Socrates' Pursuit of Wisdom Essay

Socrates' Pursuit of Wisdom Essay

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Philosophy can be defined as the pursuit of wisdom or the love of knowledge. Socrates, as one of the most well-known of the early philosophers, epitomizes the idea of a pursuer of wisdom as he travels about Athens searching for the true meaning of the word. Throughout Plato’s early writings, he and Socrates search for meanings of previously undefined concepts, such as truth, wisdom, and beauty. As Socrates is often used as a mouthpiece for Plato’s ideas about the world, one cannot be sure that they had the same agenda, but it seems as though they would both agree that dialogue was the best way to go about obtaining the definitions they sought. If two people begin on common ground in a conversation, as Socrates often tries to do, they are far more likely to be able to civilly come to a conclusion about a particular topic, or at least further their original concept.
The interesting dialogue between Socrates and Euthyphro demonstrates this Socratic method of questioning in order to gain a succinct definition of a particular idea, such as piety. Though the two men do not come to a conclusion about the topic in the conversation seen in Euthyphro, they do discover that piety is a form of justice, which is more of a definition than their previous one. Their conversation also helps the reader to decipher what makes a good definition. Whenever Euthyphro attempts to define piety, Socrates seems to have some argument against the idea. Each definition offered, therefore, becomes more succinct and comes closer to the actual concept of piety, rather than just giving an example or characteristic of it. To be able to distinguish between a good definition and a bad one is the first step to defining what Socrates so desperately wished to define: w...


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...ns. Why would he do this if he did not see the laws of Athens as just? In order to fulfill the agreement he has made with Athenian law, Socrates must accept the punishment he is given, though he feels that his being punished is Athens wronging him. It would be wrong, by his view, to escape from prison, though he would not be pursued, because he would be breaking his agreement to obey Athenian law. Since he and Crito previously agreed that one must never do wrong, he simply must stay in jail until his death. This is merely one example of the way in which Socrates uses a method of logical dialogue in order to make his point. He appears to be unmatched in his skills of deduction and consistently demonstrates his love of knowledge and truth. Socrates exemplifies all that is philosophy, both as a student and a teacher, because of his constant, active pursuit of wisdom.

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