The legacy of socrates essays in moral philosophy

Presocratic Thought An analysis of Presocratic thought presents some difficulties. Even these purportedly verbatim words often come to us in quotation from other sources, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to attribute with certainty a definite position to any one thinker.

The legacy of socrates essays in moral philosophy

Socratic method Perhaps his most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of "elenchus", which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice.

It was first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer a person would seek. The development and practice of this method is one of Socrates's most enduring contributions, and is a key factor in earning his mantle as the father of political philosophyethics or moral philosophy, and as a figurehead of all the central themes in Western philosophy.

The Socratic method has often been considered as a defining element of American legal education. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions.

It was designed to force one to examine one's own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs. An alternative interpretation of the dialectic is that it is a method for direct perception of the Form of the Good.

Philosopher Karl Popper describes the dialectic as "the art of intellectual intuition, of visualising the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man's everyday world of appearances. Hadot writes that "in Plato's view, every dialectical exercise, precisely because it is an exercise of pure thought, subject to the demands of the Logosturns the soul away from the sensible world, and allows it to convert itself towards the Good.

Little in the way of concrete evidence exists to demarcate the two. The lengthy presentation of ideas given in most of the dialogues may be the ideas of Socrates himself, but which have been subsequently deformed or changed by Plato, and some scholars think Plato so adapted the Socratic style as to make the literary character and the philosopher himself impossible to distinguish.

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Others argue that he did have his own theories and beliefs. Consequently, distinguishing the philosophical beliefs of Socrates from those of Plato and Xenophon has not proven easy, so it must be remembered that what is attributed to Socrates might actually be more the specific concerns of these two thinkers instead.

The matter is complicated because the historical Socrates seems to have been notorious for asking questions but not answering, claiming to lack wisdom concerning the subjects about which he questioned others.

When he is on trial for heresy and corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, he uses his method of elenchos to demonstrate to the jurors that their moral values are wrong-headed. He tells them they are concerned with their families, careers, and political responsibilities when they ought to be worried about the "welfare of their souls".

Socrates's assertion that the gods had singled him out as a divine emissary seemed to provoke irritation, if not outright ridicule.

Socrates also questioned the Sophistic doctrine that arete virtue can be taught. He liked to observe that successful fathers such as the prominent military general Pericles did not produce sons of their own quality.

Socrates argued that moral excellence was more a matter of divine bequest than parental nurture. This belief may have contributed to his lack of anxiety about the future of his own sons. Also, according to A.

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Long, "There should be no doubt that, despite his claim to know only that he knew nothing, Socrates had strong beliefs about the divine", and, citing Xenophon's Memorabilia, 1. According to Xenophon, he was a teleologist who held that god arranges everything for the best.

He mentions several influences: Prodicus the rhetor and Anaxagoras the philosopher. Perhaps surprisingly, Socrates claims to have been deeply influenced by two women besides his mother: Plato's Symposiuma witch and priestess from Mantineataught him all he knows about erosor love ; and that Aspasiathe mistress of Periclestaught him the art of rhetoric.

Havelockon the other hand, did not accept the view that Socrates's view was identical with that of Archelaus, in large part due to the reason of such anomalies and contradictions that have surfaced and "post-dated his death.

The following are among the so-called Socratic paradoxes: No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly. Virtue is sufficient for happiness. The term, " Socratic paradox " can also refer to a self-referential paradoxoriginating in Socrates's utterance, "what I do not know I do not think I know", [] often paraphrased as " I know that I know nothing.

Therefore, Socrates is claiming to know about the art of love, insofar as he knows how to ask questions.

On the one hand, he drew a clear line between human ignorance and ideal knowledge; on the other, Plato's Symposium Diotima's Speech and Republic Allegory of the Cave describe a method for ascending to wisdom.

In Plato's Theaetetus aSocrates compares his treatment of the young people who come to him for philosophical advice to the way midwives treat their patients, and the way matrimonial matchmakers act.

The legacy of socrates essays in moral philosophy

This distinction is echoed in Xenophon's Symposium 3. For his part as a philosophical interlocutor, he leads his respondent to a clearer conception of wisdom, although he claims he is not himself a teacher Apology.

Perhaps significantly, he points out that midwives are barren due to age, and women who have never given birth are unable to become midwives; they would have no experience or knowledge of birth and would be unable to separate the worthy infants from those that should be left on the hillside to be exposed.

To judge this, the midwife must have experience and knowledge of what she is judging. The idea that there are certain virtues formed a common thread in Socrates's teachings. These virtues represented the most important qualities for a person to have, foremost of which were the philosophical or intellectual virtues.

Socrates stressed that " the unexamined life is not worth living [and] ethical virtue is the only thing that matters.The legacy of Socrates: essays in moral philosophy User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict.

This collection of 14 previously published essays by the late Rachels (The Elements of Moral Philosophy) is a continuation of his first collection,Can Ethics Provide Answers? Get this from a library! The legacy of Socrates: essays in moral philosophy.

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[James Rachels; Stuart Rachels] -- [The author's] philosophical writings address key questions of contemporary life and the classic dilemmas of moral philosophy. A leading figure in . Ramsey, Frank Plumpton (). British mathematician and philosopher who contributed to the second edition of Russell and Whitehead's Principia caninariojana.com's "Truth and Probability" () and Foundations of Mathematics () clarified the nature of semantic paradox, developed modern applications of the probability calculus, and .

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