the terms of some existing debate or discussion are all wrong. The whole coordinate system needs to be changed, recalibrated to match reality. Of course, put it that way in one man's critical intellectual is another man's perfectly normal average person. We all feel this way. We read some debate in a comment section, and we think everyone involved is being an idiot. And we are tempted, and sometimes we give in to temptation, to intervene and tell everyone that they're a bunch of idiots. But then they'll just say we're trolling. Even know we're in the right! We're so sure that we're in the right. I feel a little less bad calling Socrates a comedian. That's a very honorable profession, in my book. Speaking of my book, in it, I quote a short section from Apology. I suggest you read it. Specifically, I suggest you read it and think about how you think it should be read, read out, that is. That's, big part of the theme of this lesson, how to read Plato. If you were to perform Apology, and I'm going to refrain from doing so out of concern for your well being should you read it very seriously? Should you read it almost like stand up comedy? Or somewhere in between? The quote from Apologies starts on page 16 of my book. If you're really feeling energetic, you can read all of Plato's Apology. You can find it online, I'm sure. In the bit I quote, Socrates is arguing against, I thought that, I suppose Defendants always have to worry about. The jury will think this guy must be guilty of something. Even if he's not guilty of this thing. Innocent people just don't end up hauled into court on crazy charges like this one. So Socrates has to explain to this hypothetical juror, what it is that he was up to everyday. That has lead to him having this terrible reputation and being charged with as I said before, corrupting the youth, introducing gods not of the city. In my discussion in the book, I try to bring out what I see as the joke that he tells at this point. He's like a parody of a person who has received some, religious revelation, some message. Here's what we learn. There was a guy, Chyrophon who asked the Oracle of Delphi whether any man is wiser than Socrates and the god said, no man is wiser than Socrates. I'm not going to tell you how important the Oracle of Delphi was in Greek religion. That's what Wikipedia is for. Suffice it to say, Socrates is for once being totally normal, for a Greek in concluding, the god must be telling the truth. You think the god is some kind of comedian? He's just messing with us? No, Apollo does not troll mortals. That would not be right. But Socrates doesn't get it, so he says. Even though he knows it must be true, because a god said it. He knows he doesn't have special wisdom. So now out of service to the god, in a ritual sort of way, goes around town trying and failing to prove the oracle wrong, by finding someone wiser. Only he can't. They're all like him! They don't know anything. But Socrates at least knows that he doesn't know. Only now, he's kind of getting unpopular. Exposing everyone as an idiot, in service to the god. I like to imagine Socrates earnestly handing out religious tracts, on some street corner. On the cover it says special wisdom from the god. And inside, it's just blank pages. Is that religion? Or absurdist street theater? Or just messing with people? Or, who knows, maybe we just invented Philosophy. Well, that was your first lesson. I hope you learned something.