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Counter-Currents Radio  
The Trial of Socrates:
Aristophanes’ Clouds, Part 3



36:31 / 374 words

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This is the third of three podcasts on Aristophanes’ Clouds. 

This lecture contains a good deal of “Socratic” discussion, but some of the voices of the students were not captured by the microphone, so they were edited out, which accounts for some “jumps” in the discussion that remains.

The Source of the Lecture

In September and October of 1998, I gave a course of eight, two-hour lectures on “The Trial of Socrates.” We covered the following topics and texts:

  • Myth, pre-philosphical concepts of order, and the presocratic philosophical background of Aristophanes’ Clouds
  • Aristophanes’ comedy Clouds, which gives a very unflattering portrayal of Socrates
  • Plato’s dialogue Theages, which can be read as a rebuttal to the Clouds
  • Plato’s dialogue Euthyphro, which is set just before the trial of Socrates and deals with one of the accusations against him, namely impiety
  • Plato’s Apology of Socrates, his speech to the jury at his trial
  • Plato’s dialogue Crito, which is set in his prison cell as Socrates awaits execution
  • Plato’s dialogue Phaedo, which describes the last conversations and death of Socrates

The whole class was taped, but the tapes of the first lecture, which was an introduction to the whole course, and the last lecture, on the Phaedo, have disappeared. Nevertheless, the six remaining lectures, which I will release in 12 separate parts, contain a lot of useful material.

The books for the class are:

If anyone is interested in producing a transcript of this lecture, we will gladly publish it. Ideally, we would like one person to do a draft transcription and then place it online to allow other listeners to offer corrections. Please contact Greg Johnson at mailto:// before starting work, so we can prevent wasteful duplication of efforts.

Greg Johnson


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One Comment

  1. Sandy
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    I rather enjoyed that. I also have the impression that you were trying to inculcate what you know to your students whereas most philosophy professors try and obfuscate the subject. You also seemed to enjoy teaching.

    At 22 minutes you certainly came out with a challenge for the Christian wing of the NANR when you said that some men can’t learn from nature and followed up with I think the average American who believes in Christianity is morally better than if he didn’t believe in anything. However, if you become too enthusiastic about the bible the chances are that you would be worse than a non believer.

    That is a fascinating statement and is quite the challenge for some worthy Christian to answer. It will certainly keep me busy for a while.

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