Essays24.com - Term Papers and Free Essays
Search

Socrates

Essay by   •  September 18, 2010  •  1,375 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,322 Views

Essay Preview: Socrates

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6

Socrates was perhaps the most interesting and influential thinker in the fifth century. He was dedicated to careful reasoning and he wanted genuine knowledge rather than the victory over his opponent. He learned the rhetoric and dialectics of the Sophists, the ideas of the Lonian philosophers, and the general culture of Periclean Athens. Socrates used the same knowledge by the Sophists to get a new purpose, the pursuit of truth. He called everything into question and he was determined to accept nothing less than the truth.

He was well known for his skills in carrying on a conversation and his public speaking, but Socrates never wrote a thing. We learned from his students, mainly Kenophon and Plato, about his methods and results. Plato was a philosopher also, so we must assume he interjected his own thoughts and ideas into the dialogues he gave to the world as discussions between Socrates and other people of that time.

Socrates was born in Athens, the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and Phaenarete, a midwife. He received the regular elementary education in literature, music, and gymnastics. At first, Socrates followed the path of his father. He made a statue group of the three Graces and this stood at the entrance to the Acroplois until the 2nd century AD. He served as an infantryman in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta. He showed a lot of bravery at the battles of Potidaea in 432-430BC, Delium in 424BC and Amphipolis in 422BC.

Socrates believed in the power of discussion rather than writing. He spent most of his adult life in the marketplace and public places of Athens. He would engage anyone in dialogue and argue with those who would listen or who would answer questions. Socrates was reported to be unattractive in appearance and short in stature but he was very hardy and he had a lot of self-control. He enjoyed life and he was known for his ready wit and sense of humor so this made him quite popular.

Socrates mostly steered clear of politics, but he did observe the laws and was obedient. He believed that his calling was to pursue philosophy and that he could serve his country by teaching, and persuading the Athenians to learn self-examination and nurturing of their souls.

Socrates had a belief that the everyday world is an illusion compared to the world of knowledge. He thought that people were too distracted by money and materialistic things to appreciate truth and reality. Socrates said, "The capacity for knowledge is innate in each man's mind." This simply meant to him that when one is caught up in superficiality, then the truth does not shine through. He thought that the people that were consumed in the shallow world would only see reality as mere shadows compared to the truth. "The good", according to Socrates is "the source not only of the intelligibility of the objects of knowledge, but also of their being and reality." He thought that when the mind is preoccupied with a bad world, it does not see the truth.

Socrates thought that pleasure should not be taken to the extreme, because it will then be unhealthy for the mind and body. He explains that the mind, body, and soul must all be in unison in order to be healthy, then happiness will follow. Many people look for happiness by engulfing themselves in life's highest pleasures and others look for contentment by over working themselves to be the richest. However, these two extremes will not produce happiness but instead one should find peace by seeking out the truth, and looking inside to find reality and true beauty.

The allegory of the cave illustrates the difference between the materialistic world and the intelligible world. Socrates described a man with his arms and legs chained and with his neck in a brace. This only lets the man see the wall with shadows. This is a metaphor for the man who does not transcend to world of enlightenment. They can only see shadows of what is true and real. The man memorizes these shadows and thinks he is smart, but the truth lies beneath the depths of the everyday world, but this can only be seen when the layers of immateriality are ripped away.

Another way to look at the cave is if the man escapes and sees the light and he can no longer see the shadows. This would cause him to reason that the shadows were truer than the light so the illusion of reality would be real to the man, rather than the truth.

The cave also symbolizes the idea that he memorized the shadows and this meant he was intelligent. Man thinks that remembering information is intelligence but this does not involve a thought process and any type of reasoning. Therefore, this means

...

...

Download as:   txt (7.6 Kb)   pdf (98.4 Kb)   docx (11.5 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on Essays24.com
Citation Generator

(2010, 09). Socrates. Essays24.com. Retrieved 09, 2010, from https://www.essays24.com/essay/Socrates/2483.html

"Socrates" Essays24.com. 09 2010. 2010. 09 2010 <https://www.essays24.com/essay/Socrates/2483.html>.

"Socrates." Essays24.com. Essays24.com, 09 2010. Web. 09 2010. <https://www.essays24.com/essay/Socrates/2483.html>.

"Socrates." Essays24.com. 09, 2010. Accessed 09, 2010. https://www.essays24.com/essay/Socrates/2483.html.