My Tribute to Socrates


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I have friends whose every jumping urge screams poetry.

However, he acknowledges that he is "at a slight advantage in having the skill to get some account of the matter from another's wisdom and entertain it with fair treatment. His skill in elucidation and debate is not a form of real wisdom as far as he was concerned. Real wisdom is perfect knowledge about ethical subjects, that help us understand the right way to behave.

Socrates pointed out: "I spend all my time going about trying to persuade you, young and old, to make your first and chief concern not for your bodies nor for your possessions, but for the highest welfare of your souls, proclaiming as I go, wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state.

Aristotle believed that Socrates held very strong political views and claims that Plato told him that "Socrates says that wives and children and possessions should be held in common. The purpose of the Athens city state is the good of the whole, not the happiness of one class. Both wealth and poverty are harmful, and in an ideal world neither will exist. The preoccupations of Socrates were ethical rather than scientific. He admitted that "I have nothing to do with physical speculations. Socrates maintains that no man sins wittingly, and therefore only knowledge is needed to make all men perfectly virtuous.

The method he uses to obtain this knowledge is by question and answer, what is usually called the dialectic.

I. F. Stone Interviewed aboout the Trial of Socrates

Socrates suggests that he is only eliciting knowledge already possessed by the man he is questioning. Most of his questions attempt to define the five virtues courage, moderation, piety, wisdom and justice. Questions such as:"What is holiness? His mission was to urge people to care for their souls by trying to understand and acquire these qualities. Instead of proposing a thesis himself, Socrates lets the other man do so and then draws out its consequences.

According to Socrates, the dialectic method is a good way of discovering truth. The dialectic method - or, more generally, the habit of unfettered discussion - tends to promote logical consistency, and is in this way useful.

Ten reasons why I love Brazil – and a tribute to Socrates

But it is quite unavailing when the object is to discover new facts Such matters are obviously unsuitable for treatment in this way - empirical science, for example. All these dialogues are concerned with ethics in the broad sense of how one should live. Socrates frequently says he does not know the answer to the particular question under discussion, he never says that he knows nothing whatever. The most important thing for Socrates is that he knows the right questions to ask. The main objective of these questions is a search for accurate definitions.

Socrates believed in absolute justice, absolute beauty, and absolute good, but they are not visible to the eye: "And I speak not of these alone, but of absolute greatness, and health, and strength, and of the essence or true nature of everything". These can only be seen by "intellectual vision". Therefore while we are in the body, while the soul is infected with the evils of the body, our desire for truth will not be satisfied.

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Socrates wanted to reshape people's moral ideas. He questioned Greek moral conventions, where it was acceptable to harm one's enemies, though not one's friends and especially not one's family. Doing good is a matter of looking after the part of yourself which matters most, namely your soul. This is not like ordinary selfishness, though because the only way to achieve this sort of benefit for yourself is by acting justly and practising the other virtues too. It cannot be gained by greedily putting moral self-improvement above any other motive. Socrates argued that this unusual ethics rest on any hope of heavenly reward or fear of its opposite.

The benefits of acting in a virtuous way are reaped almost immediately. For "to live well means the same thing as to live honourably" and "the just man is happy and the unjust miserable". In Socrates' view, happiness and virtue are linked, which is why it is in people's own interests to be moral.

Aristotle believed that Socrates suffered from an over-simplified picture of human psychology: "he is doing away with the irrational part of the soul, and is thereby doing away with the irrational part of the soul, and in thereby doing away also both with passion and character". Socrates saw human action and emotion in largely rational or intellectual terms and ignored impulses and irrationality.

Socrates claimed that "no one acts against what he believes best - people act so only by reason of ignorance. Guthrie , said of Socrates that "in the strength of his character lay the weakness of his philosopher". In the words of Bertrand Russell : "The body is the source of endless trouble to us by reason of the mere requirement of food; and is liable also to diseases which overtake and impede us in the search after true being: it fills us full of loves and lusts, and fears, and fancies of all kinds, and endless foolery, and in fact, as men say, takes away from us all power of thinking at all.

Whence come wars, and fightings and factions?


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Whence but from the body and the lusts of the body? Wars are occasioned by the love of money, and money has to be acquired for the sake and in the service of the body; and by reason of all these impediments we have no time to give to philosophy; and, last and worst of all, even if we are at leisure to betake ourselves to some speculation, the body is always breaking in upon us, causing turmoil and confusion in our inquiries, and so amazing us that we are prevented from seeing the truth.

In BC a twenty-seven-year war between Athens and Sparta came to an end. Athens defeat was blamed on the city's experiment with democracy. That system was brought to an end and Sparta installed rule by a group of men who became known as the Thirty Tyrants. This group of men maintained power for eight months. The regime was overthrown in BC but it was not until BC that democracy was fully restored. Understandably, the democrats felt very insecure and became concerned by Socrates who continued to teach people to ask questions about the political system.

Another disadvantage for Socrates was that one of his students, Critias , was the leader of Thirty Tyrants. Another student, Alcibiades , had actually betrayed the city and fought on the side of the Spartans. Some claimed that intellectuals like Socrates were weakening Athenian society by undermining its traditional views and values. In BC a man named Meletus brought the following indictment against Socrates: "Meletus son of Meletus of Pitthos has brought and sworn this charge against Socrates son of Sophroniscus of Alopeke: Socrates is a wrongdoer in not recognizing the gods which the city recognizes, and introducing other new divinities.

Further, he is a wrongdoer in corrupting the young. The case came to trial before a jury of citizens in the early spring of Plato attended the trial and later provided a detailed account of the proceedings. According to Bettany Hughes he reports that "Socrates is insouciant, apathetic. Standing there in the packed courtroom in his shabby clothes Athens has prided itself on its legal system, on its ability to being men to justice in front of their peers.

But Socrates confesses that he had no time for such legalities. Accounts provided by people who knew him provide "a picture of a man of a certain type: a man very sure of himself, high-minded, indifferent to worldly success, believing that he is guided by a divine voice, and persuaded that clear thinking is the most important requisite for right living In the final passage, where he considers what happens after death, it is impossible not to feel that he firmly believes in immorality, and that his professed uncertainty is only assumed.

He is not troubled, like the Christians, by fears of eternal torment: he has no doubt that his life in the next world will be a happy one. Plato reports Socrates as saying: "The fact is that this is the first time I have come before the court, even though I am seventy years old. I am therefore an utter foreigner as far as courtroom speaking goes. So now I make what I think is a fair request of you; disregard my manner of speaking. Pardon me as I speak in that manner in which I have been raised, just as you would if I really were a foreigner.

Socrates was cross-examined about the rumour that he disbelieved in the traditional gods. He denied this charge, but not convincingly. There is no doubt that he had an unorthodox approach to divinity. The jury also disliked the way he talked about his "guardian spirit" or personal "divine sign".


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  7. It has been argued: "The state alone had the power to say what was a suitable object for religious veneration; it had its own procedures for officially recognizing gods, and anyone who ignored them was in effect challenging the legitimacy of the democratic state. It is claimed that during the trial Socrates claimed that an intimate relation between self-knowledge and having one's soul in the best possible state. He advocated "care for intelligence and truth and the best possible state of one's soul" since "it is as a result of goodness that wealth and everything else are good for people in the private and in the public sphere".

    Socrates believed strongly that people who thought deeply about issues were incapable of making decisions that were not in their own self-interests. Therefore, the charge that he had corrupted his students, if true, "it must have been unintentionally, since if they were corrupted they would be harmful to him, and no one harms himself intentionally. According to one of Socrates' students, after speeches and production of witnesses by both sides the jury voted for the condemnation or acquittal.

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    Socrates was found guilty by a majority of sixty to Once the verdict was reached each side spoke again to propose the penalty, and the jury had to decide between the two. In the latter he appeared in only one game, the second leg of the final against Uruguay 1—1 home draw, 1—3 aggregate loss. While he was mainly known for his ability to orchestrate attacking plays, he was a prolific goal scorer himself, courtesy of his powerful and accurate shot with his right foot, and his ability to make attacking runs into the area from behind.


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    He was also an accurate penalty taker, while his height, heading ability, and elevation allowed him to excel in the air. He was also known, however, for often not taking part in his teammates' celebrations whenever he scored a goal. Although he was not the quickest of players, and preferred to play the game at a slower tempo, he possessed good acceleration.

    His intelligence and ability to read the game were also highly valued, and his signature move was the blind or "no-look" back-heel pass. He might not quite have had the flair of Zico , but he was the central intelligence". He also often stood out for his outspokenness, humour, eccentric personality, his strong, rebellious character, and his left-wing political views, often speaking out against political issues in his home-country.

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