Socrates

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Close-up-of-Socrates

1. WHO WAS SOCRATES?

Socrates (470 – 399 BC) was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought.

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.

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.

Socrates 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. Socrates interpreted the meaning of the Oracle thus: 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.

In 399 BC, Socrates went on trial and was subsequently found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of impiety (asebeia, “not believing in the gods of the state”), and as a punishment sentenced to death, caused by the drinking of a mixture containing poison hemlock.

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2. WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL DIALECTIC OF SOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY?

The Essential Dialectic of Socratic Philosophy is:

{Contradiction-Hypothesis ⇆ Hypothesis-Contradiction ⇅ Contradiction-Contradiction} ↻ Hypothesis-Hypothesis

The Essential Dialectic of Socratic Philosophy is the What-Is Question, Socratic-Method, Contradiction-Exposure and Hypothesis-Elimination Dialectic because …

The Essential Dialectic of Socratic Philosophy involves the asking of what something is, using a process of negative dialectics to expose contradictions, and hopefully progressing to a greater understanding through the elimination of contradictory hypothesis.

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3. WHAT IS THE COMPLETE DIALECTIC OF SOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY?

The Complete Dialectic of Socratic Philosophy is:

{Hypothesis-Elimination ⇆ Contradiction-Exposure ⇅ Socratic-Questioning} ↻ Dialectic-Method

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4. WHAT IS THE EQUIVALENCY DIALECTIC OF SOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY?

The Equivalency Dialectic of Socratic Philosophy is:

{Plotinus ⇆ Aristotle ⇅ Plato} ↻ Socrates

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