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Introduction to Socrates

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Bruce McMahon

on 13 May 2013

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Transcript of Introduction to Socrates

Socrates Thank you for your attention! How do you know what you think you know? Try these questions on for size................
How much of what you know or believe in is what your parents believe in?
Have you had an original thought in your life so far?
Have you tested any of your beliefs?
If money buys happiness are all poor people unhappy?
How do you know anything I have told you this year is real? And one more thing... Socratic Big Ideas Socrates examined the following:
Wisdom & the art of love.
Ethics & Morality
Knowing the Good.
Logic and Epistemology (Knowledge)
Virtue can be taught and is the basis for happiness.
Evil is a learned behaviour.
Intuition is a gift of the gods. Use it! The Socrates Problem!
No written work by Socrates has survived.
Was there any work? Plato and others suggest not.
Only time will tell. Never say never in history.
Everything we know about Socrates is second hand info.
His life, beliefs and death are all known through the works of others.
You have to wonder if Socrates was real, or if he was did Plato and others use his fame to benefit themselves?
Is our understanding of Socrates based on truth or fiction? The death of Socrates is more famous than his life
In 399 BC (BCE) Socrates was forced to take his own life.
The Athenian court (Heliaia) found him guilty of two things: 1. Corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and 2. impiety (not believing in the gods of the state)
He was forced to drink a mixture containing poison hemlock.
Socrates could have saved himself but he did not
Why? No philosopher fears death, if he left Athens the same thing would happen in another city & the laws of the state must be upheld as they are. The Man The Man cont'd Death! How we know what we think we know!
Almost everything we know about Socrates comes from 4 writers: Plato, Aristotle, Xenophon & Aristophanes
The "Real" Socrates is revealed by these four authors in very different ways.
Plato, a student of Socrates, uses his teacher as a character in many of his works. We "hear" the voice of Socrates and thus his beliefs.
Aristophanes wrote plays. Socrates appears as a clown.
Problem: Plays & fiction are not biographies. The authors have personal motive as to the success of their work. All 4 authors on Socrates support the following possibilities
Socrates was born, lived and died an Athenian citizen.
His father was a stone mason and his mother was a mid wife.
Socrates was trained as a stone mason and served in the military.
He lived during the Golden Age of Athens and died during the time of Spartan supremacy over Greece.
Xanthippe was his wife and they had 3 sons.
History remembers Socrates as the father of Western Philosophy. Facts? Socrates did a whole lot of thinking and questioning
Socratic Method or "Elenchus", a dialectic method of inquiry.
Solve a problem by breaking it down into a series of questions. (Scientific Method today)
Oricle at Delphi said that Socrates was the wisest man alive.
Socrates began to question wise men in Athens to see if this were true.
He discovered that wisdom came not from what you know but knowing that you know nothing at all.
"The unexamined life if not worth living" (Socrates: maybe!) Thinking!
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