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Socrates (470 – 399 BCE). Socrates. Socrates the man (the “historical Socrates”) Socrates’ philosophical project Socrates’ main ideas. The Historical Socrates I. A working class man, served in the army, a bricklayer by trade The Oracle at Delphi labeled him “The wisest man in Athens”

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socrates
Socrates
  • Socrates the man (the “historical Socrates”)
  • Socrates’ philosophical project
  • Socrates’ main ideas
the historical socrates i
The Historical Socrates I
  • A working class man, served in the army, a bricklayer by trade
  • The Oracle at Delphi labeled him “The wisest man in Athens”
  • Socrates did not believe he was wise, so he set out to prove the oracle wrong
  • “There must be someone wiser than I, since I am not wise at all”
the historical socrates ii
The Historical Socrates II
  • Most of the men he questioned were Sophists, wealthy men whose profession was to teach aristocratic young men how to be successful
  • According to the Sophists, success was the ability to gain and hold onto
    • Wealth
    • Fame
    • Power
the historical socrates iii
The Historical Socrates III
  • Socrates believed that the Sophists were wrong
  • Wealth, fame, and power are not important
  • What matters most in life is our moral goodness
  • In order to be morally good, we need to think and re-evaluate our moral values
the historical socrates iv
The Historical Socrates IV
  • Eventually Socrates got in trouble with the wealthy, famous, powerful forces in Athens
  • He was accused of two crimes – lacking respect for the city’s gods and of poisoning the young men’s minds
  • Questioning values was the crime; the penalty was death
socrates approach to philosophy
Socrates’ Approach to Philosophy
  • Socrates did not write anything.
  • Everything we know about him was written by others
  • He pursued values in conversation with others – Goodness, Justice, Truth, Self-Knowledge
  • He criticized the self-satisfied Sophists because they claimed to possess the final answers to all questions – wealth, fame, power
socrates his main ideas i
Socrates - His Main Ideas I
  • Our interior life – our “psyche” or “soul” – is the most important part of life
  • Our psyche is “healthy” when it seeks goodness, truth, justice, and self-knowledge
  • A soul in search of wealth, fame, and power becomes weak, sickly, ignorant
socrates his main ideas ii
Socrates – His Main Ideas II
  • Being ignorant is to mistake the appearance of good for the reality of it
  • All evil is caused by ignorance
  • People who cheat, lie, steal, harm others are always motivated to do so by their own ignorance concerning what is good
  • They don’t know what is important in life, so they seek wealth, fame, power, and in doing so they find they must cheat, lie, steal, and harm others
socrates his main ideas iii
Socrates – His Main Ideas III
  • “THE UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING”
  • If we spend our lives examining and criticizing ourselves, our psyches become strong
  • In seeking goodness, justice, truth and self-knowledge, we will not become self-satisfied, bigoted, and ignorant
  • We may not find what we seek, but the life we live will be one that strengthens our inner selves