Socrates

Socrates

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Socrates


     Socrates, as known by Renault, was a beautiful creature. Not physically
beautiful, but internally and fundamentally beautiful. It was he who said:
When you assume the show of any virtue, you open a credit account, which one day
you will have to meet or go broke (pp. 398). According to Renault, Socrates
taught children free of charge. He often walked and talked with children and
young men in the market. They discussed, or more accurately argued in a calm
manner, various issues ranging from the sciences to religion. Socrates, however,
usually avoided the subject of government whenever possible. Socrates believed
his role in life was to teach a new understanding of virtues, it was these
virtues that revolved around much of the controversies. The citizens thought
that Socrates poisoned the minds of children. Causing them to lose respect for
parents and elders. It was said that he did not believe in conventional gods
either. This is shown by Strymon on pp. 181 and 182, "I imagine the in your own
circle of friends, what we have heard is nothing out of the way. Where the
teacher (Socrates) does not even worship the immortal gods, but sets the aside
for his new divinities, one can hardly expect in the pupil much reverence for
age and kinship in mere men." Parents blamed the lack of respect for elders on
Socrates. In truth Renault says that he was only giving them guidance so that
they may guide themselves and be free of petty problems. This guidance and
advice caused these young men to re-think their attitudes. Indeed Alexias,
Xenophon, and especially Plato were all changed by Socrates. They loved
Socrates like a mother or father: pp. 392, "In a word," said Xenophon, "We love
him." This love for Socrates was often misinterpreted as love being lost for
family, through argument. Parents were so afraid of losing children to him they
made laws. One law stated that Socrates could not speak to anyone under thirty
years of age. Socrates defied this law, and was not punished. However after a
while all his defiance's and warnings caught up with him. He was given the
choice of banishment or death. He chose death. Many of his students wanted to
free him, but Socrates made the choice against it. In the end Socrates is
holding the glass of Hemlock saying farewell with his students, and friends.
     According to The Encyclopedia, Socrates was born around 470 BC and died
around 399 BC. He greatly impacted Western Philosophy through his influence on
Plato. Socrates was born in Athens the son of a sculptor.

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He received an
education in literature, music, and gymnastics. Later he familiarized himself
with the ideas of the Sophists. However, like in the book, Socrates was not to
be associated with the Sophists. Following in his fathers foot steps Socrates
became a sculptor. During several wars: The Potidaea, the Delium, and the
Peloponnesian, Socrates served as an infantry man. After the wars ended
Socrates spent the greater part of his mature life engaging in dialogue, in
Athenian Markets, with anyone who would listen. In agreement with Renault,
Socrates was unattractive, and short of stature. He was said to have received
social popularity because of his wit and sense of humor. Socrates was obedient
to Athenian Law. He usually steered clear of politics. He believed he had
received a call to pursue philosophy, and could best serve his country by
teaching. He wanted the Athenians to engage in self-examination and by doing so
attend to their souls. Socrates wrote no books, he did however introduce
understandings of love, justice, and virtue. Through Plato, and then Aristotle,
Socrates set off a chain reaction of thinkers. This affected the entire
subsequent course of Western speculative thought. In 399 BC Socrates was
charged with the same violations mentioned above. Socrates' friends wanted to
plan an escape from prison, but he preferred to comply with the law and die for
his cause. He killed himself with a poisonous drink of hemlock in the company
of his friends.
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