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Outline Of Socrates

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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



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