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Sophocles, Life, Teachings, And Trial Essay

1407 words - 6 pages

Socrates was a Greek Philosopher who profoundly affected Western Philosophy through his indirect influence on others. He first began studying with the Sophists, the ancient Greek teachers of rhetoric, philosophy, and the art of successful living, prominent for their adroit, subtle, and allegedly often-specious reasoning. However, he believed in a superiority of argument over writing, and spent most of his time in the marketplace and public areas of Athens, engaging in dialogue or argument with anyone who was willing to learn. He achieved social popularity due to his keen sense of humor, and believed that sarcasm was the lowest form of humor. His use of critical reasoning, his unwavering ...view middle of the document...

He was devoted to teaching, and persuading Athenians to engage in self-cultivation and examination of their souls. In the Socratic dialogues, his extended conversations with students, statesmen, and friends invariably aiming at understanding and achieving virtue through that careful application of a dialectical method that employs critical inquiry to undermine the plausibility of widely held doctrines. He sought to take apart the illusion that we already comprehend the world perfectly and honestly, telling his pupils to simply accept their own ignorance. Socrates believed that the vital steps towards acquisition of genuine knowledge must be achieved through discovery of the universal definitions of the key concepts governing human life. He was committed to these beliefs and to the job of helping others to actualize themselves and the world around them.Socrates contribution to Philosophy was essentially ethical in character. Belief in a purely objective understanding of concepts such as love, justice, and virtue, and the self knowledge that he inculcated, were the basis of his teachings. He believed that all vice is the result of ignorance, and that no person is willingly bad; correspondingly, virtue is knowledge, and those who know the right will act rightly. His logic placed emphasis on rational argument and the quest for general definitions. Through these concepts, Socrates was able to affect the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and all subsequent Western speculative thought. Socrates was considered to be the embodiment and guide to higher life.Socrates was unlike the other Sophists of his time. He declined to accept payment for his work with students, and despite his lofty distain for material success, many of them were still fanatically loyal to him. His continuing and humble pursuit of higher truth brought him great success in all facets of life, and eventually, also, brought about his demise.Although a patriot and a man of deep religious conviction, Socrates came to be regarded with suspicion by many of his contemporaries. Because of his questioning attitude toward the Athenian state and the established religion, many people were displeased with his affect on his pupils. Athenian jury found him guilty of corrupting the youth and interfering with the religion of the city, and sentenced him to death, by drinking poisonous hemlock in 399 B.C.E. He was also charged with neglecting the god of the state and introducing new divinities, a reference to the mystical inner voice that Socrates often spoke of.At Socrates trial, Plato made The Apology in Socrates defense that was a bold vindication of his whole life. The most accurate of Plato's writings on Socrates is probably The Apology. The word "apology" comes from the Greek word for "defense-speech" and does not mean what we think of today as an apology. Plato made the speech to show a justification for Socrates' life. In it, Plato outlines some of Socrates' most famous philosophical ideas: the...

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