Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado
Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Class Forums - Spring 2013
 PHIL 200-001 - Sokrates and Plato
 Socrates' Way
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Karissa Nelson
Fledgling

7 Posts

Posted - Feb 01 2013 :  1:59:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The question of what Socrates was attempting to accomplish or do is an intriguing one. It has been a long road of thought and discussion that has began to pave the way for a possible answer. I cannot say that I know enough about Socrates or about the political, economic, and social circumstances in Athens at the time, but I am trying to expand my knowledge.

The common denominator, it would seem, among Plato, Xenophon, and now Aristophanes would be the blunt arrogance and wittiness of Socrates, which would seem to give a reliable insight to his personality, and I would consider that a good start. Sokrates seems to be rather frank and open. He cannot bite his tongue, but of course, why would he? He is portrayed as a man with nothing to lose, a man with utter peace, independence, and growing wisdom. I would emphasize the word "growing" because he never really considers himself wise even if he has a reputation for wisdom with others. Socrates is portrayed as this superior speaker and increasingly wise man, but he never refers to himself as any of these things. Instead, he refers to himself as poor so far as material things are concerned, but rich when it comes to intellectual things, even though he does not say that he is a wise man, and actually says quite the opposite. Therefore, we have a portrayal of the things that Socrates seems to be in the eyes of others, and yet it would seem a sense of modesty overcomes him whenever he refers to himself, even though Socrates is not necessarily someone who would be described as modest.

It seems to me that Socrates is a man who does not give much thought to who he is. He does not explore his inner secrets and expand on his experiences; rather he is constantly searching for new knowledge and challenges. He wants to experience things that challenge his logic with evidentiary support and plausible conclusions. It would seem that Socrates is intent on challenging all things that oppose his views and is hoping at the same time to be convinced otherwise.

So what is Socrates' way? Maybe we can say that he is a man who challenges the ideas of the world in the hope of being proven wrong, and perhaps his way is to challenge individuals, just as he challenged the judges in his trial. He challenges what people stand for and what it is that gives society its roots, and he hopes that someday, in some way, he will be shown that society is different from what his prejudices have led him to think it is. At this point in time, I believe, that his way is to challenge the world and see what happens when he does, maybe open up the views of others in the process, and make philosophers out of those willing to learn.

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]

Tom Trelogan
Forum Admin

1424 Posts

Posted - Feb 04 2013 :  10:38:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is an excellent start, Karissa! Anyone else?
Go to Top of Page

Jessica Shadowen
Fledgling

7 Posts

Posted - Mar 27 2013 :  11:16:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karissa, this is pretty much spot on as a description of Socrates' way!! I'd add that another feature of the Socratarian (I don't think that is a word) way would be the way he presents questions to the people he is in conversation with. He always seems to make sure that they really understand what he is talking about. Socrates also seems to make them question everything they say about the topic that's up for discussion, and even though they may be right, they still start to doubt exactly what they say.

Sarcasm, assuming they had sarcasm back then, also seems to be a part of Socrates' everyday conversation, which is probably why I like Socrates so much: he speaks my language.

I think these are a few things to add to your description of Socrates' way!!

[Edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Tom Trelogan
Forum Admin

1424 Posts

Posted - Mar 28 2013 :  09:20:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jessica Shadowen

...Socratarian (I don't think that is a word)...
Right, Jessica. "Socratarian" isn't a word -- or anyway it's not a word in use in today's standard English. I suspect the word you're looking for here is "Socratic."

Regarding your remarks about Sokrates' sarcasm: I think what you see as sarcasm in so many of the things Sokrates says is actually just irony. Take a look in a good dictionary at the explanations of the various shades of meaning these two words have, and my guess is that you'll agree. What Sokrates' contemporaries themselves always detected along these lines in so much of he said was just irony -- anyway, that's what they themselves called it.
Go to Top of Page

Sarah Chavez
Newcomer

4 Posts

Posted - Apr 30 2013 :  11:11:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am a little late in chiming in on this discussion, but Karissa made me think of the Socratic method in a completely different way by highlighting a the possibility that Socrates' goal, in having the discussions that he does, is that, quite simply, of an inquisitive individual who is just hoping to be proven wrong about the errors he himself makes and to be able to help others learn in the process. This is an outline of what a philosopher truly is. It also brings a whole new dimension to my thinking about Socrates, this having to do with the theme of “knowledge.” Knowledge really is the underlying theme in Socrates' lifestyle. He has discussions to see if people really know what they think they know, while testing his own knowledge in the process. Socrates’s inquisitiveness leads him to test the supposed knowledge of the people he talks with, and leads him to a deeper knowledge of himself while as he questions ideas about moral concepts and the world.

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page

Josh Barreras
Fledgling

6 Posts

Posted - May 06 2013 :  11:59:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karissa and Sarah: I have to disagree with your idea that Socrates is constantly starting these conversations and cross-questioning those who claim to have in-depth knowledge about something in the hopes that he can be proven wrong. After all, he never really claims to have a view of his own about the things he asks people about. At most he will set up a scenario for use in the cross-questioning.

He is, however, hoping to prove the oracle wrong -- the one who said he was the wisest man of all. He states this several times in various works we've read. He seeks out these others who are known for having great knowledge and goes to them to discuss whatever they claim to know the most about -- all in the hope that since they are considered the most knowledgeable people there are on the subject, there is no way that he, a man who has never focused the subject, whatever it is, could out-talk them the things about which they claim to have knowledge.

One might think he'd be right. Most of us couldn't hold a candle to someone well-versed on a subject. For example, if any one of us went toe to toe in a discussion with Tom and we were talking about philosophy, it'd be easy to predict that he would rip any one of us students apart. But what changes the outcome is Socrates' use of the "What is it?" question. With this question he brings even the strongest speakers to their knees because no matter how well-versed you are in something, it's rare that you'll have tried to define it at it's most basic level as Socrates expects you to. Someone well-versed in something would focus on learning everything there is to know connected to it, if that makes sense. It's also good to note that the topics that he has these discussions about all seem to be abstract ideas, i.e., the ideas of virtue, of eros, and so on. Asking a "What is it?" question about something like this makes it impossible to physically show him what the thing is and requires one to make a perfect analysis of the "it" and try to describe it on the spot since, as I said before, it's unlikely that the person being questioned will ever have really sat down to try to find the "it" during all of the time they've spent on researching the subject.

Given that, while Sokrates says he is going around trying to prove the oracle wrong, he is not making it easy for anyone to show they are wiser than he is. This leads me to conclude that he is either just saying he wants to prove the oracle wrong and knows that it's unlikely anyone will ever be able to truly answer his "What is it?" question about anything, or he is trying to find someone who can, but he will do everything in his power to poke a hole in their logic to make sure that this man truly is wiser than he.

[Lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Philosophy | University of Northern Colorado © 2004 tkt Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.14 seconds. Snitz Forums 2000