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The Time of Socrates. James Van Slyke. Rise of Greek Culture. In 5 th century BC, Athens becomes cultural landmark Rise in secularism Rise in Political theory and discussion Sophists Pragmatic use of philosophy Moved away from metaphysics to political and logical issues. The Sophists.

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the time of socrates

The Time of Socrates

James Van Slyke

rise of greek culture
Rise of Greek Culture
  • In 5th century BC, Athens becomes cultural landmark
    • Rise in secularism
    • Rise in Political theory and discussion
  • Sophists
    • Pragmatic use of philosophy
    • Moved away from metaphysics to political and logical issues
the sophists
The Sophists
  • Secularists
    • Atheists
    • Against the use of religion as persuasion
  • Experts in the Art of Rhetoric
    • Used logical arguments
  • Offered education for a fee
    • Philosophy became a commodity
the sophists1
The Sophists
  • Pragmatists
    • Not interested in metaphysical speculation
    • Skeptical about explanations of ultimate reality
  • Egoism
    • Life should be lived in the service of one’s own self-interest
    • This was the natural state of humanity
  • Relativists
    • Each person understands truth according to their own subjective understanding
    • Reason is not objective
socrates 470 399 bc
Socrates (470-399 BC)
  • Served in the military during the Pelopennesian war between Athens and Sparta
  • Earned a reputation for bravery
  • Became part of the ruling government (the Assembly)
    • Refused to arrest an innocent man
  • Birth of the Golden Age of Philosophy
  • First major figure associated with philosophy
  • Rejected the extremes of speculative philosophy of the pre-Socratics and the cynical pragmaticism of the sophists
  • Provided free instruction
  • Developed the Socratic method of questioning
  • Virtue is obtained through knowledge
  • Plato recorded the words of Socrates in several dialogues
    • It is difficult to know how much is fact and how much is idealization
the euthyphro
The Euthyphro
  • Euthyphro has a moral dilemma about his father
  • Dialogue moves to discussion about the relationship between morality and God
  • Paradox
    • (1) Is the moral or good commanded by God because it is moral?
    • Or (2) Is something moral because it is commanded by God?
trial and death of socrates 399 bc
Trial and Death of Socrates (399 BC)
  • During his political career, Socrates made many enemies
    • Bruised several egos with the Socratic method
    • Often chose the moral rather than popular perspective
    • Several of his enemies bound together against him at the age of 70
  • Charges
    • Immorality
    • Teaching about strange Gods
    • Corruption of Youth
trial and death of socrates 399 bc1
Trial and Death of Socrates (399 BC)
  • Delivers a speech in the Apology to refute charges
  • Corrupts the young?
    • What is his motive?
    • If this is true, he should be educated not persecuted
  • False Gods?
    • Cannot be teaching about false gods, because his mandate to teach philosophy comes from God
  • Refers to his friends and family in the crowd: Why have they brought no charges?
the crito
The Crito
  • Socrates refuses to let his friends help him to escape
    • The only life worthy living is a good life
    • A life purchased through disobedience to the law is not a life worth living
  • ‘Think not of life and children first, but think of justice’
  • ‘Let us fulfill the will of God and follow whither he leads’
the phaedo
The Phaedo
  • Provides an account of Socrates last days and the nature of immortality and death
    • A true philosopher does not fear death, nor will they seek to take their own life to avoid life’s hardships
    • The body is a hindrance for the soul and the contemplation of knowledge, death frees the soul from its cage
  • Various arguments for the existence of the soul
    • The soul brings life
    • Life is the opposite of death
    • Therefore, death cannot overtake that which is immortal