ELEUTHERIA is ‘freedom‘. In our philosophical context, the meaning of this word is far from “liberty of doing what one likes”. In fact, it is much closer to “freedom within the self-government of oneself”. The ideal is individuals enjoying their freedom with the help of self-control. Hence, human beings should not allow their appetites to dominate their life, with no rational control. Because in that case the same human beings would become slaves of their own desires and would not be free.

Thus, <eleutheria> is ‘freedom’. But freedom with rules and self-government. Such a rational self-control resulting in a liberation from our instinctual shortcomings is not far from some modern philosophers’ view of what they call “positive freedom”. Therefore, the masses maintain that only the free can be educated, while the Stoics say that only the educated can be free.

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Such limitations to the concept of freedom may account for a lukewarm attitude towards it by many prestigious philosophers. In his book The Trial of Socrates I. F. Stone maintains that Sokrates (Socrates) and Platon (Plato) do not value <eleutheria>, freedom. He says that they were Sparta-lovers, wanting a monarch, an oligarchy, not a democracy, not a republic.

The French thinker Michel Foucault, in lectures at Berkeley and Boulder, proposes the same argument for Sokrates not always supporting <parresia>. He notes that Sokrates does not abide by the moral duty to say the truth to benefit the common good (at his personal risk). The father of philosophy fails to invoke the truth in his own defense, at his trial, preferring to die in obedience to the law. Athenians hold that they democratically moulded law, seeing Sokrates’ stance as treachery.