· essays · dialogues · meditations · about subscribe

Notes on “Apology”


  1. Introduction (17a–18a)
  2. Refutation of old accusations (18b–24b)
  3. Refutation of specific charges (24b–28b)
  4. Final thoughts (28b–30b)
    1. Face death for duty (28b–30e)
    2. I’ll be hard to replace (31a–31c)
    3. Why I give advice privately (31d–33b)
    4. Why people spend time with me (33c)
    5. No witnesses that I corrupt relatives (33d–34b)
    6. Why I won’t grovel (34c–35d)
  5. Proposed alternative penalty (35e–38b)
  6. Response to verdict (38c–42a)


18b–c: Socrates’ first group of older slanderers, who have been telling falsehoods to the Jury since their impressionable youth, are much like our childhood beliefs.

21e: Why does attaching the “greatest importance” to the oracle, which only said Socrates is the “wisest man of all”, require him to systematically test everyone’s wisdom?

22c: Hesiod also discusses how the muses may divinely inspire poets, and perhaps this is (historically) the origin of a good deal of religious innovation in Ancient Greece.

38a: Here is Socrate’s famous quote, which I find too extreme—”every day”? I think we only need to examine virtue and these other things to the extent they keep affecting how we act:

It is the greatest good for a man to discuss virtue every day and those other things about you hear me conversing and testing myself and others, for the unexamined life is not worth living for men. (38a)