Philosophy was both serious and dangerous, Socrates chose to ignore both. Ignoring the first made him one of the most engaging of all philosophers, ignoring the second was to cost him his life. He was born in a middle class home in Athens, in 470 BCE. His parents were Phaenarete and Sophroniscus. His mother had a reputation for her patient and intuitive skill in delivering babies in and around the neighborhood. The latter, his father was a craftsman, stonecutter by trade.
As a young boy, Socrates was teased in school about his appearance, and often would prey to the Gods to make him beautiful both inside as well as outside. He was known for asking many questions as a child, because he was very curious about things, what they were, what importance they had? Crito noticed that Socrates in a way was beginning to think as a philosopher, always looking for the meaning of things.
As Socrates gradually began to mature and grow older, he did not see much of his friends. They would always be down at the gymnasium working seriously at the outdoor exercises. He did not like to work out like his friends or be a stonecutter like his father because he knew that sort of thing was not for him. He thought about everything in a more abstract way.
The Gods during Socrates time seemed to be further away from humanity, they did not disguise themselves as humans to help or punish them anymore (1). He only knew of them from old stories, myths, and Homer. He had a voice in him that stopped him from doing certain things as he was about to, and he thought that that was gift from the gods. He knew that goodness was the very mark of the gods and that is why he tried his best to be just towards everything and everybody.
As a teen Socrates talked and studied with many other accomplished scientists and philosophers, whose names are not known. Later, from when he was eighteen to twenty-four he was in the military in the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. Along with, the rest of the army, he walked fourteen miles in one day to make it to Athens on time. In the tents, he always won the philosophical arguments between his friends, for he had pondered the subjects himself many times. If it had not been for Pythion, an experienced guide of Greece, they would probab...
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...its represent Socrates as the great ironist of philosophy. He knows but ironically denies that he knows. He teaches but ironically denies that he teaches. He claims that knowledge is identical to virtue, ironically disclaiming the one yet implying that he possesses the other. Even when he is on trial for his life, he is what he says he is not and is not what he says he is. He is perpetually masked in order to stir up in those he examines a fertile and productive search for virtue. (8)
1Cora Mason, Socrates: The Man Who Dared To Ask (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1957) 22-27.
2Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates: Four Dialogues (New York: Dover Publications, 1992) 20-25.
5Leo Strauss, Socrates and Aristophanes (New York/London: Basic Books Inc., 1966) 311.
7James W. Hulse, The Reputations of Socrates (New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc., 1995) 0.
8C.D.C. Reeve, Socrates in the Apology: An Essay on Plato’s Apology of Socrates (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1989) 184.
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