In the course of human history, there have been many great, influential philosophers that have changed our view of this small planet and the universe around it. Perhaps the most influential group of philosophers came from ancient Greece. Many ideals and principles we use today come from three prominent philosophers named Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These men will soon (not in their lifetimes) change the course of human history and the process of thought.
Socrates was born in 469 B.C. to Sophacles, an Athenian stone crafter. He was born at a time of political upheaval, causing him to be well versed in his political knowledge. The city of Athens in which he resided would eventually use him as a scapegoat for their political downfall, resulting in his suicide.
Since Socrates only taught by means of public conversation and oration, most of what we know about him we learned from his student; Plato. Unlike other philosophers of his era, Socrates didn’t concern himself with issues on how or why the world worked; he pondered things like how man should live and what morality means. Socrates was hailed as the inventor of the branch of philosophy known as ethics. It is exactly his concern with
ethical matters that lead him into conflicts with the city elders, who accused him of corrupting the minds of the sons of the rich with revolutionary and unorthodox ideas. “The only thing that I know is that I know nothing. (Stokes, 36)” This famous quote from Socrates shows that he thought that he knew nothing of the universe and was barely scratching the surface with his moral and ethical teachings.
The way Socrates taught was with his persistent questioning about a broad subject in hopes of narrowing it down to show the original answer was not adequate. This method he would use to ask questions about normal things like ‘beauty’ or ‘the good’ or ‘piety’ only to show through reasoned argument that all of the proposed definitions and common conceptions lead to paradox or absurdity. The style of questioning he would use lead to show that if you take something just because it is common place that it is actually absurd and ridiculous, showing that the need to think for...