why should we care about this curious, clever, condemned Greek? Quite simply because Socrates 's problems were our own. He lived in a city that was for the first time working out what role true democracy should play in human society. His hometown – successful, cash-rich – was in danger of being swamped by its own vigorous quest for beautiful objects, new experiences, foreign coins.
Socrates cut a strange figure in Athens, going about barefoot, long-haired and unwashed in a society with incredibly refined standards of beauty. It didn’t help that he was by all accounts physically ugly, with an upturned nose and bulging eyes. Despite his intellect and connections, he rejected the sort of fame and power that Athenians were expected to strive for. His lifestyle—and eventually his death—embodied his spirit of questioning every assumption about virtue, wisdom and the good life.
Socrates wrote no philosophy, and what we know of him comes chiefly from two of his younger students Xenophon and Plato. They recorded the most significant accounts of Socrates’ life and philosophy. For both, the Socrates that appears bears the mark of the writer.
One of the greatest paradoxes that Socrates helped his students explore was whether weakness of will—doing ...
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...definitions and hair-splitting questions inspired the development of formal logic and systematic ethics from the time of Aristotle through the Renaissance and into the modern era. Moreover, Socrates’ life became an exemplar of the difficulty and the importance of living (and if necessary dying) according to one’s well-examined beliefs. And according to Socrates, there is no such thing as weakness of will: “To know the good is to do the good.”
To this day, the Socratic Method is still used in classroom and law school discourse to expose underlying issues in both subject and the speaker. He has been recognized with accolades ranging from frequent mentions in pop culture (such as the movie Bill & Ted 's Excellent Adventure) and a Greek rock band called (Socrates Drank the Conium) to numerous busts in academic institutions in recognition of his contribution to education.
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