Ancient Greek Philosophy. The Apology of Socrates by Plato (first part)

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Section Two, Week 1. Ancient Greek Philosophy. The Apology of Socrates by Plato (first part) Hello class: Thank you for your interesting comments. This week we will visit ancient Greece again and will read about Socrates and his anthropological enquiry about human life. First at all, Socrates didn't write anything; what you are going to read about him and his life in "The Apology of Socrates" was written by Plato, his student and another famous philosopher. In this section we will move from the cosmological exploration of the universe (done by the Pre-Socratics) and focus on the anthropological and ethical exploration of humankind, that has very strong roots with Socrates. We will also study his way of teaching, his personality and next week we will continue with his trial by the Athenian Court of Law and execution as well as his ethical and moral convictions and his profound influence on Plato's philosophical thinking. Plato was a great writer of imagination and he knew how important "written testimony" is, and thanks to him we have a portrait of Socrates' teachings and way of life. Socrates called himself "a midwife of souls" because the Oracle (the most sacred authority in Greece) told him that he was the "wisest of all men." Therefore he obeyed the oracle and he started enquiring about people who believed he knew a lot, but Socrates showed them that indeed they were not as wise as they pretended to be. By the end of section two week one you should have read: Read: Socrates: A Model for Humanity pages 43-54 & The Socratic Method p. 54-63 (fifth edition) The Philosopher's Way by John Chaffee (TPW) Read: This page (below) completely which includes , 1. My lecture about Socrates 2. The Sophists (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) 3. Protagoras of Abdera (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) 4. Gorgias (The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Read : Do some general searching and reading about ancient Greece My lecture about Socrates: Socrates (469-399 BC). There is not much historical information about Socrates’ childhood and youth, except that he was a soldier during the Peloponnesian war against the Persians. However, we know through historians he was an Athenian citizen and that he was also a very well-known figure in this city. Aristophanes caricatured him in The Clouds (a famous play), where he ridiculed Socrates’ nose and his way of questioning his
adversaries. There are just two historical portraits about Socrates, one is from Xenophon and the other is from Plato, both of whom were his students. Xenophon was a military man and there is a historical tendency to believe that everything he said about Socrates was true. In his Memorabilia , Xenophon described Socrates as a busy man trying to engage people in complicated conversations that allowed them to discover their own limitations about knowledge.

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