of the Week for Oct. 7th, 2002. Socrates
The Kids Philosophy Slam now features
a philosopher of the week. Included with this new offering is
a brief biography and famous quotes of the featured philosopher,
ideas for classroom discussions, and links to related philosopher
sites! There will be a new philosopher of the week each week through
March of 2003!
Socrates (469-399 B.C.),
the Father of Western Philosophy, was a soldier, politician, and
stonemason, before becoming a philosopher. Socrates devoted his
later life to discussions that questioned the truth about popular
opinions. Socrates did not have his own definition of truth, he
only believed in questioning what others believed as truth. He
believed that genuine knowledge came from discovering universal
definitions of the key concepts, such as virtue, piety, good and
evil, governing life. Socrates wrote nothing down, so detailed
information about him comes from his students, such as Plato.
In Platos Apology, the central features of Socrates'
approach to philosophy and its relationship to life are explained
as: 1. Ironic modesty. "No one is wiser than you." 2.
Questioning habit. The goal of Socratic interrogation is to help
individuals to achieve genuine self-knowledge. 3. Devotion to
truth. "The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates
would rather die than give up philosophy. 4. Dispassionate reason.
Even after being sentenced to death, Socrates calmly continued
to reason out the question of the fate of a human being after
Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
- "Know thyself."
- "The only thing I know
is that I know nothing."
- "Ignorance is the only evil."
- Focused on the big question:
What is good and what is evil?
- Believed that if he asked enough
people, he would find out the truth.
- Developed the Socratic method
trying to find truth by asking and answering questions.
- Accused and found guilty of
corrupting young minds. Sentenced to death by drinking hemlock
Classroom discussion questions.
How would Socrates answer the question,
"What is the meaning of life?"
What did Socrates mean when he
said, "Ignorance is the only evil"?
How can you find truth by asking
For more information about Socrates,
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