Socrates retried and acquitted- but worries on human judgment persist
A New York ceremonial courtroom was graciously provided for an ancient Athens court session to take place with a 2.410 years’ time lap. On the 12th of May 2011 the ancient philosopher Socrates was retried and this time acquitted. I read with great interest the proceedings. Judges and counselors presented the social frame of reference in ancient Athens. The debated the issue very well and allowed us to see both points of view “guilty/ not guilty”. I was expecting today’s decision to be different than the original one but only after having this confirmed by judge Dennis Jacobs was I really relieved. The discourses are delightful and participants need to be properly named in recognition of their wit and application:
The Honorable Dennis Jacobs, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, presiding
The Honorable Carol Bagley Amon, Chief Judge, Eastern District, New York
The Honorable Loretta A. Preska, Chief Judge, Southern District, New York
Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, Esq., New York Assistant District Attorney
Dr. Anthony Papadimitriou, Esq., President, Onassis Foundation
Benjamin Brafman, Esq.
Edward Walter Hayes, Esq.
Dr. Alexander Nehamas, Carpenter Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature, Princeton University
That is not the only Socrates retrial I have followed. The Greek journalist Spyros Karatzaferis made a very commendable effort 10 years ago with Greek thinkers, of whom I now remember just two: author Soulis Apostolopoulos and the President of the Athens barrister Association Yannis Pappas.I enjoyed both those retrials; but both could not alleviate the stressful thought: “how can humans get so wrong”? I try never to forget that. If we do not watch it, it could happen to each one of us: to sentence Socrates to death.
PS. If you wish to download the integral proceedings of the new Socrates trial go to:
If you want to read Plato’s rendering of the original trial read “Plato’s Apology of Socrates”.
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