Socrates: Greek Philosopher
The Biography of Socrates Essay
The Philosopher, Socrates was a Greek and he was born in the proximities of 470 B.C in Athens. His father was a sculptor named Sophroniskus. Socrates, therefore, grew up with carving skills learnt from his father. In addition to the carving skills, Socrates studied astronomy and geometry formally.
At first, he was enthusiastic to learn sciences due to his thirst for knowledge but he later despised sciences. His argument was that scientific knowledge could not be proved and thus he made a decision to seek real knowledge. His mother, Phaenarete, was a midwife and thus Socrates, claimed to have taken after his mother by helping boys bear thoughts (Taylor 19) through philosophy.
Apart from the philosophical career that Socrates followed, not much is known about his life. This is primarily because Socrates did not leave behind any written materials. Much of the philosophy and life of Socrates is explained by Plato in his dialogues. Plato lived during Socrates generation, but he was younger than Socrates. He used to attend Socrates’ gatherings and thus his writings about the life of Socrates are highly credited.
Evident among his dialogues is the fact that Socrates married a woman named Xanthippe and bore three sons, Menexenus, Sophroniscus and Lamprocles. Plato also describes the physical appearance of Socrates as unimpressive. He also mentions that Socrates showed a lot of bravery and courage as he served in Deliurn and Ampipolis wars as a soldier (Tredennick 22). Socrates’ inseparable attachment to philosophy started when a friend of his approached the Oracle at Delphi and asked if there was any person wiser than Socrates.
When the Oracle replied that no man was wiser, Socrates got encouraged to advance his philosophical knowledge by comparing his knowledge to the knowledge of other wise people. This led to his invention of the Socratic Method which involves asking a person simple questions followed by implicative questions that makes the person realize that they do not know the subject well (Cline 1).
The shaming of prominent people using the Socratic Method and the communism (anti-democratic) ideas held and taught by Socrates eventually landed him in problems. He was accused of impiety due to his introduction of new philosophical ideas. He was also accused of corrupting the young. After trial, he was found guilty of these charges and executed by poison. As stated earlier, these accusations were politically engineered due to his disparagement of famous wise men and his firm stand on the necessity of communism in Athens.
Although he had chances to escape the execution, he accepted to drink Hemlock and die in front of his friends. This can be seen as a portrayal of the bravery and determination he had learnt as a soldier. He thus chose to die in order for the principles he believed in to hold true. For instance, he held the belief that being under the jurisdiction of the law; he was obliged to conform to what the law said even if it was unfair.
He thus drank hemlock, poison, and died in front of his friends. He died while reminding Crito of a small debt to a certain god. This was in 399 BCE. The debt is an indication that Socrates was extremely poor due to his devotion to philosophy (Taylor 13). He had also neglected his children due to his passion for philosophy. He got substantial criticism form Crito for making the decision to die and leave his children behind.
Cline, Austin. “Biographical Profile of Socrates”. 2010- April 23, 2010, https://www.learnreligions.com/socrates-biography-biographical-profile-250522
Taylor, Anne. Socrates. U.K. McMillan Publishing.
Tredennick, Hugh. The last days of Socrates. New York. Barnes & Noble.
Thoreau, Socrates, and Civil Disobedience – Compare and Contrast Essay
Crito’s apology is an essay done by Socrates, a Greek philosopher; where he seeks to express truthfully his beliefs. His apology, which is rather a statement, is viewed as one full of meaning and truth as he addresses his close friend, Crito. Socrates is a critical thinker who is dedicated to moral character and he questioned the beliefs of the youths in Athens who trusted in opinions which were not necessarily true.
Socrates got a death sentence out of his political activities, which apparently corrupted the youth and the religious practices. The apology details how his disciples tried to aid his escape from prison and how Socrates brought up an argument on whether it was a good idea as he worried too much about the repercussions (Kemerling, 2006).
Thoreau Civil Disobedience is the work of Henry David Thoreau who was a nature enthusiast. He wrote the essay titled ‘civil disobedience’, which won many politicians hearts. This essay seeks to find out why people of a state will subscribe to unjust governance without complaining. Thoreau exercised disobedience when he refused to pay poll tax whose returns offered support to the slave trade and the Mexican war, which he so detested and this led to his imprisonment (McElroy, 2005).
This case study seeks also to compare and contrast between the essay for Critos apology and Thoreau civil disobedience and stage a personal argument.
Similarities between the Critos apology and Thoreau’s civil disobedience
Both essays are associated with the way their governments of the day used to function and they also seek to change the mindsets of the people though at different levels. Socrates wants the people to be submissive to the government while Thoreau warns the people who follow the laws of the state blindly even if they are infringing on their own rights and they do not reflect what is right in their own view.
Thoreau and Crito’s essays believe in morality of human beings. They feel that human beings have the moral authority to be just if given the chance. They feel that no human being would want to default knowingly and it is sad that people still commit injustices even armed with a moral conviction. (Term papers, 2005).
The other striking similarity with these two essays is their writing while these history makers were in jail. Thoreau’s incarceration resulted from disobeying the laws of the land and it was while in jail that he wrote the ‘civil disobedience’ essay. Socrates was also in jail serving a term awaiting the death penalty for corrupting the youth and discrediting the state preferred religion when he wrote the apology (Term paper, 2005).
In both essays, we have philosophers who sought to bring change through defiance. In the apology, Socrates is seen as a highly ethical man who sought to interrogate and discuss the laws before subscribing to them and he questions them and engages youths in discussions where they dissect the stated laws (SparkNotes Editors, 2010) (a).
In Thoreau’s civil disobedience essay, the same concerns surface as Thoreau seeks to disobey the laws he does not believe in. He does not find sense when he is supposed to subscribe to laws that do not appeal to him just because the government passed them. His defiance when it comes to paying tax strikes a similarity with Socrates questioning of the laws, which is appealing to the high officials (SparkNotes Editors, 2010) (b).
In both the essays, Socrates and Thoreau find themselves on the wrong side of the law for failure to conform to the later. Socrates incarceration emanates from crimes of corrupting the youth among other crimes against religion. Thoreau’s incarceration on the other hand comes from failing to pay tax, which he believes goes into fueling wars and slave trades, things he campaigns against strongly (SparkNotes Editors, 2010) (b).
Contrast between the Crito’s apology and Thoreau civil disobedience essays
Thoreau’s civil disobedience essay is against the government whereas Socrates’ Critio’s apology is for the government. Thoreau felt that the government was an evil that the people did not need whereas Socrates felt that the government deserved obedience and this called for the people to be submissive to it. Thoreau even came up with a motto that stated that the best government was the one that governed the least. He also added that people were ought to embrace a government that respected their freedoms.
This he drove at showing that the absence of the government was what people needed to become successful. The striking difference in these two essays is that Thoreau is more rebellious when it comes to the government and he feels that the government is wrong and it must be subjected to criticism to review the laws that infringe on the people’s rights. On the other hand, Socrates shows devotion to the government of the day and is ready to give up everything to side with its decisions. (Term papers, 2005).
While Socrates exercises compassion for the government and seems ready to do anything for it, Thoreau loathes the government and this hatred exceeds when he is jailed for an offence he considers minor. After release from jail, Thoreau does not reform and spreads the word on disobedience influencing the masses to revolt against the government. Socrates goes ahead to loose his life through a death penalty as the government is adamant to see things go its way.
Thoreau’s civil disobedience essay is more realistic as compared to Crito’s apology in that it was rebellious and this set up a revolution to implement the changes that people wanted to see. Crito’s apology on the other hand is more unrealistic in that its primary goal was to ensure that the same views on the government were shared. It did not leave room for an argumentative debate where people would stand on their own ground voicing their own views (Term paper, 2005).
Another contrast presents itself from these essays where the Crito apology insinuates that the people of a country are in an agreement with their government. The kill here is that they abide by the laws set by the government and the government in turn protects them.
Thoreau’s essay on civil disobedience tends to differ by saying that the people of a country do not have to agree with what the government has laid down for them if it is unjust. He feels that rebellion to bad laws is important and people do not have to put up with bad governance as this makes them hypocrites (Term paper, 2005).
Socrates and Thoreau are two people with the same concerns about their governments but they bring out their concerns in a disparate way. This is dictated by their beliefs and social standing which makes them trend in different paths. Greece, which is Socrates origin, matches great men with honor and lesser men with shame.
This limits Socrates’ ambitions no matter how much he advocated for truth as depicted in the Crito’s apology and he fears to come out of the person he is, as he fears the repercussions of doing so. His friends even organize his escape but his worry about what people will say stops him in his tracks. He is also worried that he will loose his social standing by doing such a thing and sees himself being treated as an outcast (123helpme, 2010).
On the other hand, Thoreau is a strong man who is not afraid to voice his opinions and embrace the repercussions that emanate from it. Thoreau believes in self-conviction rather than social conviction and this shows why he is not moved by the masses but by what he feels and believes is right.
He feels that individuals have a right to choose what is wrong and right and act accordingly regardless of what the law says about it. He does not believe in the public’s opinion of his actions and therefore discards things such as honor, punishment, and shame as ridiculous (123helpme, 2010)
Case study argument
Both Socrates and Thoreau were justified in their concerns about the government. However, in my opinion, I feel that Thoreau’s stand in his philosophies would have brought about a lot of harm than good. It would have opened up to a permissive society where there is no order and no one cares what people do.
When he talks of the people not needing a government, I feel that he is loosing practicality since for a government to run smoothly, there has to be set rules and repercussions for the lawbreakers. Socrates takes sides with the government and gives us a picture of a state where the government takes center stage. According to Socrates, the government must be obeyed and the laws have to be followed to the later whether they are good or bad.
Thoreau seeks to differ with Socrates saying that people do not have to submit to bad governance and they have every right to abscond what is not right. In his personal experience, Thoreau refused to pay poll tax as he personally felt that the government used the revenue to support the Mexican war and slave trade, which he was opposed to. For this reason, he was incarcerated though he was released a day later as family members bailed him out.
I feel that Socrates was more rational in his judgment about his government and all it needed was for the people to obey the laws it had laid down for them. In his views, Socrates felt that the government brought order and this in the long run translated to better and civilized lives for its people. Thoreau was more bent on individual success and advocated for individuality and in my view this philosophy would not have augured well with many loyal citizens of the state.
He kept seeing the government as a block to the success of its citizens through laws, which he termed, as infringements. For him to advocate that people do what is right is immoral in the sense that not all what seems right to us is right for everyone. For instance, someone would feel that acts of terrorism are okay and go ahead to implement it because it is what he wants to do and believes that it is right to him.
In my opinion, this is utterly ridiculous because we live in a diverse world which has become a melting pot for all cultures. We therefore have to be governed by laws that dictate how we conduct ourselves to avert such commotions, which would result from a permissive society. I therefore feel that Thoreau’s philosophies were wrong and they should not have seen the light of day.
Both Socrates and Thoreau had strong thesis on what an ideal people-government relationship should be like. They however had their shortcomings in either way, as some were too extreme and other just ridiculous. Their contrast brings about an interesting factor of civil obedience on the part of the Crito’s apology done by Socrates and civil disobedience as portrayed by Thoreau. We see that Socrates worst fear was what the society would say and he could not stand shame and dishonor.
The rebellious Thoreau feared no societal criticism and all he cared about was what he felt was right for him. They both ended up in jail as punishment for their misdeeds and the irony is overwhelming. Socrates was however more practical as compared to Thoreau who gave ideas of a lawless society which would have caused more harm than good.
Kemerling, G. (2006). Socrates (469-399 B.C.E). NY: Routledge.
McElroy, W. (2005). Henry Thoreau and civil disobedience. Future of freedom Foundation. Vol (87).9-9.
SparkNotes Editors. (2010) (a). SparkNote on The Apology. Web.
SparkNotes Editors. (2010) (b). SparkNote on Civil Disobedience. Web.
Term papers. (2005). Socrates versus Thoreau. Web.
123HelpMe (2010). Comparing Thoreau and Socrates. Web.
The parable of the cave by Socrates Explicatory Essay
In The parable of the cave book vii, Socrates tells us about people who have lived in a cave since their existence and they know nothing more than the darkness and shadows in the cave. This is a world in which prisoners are chained in a cave. Behind them, there is a fire and puppets. The puppets cast shadows on the wall, and they can not clearly see some things that are passing by. The things are real in the world of light but they can only see them as shadows. Above the fire there is the sun which is very bright.
Definition of the Cave
The cave is the region which can be accessed by sight and unfortunately it is what the prisoner can access. The shadows of the puppet makers which are seen by the prisoners represent and/ or build a reality to them (Reeves 191). Socrates tells us that one of the prisoners escaped from the cave and at first he was blinded by the light he meets outside the cave.
After he spent time in the new world, he gets a different view of the world and he realized that his life was all along a mere illusion and controlled by other people.
Meaning of Fire
The prisoners are chained and they are unable to see the actual objects and the puppet makers since they can turn neither their heads nor their legs, hence they can only see what is in front of them. This is what Plato explains in “the truth will be nothing but shadows of their images”.
The fire signifies the sun and the sun represents the whole truth; the light that the prisoners need to see in order to gain their freedom from the world of darkness. Socrates says that the prisoner who went out of the cave and saw the light, represents the philosopher who is enlightened and goes back to the rest of the people to tell them about the truth they don’t know.
Meaning of Puppets
Socrates asserts that, “they seem less real than shadows.” This implies that the prisoners can only see the shadows of the things reflected to them from the wall. They cannot give a clear account of what they see because it portrays half truth of the reality, which is the good in the world of light.
Glaucon says that people who are still not enlightened can construct justice by making agreements after deliberations among themselves. This means that the prisoners can only tell the truth based on the ability they see the shadows. The puppets are being held by the puppet handlers, who are the masters of the prisoners in the cave. In my own view, the puppets are the things and ideas used by the masters to continue keeping the prisoners in the dark.
The intensity of the fire is frightening and it is used to blackmail the prisoners. The prisoners will be frightened by the brilliant light of sun because it will burn their eyes so much such that, they may want to go back to the cave. Some people will follow the sun and will know the whole truth.
They may then go back to tell the others about what is found outside the cave, which is the light and the real truth. The prisoners believe in shadows because this is all what they have seen in their lives, hence their truth. The ignorance of some prisoners will prevent them from attaining the genuine truth hence they will continue to be chained in their illusions. The freed person is enlightened and goes ahead to face the truth.
Rene Descartes and the Parable of the Cave
According to Rene Descartes, people become what they think they are. He further asserts that people are only aware of what has existed around them. Based on his philosophy, the prisoners in the cave knew the life they were in and nothing beyond. Though we view their life as a dream, it was their reality (Wartenberg 56).
On the contrary, the reality could also be a dream. To some extent, Descartes defends the prisoners’ ignorance to the truth and reality because all they knew was their lives in the cave. Unless they were taken out to experience life outside the cave, they will strongly hold that the shadows they see are the reality.
Augustine and the Parable of the Cave
Augustine poses that people cannot say that they know the truth when they don’t know how the truth looks like. On the same line of thought, people cannot say that A resembles B when one does not know how B looks like (Olivier 49). The prisoners in the cave do not know what truth and reality are because what they have seen are mere shadows and not the real objects that emit the shadows.
In conclusion, the parable of the cave takes place in the mind of Socrates and Glaucon, Plato’s Brother. From a general stance, Plato is concerned with the revelation of truth and the manner in which the psychology of people evolves. The cave is used metaphorically to portray how people are trapped in their ignorance of basic ethics.
Plato further seeks to dig into the truth of things that do not exist in reality. Following the parable of the cave, the power of an individual to interpret situations that do not exist in reality determines one’s intellectual capacity. The prisoners in the cave perceived and understood reality as it was through the shadows reflected on the wall they saw inside the cave.
The whole difference comes out when one prisoner gets out and found a completely different world outside. It is obvious that people define their world based on their experiences of what surrounds them physically. The challenge is on whether people will give room for other influences on the truth they have.
Olivier, Bert. Philosophy and the arts: collected essays. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2009. Print.
Reeves, Francis. Platonic engagements: a contemporary dialogue on morality, justice and the business world. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2004. Print.
Wartenberg, Thomas. Thinking on screen: film as philosophy. Oxford, UK: Taylor & Francis, 2007. Print.
Lawyer at Socrates Case in 399 B.C. Essay
“Born in either 469 or 470 B.C. […] Socrates was son to Sophroniscus and Phainarete of Alopeke village under the jurisdiction of Athens (Brian, p.4).” He was probably a trained mason like his father but his life was more prosperous as an army hoplite supplying personal war-gears and armour.
Socrates was however poor with a low standard occupation. Arguably, his lifestyle was out of choice and one would easily locate him at marketplace or city-square, which would otherwise become the municipal of Athens. According to Brian (p.4), Socrates was a brave fighter and campaigner at various encounters from 422 to 432 B.C. His military experience made him adequately famous as a philosopher or sophists. Sophists required payment for their educational or informative services.
The accusations against Socrates was based on misleading of young minds into perceiving the wrong as right or finding better reasons from what was against the Jurisdiction.
Socrates was a man of unfathomable religious convictions and a patriot, but most of his contemporary allies regarded him with suspicion and dislike due to his attitude towards the state of Athens and the various religious convictions. In 399 B.C., Socrates faced charges of abandoning authority orders and in support of introducing new divinities, which was a reference of his own demonian. He also faced accusations of corrupting morals of the youth by swindling them against democratic principles.
The main basis for Socrates’ defence is the apology he made at the trial. He clearly vindicates the true lifestyle of his entire lifestyle by ironically placing a counter position against the ruling of Athenians legal panel of judges. He proposed that the panel must consider a small fine for the reason that he had a philosophical value and role in the society.
These alterations angered the jury and a majority votes for his death penalty, despite voting by just a small number. This situation leads to his condemnation. This paper presents an argument for the acquittal of Socrates from the death penalty. It takes the situation back to 399 B.C during Socrates trait at Athens. This advocacy is therefore in present tense but based in the past.
Socrates maintains calm and collected status and unlike the other Sophists, the self-claimed philosopher does not accept payment for teaching his students (Poppas, p.17). The vindication that he had a lot awaiting his future is evidently a conscious state of expression out of utmost good faith.
The jury must accept that he does not impose personal claims out of arrogance and pride. His lifestyle in a clear indication that his refusal for payment by the students is for the fact that, he appreciate moral uprightness and is ready to assist others garner genuine knowledge about social morality, in the true spirit of promoting literacy.
Socrates indicates that it is possible to acquire genuine wisdom from personal believes and those of others. I also wish to strongly point out that Socrates has a genuine reason to stand by his philosophical point of view. His task is not to provoke people’s way of thinking; he genuinely teaches and emphasizes full existence of knowledge for each person, through decisive ability to gather or discover existence of knowledge within the soul.
He only works to encourage people to become consciously aware of the inner reflection. Socrates has a strong personality of teaching and guiding through knowledge acquisition or discovery. A good example of his endeavours is his guidance of an untrained person to formulate the Pythagorean Theorem (Poppas, p.17).
This is a clear indication that Socrates’ is truly committed to provoking people’s inner knowledge and abilities that lie within. He is in support of a moral logic that knowledge in mainly innate within the soul, and people mainly learn from inner thinking rather than experience.
He has a unique but logical way of life where the emphasis is on the need to provoke ways of thinking, rather than teaching people systematically what they ought to learn. Socrates contribution to education is through triggering of active thoughts as a way of living as opposed to a methodical doctrine. He definitely have a clear understanding of the need for acquiring basic concepts or fundamental knowledge, and thus the reasons he emphasizes on the need for analytical examination styles for rational or critical ethical problems.
Various philosophers such as Plato are able to stand in line with Socrates’ style of administering knowledge, and thus share similar insights regarding ethics as the best and strongest choice for acquisition of information (Saillant, p.1). I wish to acknowledge that Socrates stresses the intellectual basis of identifying ethical virtues and confines them within the basic human wisdom.
In investigating his moral point of view, the exploration touches a wide range of common human problems concerning politics, natural science, governance theories, metaphysics, religious conflicts in theology, and various hypotheses of acquiring knowledge (Saillant, p.1).
In line with Socrates’ apology, he has the chance of accept the ruling that the jury acquits him from the charges on condition that he stops philosophizing. He however decides to follow the order of his god and wrong the city due to what the law terms to be civil disobedience. Socrates understands the consequences of such defiance. In the apology he states that “I do know [.] that it is wicked and shameful to do wrong, to disobey one’s superior, be he god or man” (Saillant, p.1).
This statement can be ambiguous depending on the interpretation. One of the interpretations of the understanding the jury ought to consider would be that the accused is trying to consider the superiority levels and decide the side one should follow given the situation at hand. The other interpretation the jury should critically analyze is defying serving civic authority for the divine rule that seem uncommon among faithful.
Logically even when the law fails to weigh and clearly stipulate the levels of authority and the difference between divine and civil authority, the divine authority give the impression of rational superiority for most believers. From any civil interpretation, assuming that the law is clear and rule do not conflict; the higher or superior authority overrules the lesser authority.
Socrates considers that the divine authority is superior to the civil authority thus the reason he certainly consider the divine orders. If one faces two superior orders, it is only possible to obey one order at the expense of the other. Arguably, the way the accused presents his choice is interpretable to the second sense where he may appear committed to being a disgrace to his choice of the lower authority.
If the jury consider either of the interpretations, the course of action must prevail alongside the divine order. Socrates supports this action. Considering the level of superiority will nullify the rules by civil authority and the accused will not have committed civil disobedience. The jury should not consider any form of harm to the lesser authority.
There are various reasons to support Socrates point of view. Socrates’ decision postulates the existence of higher authority thus invalidating the orders of the lesser authority. I urge the jury to consider pre-empting the principle of weighing amount of disgrace over the level of authority, as the basis for deciding superiority complex.
I object to those who consider determining the level of authority as a disgrace. Socrates’ case brings less shame and disgrace to the jury, when he interprets his point of reasoning over achieving educational goals. “The amount of shame or disgrace one may endure for the achievement of a goal, […], ought not to be a deciding factor is the resulting shame or disgrace” (Pappas, p.13). In determining the orders to follow, the level of authority is the determining factor of shame.
The authority has right of command and Socrates acknowledges the policy. Since the law fails to outline clearly the cause of action for conflicting cases, the right of command must vanish in cases where two or more orders conflict. The law must therefore present all forms of authorities and weigh superiority. Socrates’ claim is only normative one indicating the existence of superiority for god or man. His apology supports the claim of divine power.
From his disagreement standpoint, “disrespecting a judgment or escaping the city or evade the death penalty is wrong because he would cheat a just agreement with the city and its laws and, thereby, harm them” (Pappas, p.13). The accused responds to divine orders to analyze his inner soul and those of others thoroughly to remove any inconsistencies. I support his point of view that the soul is divine since it reveals personality and fights ignorance.
Brian, MacArthur. The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1996.Print.
Pappas, Nickolas. Review of Socrates’ Divine Sign: Religion, Practice and Value in Socratic Philosophy. Michigan, MI: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. 2005. Print
Saillant, Said. The Role of Inconsistency in the Death of Socrates. Prometheus.
Johns Hopkins Philosophy Journal. Vol 2, Issues 2. May 10 2009. Web.
Greek Philosopher Socrates Autobiography Essay
It is a reality that societies tend to have individuals who question the way things are done. These individuals also known as philosophers feel that their responsibility is to question why things are the way they are. These philosophers usually work in places where they were born. This article will focus on one Greek philosopher who was recognized as Socrates.
In the era of ancient Greece, approximately forty years before the commencement of the Peloponnesian battles, an infant by the name of Socrates was brought into the world. This child is said to have been born in Athens in 469 BCE to Sophroniscus and Phoenarete. He was notably intelligent at a very tender age. Before the wars emanated in the region, Socrates used to hang out with the unchanged intellectuals that Pericles did. This comprised of the sophist named Protagorist, the scientist Archelaus and Damon the musician.
It is therefore clear that Socrates existed during the times of war. Socrates emerged from a well-off family. There are several instances of substantiation that have been elucidated to attest to this fact. One of them is that he served in three diverse occurrences during the Peloponnesian war.
To begin with, Socrates was a hoplite fighter during warfare. This duty necessitated an individual to purchase his own equipment as well as body armor. Socrates served as a soldier at a place called Delium in 424 BCE as well as in Amphipolis, Potidoea in 432 BCE. He did not stay as a bachelor for long. He was married to Xanthippe who was known well in the region due to her irritability. Consequently, Socrates had a family of three boys who played a great role in promoting their fathers thinking after his demise.
Socrates used to question each and every person within the society. His interrogations were extended to the streets. Socrates would stroll along the streets where he would come across different people. In the process, he would challenge an individual who he met among others on the streets with questions that appeared quite uncomplicated. His seemingly easy questions would leave plenty of doubt in the intellect of the individual.
This was how Socrates gained his superiority in being a philosopher. Socrates would ask his questions regardless of the individual’s age. Through Socrates interrogations and answers many people benefited by getting education. The method that Socrates used to educate people was referred to as Socratic dialect. Some people referred to this method as the Socratic Method.
Surprisingly, Socrates neither wrote books nor papers regarding his philosophical sayings. Similar to lots of philosophers, Socrates was seeking for the meaning of living or rather life. Socrates philosophical sayings were based on his own beliefs. Socrates had a belief that each and every philosopher was seeking answers not only to life but also what happens when one passes away.
Most of Socrates efforts were concentrated on the search for questions rather than answers. Through his efforts and interrogations, people’s morals were highly criticized. However, Socrates did not provide the people with solutions to the questions that he posed to them. This made most people within the society dislike him.
Socrates also got himself involved with two associates of an oligarchy of thirty individuals who played a greater role in conquering the democratic state of Athens. As mentioned earlier, Socrates had his own beliefs which he thought to be true. Basing on Socrates assumptions, democracy never existed.
Due to his beliefs, Socrates received a lot of hostility as well as resentment from most people within his region. Most people really hated him. According to Socrates, any given government ought to be ruled by knowledge. In his point of view, democracy should be done away with by the government while administering its rule.
There are indications that Socrates was the first and foremost human being to come up with the idea of the soul. The idea of the soul is presently well built among members of each and every society in the present day. In line with this, Socrates revealed that “there is no truth except that there is no truth” and that “he does not know anything except that he does not know anything.” After coming up with this, Socrates was able to boost his level of understanding and thinking and was equated to the greatest thinkers of all time.
Socrates spent the largest part of his life confidentially. He never took part in affairs of the public and never got involved in activities that were anticipated by the citizens of his country. Socrates never considered them as activities of great knowledge. As a philosopher, Socrates was not only an educator but also a father. He did this for a considerable duration in his life. His philosophical sayings educated several people.
Being a teacher, some of the well known followers of Socrates were Plato, Aristotle and Xenophon. One of the eulogies of Socrates was written by Xenophon. Plato also wrote several critiques regarding Socrates with the inclusion of “Apology” that demonstrated Socrates radiant defense. He wrote with illustrations from key words in Socrates philosophical sayings, for instance “[Socrates] spent his life in search of such truth as was arrived at by logical reasoning, starting from a rational hypothesis.”
The real philosophical acts of Socrates have been shown when Plato wrote what was said by Socrates during his defense i.e. “I have never been a teacher to any man, but if any one, whether young or old, wished to hear me speak while carrying out my mission, I never grudged him the opportunity… And whether any of my hearers become better or worse, for that I cannot justly be made answerable…”
Socrates was neither a product of the social order nor a modernizer. His way was known by many. He could stroll around the streets and then engage in a conversation with a person he came across. Without hesitation, Socrates would make sure that he interrogated the individual on his beliefs.
Even though this seems to be a direct influence on people, Socrates is considered to have influenced most people’s way of life indirectly. Apparently, we are made to believe that new trends were obligatory when a person exhausted his chat with Socrates. However, Socrates never did trend setting save for that.
In 399 BCE, Socrates was charged with transgression and corrupting the youth of Athens. Socrates was blamed by Meletus. During these times, the punishment for such crimes was death. The reason behind his alleged transgression was lack of recognition of the same gods as the state. Socrates was blamed for corrupting the Athenian youths. This was after the youths started questioning their parents’ beliefs. The youngsters also questioned the beliefs of some of the significant social elite in a scornful way.
The entire matter appeared frivolous. In spite of Socrates outstanding defense, which was possibly misinterpreted by most of the 501 jury of the subordinate category of the Athenian general public, he was proved guilty by a margin of merely sixty people. Most people wanted him to be evicted from the city. However, this never happened. Personally, he requested to recompense a fine but his efforts were futile.
A larger margin of individuals won the case. They proposed the death penalty on Socrates. He was to drink poison. The death sentence was later deferred. This was as a result of a religious festival that was to be performed. The festival was for the sacrifice of the seven young men and maidens towards the Minotaur in the maze inside the holy place on the isle of Crete.
It was during this time that his friends proposed to organize a getaway for him. But Socrates refused to escape. He claimed that his escape would be contrary to all his teachings as well as the years he had lived. He took death as a light matter. He perceived death as at last getting to know all that happens after death which is considered as the ultimate quest of all philosophers. Plato denotes that Socrates said: “But now it is time for us to go away, I to die, and you to live. Which of us is going to a better fate is unknown to all save God.”
Socrates was a great philosopher. The absence of his philosophical sayings would have resulted in the absence of philosophies from Aristotle and each and every successor of his teachings. The functioning of the world at present, particularly the western world would have been very different. This would have consequently reversed the configuration as well as the workings of the globe.
In conclusion, Socrates was the greatest philosopher/ theorist in the world. He took the planet by storm. He left a lot of suspicion and doubt in the minds of the greatest leaders of the era and beyond. There is a well known painting that depicts Socrates death. Weeping friends surround him as he moves to drink the cup of poisonous hemlock.
The holder of the cup who is a servant also weeps on seeing what he was doing. The fact remains that Socrates was, is and will always be missed. Socrates discovered the truth regarding prejudices that are pushed on us by our own insecurities.
Success of Socrates’ Defense Essay
Socrates was charged by Melitus, Anytus and Lycon others of impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens. The affidavit signed by Meletus made two charges against Socrates: refusing to recognize gods recognized by the state and instead introducing alien gods and corrupting the youth. He had to defend himself against those charges in the People’s Court. His defense is contained in Plato’s Apology.
In the Apology Socrates first acknowledges that his accusers are persuasive but he is not guilty of the charges they level against him. Socrates denies the charge of corrupting the youth by teaching his subversive doctrines by saying that he has nothing to do with physical speculation.
He challenges the accusers to seek the views of those who have heard him speak and their neighbors as far as the charges are concerned. He points out that he teaches and receives remuneration, Ceos, Hippias, Gorgias, Elis and Prodicus who teach and charge young men like him attract no accusations.
The defense against this charge cannot be said to be successful. Fist, he does not appear to be apologetic and to the contrary confirms the general opinion held by majority of his jury that he thinks he is the wisest. He informs the jury that he has been searching for a wise man ever since his friend Chaerophon visited the oracle of Delphi which revealed that there is no wiser man than he is.
He details how, after receiving the oracle he traversed Athens in search of a wiser man but did not come across any. He says that he discovered that rhetoricians like Lycon, poets like Meletus, craftsmen like Anytus and politicians are not wise; the less esteemed are wiser instead.
He tells the jury that after meeting people who are extremely proud yet they do not know much about themselves, he has surely confirmed that he is the wisest since he knows that he knows very little. This flies in the face of his defense as it annoys them since it implies that they are more foolish. To the jury, instead of the accused exonerating himself, he goes ahead to affirm the charges and makes it worse by offering them as examples.
As if to add salt to an injury, when asked about his penalty, he suggests that he should be honored like Athenian Olympic heroes by giving him free meals until he denies. This is more likely to annoy the jury as they may consider it arrogance on the part of the accused.
The fact that Socrates begs the jury not to interrupt him three times in the Apology shows that they have developed some anger and are probably unwilling to listen to his endless philosophizing while displaying utter disrespect for them. The level of irritation that his words visit on the jury seals his fate. What is important for him is not an acquittal but his philosophical convictions. I don’t think that he could have apologized at all.
Even when faced with the prospect of dying, Socrates, in his element, does not consider a lesser punishment. He informs his audience that he is not afraid of dying which can only embolden them further in their resolve to punish him. He actually looks forward to the chance death will grant him to meet with Paramedes, Ajax and other heroes who according to him, suffered death through unjust judgments. By stating that their deaths were unjust, he prejudices his chances of an acquittal
Nevertheless, there are instances where he almost convinces the jury. The first instance is when he cross-examines Meletus. He gets Meletus to almost contradict himself by agreeing that the good do their neighbors good and the bad do their neighbors bad. He wonders how a man who knows that he would be corrupted by him (Socrates) would accept to be corrupted intentionally. He argues that he could only have done it unintentionally and since the law has no cognizance of an unintentional offence, he did nothing wrong.
On the charge of impiety, he asks Meletus to clarify whether he teaches others to acknowledge some gods, and therefore does not believe in gods (is an atheist) or simply that his gods are different from the ones whish the state recognizes. When Meletus answers saying that he means Socrates is a complete atheist, Socrates refutes that by exposing the contradictory nature of Meletus’ argument: that Socrates is a complete atheist yet he believes in some gods.
In addition, he asks Meletus whether it would be possible for someone to believe in horsemanship and not horses or in flute playing and not flute players. In the same vein, he argues that it would be impossible for a man to believe in spiritual and divine outfit yet fail to recognize what he calls spirits and demigods. In his final submission on the issue, Socrates points out that even if he believes in demigods, they are sons of gods.
Even if they would not be legitimate sons of the gods, the fact that they are offspring of gods implies that their parents, who are gods, exist. Such arguments seem to have placed Meletus in a corner and were it not for the anger his earlier comments attracted earlier, probably the jury would have followed his line of reasoning and acquitted him since he is able to make his accusers contradict themselves.
Also, the inability of the youth whom he was said to have corrupted to step forward could have worked for him but it seems to have been ignored. In my view, majority of the jury had already reached their verdict even as he challenged the youth who might have received bad advice to step forward and be seen.
He suggests that in the event that the youth he spoke to earlier are absent, their fathers, brothers or kinsmen may testify and say what their family suffered at his hands. At this point he calls upon those that he can see in court including Crito, his son Critobulus, Lysanias, Antiphon, Nicostratus, Paralus and Plato.
In addition, he argues that he could have paraded his three sons in order to elicit sympathy but he does not alleging that he feels that it is discreditable to the state. This could be taken as a proof that he regards the state highly; the same state that he is accused of disrespecting.
In conclusion, it can be said that though he puts up a spirited defense based on logic, he ends up annoying his audience by implying that none of them is wiser than he and by displaying no fear of death: their mode of punishment. The fact that the jury finds him guilty on a relatively close vote of 280 to220 indicates that Socrates’ defense, though not successful, is quite convincing.
Justice for Socrates and Augustine Report
People define justice differently according to their understanding of the situation in question. Most people confuse justice and punishment (Lyons 16). The idea behind it is that two mistakes can provide a solution which implies that a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye. I suppose that justice is fair treatment and acting fairly in all situations that one may come across. To get a more precise definition, justice is the course or action which will restore balance to a situation (Augustine 34).
In the discussion, how different philosophers define justice and how they propose on how it should be handled by different groups of people is extremely valuable (Dockendorf 24). For that case, we take two most identified philosophers who are Socrates and Augustine. The two scholars gave their definitions of justice basing on different perspectives but all pointing towards the same direction in giving fairness to people.
For many years, people have defined justice in various ways. Plato’s work has given records on Socrates views on justice. This gives us the ability to read and understand the Socrates way of thinking toward justice. According to Socrates, justice was just good, and it could only be reached through self knowledge. He claimed that unanimous good existed and each and every person had the ability to find the good.
When philosophers analyzed the justice issue, they discussed and gave their results as justice being good. This is according to Plato’s Republic first two books. Then they also looked at the opposite of justice as evil. For a person to be seen as just, he or she ought to be a good person and the crucial question here is to know what good is. Kealy indicates that good can be what is necessary, lacked or desired (Lyons 27).
Socrates comes in on the same note and says that they are natural requirements but not what a person feels that he needs. A person’s nature is the daimon (the person’s inner self which seeks fulfillment). Logically the good preferred since it fulfills a person’s nature and Socrates indicate that the hunt for happiness is the normal objective in life.
When I look at the word good, and the definition it leaves me puzzled. What may seem good to me might be worst to another person (Dockendorf 39). This justifies the saying that “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Every individual is just unique on his or her own way.
The daimon of one person is much different from the other person’s daimon. Basing on this factor, Kealy proposes that one should identify his or her own potential (Augustine 43). Somebody’s ideas should not be followed to determine what is good for him or herself. This must be done considering Knowledge Next (Lyons 35). Socrates explained the idea and notes that knowledge directs one to good and knowledge itself is good.
This indicates that self knowledge directs one to knowledge of differentiating between evil and good. It is only through the understanding that one can avoid committing evil deeds. One can only commit wrong if he or she is ignorant in his own actions (Augustine 48). According to Socrates knowledge is a virtue and on the reverse is ignorance. In this case, I can cite for major virtues courage, justice, temperance and piety. All these virtues can be drawn back to knowledge.
Justice can be achieved after understanding what is good and what is evil. The search for happiness can be done from good deeds but not evil. In fact, evil will results to the opposite of happiness. So when evil does not exist happiness will prevail (Augustine 50). This can be supported by observing an ill person go to seek medical attention from the caregivers.
When compared with a man who never gets sick, it is obvious that an ailment free person is always happy than a treated man. Then basing on this comparison Socrates argues that the cure for the crime (evil) is punishment and justice enforces that punishment. In this relation, the ill free person is happier than the treated person (Lyons 37). So the person, who never did wrong, will always be happy while the wrong doer gets the punishment for his misdeeds.
Then he identifies the next person who lives an evil life and does not recognize the punishment. This person is similar to a child who avoids medicine to cure his or her illness which is justice (Augustine 56). Later on the child acquires blindness due to ignorance. This child is the same as the person who commits evil and avoids getting punishment. The same behavior may continue which in turn prolongs the punishment and suffering (Dockendorf 46).
Socrates proposes that there is no need of living with unjust souls. The just souls are more important than all the possessions of the earth. He also proposes that if any person realizes that he has committed evil, he should run to the judge and get justice. If he waits for any longer, then he will be increasing the length of suffering. So it is better treating the illness earlier than later, because it would not be chronic then.
According to Socrates, it is good to do just to friends when they are good to us. Then we should harm the enemies when they do evil to us. He identifies that doing evil is harmful than receiving evil or harm (Augustine 58).
Doing justice may be internal; on the contrary, doing harm is unjust while a just man will never harm another. In conclusion, Socrates means that no person should harm another because it is more important to live a just life. In his view, a just soul of a poor person is far much better than a rich man’s soul who got his wealth through unjust means.
Saint Augustine was a God fearing person who lived in the Roman Empire. As a man of God, he worked hard to fulfill the requirements of His creator. The most prominent of these requirements was providing justice for all people (Augustine 60). This was to set a good example for the forth coming generations to follow the correct footsteps.
In his live Augustine had a soul that sought the will of God so as to live that was full true human character. In his opinion, he defined justice in the concepts of desire and the will of God (Dockendorf 49). He imagined of an anthropology which gave God a central and primary influence. So he could not foresee true justice lacking the essential element of God (Augustine 64). He gives us his discussion of justice and a society that is just through the City of God in Greek Language.
Augustine makes use of the Bible quoting from different books in justifying his opinions. For example, he quotes from Habakkuk that a just person is comparable to the justice of God who controls his obedient city in respect of his own grace. Form these, it tells us that a just person will always live by his Christian faith (Lyons 39).
In Augustine’s view, this should be like that faith which is lively in Christian love. This love should be the love of God alone then the love for neighbors’ just like him or herself. Justice can also be seen as the respect of God through following the rule of love from the Bible. The just individual (par excellence) is an individual whose faith results from the (caritas) which is love of God and others (Lyons 47).
In the City of God peoples, relationship to justice is just secondary sense in Augustine’s view justice is mainly about God. To be more precise in occasions where God does not receive His due then He has been subjected to injustice.
Justice starts and ends with Christian adoration, devotion and the love of God. In respect of God, there can be no justice without Christ (Augustine 70). The reason behind this is that Jesus Christ lived without sin, and He is truly the only just man who is a measure of justice. Augustine did not restrict himself on spiritual mediation alone.
He performed the role of a magistrate by himself (Dockendorf 56). Whenever there was a conflict, he reasoned out transforming much deeper wisdom, from the Bible and Christ (Augustine 78). He applied a good example of the woman who committed adultery and Jesus told her to go and never sin any more. This is to signify that God has justice for everybody but does not give anybody chance to continue sinning.
Justice as defined by both Socrates and Augustine point towards the same direction although from different perspectives. According to Socrates justice is good as seen by a person and evil as understood by the person. To be able to identify good and evil one requires knowledge (Dockendorf 66). This knowledge helps one to see if good verify evil or good. He proposes that if one realizes that he has done evil he should run for justice (punishment) (Lyons 59).
The highest person who gives punishment is the Judge, from Socrates point of view. Socrates states that justice should not wait; it should be done immediately to avoid increasing the suffering (Augustine 75). St. Augustine, on the other hand, believes that Jesus Christ is the only just man and justice prevails when a society relies on God. Justice comes through faith and love for oneself and others.
The highest person as regarded by ST. Augustine is only God. Justice can never prevail without God in the midst (Lyons 70). In all the definitions of justice, we find that human being is obviously just to others. For justice to prevail, it requires that all people must keep to their correct sides, and whenever one makes a mistake he should seek justice.
Dockendorf, Luc. Socrates,Virginia. West Virginia University, 1996. Print
Lyons, David. Ethics and the Rule of Law, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989. Print
St. Augustine. Confessions IV. New York: Long Horn publishers, 2008. Print
Socrates Main Idea Essay
The main idea of Socrates refusing to escape from prison is the belief in justice and knowing to differentiate wrong from right and good from evil, which is also not easy today and wasn’t easy for the last couple of centuries.
In the olden days the person didn’t have much of a choice when discerning wrong from right, the opinion of the government was what mattered, but as personal liberties started to expand, people were given freedom of choice and that is when the breaking of the law became the boundary between wrong or right, no one could be punished for immoral acts anymore, only for illegal ones.
This boundary however, makes the committer of immoral deeds stay out of jail but it does not make him or her into a complete person with strong moral principles, it just shows that one has to balance the letter of the law with one’s personal beliefs. Therefore, it is important to first respect the rights of others, as according to the letter of the law, and then to promote one’s beliefs in a non violent manner in order to promote democratic social values.
This idea is at the base of Socrates, Martin Luther King and many more. This idea of moral philosophy favors tolerance and understandings as the base of social interaction, in a society that functions in a communal system where the goods are shared. An idea that has proven utopian in the social sense, due to the economic system and the greedy human nature, but the moral ideas have survived and have influenced millions that use them as the base of the moral philosophy.
Justice and injustice
During the time of Socrates incidents of injustice were common because every man had the right to do whatever he or she deem right as long as he or she had the ability to get away with injustice exempt from punishment. As a result, the stronger few had to enjoy life at the expense of the weak majority (Annas 112).
Socrates defends himself against the claim of impiety or not believing in the gods in whom the city believes. He uses the process of cross-examination to make Meletus agree that the charge against him is false. Although he succeeds in this part, the jury finds Socrates guilty and sentences him to death.
In this regard, it may be said that Socrates’ general way of defending himself against the charges may not be a good one. However, I think the defense of Socrates is a good one. This paper proposes that despite the subsequent penalty of death of Socrates, his general defense is considered a good one.
Justice should be able to make an individual both good and bad self consistent. It is also supposed to make the society harmonious internally for peaceful coexistence without necessarily having to interfere with the happiness of any individual. It should abhor any irrational and selfish activities which only drive people towards being individualistic. Any acts by individuals should have the interests of the public taken care of so as to bring happiness to the majority.
Justice is not external but is something that should be carried in the soul without interference from outside. If it therefore exists in the soul, it does not depend on convention, chance or external force. This makes justice natural and not artificial because as an inward grace it is entrenched in the human soul (Ferrari, p88). With that in mind, justice is justice regardless of the existing external conditions.
Any form of interference to an element is considered unjust and is therefore wrong. When the spirit, reason and appetite agree that they should all be governed by reason, the individual in question is said to have justice within him/herself.
When there is a good relationship between the state and the people then justice will prevail. Justice should not exist in the society to serve the ones in power but it should be there to bring unity and peaceful coexistence in the society. That is the only rationale that the state can use to bring happiness to the majority.
Without a proper justice system the divide between the rich and the poor will continue to grow which can eventually lead into a frustrated society. The only way to save a state from these frustrations would be the restoration of order and it is only possible if the government is caring (Rosen, p120).
The larger part of it however is easily visible in the society than it is in individuals but this should not be misconstrued to mean that it doesn’t exist at the individual level. At the individual level, justice should be regarded as a human virtue because it governs us and makes us both good and self consistent. In the social context, justice is a social realization that creates harmony within the society.
This explains why Plato considers justice as specialization since it ensures that an individual performs his or her duties efficiently without necessarily having to interfere with the others. This will ensure that everyone will be happy in the long run. I totally agree with this because I equally believe that justice lies in the principle of non-interference. There can never be justice when others suffer because they want to make others happy like in the case of Socrates.
Annas, Julia. An Introduction to Plato’s Republic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. Print.
Ferrari, Fiona. The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007, Print
Rosen, Stanley. Plato’s Republic: A Study. Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2005. Print
Socrates’ Conception of Law and Justice Essay
Socrates’ philosophy had a great influence on shifting thinking from basic scientific principles to matters that would satisfy the soul. Plato, one of his students, recorded many of Socrates’ teachings. Socrates was born in Athens. This is the place where he lived and where he came up with most of his ideas. A great philosopher based his conception of justice on the principle: “The man who is good is just”.
Socrates advocated the idea that justice was good, and that meant that injustice was equal to evil. Furthermore, he emphasized that good was a natural deed and not what man thinks he needs. In addition, he said that a person’s nature was an inner self that needed fulfillment, thus the desire to do good was natural.
Providing the explanation of relationship between good and justice, Socrates presented the example of an ill seeking treatment, and who gets a cure and, is finally happy. He also gives the example of another man, who is completely healthy and is, therefore, happier. The point he makes here is that justice is the cure for evil, and that a man who never commits an evil deed do not need to be punished, and thus, happier than a man punished for his misdeeds (Vlastos 300).
Socrates explains the role of justice in man’s life by stating that men should do harm to enemies when they are evil, and be just to those who are good. He, however, does not accept this chain of thoughts, as, according to his belief, doing harm to others makes more harm to ourselves.
This was the beginning of the concept that individual should not harm anyone, even his enemies. Socrates also explains that men fall into pleasures of doing harm to those who harm them instead of being just. Summing up his idea of justice, Socrates declares that to be a poor man who is just is better than being a rich man with wealth acquired through injustice, because injustice taints the soul.
In the Crito, there is a dialogue between Socrates and Crito in Socrates’ prison cell. Socrates was awaiting for his execution, but Crito notes Socrates’ peacefulness, his calm way, and his lack of fear in front of the face of the death. This leads to a debate, because Crito assisted Socrates’ escape, and he argues that accepting death would be a great victory of his enemies. He also adds that Socrates was responsible for the education of young people and could not leave them behind as orphans.
In his response, Socrates insists that reason will guide his decisions unlike the masses that are dependent on random acts as a guide. He asks Crito what the laws say about his escape, and he proceeds to state that the Laws say that a resident’s position in reference to the municipality was like a child in reference to the parent, or like a slave to his master.
He explains that he made a deal with the Laws by remaining in the city and benefiting from it, and that he could not now condemn it on the basis that he was unjustly accused. He further states that the Laws argue that he accepted to obey the law by remaining in Athens after having attained maturity and raised a family within the city walls. Socrates tells Crito that he does not agree with the Law’s argument, but asks if they should accept it, and Crito says that they should. This brings the debate, and then Socrates is executed.
We can sum up Socrates’ conception of law and justice in the Crito, and the Apology as the understanding of what is good means, and that accepting law as justice is important because we accept the law that governs us, and by residing in the law’s jurisdiction, we are subjected to its implementation.
Vlastos, Gregory. Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher. United States of America: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
Socrates Biography and Philosophy Essay
Socrates is one of the great thinkers of all times owing to the fact that his philosophy shaped the Greek’s tread of thoughts. Although he was a great personality among the Greek people, Socrates did not record any of his thoughts making it difficult to trace clearly his early life. Nussbaum asserts that “this historical Socrates did not write” (125). However, the information we have about him is garnered from his disciples and contemporaries. Therefore, this paper seeks to present Socrates’ life, history, and thoughts in a historical context.
Although, the early life of this Greek legend is not well known, Socrates is believed to have existed around 470 BCE and was executed about the year 399 BCE. He hailed from Athens city in Greece at the time when the Athenians were at war with the Partisans. Although Athenians were at war with the Persians at the time Socrates was born, its cultural influence was felt in her neighboring cities.
Johnson claims that “he lived his early life in great days of Athens, city at the height of its influence and its cultural flowering” (9). Athenians were led by myths in interpreting every occurrence before the birth of Socrates. It is Socrates who initiated the new way of explaining the reality by reasoning rather than believing in myths for their answers. His ideas are based on his love for wisdom and the pursuit of what can actually be known.
Socrates is such a historic personality that he cannot be ignored in the history of the world. His influence is felt across all kinds of thoughts such as poetry, philosophy, cultures, history, ethics, politics, and anthropology. He is actually likened to the Historical Jesus in many ways since he stood for the truth and taught it to all and especially the youth.
He loved wisdom and he was executed innocently because he taught new knowledge to the society. According to Priestley “both discourses and the general manner of life Socrates and Jesus have an obvious resemblance as they both went about gratuitously, doing good, according to their several abilities, situations and opportunities” (36). Socrates believed that he was the gadfly of the society and the herald of the Truth.
Inspired by his mother (midwife) and his father (sculptor), Socrates analogically became a midwife in that he helped people bring forth their ideas by asking them questions which triggered their way of thinking. Christian claims that “Socrates believed the only path to knowledge was through discussion of ideas, so he spent his life conversing with disciples, friends, and bystanders…” (Christian 31).
His philosophy is based on his quest for knowledge and truth as well as justice in the society. He extensively discussed many critical issues that are still relevant in our contemporary time. Some of the fields that he dealt with are: Knowledge, truth, ethics, happiness, virtue, and justice; he believed that knowledge would make a man good which means living a virtuous life whereby truth, justice and ethics are put in practice.
In conclusion, Socrates is both legend and hero; a saint and a martyr of philosophy who should be emulated by today’s thinkers in the society . People should cherish the truth, fight ignorance, and practice justice which will make them live a virtuous life. This will better human society.
Christian, L. James. Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering.11 ed. 2011. United States: Cangaging learning. Print.
Johnson, Derek. A brief History of Philosophy: From Socrates to Derrida, London: Continuum International Publisher Group, 2006. Print.
Nussbaum, C. Martha. The Fragile of Goodness: Luckand Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy Part 2. 2 ed. 2000. England: Cambridge University Press. Print.
Priestley, Joseph, and Socrates (the philosopher). Socrates and Jesus Compared, Oxford: Oxford University, 1803. Print.