Socrates His fundamental discoveries, such as epistemology, is often referred to as his rational thinking

Socrates His fundamental discoveries, such as epistemology, is often referred to as his rational thinking

Updated on August 17, 2022 18:25 PM by Ella Bina

Philosophy is notoriously hard to define. If you write about philosophy or train people to do philosophy, you should first clarify what you mean by it so that the readers know what to expect. If you are training people to facilitate philosophy, you should provide criteria that define it.

As a result of our personalization and culturally specific account, we attempt to capture something of the Philosophy Foundation's spirit, structure, content, method, aims, and hopes while attempting to convey something of its spirit, structure, content, method, aims, and hopes.

As a result, consistent with the philosophical spirit we have attempted to illustrate here, one might wonder if philosophy is something other than what we have stated; to accept our account uncritically would not be very philosophical, after all. An important aspect of metaphysics is its study of what exists in the world, what it is like, and how it is organized.

Epistemology consists of studying knowledge. The study of ethics is mainly concerned with what is known about the world and how we can know it. The study of ethics often focuses on what we ought to do and what would be the best thing to do. As we grapple with these issues, larger questions arise about what is right and good.

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The creation of philosophy 

The philosopher Socrates spent his entire life in Athens, Greece, cajoling his fellow citizens to think seriously about truth and justice, convinced that living an unexamined life isn't worth living. Although Socrates claimed that his wisdom could be reduced to knowing that he knew nothing, he had certain beliefs, including the notion that happiness can be achieved through human effort.

As a result, he suggested that individuals gain rational control over their desires and harmonize their souls in such a way that they could enjoy divine peace that no outside force could alter. Even before he took the lethal hemlock, he cheerfully faced his death, discussing philosophy until the end. In the course of western civilization, he decisively shaped a new era of philosophy through his influences on Plato and Aristotle.

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The unique place in the history

The Greeks held a pessimistic view of life in the ancient world. Happiness was regarded as a rare occurrence and reserved only for the gods' favorites. A unique aspect of Socrates is that he is the first known figure in the history of happiness who argued that happiness could be reached through effort.

He was born in Athens, Greece, in 460 BC. Having an overreaching sense of pride and believing one could obtain happiness for oneself was regarded as hubris and punished harshly. Socrates enters the picture against this bleak backdrop. He argues that happiness lies in soothing the mind and achieving a divine-like state of tranquility by turning attention away from the body.

Western philosophy begins with happiness as a core concept, linked to virtue, justice, and the ultimate purpose of life in the beginning. We can achieve a divine-like state of tranquility by harmonizing our desires. It is best to lead a moral life over an immoral one, mainly because it leads to happiness.

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How to be happy: A Case Study

Socrates is said to have brought philosophy down from the heavens by Cicero, who wrote that Greek philosophy before him consisted primarily of metaphysical questions: why does the world stay up? Does the world consist of one substance or multiple substances? While living during the Peloponnesian War, Socrates was more concerned with ethical and social questions: How can one live in a way that benefits others? Why be moral when immoral people seem to gain a greater advantage? Is happiness a sense of satisfaction or a measure of virtue? Socrates is famous for his ability to ask questions like these rather than spoon-feed us the answers.

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Socrates admitted his ignorance

As a result of his "Socratic method," Socrates exposed ignorance and cleared the path to knowledge through a process of questioning. Though Socrates himself admits his ignorance, he still became wiser as a result. Although Socrates is open to knowledge wherever he finds it, he finds only people who claim to be wise but are ignorant through his cross-examinations.

As a result of pride, conceit, and beliefs we cling to for security and identity, we tend to fill our cups with too much pride and conceit. All our preconceived opinions, which are based on hearsay and flawed logic, are challenged by Socrates. Socrates pointed this out in the agon or public square to many people who expressed resentment.

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Death is the result of the truth

Socrates' honest search for truth resulted in death: he was sentenced to die by hemlock poisoning after being convicted of "corrupting the youth." But here, we see that his life bears witness to the truth of his teachings. In the moments before he takes the lethal cup, Socrates cheerfully discusses philosophy with his friends without bemoaning his fate or blaming the gods.

He believed death was the ultimate release of the soul from its physical limitations, so he was unafraid to face death, as he trusted in the eternal value of the soul. Unlike the Greek belief that death leads to Hades, where punishment is meted out, or one wanders like a ghost, Socrates looks forward to a place where he can continue questioning and learning more. There will be opportunities to expand one's consciousness and feel happier as long as one earnestly seeks to understand and explore the world.

The great dialogue from the Socrates

Plato, Socrates' student, wrote many dialogues with him at the center of the plot. Scholarly debate still rages over how Plato's and Socrates' original ideas interrelate. Our approach below treats the views of Socrates the character as his own. However, it is worth noting that we are closer to Plato than to Socrates's history, the closer we find a "final answer" or comprehensive theory of happiness.

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The presentation of the happiness

Socrates presents a definition of happiness that is as relevant today as it was over 2400 years ago. Still, it is not only historical interest that it is the first philosophy in Europe to discuss the concept of happiness. There are two main points Socrates wants to establish:

  • All human activities result in happiness, so happiness is an unconditional good.
  • It is not external things that determine happiness, but how those things are used determines happiness.

Money is a conditional good, and it is only good when it is in wise hands. Hence, we cannot say that money will make a person happy; a wise person will use money wisely to make his life better; an ignorant person will waste money and use it poorly, making his life worse. The same argument can be used for any external good: any possession, any quality, even good looks or abilities. An intelligent person can be a worse criminal than someone without intelligence, for example, if he or she becomes vain and manipulative.

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Techniques of Socratic Discussion

In Western philosophy, Socrates made a significant contribution by applying a technique known as the Socratic technique to a wide range of topics, such as truth and justice, as arguing points. A topic would be divided into several questions, each leading to a desired outcome over time. The Socratic dialogues describe this method.

As a means of convincing oneself of the validity of their beliefs and challenging their legitimacy, the Socratic technique gradually disproves unwanted theories until only the most logical theories remain. The Socratic technique is often regarded as a key part of the American legal system since Socrates became known as the father of political philosophy, morality, and good logic through the method.

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Beliefs in philosophy

It isn't easy to distinguish Socrates' beliefs from Plato's, as there is little solid evidence to differentiate them. Many researchers believe Plato adapted the Socratic style to make Socrates and the other characters difficult to recognize so that many of his "exchanges" may be the thoughts of Socrates reinterpreted by Plato. According to others, he had his hypotheses and beliefs.

Therefore, the work of Socrates and that of Plato can be difficult to differentiate, and it is important to always keep in mind that the work of Socrates could be attributed to Plato and vice versa. As a result, the issue is further complicated because Socrates used to pose questions and not provide answers, allowing others to conclude.

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A paradox of Socrates

Many of the beliefs generally credited to Socrates are intentionally confusing because they appear to contradict each other initially. These are called paradoxes. It is said that Socrates knows nothing, but if that is true, how could he even be able to know that he does not know anything? As a problem that cannot be easily resolved because there is no obvious solution, all of Socrates' paradoxes can be regarded as "catch 22s".

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A learning experience

Plato's Apology introduces the paradox "I know that I know nothing," indicating Socrates' self-awareness since he admits to his ignorance. According to Socrates, one must approach a situation with "thought, sense, judgment, plausible knowledge, and prudence" to make a decision.

As part of their Apology, he claims that he is insightful, but Socrates generally doubted the ability of people to attain true knowledge, as opposed to gods. He also believed that ignorance results in bad behavior and people who make mistakes are ignorant because they do not know how to deal with them. This is a direct relationship between the word erôtan, which means to ask questions, highlighting Socrates' awareness of the idea of love and his willingness to pose questions about it.

Socrates claims he is shrewd "in the restricted feeling of having human wisdom." Through Diotima's speech in Plato's Symposium and the Allegory of the Cave in Republic, he explains a strategy for attaining knowledge and says there is a line between ignorance and perfect learning.

A righteous attitude

Rather than focusing on material interests such as wealth, Socrates argued that people should strive for goodness. As he felt this was the ideal way for individuals to come together, he encouraged others to focus on companionship and connecting with others. This idea is shown by the calm acceptance of the death sentence that he exhibits. For going against society's general beliefs, he accepts his punishment instead of fleeing and living alone in exile.

There were many ideas that Socrates discussed in his teachings that addressed ethics and morality. These ideals spoke to the essential qualities individuals ought to possess, chief among them being philosophical or scholarly proficiency. He stated that the unexamined life is unworthy of living, and moral temperance is what matters most.

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Issues related to the government

There has always been debate over Socrates' resistance to voting, and the question is often posed during philosophical discussions when determining exactly what Socrates believed and did not believe. Despite being generally regarded as a second-hand account through the "exchanges," Plato's Republic is the best evidence that Socrates did not believe in democracy.

When Socrates gives his Apology to Plato, he consistently asserts that he could not offer advice about how to live when he couldn't yet experienced his own life. Among the topics explored in Andrew David Irvine's 2008 play, Socrates on Trial, is Socrates' thoughts on democracy. According to Irvine, Socrates was happy to acknowledge the decision of his fellow citizens as a direct result of his belief in Athenian majority rule.

Socrates, according to Irvine, felt obliged to express himself straightforwardly during a time of war and incredible social and scholarly change. His sharp mind and high moral principles are remembered today. Still, he is also remembered for being steadfast in maintaining the view that, in a democracy, the ideal path is for a man to be faithful to the truth in times of war and to speak freely about it so that he serves himself, his companions, and his city".

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Injustice is better suffered than committed

Socrates angers Polus with the argument that suffering an injustice is better than committing one. Polus argues that even though it is bad to commit an injustice, suffering one is worse than committing one. According to Polus, a bad deed leads to another, much worse one, which is bad for a person's soul. Bad deeds undermine the spirit, which is why they are the worst offense an individual can commit. In addition, Socrates said that punishment, rather than evading it, is the best punishment for those who commit crimes against others.

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Wisdom of humanity

 In Apology, human knowledge is a central theme, although it may not have been resolved completely. The affirmation that Socrates was not knowledgeable by any means by Apollo's prophet calls into question his human wisdom before the prophet, asserting that human knowledge is limited to philosophy.

 The prophet recognized Socrates as someone who epitomized knowledge. In the Apology, Socrates asks why he kept searching for knowledge that he deemed difficult to acquire, and the question confirms this assertion. Demonstrated human understanding before him.

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Argumentation and Socratic Debate

Since Socratic debate requires thought and reasoning, it is closely associated with basic reasoning. A fundamental and intelligent argument revolves around what should be accepted or done about a topic. Socrates believed in examining how to learn and go about it.

The purpose of Socratic debate is to add a dimension to basic reasoning by examining profundity and argument and the validity or authenticity of ideas. According to Socrates, a lack of knowledge isn't necessarily bad, and students should apply reasoning and basic thinking to understand better what they do not know. There is a search for significance and truth in both basic reasoning and Socratic debate.

Individuals can use basic reasoning to screen, evaluate, reconstitute, or re-direct their reasoning by screening, evaluating, and maybe reconstituting it. An individual can accomplish that objective by engaging in a self-coordinated, restrained inquiry through Socratic debate. According to instructional reformer John Dewey, this is an intelligent request in which the scholar intelligently examines a topic and gives it a natural and back-to-back look.

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The ethics of Socrates

Throughout his philosophy, Socrates emphasized morality, intending to change individuals' minds and critical activities, which would have a greater impact on the world. It is often our only experience of Socrates that we see him through other people's eyes. Still, his companions and adversaries agree that he believed an individual's decisions could impact society. The theory also applied to our daily lives, he believed. This central question of Socrates can be applied in any situation when a decision has to be made, and it has universal applicability.

Irreverence of Socrates

The Socratic teaching method uses the concept of Socratic irony to encourage others to speak. It is a process that involves assuming a position of ignorance to encourage others to challenge their statements. Socrates could then pretend he didn't know the answer to the question raised and claim that his opponents were knowledgeable while simultaneously playing down his insight.

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An essential part of spiritual care

Many people ignore the spirit because they are concerned about money, fame, or appearance. Socrates found that people focus on money, fame, or appearance. According to him, the gods assigned him the task of reminding people of the value of their souls or spirits. Being a good citizen leads to riches for all, he argued.

The gods offered a blessing and an improvement of the city of Athens as a gift to Socrates as he believed that the care of the soul should apply to the entire city. As a result, he argued that he was not fighting the gods but working with them. Socrates described himself as a horsefly trying to constantly awaken a sleepy city to action.

Socrates believed the majority rule government would become stale, self-satisfied, and dangerous to itself and its citizens without philosophical debate. The majority rule government was threatened by becoming stale and self-satisfied without philosophical debate.

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