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Influences Of Socratic Philoso Essay

920 words - 4 pages

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 the western world. This philosophy, was based upon the thoughts of Socrates, who was an Athenian philosopher and possibly the most enigmatic figure in the entire history of philosophy.To begin, after about 450 B.C., Athens was considered the cultural center of the Greek world, and from then on, Athenian philosophy took a new direction. In the past, the Greek world had experienced ideas presented by the natural philosophers (or pre-Socratic, since they were born before Socrates), which were the earliest Greek philosophers, and were mainly concerned with the natural or physical world and it's processes. This concept gives the pre-Socratics a central position in the history of science.After the pre-Socratics, emerged the sophists, whose name meant in definition, "wise and informed people". The sophists were a group of itinerant teachers and philosophers from the Greek hellas who flocked to Athens, where they made a living by teaching the citizens of Athens for money. Socrates himself had long been accused of being a sophist (a designation he bitterly resented), as his thoughts were very similar to those of a sophist.During the age of the sophists, Socrates (470-399 B.C.) became known as one to talk with the people he met in the marketplaces and city squares of Athens, and could also have been seen standing lost in thought for hours on end. Although he never once wrote a line, Socrates would become one of the philosophers who has had the greatest influence on European thought, not least because of the dramatic manner or circumstances of his death, which have been questioned for 2,400 years. He would however not be the first or last to have seen things through to the bitter end, and suffer the punishment of death for the sake of his convictions.Since Socrates recorded none of his discussions or thoughts on philosophy, we know of his life mainly through the works of Plato, who was a pupil of Socrates. Plato used Socrates as his principal mouthpiece or character in a number of written dramatized discussions on philosophy, or Dialogues. However, this idea of who Socrates "really" was is relatively unimportant, because of the fact that the portrayal of Socrates which Plato portrays is one that has inspired and shaped the ways of thinkers in the western world for almost 2,500 years.The essence of Socrates' method of art, called discourse, was giving the impression that he did not want to instruct but rather discuss, like one trying to learn from those he spoke with, instead of the traditional method of lecturing. During a...

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