Blog Post: How Socrates Nailed Bad Faith and Dishonesty on the Part of Politicians

Linda Elder
Feb 24, 2020 • 4y ago
How Socrates Nailed Bad Faith and Dishonesty on the Part of Politicians

{"ops":[{"insert":"Socrates, who laid down the roots of our critical thinking tradition, was tried, convicted and executed by the democratic state of Athens for two things: 1. believing in God’s other than those sanctioned by the state, and 2. corrupting the minds of the youth (through questioning them and teaching them to question through budding tools of critical thinking). According to Plato, as portrayed in his "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Apology"},{"insert":", Socrates opens his defense with the following statement:\n\n“What effect my accusers have had upon you, gentlemen, I do not know, but for my own part I was almost carried away by them; their arguments were so convincing. On the other hand, scarcely a word of what they said was true. I was especially astonished at one of their many misrepresentations: the point where they told you that you must be careful not to let me deceive you, implying that I am a skillful speaker. I thought that it was peculiarly brazen of them to have the nerve to tell you this only just before events must prove them wrong, when it becomes obvious that I have not the slightest skill as a speaker–unless, of course, by a skillful speaker they mean one who speaks the truth. If that is what they mean, I would agree that I am an orator and quite out of their class.”\n\nIn this passage, Socrates illuminates the problem of bad faith and manipulation through use of language, a problem still prominent among politicians, and many others today. It is through critical reasoning that we are in the best position to see through corruption, power mongering, exploitation and indeed all forms of deception and dishonesty through distortion of language and information. I encourage you to read the "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Apology (an enlightening piece of prose)"},{"insert":", looking especially for intellectual moves Socrates made (as described by Plato) which are relevant to how we live, and how we should live, now; please post your responses here.\n\n\n"}]}

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Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"There is much unpacking to this post. I read the book and some of the reviews on it.\n\nTwo take-aways from this reading: We should always seek the truth for self and others to ensure the interests and needs of all is heard. Much of our thinking is distorted by egocentric and sociocentric thinking.\n\nThe question is: how do we improve or avoid this in ourselves and others?\n"}]}