Sex, fame, and fortune are the general markers for success in society, but as a philosopher Socrates believed he was destined for a higher calling. He searched endlessly for hidden answers in order to unearth the truth about the purpose of human beings. Through the writings of one of his most prized students, Plato, Socrates’ ideas on human nature can be examined and studied by people today. Socrates used a method called dialectic in which he asked the interlocutor for a definition and continued to question their definition until he could find it absolutely perfect. Another common method of philosophical conversation was through rhetoric. Rhetoric can be defined as the skill of speech persuasion. Socrates did not think this method should be used by philosophers because, it does not teach it simply wins debate. Through this realization we are able to understand Socrates’ view on the duty of a philosopher and the lifestyle that he agreed must follow in accordance with the obligations.Simply put Socrates preempted that the true way of a philosopher is to search for truth by any and all means necessary. He not only applied this statement to abstract discussion, but showed evidence of his obligation through his daily behavior. “The Apology” and “The Crito” written by Plato reveal the Socrates’ actions in court up to a day before his death. After being found guilty in court Socrates was sent to a jail to await his death penalty. Socrates was charged and convicted for acts in which he did not commit. The day before he is expected to die his very good and old friend Crito arrives at the cell to try and persuade Socrates to escape before he is killed unjustly. Instead of Socrates falling to his most primitive emotions he tries to remove his bias and ask both himself and Crito if it just or unjust for him to flee from Athens. Crito announces that him and other friends will supply the money for the trip. He also makes Socrates aware of the fact that he does not want other people to judge him by thinking that he did not try to help Socrates escape. Crito’s last point is that it is a greater injustice for Socrates to leave this world and his sons thus, letting evil win. In doing this he states that Socrates will be letting the world remain in dark ignorance. Socrates then examines these proposals and responds with authority assuring Crito that as philosophers they should not be concerned with the unwise masses but instead that they should focus on the few wise people. The next item Socrates addressed was his duty to justice and not to human relationship. In this he describes himself as the son of the law and under the law that raised him he cannot simply disobey when its constrictions do not fit his wants. Socrates’ also shares his view that, the wicked can neither do harm or good so they will be gaining nothing from his death. With this he accepted his death as a positive faith, because of this it is believed that Socrates died a martyr for philosophy.
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- Winter '10
- Philosophy, b. Socrates