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Education and Corruption

Education and Corruption


(p.11) One Education and Corruption
Virtue Is Knowledge
Lorraine Smith Pangle
University of Chicago Press

This chapter puts the Apology’s discussion of virtue and knowledge in dramatic context. It interprets Socrates’ famously avowed knowledge of ignorance as the more specific claim that Socrates “knows nothing both noble and good” and as a commentary on the confusions of those who think they do. It offers a careful exposition of Socrates’ cross-examination of Meletus on the corruption charge, in which Socrates introduces the thought that no one knowingly does wrong, quietly demonstrates the subversive character of his teachings, and exposes a moral confusion at the heart of the city’s criminal law. The chapter then analyses all the different claims Socrates makes for the goodness of virtue in the Apology--that it is good as a means and an end; that it is the substance of happiness and that it involves a heroic sacrifice of self-interest—thereby introducing us to the self-contradictions that conventional morality is prone to fall into.

Keywords:   Socrates, Meletus, trial of Socrates, Apology, corruption, law, punishment, knowledge of ignorance

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