Socrates

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					          Who was he?
What were his key ideas?



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           Socrates
• Born around 470 B.C.E.
• Lived in Athens at the height if its civilisation
• Executed in 399 B.C.E.
    Saw Athens was in danger of destruction
     • Became critical of the government
• Described as a very ugly man, who often
  walked barefoot and wore the same kind of
  clothes whatever the weather

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           Socrates Cont.
• Excellent soldier – he had great physical
  power and could endure a lot

• He was very disciplined

• He was interested in the development of
  a person’s moral character

• He lived a virtuous life
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             Socrates’ Outlook
 Saw that the Sophists were putting Athens in danger
  • Said their theory of relativity would destroy the
    people – morally corrupt
  • People were not happy – likely to revolt
  • He became critical of the government
  • He spoke out against the sophists
○ Said there had to be a better way

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    Socrates, the Philosopher

• Concerned with the question of ethics
  Unlike the Sophists, he believed that there was definite
   right and wrong
  He believed that people could accept it and incorporate
   it into their lives
  He said that it was up to people (society) as a whole to
   establish those things that are right and those that are
   wrong
  Dedicated his life to searching for standards by which
   people could live a virtuous life
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How he differed from Sophists…

   1. Socrates believed that the sophists view
      on relativity would destroy the people of
      Athens
   2. His style was distinctive




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                     Socratic Method

 His style was distinctive
  a) He questioned people through discussions / dialogues
  b) Chose people who were experts in their field and fully
     understood the topic being discussed.
  c) He adopted the role of ignorant questioner.
          Pretended he did not know and wanted to be educated
  d) He asked tactful questions which would bring the
     experts to a dead end – they would run out of answers
          This showed them, and others that they did not have all the
           answers and so were not experts.


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         Universal Definition of Justice
• Socrates was concerned with justice
   – He wanted life to be fair for all
   – Worked to find principles and laws that all
     could live by and be happy

• Universal: these truths would be
  applicable for all people, at any time,
  everywhere and in all cases.

• Socrates spent his life trying to establish this, but
  never did.
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               Why??
 Through the dialogues Socrates wanted to
   discover peoples’ views on living a moral and just
   life

 Socrates developed his own understanding and
   philosophy through this process

 Urged people to question what they are being told
   as well as their beliefs
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Cont.

3. The aim of these philosophical
   dialogues was to discover the
   truth about how one should live
   a good and moral life

4. He himself learned through this
   process

5. Encouraged others to question
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   their beliefs and knowledge
            Questions he asked:
• What is temperance?
• What is justice?
• What is goodness?

• These were asked during a discussion, if
  someone were to present one of these
  concepts as part of their answer.
• He did not answer the questions himself – said
  his wisdom was limited to an awareness of
  his own ignorance
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             Socratic Philosophy
• Many of Socrates’ beliefs have been
  characterized as ‘paradoxal’ (seem to conflict with
  common sense).
  – For Example
    •   No one desires evil.
    •   No one does wrong willingly or knowingly.
    •   Virtue - all virtue - is knowledge.
    •   Virtue is sufficient for happiness
• He believed wrongdoing was a consequence of
  ignorance and those who did wrong knew no
  better
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1) The soul –His Philosophy
             Very important
  – Had to be nurtured and protected
2) Gaining wisdom
  – It would save the soul
  – Lead the person in a virtuous life
3) For Socrates ‘Knowing what is good is the
   same as doing what is good.’
  – Believed people would not willingly do wrong
  – No body wants to be a bad person
     Later philosophers disagreed with him
  – They said that a person might know what is right but may not be
    strong enough or disciplined enough to do
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                 Socrates emphasised...
1. Virtue (knowledge) was the most valuable of all
   possessions
2. Life should be spent in search of good.
3. Truth is possible to attain
4. People should focus on self-development
   rather than material wealth
5. It is the job of the philosopher to show people
   how little they really know.
6. An action was right when it promoted true
   happiness.         Religious Education Support - SLSS 14
                Socrates’ Views on Alcohol
• Alcohol
  – Drunkenness – short term pleasure.
     Whatever you are drowning out will come back
  – Drunkenness - long term
     Leads to ill health
     Can enslave the body - addicted
  – It goes against reason – why would you willingly damage
    your body?
  – Does not produce true pleasure – the negative effects far
    outweigh the temporary happiness

  Socrates believed true pleasure could only be attained
    through moral living.
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                Socrates’ Execution
• Socrates was a social and moral critic
• He attempted to improve the Athenians' sense of
  justice
• His pursuit of virtue and his strict adherence to
  truth clashed with Athenian society
• He claimed he was the wiser one since he was
  the only person aware of his own ignorance.
• Put on trial and found guilty
  – heresy
  – corrupting the minds of the youth
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