Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher from Athens and one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is considered the first moral philosopher in the West. He was born in 470 BCE and was executed in 399 BCE. Socrates left no writings of his own and was mainly introduced to the world through ancient writers such as Antisthenes, Aristippus, and Aristophanes, as well as his disciples like Plato and Xenophon. Plato’s dialogues are one of the most comprehensive writings about Socrates that have survived from ancient times, although it is unclear how accurate Plato’s portrayal of his master is. Plato’s work highlights Socrates’ contribution to epistemology and ethics. Almost everything we know today about Socrates and his philosophy comes from Plato, his most famous disciple. Plato discussed Socrates’ life and trial in his Apology, Crito, and Phaedo dialogues. In other works of Plato, Socrates’ ideas are also explained, but it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to distinguish Socrates’ ideas from those of Plato.
Socrates was born in Athens in 470 or 469 BCE. His father was a famous and respected sculptor. This reputation provided Socrates with an opportunity to receive the best education of his time in Athens, from arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy to classical Greek poetry. All historians have said that Socrates was a very ugly man. His head was bald, his face was broad and round, and his eyes were sunken and motionless. He had a large and at the same time crooked nose on which a clear mark could be seen. He is one of the three great philosophers of Greece (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle). Deliberate Valor: Socrates served as a hoplite (a foot soldier in the army) in his youth. Alcibiades says about this period of Socrates’ life that he had great endurance and strength. Sometimes we would run out of rations and go hungry, but in such situations, which usually arose during times of war, Socrates was superior not only to me but to everyone. No one could compare with him… His ability to endure the cold was also amazing. The winter in that region was truly cold, and everyone either stayed indoors or, if they went outside, wore lots of clothing and wrapped their feet in fur or wool. At such times, Socrates, with his bare feet and regular clothing, walked better on the ice than other soldiers, and they looked at him with anger and resentment because he seemed to be humiliating them.
His friends and fellow citizens praised his courage and steadfastness during the siege of Potidaea and the Battle of Delium in the Peloponnesian War. His bravery in these battles made him a prominent and outstanding figure. Wise Agora: Socrates became aware of the concept of humanity. Until then, most philosophers and thinkers focused on the world and what it was made of and what its main material was. But he declared that he had to put aside cosmology and return to human beings. His slogan was “know thyself”. Socrates used to gather young people and thinkers around him in the Athenian marketplace (Agora) and take them under the shade of temples, asking them to express their thoughts. He encouraged his fellow Athenians to question and evaluate their gods, values, and themselves. When he saw people easily talking about justice, he calmly asked them what it was. He questioned the meaning of virtues, ethics, patriotism, and nobility that people spoke of. The young people who gathered around him were from various groups: wealthy ones like Plato and Alcibiades who enjoyed Socrates’ sarcastic analysis of Athenian democracy; ones like Antisthenes who admired the poverty of their indifferent teacher and made a religion out of it; and anarchists (by today’s standards) like Aristippus, who dreamed of a world without servants, masters, or property, where everyone would be as free as Socrates.
The great respect and affection that Socrates had among his students was not just because of his distinguished record on the battlefield or his indifference to worldly appearances, but mainly because of his humility and wisdom. He did not claim to have wisdom, but only said that he was passionately pursuing it. His philosophy was based on the confession of his own ignorance, as he said, “I know that I am ignorant”. Trial and Death: In 399 BC, nearly 2,500 years ago, in a legal court, Socrates was sentenced to death in the presence of a jury on charges of “corrupting the youth” and “impiety towards the gods”. According to Plato’s account in his Apology, which he wrote based on his presence at Socrates’ trial, Socrates was first accused and then defended himself. He denied corrupting the youth and explained that not only the general public but also the Delphic oracle considered him the wisest of men, despite the fact that the only knowledge he had was the knowledge of his own ignorance and the insignificance of human knowledge compared to divine knowledge.
After his speech, the judges sentenced him to drink hemlock or to admit to misleading the people and the falsity of his statements. When Socrates drank the hemlock, he calmly told one of his disciples, Crito, “Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Do not forget to pay the debt.” He said this and closed his eyes. Asclepius was a mythical god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek mythology. When someone was cured of an illness, they would offer an animal as a sacrifice to Asclepius. It is not clear from ancient sources whether Socrates meant that he was cured by drinking the hemlock. Some believe that this act was symbolic of the completeness and authenticity of his beliefs and thoughts. In Socrates’ philosophy, ethics and self-knowledge are the main foundations of the pursuit of knowledge and truth. He emphasized the importance of focusing on ethical issues and analyzing them through argumentation and debate. For this reason, he became a source of inspiration and a role model for many philosophers who followed him. Dialectic, Socrates’ method, which he called “elenkhos” or “cross-examination,” was based on a series of purposeful questioning and answering. Socrates would first gain the agreement and cooperation of his opponent by taking their position and then expose the contradictions in their arguments, ultimately refuting their claims using his own position. During Socrates’ time, the Sophists had a strong influence on the youth of Athens, teaching them skepticism and the art of argumentation, and claiming that there was no such thing as truth. They considered themselves the most knowledgeable and learned people. Based on his life experiences, Socrates engaged in a confrontation with those who claimed to have knowledge and expertise.
Socrates’ practical method for combating these individuals was to engage in a conversation with one of them and try to extract their thoughts on a particular topic, such as courage. The person initially thought that they knew the truth about courage and were aware of it. Socrates would start the conversation with a question-and-answer format and initially agree with what the person said. The conversation could be lengthy, but eventually it would reach a point where the person realized their own ignorance, that they truly knew nothing about courage. In this way, Socrates taught them that admitting one’s ignorance is the greatest knowledge. Socrates is known as the founder of the ethical school of philosophy. He sought to answer fundamental questions about life, its meaning, and how to live in the world. Socrates believed that anyone could act as an active philosopher and that to find the truth, one must use dynamic questioning and discussions. He defined philosophy based on his own ethical school, which reached the highest levels of individual and social spirituality and self-awareness. He believed that the main goal of philosophy should be to improve the lives of humans and society, and its purpose should be the promotion of ethics and self-awareness. For this reason, Socrates saw philosophy as a way of life, not just an empirical science. He sought to improve ethics and self-awareness and used a method called “ethical logic” to achieve this goal. In this method, Socrates used questioning and discussions to help individuals understand the concepts that could lead to a change in their behavior and enjoyment of life.
Correct. Socrates was focused on improving ethics and self-awareness, and he believed that the main goal of philosophy should be to improve the lives of humans and society by promoting ethics and self-awareness. He believed that if individuals could better understand themselves and have a greater understanding of ethics, they would naturally improve their behavior and live a better life. Socrates used the method of “ethical logic” to help individuals understand the concepts that could lead to a change in their behavior and enjoyment of life. He believed that each person could act as an active philosopher and, by using dynamic questioning and discussions, could find the truth and improve their ethics and self-awareness. However, Socrates did not provide direct solutions for improving the ethics of others. He believed that each person should be responsible for improving their own ethics and that he could encourage individuals to pursue ethics and self-awareness through his philosophical teachings. He referred individuals to themselves to find suitable solutions to improve their ethics. Socrates used a method called “ethical logic” to improve his own ethics. This method involved discussing and conversing with others so that individuals inherently discuss morality, values, and other issues related to their lives and consequently gain a better understanding of themselves, others, and the world around them. Socrates used questions that were logical and challenging to encourage individuals to seek more precise and internal answers. These questions helped individuals gradually gain a better understanding of themselves, their beliefs, and their perceptions of the world. For example, in order to improve his own ethics and the ethics of others, Socrates could use questions such as “What does it mean for an action to be good?”, “Does absolute morality exist?”, and “How can we maintain our ethics in the face of experiences that put us under pressure?” These questions helped individuals reflect and think about their own behavior and the behavior of others, and caused their thoughts to become deeper and led to a better understanding of themselves.
Socrates also used the method of “ethical logic” to improve the ethics of others. He sought out individuals among the people who had their own thoughts and knowledge about ethics and values, and tried to engage in discussions about ethics and values with them. By using challenging, introspective questions, Socrates encouraged individuals to seek more precise and internal answers and thus encouraged them to improve their own ethics. He believed that theoretical and philosophical methods alone were not enough to improve ethics, and that we should seek individuals who also actively use their own ethics as a philosopher and ask challenging questions for others. Socrates encouraged individuals to improve their own ethics and the ethics of others using this method. Instead of creating rules and enforcing them, he tried to guide individuals’ minds towards more precise and better answers through argumentation and discussion. The “ethical logic” method that Socrates used was just one of the philosophical methods during his time. In fact, Socrates also used other methods such as “self-awareness” and “ethical contemplation” to improve his own and others’ ethics.
However, using the “ethical logic” method, Socrates aimed to improve his own and others’ ethics and believed that the best way to improve ethics is to improve self and others’ knowledge. He believed that using logical and challenging questions could lead to a better understanding of oneself and others, and this knowledge helps improve ethics. The “ethical logic” method that Socrates used is not only used to improve ethics but is a general method for better understanding oneself and others in all aspects of life. This method helps individuals to gain a better understanding of themselves and others by using logical and challenging questions, and in general, this knowledge helps improve ethics, gain a proper understanding of the surrounding world, and improve social and human relationships. This approach can help individuals make better decisions in important life choices and improve their relationships with others through better self-awareness and understanding of others. Additionally, this approach can be used in various fields such as education, conflict resolution, social interactions, family relationships, and more. The “ethical reasoning” approach is employed to better understand oneself and others, and to improve social relationships in all areas of life, not just limited to moral advancement. Socrates had perspectives on science and knowledge. While he valued science and knowledge, in his view, they were only a part of understanding, and in many cases, understanding was more useful to humans than science and knowledge. Socrates believed that science and knowledge could help humans gain a better understanding of the world around them, but he believed that true understanding only comes through contemplation and thinking about various issues and subjects. Therefore, for Socrates, a better understanding means a correct and deep understanding of the world around and oneself, which is more useful to humans than science and knowledge. In addition, Socrates believed that science and knowledge could help individuals gain a better understanding of themselves, but he believed that contemplation and thinking about oneself and gaining better self-awareness could help individuals improve their social relationships and personality. Socrates valued science and knowledge, but he preferred contemplation and thinking about various issues and subjects for real understanding.
Socrates did not use a method to find a final answer to problems. Instead, he believed in challenging others with questions and encouraging them to contemplate and think about various issues and subjects to improve their understanding. According to Socrates, there are no final and definite answers to philosophical and ethical issues. Instead, individuals should continue to contemplate, think, and improve their understanding. For Socrates, philosophy meant not seeking final answers, but seeking final questions. Socrates was not directly discussing economics as the concept of economics as we know it today did not exist during his time. However, he had concerns about ethics, social, and political issues, and therefore may have indirectly referred to some economic issues. For example, Socrates talked about the political and social system of Athens at that time and believed that a system based solely on policies that only focus on personal interests is unjust and incompatible with ethics. In summary, Socrates indirectly addressed some economic issues and believed that policies that only focus on personal interests are unjust and incompatible with ethics.
Socrates did not directly refer to the concept of justice in economics, but he did talk about justice and ethics in his discourse. Based on this, some of Socrates’ perspectives on justice can be applied to some economic issues. Socrates believed that justice means having ethics and behaving correctly with others. For him, everyone should have equal access to the benefits of life and help each other fairly. For example, he talked about a hardworking soldier in one of his stories called “The Tale of the Famous Soldiers” who helped others to increase his efficiency. This story shows that Socrates valued cooperation and helping others, and these values may be applicable to some economic issues. It can be said that Socrates did not directly refer to the concept of justice in economics, but he talked about justice and ethics in general, and these values may be applicable to some economic issues. Additionally, Socrates did not directly talk about politics in his time, but he had concerns about social and political issues, and therefore he may have indirectly referred to some political issues as well. Exactly, Socrates believed that a political system should be structured based on principles of justice and ethics, and any policies that only focus on personal interests are unjust and incompatible with ethics. He believed that to establish a just political system, people’s opinions and thoughts should be taken into consideration, and people should participate in political decisions.
Socrates also paid attention to the issue of tolerance in politics. He believed that tolerance and patience in politics are essential, and people should have the ability to tolerate and be patient with a corrupt political system to improve it. It can be said that Socrates indirectly referred to some political issues, and he believed that policies structured based on principles of justice and ethics are the best option for people and society.