The impact of his life was all the greater because of the way in which it ended: at age 70, he was brought to trial on a charge of impiety and sentenced to death by poisoning (the poison probably being hemlock) by a jury of his fellow citizens. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Not without further evidence; remember, “plausible” is not the same as “credible” —  it refers to something that seems probable or reasonable. This video is a 1962 production of Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corporation. His interlocutors in these (typically adversarial) exchanges included people he happened to meet, devoted followers, prominent political figures, and leading thinkers of the day. What are these professors afraid of? Plato had his own interpretation of Socrates’ ideas. According to Socrates, one of the ways to discover truth and knowledge was through two-way communication. After being convicted, he could have proposed a reasonable penalty short of death but initially refused. Because Bert knew very little, Philosophy turned out to be right up his alley, as it were, because of Socrates's teaching, that the only thing we know with certainty, is how little we know. However, I do doubt his idea of belief. So, from the perspective of the Socratic lesson, that one should not honour the gods of the city — that is, that one should mistrust those serving the most powerful ideologies because it is in their own interest to consolidate and maintain their power over you — what should one do when confronting the very different messages represented by the two sources of information, above? As a student of the philosophy of Socrates, Plato revealed some of the ideas of his former mentor in his own philosophical teachings. Socrates professed not to teach anything (and indeed not to know anything important) but only to seek answers to urgent human questions (e.g., “What is virtue?” and “What is justice?”) and to help others do the same. On the other hand, the Irish watchdog-person states clearly at the beginning of the video on the leaked Canadian Report that he has “not been able to … verify the authenticity of this information”, but proceeds to read and discuss it for viewers’ benefit — so that (as he says) they can judge for themselves. An important aspect of the philosophy of Socrates is the fact that he believed that individuals do not commit harmful acts out of temptation or spiritual weakness. In this allegory, we are all living in a cave, and all we can see are shadows on the cave. The reason why I am writing about this hallmark of philosophy  —  dishonouring the “gods of the city”  —  is because we live in an era where these gods (as metaphor for the most powerful ideologies of the present, as well as for their representatives) are more powerful than ever before. Some things we simply can’t know on our own, like where the universe came from. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher. When you do, one is faced with the dilemma, referred to earlier, of being smothered by a plethora of (often contradictory) information, which is paralysing, to say the least. Its powerful advocacy of the examined life and its condemnation of Athenian democracy have made it one of the central documents of Western thought and culture. Nevertheless, every “normally functioning” human being is capable of thinking, and of comparing different views on any given topic, but more importantly, anyone is able to search for the grounds on which certain claims are made, and comparing those with the grounds on which these claims are denied or questioned. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable. He was also an outspoken critic of democracy, which Athenians cherished, and he was associated with some members of the Thirty Tyrants, who briefly overthrew Athens’s democratic government in 404–403 BCE. His reasoning was simple: if God is infinite (as orthodoxy claimed), and is the cause of the universe, then it follows that the universe had to be infinite, and that there are innumerable worlds where intelligent life flourished. When thinking about Greek philosophy, certain names inevitably crop up. Essentially, individuals did hurtful things because they did not have the knowledge and tools to know any better. Socrates held the belief that he himself was unaware of the truth and did not … Groundless claims are accepted at one’s peril. He was arguably guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, impiety and corrupting the youth, because he did reject the city’s gods and he did inspire disrespect for authority among his youthful followers (though that was not his intention). @SkyWhisperer - Socrates was certainly unconventional for his day. He finally rejected an offer of escape as inconsistent with his commitment never to do wrong (escaping would show disrespect for the laws and harm the reputations of his family and friends). The idea that people commit wrongdoing simply out of ignorance does not sit well with me. He studied music, gymnastics, and grammar in his youth (the common subjects of study for a young Greek) and followed his father's profession as a sculptor. I think this is a fair representation of truth and of the process of individual enlightenment. Socrates. Philosopher and educator Mortimer J. Adler discussing Socrates as a man, a teacher, and a philosopher, with reenactments by Tony Van Bridge (as Socrates) and others. Plato’s Apology of Socrates purports to be the speech Socrates gave at his trial in response to the accusations made against him (Greek apologia means “defense”). Sometimes philosophers who rejected the “gods of the city” did not pay for it with their lives, but endured other forms of censure, such as Bertrand Russell, who took a principled stand against nuclear armament, once spending time in prison for his stance. In the face of the many irrational actions on the part of people, and wanting to understand these, later on he branched out into Psychoanalysis and Social Theory as well, and because Philosophy cultivates in one a strong sense of justice, he has more recently been harnessing what little knowledge he has in intellectual opposition to the injustices brought about by the dominant economic system today, to wit, neoliberal capitalism. Armed with this 'docta ignorantia', Bert set out to teach students the value of questioning, and even found out that one could write cogently about it, which he did during the 1980s and '90s on a variety of subjects, including an opposition to apartheid. (The Clouds of Aristophanes, produced in 423, is the best-known example.) I loved reading Plato’s Dialogues and the Republic when I was in college. It all depends, you might say, on how we get there. The only problem is that it is very difficult to judge for oneself, in the absence of the means to verify that this account of what happened in the meeting referred to is accurate. But tragedy need not be its only legacy. That’s the way temptation works, as I think human history has attested. A legendary figure even in his own time, he was admired by his followers for his integrity, his self-mastery, his profound philosophical insight, and his great argumentative skill. What knowledge we have of Socrates must therefore depend primarily on one or the other (or both, when their portraits coincide) of these sources. However, there is no way I can buy into his views on good and evil. Some of this was due to the fact that although Socrates openly questioned conventional theories and beliefs, he did not have an alternative answer to them. Many of these “Socratic discourses,” as Aristotle calls them in his Poetics, are no longer extant; there are only brief remnants of the conversations written by Antisthenes, Aeschines, Phaedo, and Eucleides. The endless rhetoric about this being a career development opportunity sounds empty at best, deliberately misleading at worst. Charles and Emma Morrison Professor in the Humanities, Northwestern University. Many at the time found the philosophy of Socrates to be controversial. Rather, college professors tend to use their classrooms as bully pulpits to sound off on their own philosophies, political or otherwise. and what is patently false. Outwardly I suppose he was, but the idea of the cave and the shadows is quite similar in my opinion to the Apostle Paul’s words that we “see through a glass darkly.” Of course Paul believed in divinely revealed truth but Socrates said truth had to be arrived at experientially. As an undergraduate student, Bert Olivier discovered Philosophy more or less by accident, but has never regretted it. Rather they were a means of questioning what had previously been blindly accepted as truth. Most scholars, however, do not believe that every Socratic discourse of Xenophon and Plato was intended as a historical report of what the real Socrates said, word-for-word, on some occasion. But is plausibility sufficient? In other words, all I have to do is say, “Don’t touch this,” and the next thing you know you have a strong desire to touch it. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s.


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