The God and the gadfly: A reading of Plato's Apology

Dr Brian Klug, Research Fellow in Philosophy at St Benet's Hall, will be presenting in Wein University on:

The God and the Gadfly: A Reading of Plato's Apology


In the Apology, Socrates presents himself as "a gift of the god" and as "a gadfly" to Athens. In the standard reading of the work, these two descriptions tend to be treated as though the connection between them were purely contingent. This implies that Socrates' project of enquiry can be separated out from the Delphic oracle's reply to Chairephon -- even though Socrates himself describes his project as investigating the meaning of Apollo's words. In other words, the standard reading tends to forget the god. (You could call this the secularization of Socrates.) Dr Klug argues that if we forget the god we lose the gadfly. If we lose the gadfly we lose the work the gadfly performs: philosophy. Where does this leave philosophy? (And what would remembering the god mean?)