Socrates

Socrates (/ˈsɒkrətiːz/;[2] Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanizedSōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC)[3][4] was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher,[5][6] of the Western ethical tradition of thought.[7][8][9] An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the main contemporary author to have written plays mentioning Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, though a fragment of Ion of Chios' Travel Journal provides important information about Socrates' youth.[10][11]

Plato's dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity, though it is unclear the degree to which Socrates himself is "hidden behind his 'best disciple'".[12] Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the fields of ethics and epistemology. It is this Platonic Socrates who lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus.

Socrates exerted a strong influence on philosophers in later antiquity and in the modern era. Depictions of Socrates in art, literature and popular culture have made him one of the most widely known figures in the Western philosophical tradition.

Socrates
A marble head of Socrates
A marble head of Socrates in the Louvre
Bornc. 470 BC[1]
Died399 BC (aged approx. 71)
Athens
Cause of deathExecution by the drinking of hemlock
EraAncient philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolClassical Greek philosophy
Main interests
Epistemology, ethics
Notable ideas
Socratic method, Socratic concepts

Socratic problem

Σωκράτης, Ακαδημία Αθηνών 6616
Statue of Socrates in front of the Academy of Athens (modern)

As Socrates did not write down any of his teachings,[13][14] secondary sources provide the only information on his life and thought. The sometimes contradictory nature of these sources is known as the Socratic problem,[15] or the Socratic question.[16][17]

Plato and Xenophon's dialogues provide the main source of information on Socrates's life and thought.[18][19] These writings are the Sokratikoi logoi, or Socratic dialogues, which consist of reports of conversations apparently involving Socrates.[20][21]

As for discovering the real-life Socrates, the difficulty is that ancient sources are mostly philosophical or dramatic texts, apart from Xenophon. There are no straightforward histories, contemporary with Socrates, that dealt with his own time and place. A corollary of this is that sources that do mention Socrates do not necessarily claim to be historically accurate, and are often partisan. For instance, those who prosecuted and convicted Socrates have left no testament. Historians therefore face the challenge of reconciling the various evidence from the extant texts in order to attempt an accurate and consistent account of Socrates's life and work. The result of such an effort is not necessarily realistic, even if consistent.

Two factors emerge from all sources pertaining to the character of Socrates: that he was ugly (at least as an older man), and had a brilliant intellect.[22][23] He lived entirely within ancient Athens (at least from his late 30s, and other than when serving on military campaigns in Potidaea, Delium, etc.), he made no writings (only a line of his verse survives),[24] and he was executed by being made to drink hemlock.[25]

Socrates as a figure

The character of Socrates as exhibited in Apology, Crito, Phaedo and Symposium concurs with other sources to an extent to which it seems possible to rely on the Platonic Socrates, as demonstrated in the dialogues, as a representation of the actual Socrates as he lived in history.[26] At the same time, however, many scholars believe that in some works, Plato, being a literary artist, pushed his avowedly brightened-up version of "Socrates" far beyond anything the historical Socrates was likely to have done or said. Also, Xenophon, being a historian, is a more reliable witness to the historical Socrates. It is a matter of much debate over which Socrates it is who Plato is describing at any given point—the historical figure, or Plato's fictionalization. As British philosopher Martin Cohen has put it, "Plato, the idealist, offers an idol, a master figure, for philosophy. A Saint, a prophet of 'the Sun-God', a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic."[27]

It is also clear from other writings and historical artefacts, that Socrates was not simply a character, nor an invention, of Plato. The testimony of Xenophon and Aristotle, alongside some of Aristophanes's work (especially The Clouds), is useful in fleshing out a perception of Socrates beyond Plato's work.

According to one source, the name Σωκρᾰ́της (Sōkrátēs), has the meaning "whole, unwounded, safe" (the part of the name corresponding to σῶς, sôs) and "power" (the part of the name corresponding to κράτος, krátos).[28][29]

Socrates as a philosopher

The problem with discerning Socrates's philosophical views stems from the perception of contradictions in statements made by the Socrates in the different dialogues of Plato; and in later dialogues Plato used the character Socrates to give voice to views that were his own. These contradictions produce doubt as to the actual philosophical doctrines of Socrates, within his milieu and as recorded by other individuals.[30] Aristotle, in his Magna Moralia, refers to Socrates in words which make it patent that the doctrine virtue is knowledge was held by Socrates. Within the Metaphysics, he states Socrates was occupied with the search for moral virtues, being the "first to search for universal definitions for them".[31]

The problem of understanding Socrates as a philosopher is shown in the following: In Xenophon's Symposium, Socrates is reported as saying he devotes himself only to what he regards as the most important art or occupation, that of discussing philosophy. However, in The Clouds, Aristophanes portrays Socrates as accepting payment for teaching and running a Sophist school with Chaerephon. Also, in Plato's Apology and Symposium, as well as in Xenophon's accounts, Socrates explicitly denies accepting payment for teaching. More specifically, in the Apology, Socrates cites his poverty as proof that he is not a teacher.

Regnault Socrates Tears Alcibiades from the Embrace of Sensual Pleasure
Socrates Tears Alcibiades from the Embrace of Sensual Pleasure by Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1791)

Two fragments are extant of the writings by the Pyrrhonist philosopher Timon of Phlius pertaining to Socrates.[32] Both appear to be from Timon's Silloi in which Timon ridiculed and lampooned dogmatic philosophers.[33][34]

Biography

SocratesCarnelianGemImprintRome1stBCE1stCE
Carnelian gem imprint representing Socrates, Rome, 1st century BC–1st century AD.

Sources

Details about the life of Socrates are derived from both contemporary sources, and later ancient period sources. Of the contemporary sources, the greater extent of information is taken from the dialogues of Plato and Xenophon (both devotees of Socrates), and the testaments of Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aeschines of Sphettos, and the lesser[24] from the plays of Aristophanes.[35] Later ancient period sources include Aristoxenus, Apollodorus of Athens[36][37] (alive during the second century BC),[38][39] Cicero[24] (alive 106–43 BC),[40] and Diogenes Laërtius[41] (alive probably in the earlier half of the third century AD).[42]

The sources are thought to have in part or wholly made use of the factual information of the life of Socrates available to each of them, to give their own interpretation of the nature of his teaching, giving rise to differing versions in each case. For example,[24] in Aristophanes's play The Clouds, Socrates is made into a clown of sorts, particularly inclined toward sophistry, who teaches his students how to bamboozle their way out of debt. However, since most of Aristophanes's works function as parodies, it is presumed that his characterization in this play was also not literal.[43] In Phaedo, which is the only attested source describing the death of Socrates, Plato is thought to have selected and omitted details to provide material for his argument for the existence of the liberation of the soul from the body,[44] an argument he possessed from learning of the ideas of Pythagoras[45] (born sometime after 606 and died sometime after 510 BC).[46][47][48][49]

Early life

The year of birth of Socrates stated is an assumed date,[50] or estimate,[51] given the fact of the dating of anything in ancient history in part being sometimes reliant on argument stemming from the inexact period floruit of individuals.[52] Diogenes Laërtius stated Socrates birth date was "the sixth day of Thargelion, the day when the Athenians purify the city".[53] Contemporaneous sources state he was born not very much later than sometime after the year 471,[54] his date of birth is within the period of years ranging 470 to 469 BC,[55] or within a range 469 to 468 BC (corresponding to the fourth year of the 77th Olympiad).[36][37]

Socrates was born in Alopeke, and belonged to the tribe Antiochis. His father was Sophroniscus, a sculptor, or stonemason.[56][57][58] His mother was a midwife named Phaenarete.[59] In his 50s Socrates married Xanthippe, who is especially remembered for having an undesirable temperament.[60] She bore for him three sons,[61] Lamprocles, Sophroniscus and Menexenus; though Aristotle claimed that the latter two were his sons by another (presumably earlier) wife, Myrto, daughter of Lysimachus (a close friend of Socrates' father).

Socrates is likely to have been trained as a stonemason, and there was a tradition in antiquity, not credited by modern scholarship, that Socrates crafted the statues of the Charites, which stood near the Acropolis until the 2nd century AD.[62]

Xenophon reports that because youths were not allowed to enter the Agora, they used to gather in workshops surrounding it.[63] Socrates frequented these shops in order to converse with the merchants. Most notable among them was Simon the Shoemaker.[64]

Military service

Battle of Potidaea Socrates saving Alcibiades (detail)
Battle of Potidaea (432 BC): Athenians against Corinthians (detail). Scene of Socrates (center) saving Alcibiades. 18th century engraving.

For a time, Socrates fulfilled the role of hoplite, participating in the Peloponnesian War—a conflict which stretched intermittently over a period spanning 431 to 404 BC.[65] Several of Plato's dialogues refer to Socrates's military service.

In the monologue of the Apology, Socrates states he was active for Athens in the battles of Amphipolis, Delium, and Potidaea.[66] In the Symposium, Alcibiades describes Socrates's valour in the battles of Potidaea and Delium, recounting how Socrates saved his life in the former battle (219e–221b). Socrates's exceptional service at Delium is also mentioned in the Laches by the General after whom the dialogue is named (181b). In the Apology, Socrates compares his military service to his courtroom troubles, and says anyone on the jury who thinks he ought to retreat from philosophy must also think soldiers should retreat when it seems likely that they will be killed in battle.[67]

Epistates at the trial of the six commanders

During 406, he participated as a member of the Boule.[68] His tribe the Antiochis held the Prytany on the day it was debated what fate should befall the generals of the Battle of Arginusae, who abandoned the slain and the survivors of foundered ships to pursue the defeated Spartan navy.[57][69][70]

According to Xenophon, Socrates was the Epistates for the debate,[71] but Delebecque and Hatzfeld think this is an embellishment, because Xenophon composed the information after Socrates's death.[72]

The generals were seen by some to have failed to uphold the most basic of duties, and the people decided upon capital punishment. However, when the prytany responded by refusing to vote on the issue, the people reacted with threats of death directed at the prytany itself. They relented, at which point Socrates alone as epistates blocked the vote, which had been proposed by Callixeinus.[73][74] The reason he gave was that "in no case would he act except in accordance with the law".[75]

The outcome of the trial was ultimately judged to be a miscarriage of justice, or illegal, but, actually, Socrates's decision had no support from written statutory law, instead being reliant on favouring a continuation of less strict and less formal nomos law.[74][76][77] One of the generals executed was Pericles Junior, son of Pericles by Aspasia of Miletus.

Arrest of Leon

Plato's Apology, parts 32c to 32d, describes how Socrates and four others were summoned to the Tholos, and told by representatives of the oligarchy of the Thirty (the oligarchy began ruling in 404 BC) to go to Salamis, and from there, to return to them with Leon the Salaminian. He was to be brought back to be subsequently executed. However, Socrates returned home and did not go to Salamis as he was expected to.[78][79]

Trial and death

Causes of the trial

Socrates lived during the time of the transition from the height of the Athenian hegemony to its decline with the defeat by Sparta and its allies in the Peloponnesian War. At a time when Athens sought to stabilize and recover from its defeat, the Athenian public may have been entertaining doubts about democracy as an efficient form of government. Socrates appears to have been a critic of democracy,[80] and some scholars interpret his trial as an expression of political infighting.[81]

Claiming loyalty to his city, Socrates clashed with the current course of Athenian politics and society.[82] He praised Sparta, archrival to Athens, directly and indirectly in various dialogues. One of Socrates's purported offenses to the city was his position as a social and moral critic. Rather than upholding a status quo and accepting the development of what he perceived as immorality within his region, Socrates questioned the collective notion of "might makes right" that he felt was common in Greece during this period. Plato refers to Socrates as the "gadfly" of the state (as the gadfly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung various Athenians), insofar as he irritated some people with considerations of justice and the pursuit of goodness.[83] His attempts to improve the Athenians's sense of justice may have been the cause of his execution.

According to Plato's Apology, Socrates's life as the "gadfly" of Athens began when his friend Chaerephon asked the Oracle at Delphi if anyone were wiser than Socrates; the Oracle responded that no one was wiser. Socrates believed the Oracle's response was not correct, because he believed he possessed no wisdom whatsoever. He proceeded to test the riddle by approaching men considered wise by the people of Athens—statesmen, poets, and artisans—in order to refute the Oracle's pronouncement. Questioning them, however, Socrates concluded: while each man thought he knew a great deal and was wise, in fact they knew very little and were not wise at all. Socrates realized the Oracle was correct; while so-called wise men thought themselves wise and yet were not, he himself knew he was not wise at all, which, paradoxically, made him the wiser one since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance. Socrates's paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to accusations of wrongdoing. Socrates defended his role as a gadfly until the end: at his trial, when Socrates was asked to propose his own punishment, he suggested a wage paid by the government and free dinners for the rest of his life instead, to finance the time he spent as Athens's benefactor.[84]

Robin Waterfield suggests that Socrates was a voluntary scapegoat; his death was the purifying remedy for Athens's misfortunes. In this view, the token of appreciation for Asclepius (the Greek god for curing illness) would represent a cure for Athens's ailments.[83]

Trial

In 399 BC, Socrates went on trial[85] and was subsequently found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety (asebeia,[86] "not believing in the gods of the state"),[87] and as a punishment sentenced to death, caused by the drinking of a mixture containing poison hemlock.[88][89][90][91]

Socrates Pio-Clementino Inv314
Bust of Socrates in the Vatican Museum

Death of Socrates

Socrates's death is described at the end of Plato's Phaedo, although Plato was not himself present at the execution. As to the veracity of Plato's account it seems possible he made choice of a number of certain factors perhaps omitting others in the description of the death, as the Phaedo description does not describe progress of the action of the poison (Gill 1973) in concurrence with modern descriptions.[92] Phaedo states, after drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his legs felt numb. After he lay down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot; Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart.

Socrates chose to cover his face during the execution (118 a6 Phaedo).[93]

According to Phaedo (61c–69e),[94] Socrates stated that "[a]ll of philosophy is training for death".[95][96]

Socrates's last words are thought to be ironic (C. Gill 1973),[44] or sincere (J. Crooks 1998).[97] Socrates speaks his last words to Crito; there are several different translations:

Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt.[98]
Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius, Pay it and do not neglect it.[97]
Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius, make this offering to him and do not forget.[99]

Socrates turned down Crito's pleas to attempt an escape from prison. Xenophon and Plato agree that Socrates had an opportunity to escape, as his followers were able to bribe the prison guards. There have been several suggestions offered as reasons why he chose to stay:

  1. He believed such a flight would indicate a fear of death, which he believed no true philosopher has.
  2. If he fled Athens his teaching would fare no better in another country, as he would continue questioning all he met and undoubtedly incur their displeasure.
  3. Having knowingly agreed to live under the city's laws, he implicitly subjected himself to the possibility of being accused of crimes by its citizens and judged guilty by its jury. To do otherwise would have caused him to break his "social contract" with the state, and so harm the state, an unprincipled act.
  4. If he escaped at the instigation of his friends, then his friends would become liable in law.[100]

The full reasoning behind his refusal to flee is the main subject of the Crito.[101][102] In as much as Socrates drank hemlock willingly without complaint (having decided against fleeing), R.G. Frey (1978) has suggested in truth, Socrates chose to commit suicide.[103][104]

Philosophy

Socratic method

Perhaps his most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of "elenchus", which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice. It was first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer a person would seek. The development and practice of this method is one of Socrates's most enduring contributions, and is a key factor in earning his mantle as the father of political philosophy, ethics or moral philosophy, and as a figurehead of all the central themes in Western philosophy. The Socratic method has often been considered as a defining element of American legal education.[105]

To illustrate the use of the Socratic method, a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one's own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs.

An alternative interpretation of the dialectic is that it is a method for direct perception of the Form of the Good. Philosopher Karl Popper describes the dialectic as "the art of intellectual intuition, of visualising the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man's everyday world of appearances."[106] In a similar vein, French philosopher Pierre Hadot suggests that the dialogues are a type of spiritual exercise. Hadot writes that "in Plato's view, every dialectical exercise, precisely because it is an exercise of pure thought, subject to the demands of the Logos, turns the soul away from the sensible world, and allows it to convert itself towards the Good."[107]

Philosophical beliefs

The beliefs of Socrates, as distinct from those of Plato, are difficult to discern. Little in the way of concrete evidence exists to demarcate the two. The lengthy presentation of ideas given in most of the dialogues may be the ideas of Socrates himself, but which have been subsequently deformed or changed by Plato, and some scholars think Plato so adapted the Socratic style as to make the literary character and the philosopher himself impossible to distinguish. Others argue that he did have his own theories and beliefs.[108] There is a degree of controversy inherent in the identifying of what these might have been, owing to the difficulty of separating Socrates from Plato and the difficulty of interpreting even the dramatic writings concerning Socrates. Consequently, distinguishing the philosophical beliefs of Socrates from those of Plato and Xenophon has not proven easy, so it must be remembered that what is attributed to Socrates might actually be more the specific concerns of these two thinkers instead.

The matter is complicated because the historical Socrates seems to have been notorious for asking questions but not answering, claiming to lack wisdom concerning the subjects about which he questioned others.[109]

If anything in general can be said about the philosophical beliefs of Socrates, it is that he was morally, intellectually, and politically at odds with many of his fellow Athenians. When he is on trial for heresy and corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, he uses his method of elenchos to demonstrate to the jurors that their moral values are wrong-headed. He tells them they are concerned with their families, careers, and political responsibilities when they ought to be worried about the "welfare of their souls". Socrates's assertion that the gods had singled him out as a divine emissary seemed to provoke irritation, if not outright ridicule. Socrates also questioned the Sophistic doctrine that arete (virtue) can be taught. He liked to observe that successful fathers (such as the prominent military general Pericles) did not produce sons of their own quality. Socrates argued that moral excellence was more a matter of divine bequest than parental nurture. This belief may have contributed to his lack of anxiety about the future of his own sons.

Also, according to A. A. Long, "There should be no doubt that, despite his claim to know only that he knew nothing, Socrates had strong beliefs about the divine", and, citing Xenophon's Memorabilia, 1.4, 4.3,:

According to Xenophon, he was a teleologist who held that god arranges everything for the best.[110]

Socrates frequently says his ideas are not his own, but his teachers'. He mentions several influences: Prodicus the rhetor and Anaxagoras the philosopher. Perhaps surprisingly, Socrates claims to have been deeply influenced by two women besides his mother: he says that Diotima (cf. Plato's Symposium), a witch and priestess from Mantinea, taught him all he knows about eros, or love; and that Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles, taught him the art of rhetoric.[111] John Burnet argued that his principal teacher was the Anaxagorean Archelaus but his ideas were as Plato described them; Eric A. Havelock, on the other hand, did not accept the view that Socrates's view was identical with that of Archelaus, in large part due to the reason of such anomalies and contradictions that have surfaced and "post-dated his death."[112]

Socratic paradoxes

Many of the beliefs traditionally attributed to the historical Socrates have been characterized as "paradoxical" because they seem to conflict with common sense. The following are among the so-called Socratic paradoxes:[113]

  • No one desires evil.
  • No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly.
  • Virtue—all virtue—is knowledge.
  • Virtue is sufficient for happiness.

The term, "Socratic paradox" can also refer to a self-referential paradox, originating in Socrates's utterance, "what I do not know I do not think I know",[114] often paraphrased as "I know that I know nothing."

Knowledge

The statement "I know that I know nothing" is often attributed to Socrates, based on a statement in Plato's Apology.[115] The conventional interpretation of this is that Socrates's wisdom was limited to an awareness of his own ignorance. Socrates considered virtuousness to require or consist of phronēsis, "thought, sense, judgement, practical wisdom, [and] prudence."[116][117] Therefore, he believed that wrongdoing and behaviour that was not virtuous resulted from ignorance, and that those who did wrong knew no better.[118]

The one thing Socrates claimed to have knowledge of was "the art of love" (ta erôtikê). This assertion seems to be associated with the word erôtan, which means to ask questions. Therefore, Socrates is claiming to know about the art of love, insofar as he knows how to ask questions.[119][120]

The only time he actually claimed to be wise was within Apology, in which he says he is wise "in the limited sense of having human wisdom".[121] It is debatable whether Socrates believed humans (as opposed to gods like Apollo) could actually become wise. On the one hand, he drew a clear line between human ignorance and ideal knowledge; on the other, Plato's Symposium (Diotima's Speech) and Republic (Allegory of the Cave) describe a method for ascending to wisdom.

In Plato's Theaetetus (150a), Socrates compares his treatment of the young people who come to him for philosophical advice to the way midwives treat their patients, and the way matrimonial matchmakers act. He says that he himself is a true matchmaker (προμνηστικός promnestikós) in that he matches the young man to the best philosopher for his particular mind. However, he carefully distinguishes himself from a panderer (προᾰγωγός proagogos) or procurer. This distinction is echoed in Xenophon's Symposium (3.20), when Socrates jokes about his certainty of being able to make a fortune, if he chose to practice the art of pandering. For his part as a philosophical interlocutor, he leads his respondent to a clearer conception of wisdom, although he claims he is not himself a teacher (Apology). His role, he claims, is more properly to be understood as analogous to a midwife (μαῖα maia).[122][123]

In the Theaetetus, Socrates explains that he is himself barren of theories, but knows how to bring the theories of others to birth and determine whether they are worthy or mere "wind eggs" (ἀνεμιαῖον anemiaion). Perhaps significantly, he points out that midwives are barren due to age, and women who have never given birth are unable to become midwives; they would have no experience or knowledge of birth and would be unable to separate the worthy infants from those that should be left on the hillside to be exposed. To judge this, the midwife must have experience and knowledge of what she is judging.[124][125]

Virtue

Palermsoc
Bust of Socrates in the Palermo Archaeological Museum

Socrates believed the best way for people to live was to focus on the pursuit of virtue rather than the pursuit, for instance, of material wealth.[126] He always invited others to try to concentrate more on friendships and a sense of true community, for Socrates felt this was the best way for people to grow together as a populace.[127] His actions lived up to this standard: in the end, Socrates accepted his death sentence when most thought he would simply leave Athens, as he felt he could not run away from or go against the will of his community; as mentioned above, his reputation for valor on the battlefield was without reproach.

The idea that there are certain virtues formed a common thread in Socrates's teachings. These virtues represented the most important qualities for a person to have, foremost of which were the philosophical or intellectual virtues. Socrates stressed that "the unexamined life is not worth living [and] ethical virtue is the only thing that matters."[128]

Politics

It is argued that Socrates believed "ideals belong in a world only the wise man can understand",[129] making the philosopher the only type of person suitable to govern others. In Plato's dialogue the Republic, Socrates openly objected to the democracy that ran Athens during his adult life. It was not only Athenian democracy: Socrates found short of ideal any government that did not conform to his presentation of a perfect regime led by philosophers, and Athenian government was far from that. It is, however, possible that the Socrates of Plato's Republic is colored by Plato's own views. During the last years of Socrates's life, Athens was in continual flux due to political upheaval. Democracy was at last overthrown by a junta known as the Thirty Tyrants, led by Plato's relative, Critias, who had once been a student and friend of Socrates. The Tyrants ruled for about a year before the Athenian democracy was reinstated, at which point it declared an amnesty for all recent events.

Socrates's opposition to democracy is often denied, and the question is one of the biggest philosophical debates when trying to determine exactly what Socrates believed. The strongest argument of those who claim Socrates did not actually believe in the idea of philosopher kings is that the view is expressed no earlier than Plato's Republic, which is widely considered one of Plato's "Middle" dialogues and not representative of the historical Socrates's views. Furthermore, according to Plato's Apology of Socrates, an "early" dialogue, Socrates refused to pursue conventional politics; he often stated he could not look into other's matters or tell people how to live their lives when he did not yet understand how to live his own. He believed he was a philosopher engaged in the pursuit of Truth, and did not claim to know it fully. Socrates's acceptance of his death sentence after his conviction can also be seen to support this view. It is often claimed much of the anti-democratic leanings are from Plato, who was never able to overcome his disgust at what was done to his teacher. In any case, it is clear Socrates thought the rule of the Thirty Tyrants was also objectionable; when called before them to assist in the arrest of a fellow Athenian, Socrates refused and narrowly escaped death before the Tyrants were overthrown. He did, however, fulfill his duty to serve as Prytanis when a trial of a group of Generals who presided over a disastrous naval campaign were judged; even then, he maintained an uncompromising attitude, being one of those who refused to proceed in a manner not supported by the laws, despite intense pressure.[130] Judging by his actions, he considered the rule of the Thirty Tyrants less legitimate than the Democratic Senate that sentenced him to death.

Socrates's apparent respect for democracy is one of the themes emphasized in the 2008 play Socrates on Trial by Andrew David Irvine. Irvine argues that it was because of his loyalty to Athenian democracy that Socrates was willing to accept the verdict of his fellow citizens. As Irvine puts it, "During a time of war and great social and intellectual upheaval, Socrates felt compelled to express his views openly, regardless of the consequences. As a result, he is remembered today, not only for his sharp wit and high ethical standards, but also for his loyalty to the view that in a democracy the best way for a man to serve himself, his friends, and his city—even during times of war—is by being loyal to, and by speaking publicly about, the truth."[131]

Covertness

In the Dialogues of Plato, though Socrates sometimes seems to support a mystical side, discussing reincarnation and the mystery religions, this is generally attributed to Plato.[132] Regardless, this view of Socrates cannot be dismissed out of hand, as we cannot be sure of the differences between the views of Plato and Socrates; in addition, there seem to be some corollaries in the works of Xenophon. In the culmination of the philosophic path as discussed in Plato's Symposium, one comes to the Sea of Beauty or to the sight of "the beautiful itself" (211C); only then can one become wise. (In the Symposium, Socrates credits his speech on the philosophic path to his teacher, the priestess Diotima, who is not even sure if Socrates is capable of reaching the highest mysteries.) In the Meno, he refers to the Eleusinian Mysteries, telling Meno he would understand Socrates's answers better if only he could stay for the initiations next week. Further confusions result from the nature of these sources, insofar as the Platonic Dialogues are arguably the work of an artist-philosopher, whose meaning does not volunteer itself to the passive reader nor again the lifelong scholar. According to Olympiodorus the Younger in his Life of Plato,[133] Plato himself "received instruction from the writers of tragedy" before taking up the study of philosophy. His works are, indeed, dialogues; Plato's choice of this, the medium of Sophocles, Euripides, and the fictions of theatre, may reflect the ever-interpretable nature of his writings, as he has been called a "dramatist of reason". What is more, the first word of nearly all Plato's works is a significant term for that respective dialogue, and is used with its many connotations in mind. Finally, the Phaedrus and the Symposium each allude to Socrates's coy delivery of philosophic truths in conversation; the Socrates of the Phaedrus goes so far as to demand such dissembling and mystery in all writing. The covertness we often find in Plato, appearing here and there couched in some enigmatic use of symbol and/or irony, may be at odds with the mysticism Plato's Socrates expounds in some other dialogues. These indirect methods may fail to satisfy some readers.

Perhaps the most interesting facet of this is Socrates's reliance on what the Greeks called his "daimōnic sign", an averting (ἀποτρεπτικός apotreptikos) inner voice Socrates heard only when he was about to make a mistake. It was this sign that prevented Socrates from entering into politics. In the Phaedrus, we are told Socrates considered this to be a form of "divine madness", the sort of insanity that is a gift from the gods and gives us poetry, mysticism, love, and even philosophy itself. Alternately, the sign is often taken to be what we would call "intuition"; however, Socrates's characterization of the phenomenon as daimōnic may suggest that its origin is divine, mysterious, and independent of his own thoughts.

Socrates practiced and advocated divination.[134] Xenophon was thought skilled at foretelling from sacrifices, and attributed many of his knowledges to Socrates within his writing "The Cavalry Commander".[134]

Satirical playwrights

He was prominently lampooned in Aristophanes's comedy The Clouds, produced when Socrates was in his mid-forties; he said at his trial (according to Plato) that the laughter of the theater was a harder task to answer than the arguments of his accusers. Søren Kierkegaard believed this play was a more accurate representation of Socrates than those of his students. In the play, Socrates is ridiculed for his dirtiness, which is associated with the Laconizing fad; also in plays by Callias, Eupolis, and Telecleides. Other comic poets who lampooned Socrates include Mnesimachus and Ameipsias. In all of these, Socrates and the Sophists were criticized for "the moral dangers inherent in contemporary thought and literature".

Prose sources

Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle are the main sources for the historical Socrates; however, Xenophon and Plato were students of Socrates, and they may idealize him; however, they wrote the only extended descriptions of Socrates that have come down to us in their complete form. Aristotle refers frequently, but in passing, to Socrates in his writings. Almost all of Plato's works center on Socrates. However, Plato's later works appear to be more his own philosophy put into the mouth of his mentor.

The Socratic dialogues

Socrates Botanic Gardens 1
Statue of Socrates in the Irish National Botanic Gardens

The Socratic Dialogues are a series of dialogues written by Plato and Xenophon in the form of discussions between Socrates and other persons of his time, or as discussions between Socrates's followers over his concepts. Plato's Phaedo is an example of this latter category. Although his Apology is a monologue delivered by Socrates, it is usually grouped with the Dialogues.

The Apology professes to be a record of the actual speech Socrates delivered in his own defense at the trial. In the Athenian jury system, an "apology" is composed of three parts: a speech, followed by a counter-assessment, then some final words. "Apology" is an anglicized transliteration, not a translation, of the Greek apologia, meaning "defense"; in this sense it is not apologetic according to our contemporary use of the term.

Plato generally does not place his own ideas in the mouth of a specific speaker; he lets ideas emerge via the Socratic Method, under the guidance of Socrates. Most of the dialogues present Socrates applying this method to some extent, but nowhere as completely as in the Euthyphro. In this dialogue, Socrates and Euthyphro go through several iterations of refining the answer to Socrates's question, "...What is the pious, and what the impious?"

In Plato's Dialogues, learning appears as a process of remembering. The soul, before its incarnation in the body, was in the realm of Ideas (very similar to the Platonic "Forms"). There, it saw things the way they truly are, rather than the pale shadows or copies we experience on earth. By a process of questioning, the soul can be brought to remember the ideas in their pure form, thus bringing wisdom.[135]

Especially for Plato's writings referring to Socrates, it is not always clear which ideas brought forward by Socrates (or his friends) actually belonged to Socrates and which of these may have been new additions or elaborations by Plato—this is known as the Socratic Problem. Generally, the early works of Plato are considered to be close to the spirit of Socrates, whereas the later works—including Phaedo and Republic—are considered to be possibly products of Plato's elaborations.[136]

Legacy

Immediate influence

Immediately, the students of Socrates set to work both on exercising their perceptions of his teachings in politics and also on developing many new philosophical schools of thought. Some of Athens' controversial and anti-democratic tyrants were contemporary or posthumous students of Socrates including Alcibiades and Critias. Critias's cousin Plato would go on to found the Academy in 385 BC, which gained so much renown that "Academy" became the standard word for educational institutions in later European languages such as English, French, and Italian.[137] Plato's protégé, another important figure of the Classical era, Aristotle went on to tutor Alexander the Great and also to found his own school in 335 BC—the Lyceum—whose name also now means an educational institution.[138]

While "Socrates dealt with moral matters and took no notice at all of nature in general",[139] in his Dialogues, Plato would emphasize mathematics with metaphysical overtones mirroring that of Pythagoras—the former who would dominate Western thought well into the Renaissance. Aristotle himself was as much of a philosopher as he was a scientist with extensive work in the fields of biology and physics.

Socratic thought which challenged conventions, especially in stressing a simplistic way of living, became divorced from Plato's more detached and philosophical pursuits. This idea was inherited by one of Socrates's older students, Antisthenes, who became the originator of another philosophy in the years after Socrates's death: Cynicism.

The idea of asceticism being hand in hand with an ethical life or one with piety, ignored by Plato and Aristotle and somewhat dealt with by the Cynics, formed the core of another philosophy in 281 BC—Stoicism when Zeno of Citium would discover Socrates's works and then learn from Crates, a Cynic philosopher.[140]

Later historical influence

Sughrat
Depiction of Socrates by 13th century Seljuk illustrator

While some of the later contributions of Socrates to Hellenistic Era culture and philosophy as well as the Roman Era have been lost to time, his teachings began a resurgence in both medieval Europe and the Islamic Middle East alongside those of Aristotle and Stoicism. Socrates is mentioned in the dialogue Kuzari by Jewish philosopher and rabbi Yehuda Halevi in which a Jew instructs the Khazar king about Judaism.[141] Al-Kindi, a well-known Arabic philosopher, introduced and tried to reconcile Socrates and Hellenistic philosophy to an Islamic audience,[142] referring to him by the name 'Suqrat'.

Socrates influence grew in Western Europe during the fourteenth century as Plato's dialogues were made available in Latin by Marsilio Ficino and Xenophon's Socratic writings were translated by Basilios Bessarion.[143] Voltaire even went so far as to write a satirical play about the trial of Socrates. There were a number of paintings about his life including Socrates Tears Alcibiades from the Embrace of Sensual Pleasure by Jean-Baptiste Regnault and The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David in the later 18th century.

To this day, different versions of the Socratic method are still used in classroom and law school discourse to expose underlying issues in both subject and the speaker. He has been recognized with accolades ranging from frequent mentions in pop culture (such as the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and a Greek rock band called Socrates Drank the Conium) to numerous busts in academic institutions in recognition of his contribution to education.

Over the past century, numerous plays about Socrates have also focused on Socrates's life and influence. One of the most recent has been Socrates on Trial, a play based on Aristophanes's Clouds and Plato's Apology, Crito, and Phaedo, all adapted for modern performance.

Criticism

Evaluation of and reaction to Socrates has been undertaken by both historians and philosophers from the time of his death to the present day with a multitude of conclusions and perspectives. Although he was not directly prosecuted for his connection to Critias, leader of the Spartan-backed Thirty Tyrants, and "showed considerable personal courage in refusing to submit to [them]", he was seen by some as a figure who mentored oligarchs who became abusive tyrants, and undermined Athenian democracy. The Sophistic movement that he railed at in life survived him, but by the 3rd century BC, was rapidly overtaken by the many philosophical schools of thought that Socrates influenced.[144]

Socrates's death is considered iconic and his status as a martyr of philosophy overshadows most contemporary and posthumous criticism. However, Xenophon mentions Socrates's "arrogance" and that he was "an expert in the art of primping" or "self-presentation".[145] Direct criticism of Socrates the man almost disappears after this time, but there is a noticeable preference for Plato or Aristotle over the elements of Socratic philosophy distinct from those of his students, even into the Middle Ages.

Some modern scholarship holds that, with so much of his own thought obscured and possibly altered by Plato, it is impossible to gain a clear picture of Socrates amid all the contradictory evidence. That both Cynicism and Stoicism, which carried heavy influence from Socratic thought, were unlike or even contrary to Platonism further illustrates this. The ambiguity and lack of reliability serves as the modern basis of criticism—that it is nearly impossible to know the real Socrates. Some controversy also exists about Socrates's attitude towards homosexuality[146] and as to whether or not he believed in the Olympian gods, was monotheistic, or held some other religious viewpoint.[147] However, it is still commonly taught and held with little exception that Socrates is the progenitor of subsequent Western philosophy, to the point that philosophers before him are referred to as pre-Socratic.

In literature

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Kraut, Richard (August 16, 2017). "Socrates". Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  2. ^ Jones, Daniel; Roach, Peter, James Hartman and Jane Setter, eds. Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary. 17th edition. Cambridge UP, 2006.
  3. ^ Easterling, P. E. (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy. Cambridge University Press. p. 352. ISBN 978-0-521-42351-9. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  4. ^ Smith, Nicholas D.; Woodruff, Paul (2000). Reason and Religion in Socratic Philosophy. Oxford University Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-19-535092-0. Retrieved 19 November 2017. 469 or 468 (corresponding to the fourth year of the 77th Olympiad), according to Apollodorus...But the year of Socrates's birth is probably only an inference from...Plato [who] has Socrates casually describe himself as having lived seventy years.
  5. ^ James Rachels, The Legacy of Socrates: Essays in Moral Philosophy Columbia University Press, 2007 ISBN 0-231-13844-X Accessed November 24, 2017
  6. ^ Gregory Vlastos (1991). Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Cornell University Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8014-9787-2.
  7. ^ Moral Philosophy – The Discovery of Ethics : Socrates Jacques Maritain Center Accessed November 24, 2017
  8. ^ Peter Singer (1985) – Encyclopædia Britannica Chicago, 1985, pp. 627–648 Accessed November 24, 2017
  9. ^ Anne Rooney – The Story of Philosophy: From Ancient Greeks to Great Thinkers of Modern Times (search page) Arcturus Publishing, 2014 ISBN 1-78212-995-2 Accessed November 24, 2017
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  11. ^ Stern, T (2013) – Philosophy and Theatre: An Introductionix Routledge 2013 ISBN 1-134-57591-2 Accessed December 22, 2017
  12. ^ Kofman, Sarah (1998). Socrates: Fictions of a Philosopher. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-8014-3551-5.
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  21. ^ Many other writers added to the fashion of Socratic dialogues (called Sokratikoi logoi) at the time. In addition to Plato and Xenophon, each of the following is credited by some source as having added to the genre: Aeschines of Sphettus, Antisthenes, Aristippus, Bryson, Cebes, Crito, Euclid of Megara, and Phaedo. It is unlikely Plato was the first in this field (Vlastos, p. 52).
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References

  • Brun, Jean (1978). Socrate (sixth edition). Presses universitaires de France. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-2-13-035620-2. (in French)
  • May, Hope (2000). On Socrates. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN 978-0-534-57604-2.
  • Ong, Walter (2002). Orality and Literacy. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-28129-4.
  • Kagan, Donald. The Fall of the Athenian Empire. First. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1987.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece. W.H.S. Jones (translator). Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. (1918). Vol. 1. Books I–II: ISBN 0-674-99104-4. Vol. 4. Books VIII.22–X: ISBN 0-674-99328-4.
  • Thucydides; The Peloponnesian War. London, J.M. Dent; New York, E.P. Dutton. 1910. 
  • Vlastos, Gregory (1991). Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-9787-2.
  • Bernas, Richard, cond. Socrate. By Erik Satie. LTM/Boutique, 2006
  • Bruell, C (1994). "On Plato's Political Philosophy". Review of Politics. 56 (2): 261–82. doi:10.1017/s003467050001843x.
  • Bruell, C. (1999). On the Socratic Education: An Introduction to the Shorter Platonic Dialogues, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Grube, G.M.A. (2002). "Plato, Five Dialogues". Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Hanson, V.D. (2001). "Socrates Dies at Delium, 424 B.C.", What If? 2, Robert Cowley, editor, G.P. Putnam's Sons, NY.
  • Irvine, Andrew David (2008). Socrates on Trial: A play based on Aristophanes's Clouds and Plato's Apology, Crito, and Phaedo, adapted for modern performance. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-9783-5 (cloth); ISBN 978-0-8020-9538-1 (paper); ISBN 978-1-4426-9254-1 (e-pub)
  • Kamtekar, Rachana (2004). Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito: Critical Essays. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-3325-7.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren (1968). The Concept of Irony: with Constant Reference to Socrates. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-20111-9.
  • Levinson, Paul (2007). The Plot to Save Socrates. New York: Tor Books. ISBN 978-0-7653-1197-9.
  • Luce, J.V. (1992). An Introduction to Greek Philosophy, Thames & Hudson, NY.
  • Maritain, J. (1930, 1991). Introduction to Philosophy, Christian Classics, Inc., Westminster, MD.
  • Robinson, R (1953). Plato's Earlier Dialectic. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-824777-7. Ch. 2: "Elenchus", Ch. 3: "Elenchus: Direct and Indirect"
  • Taylor, C.C.W., Hare, R.M. & Barnes, J. (1998). Greek Philosophers – Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, Oxford University Press, NY.
  • Taylor, C.C.W. (2001). Socrates: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

External links

Ancient Greek philosophy

Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics.Greek philosophy has influenced much of Western culture since its inception. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato". Clear, unbroken lines of influence lead from ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophers to Early Islamic philosophy, Medieval Scholasticism, the European Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment.Some claim that Greek philosophy was in turn influenced by the older wisdom literature and mythological cosmogonies of the ancient Near East, though this is debated. Martin Litchfield West gives qualified assent to this view by stating that "contact with oriental cosmology and theology helped to liberate the early Greek philosophers' imagination; it certainly gave them many suggestive ideas. But they taught themselves to reason. Philosophy as we understand it is a Greek creation".Subsequent philosophic tradition was so influenced by Socrates as presented by Plato that it is conventional to refer to philosophy developed prior to Socrates as pre-Socratic philosophy. The periods following this, up to and after the wars of Alexander the Great, are those of "classical Greek" and "Hellenistic" philosophy.

Antisthenes

Antisthenes (; Greek: Ἀντισθένης; c. 445 – c. 365 BC) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric under Gorgias before becoming an ardent disciple of Socrates. He adopted and developed the ethical side of Socrates' teachings, advocating an ascetic life lived in accordance with virtue. Later writers regarded him as the founder of Cynic philosophy.

Apology (Plato)

The Apology of Socrates (Greek: Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους, Apología Sokrátous; Latin: Apologia Socratis), by Plato, is the Socratic dialogue that presents the speech of legal self-defence, which Socrates presented at his trial for impiety and corruption, in 399 BC.Specifically, the Apology of Socrates is a defence against the charges of "corrupting the youth" and "not believing in the gods in whom the city believes, but in other daimonia that are novel" to Athens (24b).Among the primary sources about the trial and death of the philosopher Socrates (469–399 BC), the Apology of Socrates is the dialogue that depicts the trial, and is one of four Socratic dialogues, along with Euthyphro, Phaedo, and Crito, through which Plato details the final days of the philosopher Socrates.

Arian controversy

The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

The deep divisions created by the disputes were an ironic consequence of Emperor Constantine's efforts to unite Christianity and establish a single, imperially approved version of the faith during his reign. These disagreements divided the Church into two opposing theological factions for over 55 years, from the time before the First Council of Nicaea in 325 until after the First Council of Constantinople in 381. There was no formal resolution or formal schism, though the Trinitarian faction ultimately gained the upper hand in the imperial Church; outside the Roman Empire this faction was not immediately so influential. Arianism continued to be preached inside and outside the Empire for some time (without the blessing of the Empire) but eventually it was killed off. The modern Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church, as well as most other modern Christian sects, have generally followed the Trinitarian formulation, though each has its own specific theology on the matter.

Crito

Crito ( KRY-toh or KREE-toh; Ancient Greek: Κρίτων [krítɔːn]) is a dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It depicts a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito regarding justice (δικαιοσύνη), injustice (ἀδικία), and the appropriate response to injustice. Socrates thinks that injustice may not be answered with injustice, and refuses Crito's offer to finance his escape from prison. The dialogue contains an ancient statement of the social contract theory of government.

Erasmus Programme

The Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is a European Union (EU) student exchange programme established in 1987. Erasmus+, or Erasmus Plus, is the new programme combining all the EU's current schemes for education, training, youth and sport, which was started in January 2014.

The Erasmus Programme, together with a number of other independent programmes, was incorporated into the Socrates programme established by the European Commission in 1994. The Socrates programme ended on 31 December 1999 and was replaced with the Socrates II programme on 24 January 2000, which in turn was replaced by the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013 on 1 January 2007.

I know that I know nothing

"I know that I know nothing" is a saying derived from Plato's account of the Greek philosopher Socrates. It is also called the Socratic paradox. The phrase is not one that Socrates himself is ever recorded as saying.

This saying is also connected or conflated with the answer to a question Socrates (according to Xenophon) or Chaerephon (according to Plato) is said to have posed to the Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, in which the oracle stated something to the effect of "Socrates is the wisest."

José Sócrates

José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, GCIH (born 6 September 1957), commonly known as José Sócrates (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈzɛ ˈsɔkɾɐtɨʃ]), is a Portuguese politician who was the Prime Minister of Portugal from 12 March 2005 to 21 June 2011. For the second half of 2007, he acted as the President-in-Office of the Council of the European Union.

Sócrates grew up in the industrial city of Covilhã. He joined the centre-left Socialist Party in 1981 and was elected Member of Parliament in 1987. Sócrates entered the government in 1995, as Secretary of State for Environment in the first cabinet of António Guterres. Two years later, he became Minister of Youth and Sports (where he helped to organize Portugal's successful bid to host UEFA Euro 2004) and in 1999 became Minister for Environment. Sócrates prominence rose during the governments of António Guterres to the point that when the Prime Minister resigned in 2001, he considered to appoint Sócrates has his successor.In opposition, José Sócrates was elected leader of the Socialist Party in 2004 and led the party to its first absolute majority in the 2005 election. By then, Portugal was living an economic crisis, marked by stagnation and a difficult state of public finances. Like the preceding centre-right government, Sócrates implemented a policy of fiscal austerity and structural reforms. Among the most important reforms were the 2007 Social Security reform and the 2009 labour law reform. His government also restructured the provision of public services, closing thousands of elementary schools and dozens of health care facilities and maternity wards in rural areas and small cities. Despite austerity, Sócrates's government intended to boost economic growth through government-sponsored investments, namely in transportation, technology and energy as well as in health and school infrastructure. The government launched several public-private partnerships to finance such projects. Internally, Sócrates was accused of having an authoritarian style and of trying to control media, while internationally he completed the negotiations of Lisbon Treaty and had close ties with leaders such as the Prime Minister of Spain José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez. The first Sócrates government was initially able to reduce the budget deficit and controlling public debt, but economic growth lagged.In 2008–09, with the Great Recession starting to hit Portugal and facing recession and high unemployment, austerity was waned as part of the European economic stimulus plan. Nevertheless, support for Sócrates and the Socialists eroded and the ruling party lost its majority in the 2009 election. The second government of José Sócrates faced a deterioration of the economic and financial state of the country, with skyrocketing deficit and growing debt. Austerity was resumed in 2010 while the country entered a hard financial crisis in the context of the European debt crisis.On 23 March 2011, Sócrates submitted his resignation to President Cavaco Silva after the Parliament rejected a new austerity package (the fourth in a year), leading to the 2011 snap election. Financial status of the country deteriorated and on 6 April Sócrates caretaker government requested a bail-out program which was conceded. The €78 billion IMF/European Union bailout to Portugal thus started and would last until May 2014. Sócrates lost the snap election held on 5 June 2011 and resigned as Secretary-General of the Socialist Party. For most of his political career, Sócrates was associated to several corruption cases, notably Independente University and Freeport cases.On 21 November 2014 he was arrested in Lisbon, accused of corruption, tax evasion, and money laundering, becoming the first former Prime Minister in the history of the country to be thus accused. On 24 November Sócrates was remanded in custody on preliminary charges of corruption and tax fraud. He was held in Évora prison until 4 September 2015 when he left the prison for a relative's house in Lisbon, where he remained under house arrest until 16 October 2015. That day, a judge released him from house arrest, allowing him to await the end of the investigation in freedom, although remaining forbidden of leaving the country and of contacting with other suspects of the case. The police investigation, known as Operation Marquis continued until his indictment in October 2017. In 2018, Sócrates abandoned the Socialist Party.

Meno

Meno (; Greek: Μένων, Menōn) is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. It appears to attempt to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. The first part of the work is written in the Socratic dialectical style and Meno is reduced to confusion or aporia. In response to Meno's paradox (or the learner's paradox), however, Socrates introduces positive ideas: the immortality of the soul, the theory of knowledge as recollection (anamnesis), which Socrates demonstrates by posing a mathematical puzzle to one of Meno's slaves, the method of hypothesis, and, in the final lines, the distinction between knowledge and true belief.

Phaedo

Phædo or Phaedo (; Greek: Φαίδων, Phaidōn, Greek pronunciation: [pʰaídɔːn]), also known to ancient readers as On The Soul, is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The philosophical subject of the dialogue is the immortality of the soul. It is set in the last hours prior to the death of Socrates, and is Plato's fourth and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days, following Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito.

One of the main themes in the Phaedo is the idea that the soul is immortal. In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state (though some scholars think it was more for his support of "philosopher kings" as opposed to democracy) and for corrupting the youth of the city.

By engaging in dialectic with a group of Socrates' friends, including the two Thebans, Cebes, and Simmias, Socrates explores various arguments for the soul's immortality in order to show that there is an afterlife in which the soul will dwell following death. Phaedo tells the story that following the discussion, he and the others were there to witness the death of Socrates.

The Phaedo was first translated into Latin from Greek by Henry Aristippus in 1160. Today, it is generally considered one of Plato's great works.

Plato

Plato (; PLAY-toe Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] PLAH-tone in Classical Attic; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.

He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato has also often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality. The so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato also appears to have been the founder of Western political philosophy. His most famous contribution bears his name, Platonism (also ambiguously called either Platonic realism or Platonic idealism), the doctrine of the Forms known by pure reason to provide a realist solution to the problem of universals. He is also the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids.

His own most decisive philosophical influences are usually thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras, Heraclitus and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire body of work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written.

Republic (Plato)

The Republic (Greek: Πολιτεία, Politeia; Latin: Res Publica) is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning justice (δικαιοσύνη), the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work, and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.In the dialogue, Socrates discusses with various Athenians and foreigners about the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man. They consider the natures of existing regimes and then propose a series of different, hypothetical cities in comparison, culminating in Kallipolis (Καλλίπολις), a city-state ruled by a philosopher king. They also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher and of poetry in society. The dialogue's setting seems to be during the Peloponnesian War.

Socratic method

The Socratic method, also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate, is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. It is a dialectical method, involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict themselves in some way, thus weakening the defender's point. This method is named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates and is introduced by him in Plato's Theaetetus as midwifery (maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding.

The Socratic method is a method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. The Socratic method searches for general, commonly held truths that shape beliefs and scrutinizes them to determine their consistency with other beliefs. The basic form is a series of questions formulated as tests of logic and fact intended to help a person or group discover their beliefs about some topic, exploring definitions or logoi (singular logos) and seeking to characterize general characteristics shared by various particular instances.

Symposium (Plato)

The Symposium (Ancient Greek: Συμπόσιον, Sympósion [sympósi̯on]) is a philosophical text by Plato dated c. 385–370 BC. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. The men include the philosopher Socrates, the general and political figure Alcibiades, and the comic playwright Aristophanes. The speeches are to be given in praise of Eros, the god of love and desire. In the Symposium, Eros is recognized both as erotic love and as a phenomenon capable of inspiring courage, valor, great deeds and works, and vanquishing man's natural fear of death. It is seen as transcending its earthly origins and attaining spiritual heights. This extraordinary elevation of the concept of love raises a question of whether some of the most extreme extents of meaning might be intended as humor or farce. Eros is almost always translated as "love", and the English word has its own varieties and ambiguities that provide additional challenges to the effort to understand the Eros of ancient Athens.The event depicted in the Symposium is a banquet attended by a group of men, who have come to the symposium, which was, in ancient Greece, a traditional part of the same banquet that took place after the meal, when drinking for pleasure was accompanied by music, dancing, recitals, or conversation. The setting means that the participants will be drinking wine, meaning that the men might be induced to say things they wouldn't say elsewhere or when sober. They might speak more frankly, or take more risks, or else be prone to hubris—they might even be inspired to make speeches that are particularly heartfelt and noble.The host has challenged the men to deliver, each, in turn, an encomium—a speech in praise of Love (Eros). Though other participants comply with this challenge, Socrates notably refuses to participate in such an act of praise and instead takes a very different approach to the topic. The party takes place at the house of the tragedian Agathon in Athens. This dialogue is one of Plato's major works, and is appreciated for both its philosophical content and its literary qualities.

Sócrates

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, MD (19 February 1954 – 4 December 2011), simply known as Sócrates, was a Brazilian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. His medical degree and his political awareness earned him the nickname "Doctor Socrates".

Easily recognizable for his beard and headband, Sócrates became the "symbol of cool for a whole generation of football supporters". He is considered to be one of the greatest midfielders ever to play the game. In 1983, he was named South American Footballer of the Year. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.Socrates played for Brazil for seven years, scoring 22 goals and representing the nation in two World Cups. He captained the team in the 1982 FIFA World Cup; playing in midfield alongside Zico, Falcão and Éder, considered one of the greatest Brazilian national teams ever. He also appeared in the 1979 and 1983 Copa América. At club level, Sócrates played for Botafogo-SP before joining Corinthians in 1978. He moved to Italy to play for Fiorentina, returning to Brazil in 1985 to end his career.

The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates (French: La Mort de Socrate) is an oil on canvas painted by French painter Jacques-Louis David in 1787. The painting focuses on a classical subject like many of his works from that decade, in this case the story of the execution of Socrates as told by Plato in his Phaedo. In this story, Socrates has been convicted of corrupting the youth of Athens and introducing strange gods, and has been sentenced to die by drinking poison hemlock. Socrates uses his death as a final lesson for his pupils rather than fleeing when the opportunity arises, and faces it calmly. The Phaedo depicts the death of Socrates and is also Plato's fourth and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days, which is also detailed in Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito.

In the painting, an old man in a white robe sits upright on a bed, one hand extended over a cup, the other gesturing in the air. He is surrounded by other men of varying ages, most showing emotional distress, unlike the stoic old man. The young man handing him the cup looks the other way, with his face in his free hand. Another young man clutches the thigh of the old man. An elderly man sits at the end of the bed, slumped over and looking in his lap. To the left, other men are seen through an arch set in the background wall.

Trial of Socrates

The trial of Socrates (399 BC) was held to determine the philosopher’s guilt of two charges: asebeia (impiety) against the pantheon of Athens, and corruption of the youth of the city-state; the accusers cited two impious acts by Socrates: "failing to acknowledge the gods that the city acknowledges" and "introducing new deities".

The death sentence of Socrates was the legal consequence of asking politico-philosophic questions of his students, from which resulted the two accusations of moral corruption and of impiety. At trial, the majority of the dikasts (male-citizen jurors chosen by lot) voted to convict him of the two charges; then, consistent with common legal practice, voted to determine his punishment, and agreed to a sentence of death to be executed by Socrates’s drinking a poisonous beverage of hemlock.

Primary-source accounts of the trial and execution of Socrates are the Apology of Socrates by Plato and the Apology of Socrates to the Jury by Xenophon of Athens, who had been his student; contemporary interpretations include The Trial of Socrates (1988) by the journalist I. F. Stone, and Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths (2009) by the Classics scholar Robin Waterfield.

Xanthippe

Xanthippe (; Greek: Ξανθίππη, Greek pronunciation: [kʰsantʰíp̚pɛː]; 5th – 4th century BCE) was an ancient Athenian, the wife of Socrates and mother of their three sons: Lamprocles, Sophroniscus, and Menexenus. She was likely much younger than Socrates, perhaps by as much as 40 years.

Xenophon

Xenophon of Athens (; Greek: Ξενοφῶν, Ancient Greek: [ksenopʰɔ̂ːn], Xenophōn; c. 431BC – 354 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, historian, soldier, mercenary, and student of Socrates. As a soldier, Xenophon became commander of the Ten Thousand at about 30, with noted military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge saying of him, “the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the

genius of this warrior.” He established the precedent for many logistical operations and was among the first to use flanking maneuvers, feints and attacks in depth. He was among the greatest commanders of antiquity.

As a historian, Xenophon is known for recording the history of his time, the late-5th and early-4th centuries BC, in such works as the Hellenica, which covered the final seven years and the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), thus representing a thematic continuation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.

As one of the Ten Thousand (Greek mercenaries), Xenophon participated in Cyrus the Younger's failed campaign to claim the Persian throne from his brother Artaxerxes II of Persia and recounted the events in Anabasis, his most notable history. Like Plato (427–347 BC), Xenophon is an authority on Socrates, about whom he wrote several books of dialogues (the Memorabilia) and an Apology of Socrates to the Jury, which recounts the philosopher's trial in 399 BC.

Despite being born an Athenian citizen, Xenophon was also associated with Sparta, the traditional enemy of Athens. His pro-oligarchic politics, military service under Spartan generals, in the Persian campaign and elsewhere, and his friendship with King Agesilaus II endeared Xenophon to the Spartans. Some of his works have a pro–Spartan bias, especially the royal biography Agesilaus and the Constitution of the Spartans.

Xenophon's works span several genres and are written in plain-language Attic Greek, for which reason they serve as translation exercises for contemporary students of the Ancient Greek language. In the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Diogenes Laërtius observed that, as a writer, Xenophon of Athens was known as the “Attic Muse”, for the sweetness of his diction (2.6).

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