In ancient Greek culture there was a man who was very well known as an influential thinker, his name was Socrates.
Son of a midwife and sculptor, he was acquainted with the intellectual elite at the court of Pericles, ruler of Athens, despite his plebian origins.
As a young man, Socrates studied philosophy, establishing a familiarity with the work of earlier Greek philosophers. Heraclitus and Parmenides are thought to have been particularly influential in his education.
During the Peloponnesian War, he fought in several battles and received commendation for his actions. He did not keep a formal school, nor did he charge for his services.
He was a popular guest at social gatherings, and could often be seen arguing against illogical reasoning and prejudice wherever people congregated. Socrates did not sympathize with the ascetics -- he believed in enjoying life.
He found fault with the Sophists, contemporary teachers who were willing to argue either side of any controversy and with whom he was often wrongly associated. Socrates believed that truth, beauty, and justice have objective content, and that we are born with an innate understanding of their existence.
He taught his students to use their rational understanding to rediscover knowledge they already had. He also believed that a moral life brought men happiness, and that this morality was something that could be transmitted through education.
He himself was fond of claiming that he knew nothing, which was his way of stating that he had no fixed doctrine. Socrates alleged ignorance was called by the Greeks eironeia, Socratic irony.
His willingness to criticize arguments that he found unsound, regardless of subject, challenged and threatened some prominent Athenians. Socrates made powerful political enemies when he spoke against Athens' new democratic governmental system, which he considered ineffectual and corrupt.
During this time, the Peloponnesian War dragged on, and the city of Athens suffered plague, treason, and finally total defeat. Socrates and his outspoken opinions became increasingly aggravating to the ruling elite.
It was thought that his influence over the youth of Athens was dangerous, particularly his association with Critias, a former student and a powerful figure in the Rule of Thirty, a tyrannic government that came to power in Athens after the period of political flux in the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War.
While some of the members of this oligarchy had indeed been followers of Socrates, Socrates remained an outspoken critic of the new government. When the Democrats regained power, however, Socrates' association with the oligarchy, particularly with Critias and Alcibiades, gave his enemies reason to bring him to trial.
He was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens and with impiety. Despite his eloquent defense, Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death. Plato records Socrates's last month of life in jail in the Apology, the Phaedo, and the Crito.Socrates is considered to be among the most influential Western philosophers.
Although he never wrote a word himself, the many works of his student, Plato, provides a window into Socratic philosophy. His major contribution to the study of philosophy was to redirect inquiries away from the natural sciences and toward the contemplation of systems.
Socrates did not sympathize with the ascetics Plato was Socrates' student and one of the most influential philosophers in Western civilization. WESTERN CIVILIZATION In today's modern world, much of our own culture's beliefs and morals are directly due to the impact of Socratic philosophy on European thinkers, and therefore our own in .
As there is little recorded history on the early years of Socrates, he is often thought to have studied the doctrines of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras, who . The influence of Socrates on his fellow Greeks cannot be measured.
Plato, his most famous student, worshiped Socates and was the primary author of his life and times. Plato would go on to cite Socrates in his future works and with future students, such as Aristotle.
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all had a big impact on Western Civilization and did so in their own unique way but each one’s concepts lasted long after their initial ideas appeared. I hope everyone enjoys my blog about the impacts of all these men.