THE WISE MAN SOCRATES. YOU ARE ABOUT TO MEET…. Socrates (c.470-399 B.C.E), one of the most powerful , intriguing , annoying , inspiring , widely known , and yet misunderstood figures in the history of philosophy .
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WHO AM I? HOW CAN I DISCOVER MY TRUE IDENTITY? HOW SHALL I LIVE?
Againstthe popular notion of his time (and ours), Socratestaughtthatbeauty and goodnessshouldbedeterminedbyusefulness and fitness of function, ratherthanbymereappearanceor personal feelings of delight.
Don´tthinkthatSocrateswas a prude, he wasnot, he wastemptedbyphysicalattractiveness, but he goveredhislifeaccordingto“true beauty and goodness”, preffering a good and beautifulsoulto a pleasingbodythathoused a lesserself.
Barefoot in Athens
Socrateswasusuallybarefoot and apparentlyhadonlyonetatteredcoat, aboutwhichhisfriendsjoked.
Hisenemiesaccusedhim of beingunwashed and evenhisfriendsadmittedthatitwas a surprisetoseeSocratesfreshlybathed.
As he taught, the true selfisnotthebodybutthesoul, and ifvirtueimpliesexcellence of function, thentheappearance of thebodyislessimportantthanhowwellitfunctions,
TRUE BEAUTY IS INNER BEAUTY, BEAUTY OF SPIRIT AND CHARACTER.
Socratessaysthatwecannotknowwhether a personishappyjustbecausehisexternalconditionisattractivetous, he insiststhathappiness, likegoodness, is a manner of innerqualities.
One of hismostnotedcharacteristicswashardinessreflected in remarkableself-control ortemperance.
Temperance in thesesensemeansindifferencetoboththepresence and absence of material pleasures; itdoesnot mean total abstinence.
Socratestalksaboutself-control, especiallyconcerningappetites and passions. Socratesarguesthatself-control-notself-indulgence and weakness of will, leads topleasure. Lacks of self-control, he asserts, preventsusfromthefinestsexpressions of pleasure in eating, drinking, and resting.
Ifwegratifyevery urge as soon as itarises, wemustoftensettleforfastfood, cheapdrink, sleepallday etc. Wewillbelittle more thananimals. Withoutself control, wehave no control in learninghowtomoderateourselves and ourlives.
Part of Socrates appeal comes fromthefactthat he hadmany of thesamedesires as therest of us, theymayevenhavebeen more intense, so werespondtotheeffort he musthaveexertedtokeepallhisappetites and passionsunderstrict control.
DUE : WednesdayOctober 30th
Write a 1-2 page essay of thefollowingPhilosophicalQuery:
SocrateswasmarriedtoXanthippe and hadthreesons.
He wasseventyyearsold at the time of hisexecution; hisoldest son wasnotyettwenty and hisyoungestwassaidtobe a smallchild.
Although he wasknown as a stonecutterorsculptorbyhisfather, he workedonlynow and then, he lived off a modestinheritancefromhisfather, consisting of a house and somemoneyforteaching, and ocasionallyacceptedgiftsfromhiswealthyfriends and admirers.
Thecombinedportraits of Plato and XenophonrevealSocrates as a masterteacher, a man of unusualintellectualforce, possessinganintegratedself.
Socratesisanarchetypal individual, orwecouldsay a paradigmatic individual: Thatis a specialclass of teacher , philosopherorreligious figure whosenaturebecomes a standardbywhich a culturejudgesthe ideal humanbeing; a rarehumanbeingwhoseverynaturerepresentssomething elemental aboutthehumancondition.
Because of theirverynatures, paradigmaticindividualsprovoke extreme communityreactions: Love and embracethemorreject and excludethem. Theparadigmatic individual is more challenging and intense thanthemeresageis.
TheTeacher and HisTeachings
As presentedby Plato, theharmonybetweenSocrate´slife and teachingstransformedhimfrom a truthseekerinto a sage, from a sageinto a paradigm of theteacher as more thansage.
Forreasonsthatremain controversial tothisday, Socrates “electric shock”, on Athens resulted in hisindictment, conviction and execution as a traitorousblasphemer. Speaking as a public figure forthelast time, ontrailforhislife, theseventyyearoldphilosopherrepeatedthet he hadalwaysinsisted “I neitherknownorthinkthat I know”.
We are goingto try tounderstand more aboutSocrates´ teachings and howitcametopassthat a philosopherwhoinsisted, underthreat of death, thathiswisdomconsisted of knowingthat he didnotknow.
Socratesarguedthatone of thechiefreasonsmanypeoplecannotthinkclearlyisthattheydon´tevenknowwhatthey are talkingabout. Consequently, thefirstorder of businessisto define ourterms. Theearly dialogues of Plato, reveal a Socratesconstantlypushing and searchingforclearer and more precise definitions of keyterms, thenusingskillfullquestions he attemtsto guide hisopponentclosertothetruthbyallowingtheopponenttoexperiencethelogicalinconsistencies in hisownstated positions.
Socrateswaswas so effectivewiththismethod of philosophicalteaching and inquirythatitcametobeknown as theSOCRATIC METHOD.
TheSOCRATIC METHOD beginswiththeassumptionthatthefunction of educationistodrawthetruthout of thepupilratherthantofilltheemptyvessel. In practice, itis a series of guidedquestionsknown as thedialecticalmethod of inquiry.
Thedialecticalprocess as Socratespracticedit, wasdynamic and hopeful. At worsttheparticipantslearnedthatalthoughtheymightnothavefoundtheanswer, themeaning of justice, thegoodlife, orcourage, theywere at leastclearerthanbefore, otherswereoftenangered and frustrated, ifnothummiliated, as theirconfusion and ignorancewereexposed.
Socratesbelievedthatthetruthwassomehow in each of us. Theteacher´s role, then, isn´ttoputknowledgeintoanemptymind, but do drawwisdom and clarityout of a disordered and confusedsoul.
Socratesclaimedtoaidothers in givingbirthtotheirowninsightsbydrawingoutwhatwasalreadythere.
ForSocratesthemostimportantorder of businesswastoengagetheotherperson. TheSocraticMethod in full formis more thanjustquestions and answers, itis a highly personal activity, guidedbyonewhoknowsboththe general direction of inquiry (butnottheanswers) as well as thenature and needs of the individual student. Itworksonlyiftheotherparticipantactivelylistens and responds.
2. Describe Socratesphysicalappearance.
4. WhatwereSocrate´s ideas aboutself-control?
5. HowdidSocratesearn a living?
7. WhatwereSocrateslastwordsspeaking as a public figure beforehisexecution?