Socrates

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Socrates
  3. » Socrates

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 04:40 pm
Socrates wrote nothing because he felt that knowledge was a living, interactive thing. Socrates' method of philosophical inquiry consisted in questioning people on the positions they asserted and working them through questions into a contradiction, thus proving to them that their original assertion was wrong. Socrates himself never takes a position; in The Apology he radically and skeptically claims to know nothing at all except that he knows nothing. Socrates and Plato refer to this method of questioning as elenchus , which means something like "cross-examination" The Socratic elenchus eventually gave rise to dialectic, the idea that truth needs to be pursued by modifying one's position through questioning and conflict with opposing ideas. It is this idea of the truth being pursued, rather than discovered, that characterizes Socratic thought and much of our world view today. The Western notion of dialectic is somewhat Socratic in nature in that it is conceived of as an ongoing process. Although Socrates in The Apology claims to have discovered no other truth than that he knows no truth, the Socrates of Plato's other earlier dialogues is of the opinion that truth is somehow attainable through this process of elenchus.

Greek Philosophy: Socrates

...

I am still reading. This is extremely funny to me because I had a lover exactly like this once.

Please forgive the way in which I learn things. Anyone is welcome to jump in with any thought as I work. My "Apology".
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Wed 6 Dec, 2006 08:06 pm
@Electra phil,
Electra, here are some of my thoughts on Socrates.

I think it's true that Socrates believed that knowledge was a living, interactive thing. Philosophy, to the Greeks, was a way of life, and not a solution. There is an incredible and today unrecognizable flexibility to the Greeks. And by 'flexibility' I mean freedom. One can also (by the way) assign such flexibiligy to the empiricist philosophers such as David Hume.

These philosophers were living seekers. In a sense Socrates is saying that everyone is wrong. Many times Plato's Socrates both asserts and then negates his own assertions.

Plato, for example, does not believe that language is 'the house of being'. 'Being', according to Plato, is prior to language just as there must be a primary virtue beyond any mere 'historical' example of virtue.

The question arises in Plato: how can we speak meaningfully to one another if everything is in a constant state of flux? The answer is that the meaning must be fixed though invisible. The meanings of concepts must have a house of their own in 'the house of meaning' which is the realm of the metaphysical IDEAS.

We can speak to eachother, we can understand eachother, because the concepts that we use are eternal. The best or the highest concept of courage, for example, can never be outdated (and therfore is not subject to change). Once we find the finest example of courage it will never change. It will always remain courage.

How can the highest and the finest and the best virtue ever be surpassed? The perfect virtue, like the perfect circle, must be eternal. Like Aristotle says: human beings can never make a circle, we can only "transcribe" it from the immutable nature of things. And so we transcirbe the virtue, such as OUR courage or OUR love, from the eternal Ideas of courage and love.

--Pythagorean
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 03:39 am
@Pythagorean,
Dear Pythagorean,

Please forgive my complete ignorance on these topics. I am thoroughly enjoying my reading and research. These dialogues are very interesting and inspirational!

In reflection of your post, I have spent a good hour here attempting to write something of value. In the end, I have erased it because of the simple fact I have not read and digested enough of this work to say anything worthwhile.

I can say that your post directly addresses this question I have posed to myself about realizing, touching, experiencing the abstract virtues and then exercising an experiment to see if it possible to manifest them into this world of form.

I am in the midst of reading Plato's Republic.

Thank you so much for guiding this exploration. I am very grateful for your knowledge and ability to communicate on all of these subjects.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 10:34 am
@Electra phil,
I hope nobody minds if I put a Plato link from the M.I.T. Classics Web Site.

Works by Plato

--Pythagorean
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 11:00 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
I hope nobody minds if I put a Plato link from the M.I.T. Classics Web Site up in here.

Works by Plato

--Pythagorean




I think it is great to hyperlink back to this site. It will create a great searchable reference as well as increase traffic (I think).

Thank you for posting it for me to study as well.

You give a lot of homework. :p

Will be reading and thinking of your words~~~once lightning hits me, I will be back to dance with you.
 
Pythagorean
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 11:24 am
@Electra phil,
Electra,

You should read the Phaedrus. It's divine. It's about 'writing' as well as the nature of the soul. I find it most erotic. Socrates really digs the young boy...and it shows! (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Of course it's not just philosophy, it's great literature.

Plato discusses love () and friendship the Symposium, though the Phaedrus also adds significantly to his views. In each work, Socrates as the quintessential philosopher is in two ways center stage, first, as a lover of wisdom (sophia) and discussion (logos), and, second, as himself an inverter or disturber of erotic norms. Plato's views on love are a meditation on Socrates and the power his philosophical conversations have to mesmerize, obsess, and educate.

Stay safe and warm. (and by the way Merry Christmas to you).

--Pythagorean
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 12:23 pm
@Pythagorean,
***wink***
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 12:26 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
Electra,

You should read the Phaedrus. It's divine. It's about 'writing' as well as the nature of the soul. I find it most erotic. Socrates really digs the young boy...and it shows! (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Of course it's not just philosophy, it's great literature.

Plato discusses love () and friendship the Symposium, though the Phaedrus also adds significantly to his views. In each work, Socrates as the quintessential philosopher is in two ways center stage, first, as a lover of wisdom (sophia) and discussion (logos), and, second, as himself an inverter or disturber of erotic norms. Plato's views on love are a meditation on Socrates and the power his philosophical conversations have to mesmerize, obsess, and educate.

Stay safe and warm. (and by the way Merry Christmas to you).

--Pythagorean


Reading reading and thinking...

Merry Christmas to you too. :cool:
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Thu 7 Dec, 2006 08:40 pm
@Electra phil,
The pure objects of mathematical and dialectical knowledge. In the vigorous realism of Plato's middle dialogues, necessary truths are taken to involve knowledge of eternal, unchanging Forms (or Ideas). Particular things in the realm of appearance are beautiful, or equal, or good only insofar as they participate in the universal Forms of Beauty, Equality, or the Good. The doctrine of Forms was attacked in Plato's own Parmenides and by Aristotle.

Philosophical Dictionary: Fibonacci-Foucher

Since we really do have knowledge of these supra-sensible realities, knowledge that we cannot possibly have obtained through any bodily experience, Plato argued, it follows that this knowledge must be a form of recollection and that our souls must have been acquainted with the Forms prior to our births. But in that case, the existence of our mortal bodies cannot be essential to the existence of our souls-before birth or after death-and we are therefore immortal.


Immortality of the Soul

Use of the dialogue as a literary device made it easy for Plato not only to present his own position (in the voice of Socrates) but also to consider (in the voices of other characters) significant objections that might be raised against it. This doesn't mean that philosophy is merely an idle game of argument and counter-argument, he pointed out, because it remains our goal to discover the one line of argument that leads to the truth. The philosopher cautiously investigates every possibility and examines every side of an issue, precisely because that increases the chances of arriving eventually at a correct account of reality.


Plato: Forms


Distinction between kinds of truth. Necessary truth is a feature of any statement that it would be contradictory to deny. (Contradictions themselves are necessarily false.) Contingent truths (or falsehoods) happen to be true (or false), but might have been otherwise. Thus, for example:

"Squares have four sides." is necessary.

"Stop signs are hexagonal." is contingent.

"Pentagons are round." is contradictory.

This distinction was traditionally associated (before Kant and Kripke) with the distinctions between a priori and a posteriori knowledge and the distinction between analytic and synthetic judgment. Necessity may also be defined de dicto in terms of the formal logical property of tautology.


In response to this criticism, Plato significantly revised the argument from opposities by incorporating an additional conception of the role of the Forms. Each Form, he now maintains, is the cause of all of every particular instance that bears its name: the form of Beauty causes the beauty of any beautiful thing; the form of Equality causes the equality of any pair of equal things; etc. But then, since the soul is living, it must participate in the Form of Life, and thus it cannot ever die. (Phaedo 105d) The soul is perfectly and certainly imperishable, not only for this life, but forever. Despite the apparent force of these logical arguments, Plato chose to conclude the Phaedo by supplementing them with a mythical image of life after death. This concrete picture of the existence of a world beyond our own is imagined, not reasoned, so it cannot promise to deliver the same perfect representation of the truth. But if we are not fully convinced by the certainty of rational arguments, we may yet take some comfort from the suggestions of a pleasant story.


I want to study or discuss this a bit more later. Getting in scope...

There has been a fundamental error in my understanding of the word form-- and now all things are making more sense. That is a good joke. :p
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Fri 8 Dec, 2006 11:41 am
@Electra phil,
Started a new thread...
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 04:26 pm
@Electra phil,
Diotima of Mantinea

Greek Priestess and Teacher of Socrates

ca. 400 B.C.


Diotima, Socrates' great teacher from the Symposium, a work by Plato was one of the most influential women thinkers of all time, whether she was a real person or a literary fictional character. She related to Socrates the theory of love which he described to the partygoers at Agathon's banquet, a celebration of Agathon's victory at the competition of Dionysis in Athens and of eros.

Diotima taught Socrates that love was the child of Poros and Penia, lack and plenty, a spirit of the between. Love was one of the daimon, the spirits that held the world together as a whole, the force that relayed messages and prayers between the gods and man. Eros was also known best through wisdom. The love of wisdom is the love of eros.

As we progress in our lives, Diotima told Socrates, we grow in our conception of love. First we are stirred by the beauty of the young body. Then we begin to see the beauty in all bodies. At this point we look to the beauty of the soul. As man is able to identify the beauty in all souls, he soon appreciates the beauty in the laws, and the strucure of all things. Lastly we discover the beauty of the forms, the divine ideas. Love is important for it starts and continues us on our path.

Even as our conception of beauty changes, beauty, like a lay of nature stands. The things which are held sway by ideas shift, the law however is unchanging.
Her conception of eros gives us an interesting way to look at the forms in general. We cannot aproach the divine ideas of Socrates, the forms, just like man is not able to aproach love. Once we have an idea of it it slips by, the factual knowledge about it eludes us from its deeper meaning, a meaning which is out of reach of human knowledge.

Viewing the forms in this manner is helpful. Just as we could not very well conceive of justice as a form, we can only know its practice, we aproach the idea of love and all forms.

Diotima shows us that knowledge is found in many ways. We gain access to some through our perceptions, our senses. Some knowledge is reached through insight, the mind. And, Diotima explains, some is found between, like love.
Diotima, the Greek Priestess, was central to Socrates conception of love and of his idea of the forms.

Philosophers : Diotima of Mantinea
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Tue 12 Dec, 2006 06:00 pm
@Electra phil,
"...These [aspects already discussed] are the lesser mysteries of love, into which even you, Socrates, may enter; to the greater and more hidden ones which are the crown of these, and to which, if you pursue them in a right spirit, they will lead, I know not whether you will be able to attain. But I will do my utmost to inform you, and do you follow if you can. For he who would proceed aright in this matter should begin in youth to visit beautiful forms; and first, if he be guided by his instructor aright, to love one such form only-out of that he should create fair thoughts; and soon he will of himself perceive that the beauty of one form is akin to the beauty of another; and then if beauty of form in general is his pursuit, how foolish would he be not to recognize that the beauty in every form is one and the same! And when he perceives this he will abate his violent love of the one, which he will despise and deem a small thing, and will become a lover of all beautiful forms; in the next stage he will consider that the beauty of the mind is more honourable than the beauty of the outward form. So that if a virtuous soul have but a little comeliness, he will be content to love and tend him, and will search out and bring to the birth thoughts which may improve the young, until he is compelled to contemplate and see the beauty of institutions and laws, and to understand that the beauty of them all is of one family, and that personal beauty is a trifle; and after laws and institutions he will go on to the sciences, that he may see their beauty, being not like a servant in love with the beauty of one youth or man or institution, himself a slave mean and narrow-minded, but drawing towards and contemplating the vast sea of beauty, he will create many fair and noble thoughts and notions in boundless love of wisdom; until on that shore he grows and waxes strong, and at last the vision is revealed to him of a single science, which is the science of beauty everywhere.

b) To this I will proceed; please to give me your very best attention: "He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes toward the end will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty (and this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils)-a nature which in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and waning; secondly, not fair in one point of view and foul in another, or at one time or in one relation or at one place fair, at another time or in another relation or at another place foul, as if fair to some and-foul to others, or in the likeness of a face or hands or any other part of the bodily frame, or in any form of speech or knowledge, or existing in any other being, as for example, in an animal, or in heaven or in earth, or in any other place; but beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things. He who from these ascending under the influence of true love, begins to perceive that beauty, is not far from the end. And the true order of going, or being led by another, to the things of love, is to begin from the beauties of earth and mount upwards for the sake of that other beauty, using these as steps only, and from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is.

This, my dear Socrates," said the stranger of Mantineia, "is that life above all others which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute; a beauty which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of gold, and garments, and fair boys and youths, whose presence now entrances you; and you and many a one would be content to live seeing them only and conversing with them without meat or drink, if that were possible-you only want to look at them and to be with them.

But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty-the divine beauty, I mean, pure and dear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life-thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine? Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. Would that be an ignoble life?"

Plato - Symposium
 
Electra phil
 
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 06:59 am
@Electra phil,
AND SO the beloved who, like a god, has received every true and loyal service from his lover, not in pretence but in reality, being also himself of a nature friendly to his admirer, if in former days he has blushed to own his passion and turned away his lover, because his youthful companions or others slanderously told him that he would be disgraced, now as years advance, at the appointed age and time, is led to receive him into communion.

For fate which has ordained that there shall be no friendship among the evil has also ordained that there shall ever be friendship among the good. And the beloved when he has received him into communion and intimacy, is quite amazed at the good-will of the lover; he recognises that the inspired friend is worth all other friends or kinsmen; they have nothing of friendship in them worthy to be compared with his. And when his feeling continues and he is nearer to him and embraces him, in gymnastic exercises and at other times of meeting, then the fountain of that stream, which Zeus when he was in love with Ganymede named Desire, overflows upon the lover, and some enters into his soul, and some when he is filled flows out again; and as a breeze or an echo rebounds from the smooth rocks and returns whence it came, so does the stream of beauty, passing through the eyes which are the windows of the soul, come back to the beautiful one; there arriving and quickening the passages of the wings, watering them and inclining them to grow, and filling the soul of the beloved also with love.


And thus he loves, but he knows not what; he does not understand and cannot explain his own state; he appears to have caught the infection of blindness from another; the lover is his mirror in whom he is beholding himself, but he is not aware of this. When he is with the lover, both cease from their pain, but when he is away then he longs as he is longed for, and has love's image, love for love (Anteros) lodging in his breast, which he calls and believes to be not love but friendship only, and his desire is as the desire of the other, but weaker; he wants to see him, touch him, kiss him, embrace him, and probably not long afterwards his desire is accomplished.


When they meet, the wanton steed of the lover has a word to say to the charioteer; he would like to have a little pleasure in return for many pains, but the wanton steed of the beloved says not a word, for he is bursting with passion which he understands not;-he throws his arms round the lover and embraces him as his dearest friend; and, when they are side by side, he is not in it state in which he can refuse the lover anything, if he ask him; although his fellow-steed and the charioteer oppose him with the arguments of shame and reason.

After this their happiness depends upon their self-control; if the better elements of the mind which lead to order and philosophy prevail, then they pass their life here in happiness and harmony-masters of themselves and orderly-enslaving the vicious and emancipating the virtuous elements of the soul; and when the end comes, they are light and winged for flight, having conquered in one of the three heavenly or truly Olympian victories; nor can human discipline or divine inspiration confer any greater blessing on man than this.

If, on the other hand, they leave philosophy and lead the lower life of ambition, then probably, after wine or in some other careless hour, the two wanton animals take the two souls when off their guard and bring them together, and they accomplish that desire of their hearts which to the many is bliss; and this having once enjoyed they continue to enjoy, yet rarely because they have not the approval of the whole soul. They too are dear, but not so dear to one another as the others, either at the time of their love or afterwards. They consider that they have given and taken from each other the most sacred pledges, and they may not break them and fall into enmity. At last they pass out of the body, unwinged, but eager to soar, and thus obtain no mean reward of love and madness. For those who have once begun the heavenward pilgrimage may not go down again to darkness and the journey beneath the earth, but they live in light always; happy companions in their pilgrimage, and when the time comes at which they receive their wings they have the same plumage because of their love.

Thus great are the heavenly blessings which the friendship of a lover will confer upon you, my youth. Whereas the attachment of the non-lover, which is alloyed with a worldly prudence and has worldly and niggardly ways of doling out benefits, will breed in your soul those vulgar qualities which the populace applaud, will send you bowling round the earth during a period of nine thousand years, and leave, you a fool in the world below.



From Plato's Phaedrus
 
RemberingIAM
 
Reply Wed 13 Dec, 2006 09:31 am
@Electra phil,
The Emerald Tablet



In truth, without deceit, certain, and most veritable.

That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing. And just as all things have come from this One Thing, through the meditation of One Mind, so do all created things originate from this One Thing, through Transformation.

Its father is the Sun; its mother the Moon. The Wind carries it in its belly; its nurse is the Earth. It is the origin of All, the consecration of the Universe; its inherent Strength is perfected, if it is turned into Earth.

Separate the Earth from Fire, the Subtle from the Gross, gently and with great Ingenuity. It Rises from Earth to Heaven and descends again to Earth, thereby combining within Itself the powers of both the Above and the Below.

Thus will you obtain the Glory of the Whole Universe. All Obscurity will be clear to you. This is the greatest Force of all powers, because it overcomes every Subtle thing and penetrates every Solid thing.

In this way was the Universe created. From this comes many wondrous Applications, because this is the Pattern.

Therefore am I called Thrice Greatest Hermes, having all three parts of the wisdom of the Whole Universe. Herein have I completely explained the Operation of the Sun.




All philosophers and the various philosophies, owe their origin to this tablet and it's author:

Hermes Trismegistus




Imagine what science, philosophy and religion would be like without his influence.
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Socrates
  3. » Socrates
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 07/14/2020 at 07:21:33