The Socratic Method Essay

985 words - 4 pages

From the works of Plato to the views of Socrates, the definition of justice has been argued and disputed by the wisest. Socrates believed that justice was good and discovered a universal good; therefore every man is capable of finding good. Good exists as happiness, determined by what we value most. What lies in the midst of our thoughts, that an “unexamined life” is acceptable? Through the use of questioning we begin to break down the walls of ignorance and live a life that is worth living.
In 399 B.C., three Athenian citizens brought a public charge against Socrates, which is seen throughout the book, The Apology. Like all other Greeks, specifically the Athenians believed that the gods would damn the entire city if people went against their gods, so to not anger the gods, the city passed a law forbidding impiety; which was what they charged Socrates. His impious acts inclu ded not believing in the gods of the city, introducing new ideas, and corrupting the youth. Throughout the text, we notice Socrates’ modesty, his questioning habit, and his devotion to truth. He explained his purpose as a philosopher, eventually concluding that he has the kind of wisdom that each of them lacks: an awareness of their ignorance. His goal is to help individuals achieve self-awareness – self- knowledge – even if it turns ugly in character. His method of questioning can be personal in the struggle to understand everything. He speaks that the great issues of life and virtue in part are necessarily valuable.
Socrates states that he is on trial for heresy concerning the youth of that time, for encouraging them and helping them get to a place where they are dependent on their own thoughts. He answers this claim by telling a story about a Delling Oracle: No man was wiser than Socrates. Socrates began asking questions, trying to understand what the oracle meant. The politicians, poets, and artisans were perplexed at his continual questions that they failed to realize that they had no wisdom; they didn’t realize their ignorance. Refusing to stay quiet, even after his conviction, say states that he would rather die than give up philosophy saying that, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” He could have chosen life in prison or exile – examining the world around him – but without his “examined life” there is no point.
How should we live? What is the goal of living? What is the knowledge we lack? Good things are contributed from happiness. Real wisdom is seen through happiness, in the way we value things. Everything else we value is what we account as good, valuing them because we believe it coincides with happiness. What is an unexamined life? An unexamined life is a life that does not question. A foundation is formed when we begin to question what is seen and see what is virtuous and excellent. Socrates refused to consider living an unexamined life because he wanted to show people the ignorance that foreshadows their mind. The game of illusion – knowledge that...

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