Before Socrates actually begins his defense in Plato's Apology, he explains why it is necessary for him to refute two sets of accusations, the "first" accusations and the "later" ones. The "later" accusations are the formal charges contained in the indictment written by Meletus with the backing of Anytus and Lycon, on the basis of which Socrates has been ordered to appear before the court. But he is convinced that his jurors are already deeply biased against him because over the years they have come to be convinced of the truth of other accusations against him (18c4-7). Indeed, Socrates says that it was Mele- tus' acceptance of such slanders that led him to bring the formal charges (19a8-b2).l Because the "first" accusations have been allowed to stand unchallenged for so long, Socrates regards them as even more dangerous to him than the formal indictment (18b1-6). Socrates' account in the Apology of the nature of the "first" accusations and his categorical denial of their truth is reason- ably straightforward. He maintains that for many years he has been falsely accused of teaching young people atheism and sophistical reasoning (18bl-c5). Thus, the Apology suggests that the bias against Socrates concerns
Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1987
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