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    Plato's "Apology" and Nietzsche's "Ubermensch"

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    I know this is long..
    I had to read these 2, but have a bunch of questions before writing a response to them..
    This is based on Plato, The Apology
    Obviously you know that Socrates was put on trial and killed by his contemporaries in Athens because he would not back down from his position. But what exactly was that position, and how was he accused? I'm confused, please help
    I understand that The Apology is the speech Socrates gives in his defense against charges that he is "corrupting the youth of Athens." What does he exactly see as his own duty toward his city?

    Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil and On the Genealogy of Morality

    To me, Nietzsche is one of the most interesting figures in recent philosophy. He has written and said some things that are very hard to hear. For instance (and I am giving you a very abbreviated explanation of his Genealogy of Morals), he claims that the invention of morality is more or less a tool of the weak to make the strong feel guilty for preying on them. Is that correct?
    That aside, he raises interesting questions about how we can find a moral ground in a world in which God is dead. As a atheist, Nietzsche does not allow the concept of God to enter into his philosophical view. He also does not see traditional reason as able to give a sufficient ground for morality. So where might a ground of morality be found?
    Those were my questions..
    This is what the professor is asking:
    Does he find morality in the "will to power" of a "noble" soul? Read this selection to find out more about what he means when he uses each term. Pay attention to the way he uses natural processes (Darwinian survival of the fittest?) as a way to talk about human morality. Be aware of how he talks about the "master mentality" and the "slave mentality."
    I'm not sure what he means by natural processes..
    Your help would be appreciated. Thanks

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    SOLUTION This solution is FREE courtesy of BrainMass!

    Socrates, for all the good he did, managed to ruffle not a few feathers. That is, if we are to believe the constructed story that The Apology sets up for him. To be honest, there's always been significant historical and literary debate in the modern era over whether or not the circumstances of Socrates as given in this work are accurate (that is to say, actually happened in the exact way described).

    Certainly it's historical plausible, which means it COULD have happened; but it is not altogether known that it did in fact happen. In fact, one of the most common points discussed as a means of arguing historical dubiousness is the fact that we are only given the circumstances and parameters necessary to hear Socrates' own diatribe. In ancient times, it is certainly true that this was often the case for discourse, whether in terms of philosophy, politics, religion, or any other public matter: set up a story so that what you want to say can be heard, not so that you record a perfectly verifiable historical event.

    Anyway, if we are to take the story's bookends as true, it is logical to infer that Socrates held a position very common in Athens: that of public orator. In other words, his role in society was to publicly teach any who would listen to him, and over time his listeners grew to such a number that he was apparently considered a person with far more public sway than would be stable for Athens, especially given that he believed in and argued for a form of dualism that we now call idealism.

    Ancient life, especially in Athens, did function this way: people had roles that they more or less were either born into or fell into, and their livelihood was determined by how well they could perform their roles. Socrates simply "exceeded" his socially allowable boundaries, and so the elected officials (put there politically to oversee the well-being of the city, by-definition) held a trial in which he was tested to make sure he was contributing to the stability of the city-state. His duty as he saw it, of course, was educating these "youth" so as to see through a kind of "façade of reality," to the inner truths that underlie the physical things being perceived.

    Now, as for Nietzsche:

    The first question, I'm a bit unsure about. Does he in fact claim that the weak construct morality as a behavioral check against the powerful? Yes, he does. Does that hold significant logical power as an argument? I think it does, although I don't particularly agree with it. For one, "strength" could easily be defined to encompass the ability for morality and the ensuring of human welfare, something the "strong" (by his definition) don't seem particularly interested in doing. Also, at least by his definition, the strong would feel guilt, something he later decries as a weakness (or at least has to, in order to argue that morality is somehow unfounded as a social principle). So the strong still suffer a weakness, which more or less begs the question as to what makes someone effectually strong enough in the first place.

    It is also true that Nietzsche argues as an atheist; however, he arrives at this stance or outlook primarily by presupposing that God is an extension of morality, and therefore a human construct. In other words, I would argue he commits circular reasoning by presupposing that God is a human construct in order to argue that God does not exist as anything other than a human construct, and therefore is "dead."

    Nietzsche is not an unintelligent person by any means; he is entirely valid in his approach to the argument that God is "dead," in that it logically flows from everything he has previously established: that humans construct morality, that humans grow beyond the need for morality, that God is an extension of morality and that therefore when humans outgrow the need for their own constructs such a morality (a.k.a., "God" to Nietzsche) is therefore useless (a.k.a., "dead").

    For better or worse, you may be having trouble understanding his argument because you need to come to terms with the fact that he is arguing for a progression beyond logic, and therefore beyond morality. "Ubermensch" is the term he likes to use for the type of people that will supersede these traditional concepts. I might argue he's really just proliferating by-proxy a return to pre-civilized humanity, but that is a longer endeavor. The bottom line is that the "natural processes" being referred to are those more brute, evolutionary forces that allow him to argue for a humanity that progresses beyond moral limits, and instead exercises its own very essence in total to continue the species.

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