(The Clouds of Aristophanes, produced in 423, is the best-known example.) Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. He was arguably guilty of the crimes with which he was charged, impiety and corrupting the youth, because he did reject the city’s gods and he did inspire disrespect for authority among his youthful followers (though that was not his intention). I guess that’s the only area where I would disagree with Socrates. ('Dare to think for yourself!') Socrates served … I loved reading Plato’s Dialogues and the Republic when I was in college. Wikibuy Review: A Free Tool That Saves You Time and Money, 15 Creative Ways to Save Money That Actually Work. It all depends, you might say, on how we get there. Tradition holds that he was an exceptional artist and his statue of the Graces, on the road to the Acropolis, is said to have been admired into the 2nd century CE. Because Bert knew very little, Philosophy turned out to be right up his alley, as it were, because of Socrates's teaching, that the only thing we know with certainty, is how little we know. In his defense speech, he rebutted some but not all elements of the charges and famously declared that "the unexamined life is not worth living." Many at the time found the philosophy of Socrates to be controversial. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In the light of Socrates’s paradigmatic example, one could characterise philosophy as a practice which “does not honour the gods of the city”, where such “gods” stand for the ideologically powerful practices or symbols that govern life in a community or society — for example the church during the Christian Middle Ages, the state during the modern era of the rise of the nation state, or corporations in the present era of the hegemony of neoliberal capitalism. The deities of the city, of course, were the ancient Greek gods, foremost among them the protectress-goddess of Athens (Athena), and whereas Socrates is depicted, in Plato’s Republic, for example, as showing cursory obeisance to the city’s religious practices — such as praying to a goddess during a religious festival — the charge derived from Socrates’s custom of questioning politically important people on topics such as “justice”, in the process demonstrating that they actually knew very little about it, while erroneously believing the opposite. Nevertheless, every “normally functioning” human being is capable of thinking, and of comparing different views on any given topic, but more importantly, anyone is able to search for the grounds on which certain claims are made, and comparing those with the grounds on which these claims are denied or questioned. He was accordingly convicted and sentenced to death by poison. His philosophy is primarily based on the idea that dialogue can uncover knowledge and that individuals only commit virtuous acts if they are aware of what is good and what is evil. After being convicted, he could have proposed a reasonable penalty short of death but initially refused. Another one was the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake in 1600 CE, for daring to suggest that the Earth was not the only planet where rational, technical beings existed. But is plausibility sufficient? Socrates, the philosopher who was the teacher of another (even more famous) philosopher, Plato, was condemned to death by a jury of his fellow Athenians in 399 BCE, allegedly for leading the youth of the polis (city-state) astray or “corrupting” them — essentially, for encouraging them not to honour the deities of the city. Plato had his own interpretation of Socrates’ ideas. Armed with this 'docta ignorantia', Bert set out to teach students the value of questioning, and even found out that one could write cogently about it, which he did during the 1980s and '90s on a variety of subjects, including an opposition to apartheid. He thought that morality or good doing should not be defined by the supposed teachings of a spiritual icon. According to Socrates, one of the ways to discover truth and knowledge was through two-way communication. He also held the conviction that truth and knowledge had to be discovered. I recall a colleague telling me with (misplaced) pride that his son, who had studied philosophy at a local university and had succeeded in getting a lectureship at his Alma Mater, decided to give up the academic life to go and work for a corporation as their “philosophical consultant”. This aspect of the trial will be discussed more fully below. Socrates was born c. 469/470 BCE to the sculptor Sophronicus and the mid-wife Phaenarete. Soon after Socrates’ death, several members of his circle preserved and praised his memory by writing works that represent him in his most characteristic activity—conversation. @Charred - Whether or not you accept the Greek philosophy of Socrates, I think we can all agree on the importance of two-way dialogue and communication to uncover ideas. Scholars continue to disagree about which of the dialogues convey the views of the historical Socrates and which use the character simply as a mouthpiece for Plato’s philosophy. Our latest podcast episode features popular TED speaker Mara Mintzer. He was also an outspoken critic of democracy, which Athenians cherished, and he was associated with some members of the Thirty Tyrants, who briefly overthrew Athens’s democratic government in 404–403 BCE. Socrates did not believe in gaining material profit from his philosophical work and he ended up taking his own life to avoid public execution. Comment and analysis from across the continent. Conflicting messages about the pandemic beg us to go the way of philosophers and examine every claim to validity or truth, particularly with regard to evidence. A legendary figure even in his own time, he was admired by his followers for his integrity, his self-mastery, his profound philosophical insight, and his great argumentative skill. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Although Socrates himself wrote nothing, he is depicted in conversation in compositions by a small circle of his admirers—Plato and Xenophon first among them. The Greek philosopher upheld the idea, however, that individuals should not deliberately act out against the laws of the government. For this deviation from church doctrine he paid with his life. His process of opening up the possibility that another alternative existed caused those who benefited from conventional thinking to become upset with his influence.