Socrates: 1. Sophists ~> professional teachers... Socrates was the greatest of them all (469-399 B. C. E. ) 2.
Followed the Sophists' lead in turning away from the study of the cosmos and concentrating on the case of the human. Unlike the way the Sophists discoursed about the human being, he wanted to base all argumentation on objectively valid definitions. 3. Socrates' discourse moved in two directions A. Outward - to objective definitions B. Inward - to discover the inner person, the soul, the source of all truth to Socrates.
4. He was hardly ever able to answer the questions he asked. 5. Spent much time in the streets and markets of Athens. A. Querying every man he met about whether that man knew anything.
B. Said, 'If there was an afterlife, he would pose the same question to the shades in Hades.' 6. Socrates professed, ironically, that he knew nothing, because he at least knew that he knew nothing, whereas the others falsely believed themselves to know something. 7.
He, himself, wrote no books, but his conversations were remembered by his disciple Plato, and later published by him as dialogues... Very often these questions emphasized a specific philosophical question. The typical Socratic dialogue has 3 divisions: A. A question is posed.
Socrates becomes excited and enthusiastic to find someone who claims to know something. B. Finds 'minor flaws' in his companion's definition and slowly begins to unravel it, forcing his partner to admit ignorance (in one dialogue, his target ended up in tears). C. An agreement is reached by the admittedly ignorant companion to pursue truth seriously. 8.
In his quest for truth, Socrates managed to offend many of the powerful and pompous figures of Athens, who later conspired against him, getting him indicted for teaching false doctrines, for impiety, and for corrupting the youth. 9. Socrates was brought to trial, with the hopes to humiliate him by forcing him to beg for mercy. A. On the contrary, Socrates maligned his prosecutors and angered the unruly jury of 500 by lecturing to them about their ignorance. When he was asked to suggest his own punishment, he recommended that the Athenians give him free board and lodging in the town hall...
The jury condemned him to death by a vote of 280 to 220 B. Ashamed of their acts, Athenians were prepared to look the other way when Socrates' prison guard was bribed to let Socrates escape. C. Socrates claimed that if he broke the law by escaping, he would be declaring himself the enemy of all laws, so he drank the hemlock and philosophized with his friends to the last moment. In death, he became the universal symbol of martyrdom for the Truth. bibliography: 'looking at philosophy, by donald palmer, third edition'.