Socrates : biography
Socrates was born in Athens in a family of a sculptor. His mother was a midwife and afterwards Socrates compared her occupation with his work: he also delivered but man’s birth and it was birth of a soul not a body. A famous philosopher and family friend Anaxagoras taught Socrates. In 433 B.C. Socrates took part in a Peloponnesian war where Athens and Sparta fought against each other, then he took part in battles at Amphipolis and Potidea. When he became mature Delphic Sibyl told him about his mission to be a philosopher.
Works of his pupils Plato and Xenophon tell about teaching and life of the philosopher but Socrates himself didn’t write anything because he thought that “letters are dead”. Xenophon’s “Memorabilia”, Aristotle’s compositions, Plato’s “Dialogues”, Plutarch’s “Socrates’ demon” and other works tell about Socrates’ teaching. The philosopher himself preferred to propagate on streets, squares and palaestras in order to struggle with sophists and bring up youth. He talked to different people from different social stratums trying to explain the subject of conversation more clearly.
Socrates is considered to be a founder of philosophic dialectics which has an aim to find the truth with the help of conversations: by asking certain questions and finding answers to them. According to the words of K.Marx Socrates was “an embodiment of philosophy”. He could ask a question very successfully so that people realized their incomprehension, and then Socrates showed the way to the better understanding. Meanwhile the philosopher pretended that he wanted to study from the person he spoke with and he didn’t understand the subject of conversation.
Socrates’ philosophic views belonged to objective idealism. According to Aristotle Socrates followed inductive teaching about transition of floating reality to common ideas and teaching about detection of things’ essence – teaching about common and universal mind.
According to Socrates’ ethics virtue is knowledge, the one who knows kindness acts likewise. If person acts maliciously he didn’t know what good is or does it to achieve triumph of good. Morality is the basic conception in Socrates’ philosophy. Socrates propagated respect to physical labour and thought that people should be above their passions but shouldn’t avoid enjoyments.
In 406 B.C. Socrates entered the Boule (the council of 500 citizens) of Athens although before he didn’t take part in political life. During the council Socrates stated the position against the majority proving that capital sentence was unjustly submitted. In 404 B.C. he didn’t obey to the order of Thirty Tyrants who became the authority of Athens.
His conversations with people caused a tragic end. In 399 Socrates was accused in antistate activity and worship to the demon. He was caught and enclosed in prison and in spite of friends’ persuasions to escape from there he stayed there till the execution. In 399 B.C. in May he drank hemlock’s poison which paralyzed his breath and died surrounded by his pupils.
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