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Socrates: His Life and Times. The Delian League. Thasos. Lesbos. Delos. Naxos. Melos. Background . A central figure in western philosophy, but what is known about him comes from two of his pupils, Plato and Xenophon, He lived (469-399)the Golden Age of Athens.

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The Delian League






  • A central figure in western philosophy, but what is known about him comes from two of hispupils, Plato and Xenophon,
  • He lived (469-399)the Golden Age of Athens.
  • Father, a sculptor and stone-mason. His mother was a midwife.
  • The wealthy Athenian Crito took him out of the stone-mason’s workshop andpaid for his education
  • He was a pupil of Anaxagoras
  • Attracted to the topics raised by the Sophists.
  • One dialogue of Plato has a young Socrates listening to Zeno of Elea and talking with him and Parmenides.
philosophical mission
Philosophical mission
  • Chaerephon, went to the Delphic oracle asking if there was anyone who was wiser than Socrates, oracle responded that there was not.
  • Not feeling wise, Socrates cross-examined the ‘wise’ men of society. (statesmen, poets, artisans, and others.) He did NOT find them wise.
  • the pursuit of wisdom became Socrates’ full-time job
socratic method
Socratic method
  • Socrates spent most of his time asking question about ethical issues.
  • He had a knack for asking questions exposing ignorance, hypocrisy, and conceit among his fellow Athenians,particularly in regard to moral questions.
  • argued that knowledge was virtue
the peloponnesian war
The Peloponnesian War
  • Disastrous twenty-seven year struggle (431-404 B.C.E.) between the rival Greek city-states of Athens and Sparta.
  • Socrates fought in this war and it defined him intellectually.
  • He was critical of Athenian democracy and Spartan Oligarchy
  • 3 of his former students were leaders associated with the downfall of Athens
the trial of socrates
The Trial of Socrates
  • An Athenian Democrat, Anytus, who suffered under Spartan control of Athens (when a puppet government of ‘30 tyrants’ led by a former student of Socrates was in charge.) brought charges against Socrates….
  • “Socrates is guilty of not believing inthe gods in which the state believes, but brings in other new divinities; he also wrongs bycorrupting the youth .”
death of socrates
Death of Socrates
  • In his defense Socrates gave a spontaneous speech relying on reason, refuting all the charges one by one .
  • There were 501 men on the jury, and he was condemned by 60 votes.
  • The prosecutors proposed the death penalty, and Socrates had the opportunity to offer an alternative but antagonized the jury.
  • With his death from hemlock poison Socrates became the most famous of all philosophers