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Ideas of Socrates, by Text

[Greek, 469 - 399 BCE, Athenian. Lived as unpaid teacher. Executed for "impiety and corrupting the young". Taught Plato, Archelaus, Antisthenes. Never wrote.]

405BCE talk
p. Socrates is torn between intellectual virtue, which is united and teachable, and natural virtue, which isn't
p.9 Socrates believed that basically there is only one virtue, the power of right judgement
p.10 Socrates was the first to put 'eudaimonia' at the centre of ethics
p.14 In Socratic dialogue you must say what you believe, so unasserted premises are not debated
p.17 Socrates made the civic values of justice and friendship paramount
p.18 Socrates opened philosophy to all, but Plato confined moral enquiry to a tiny elite
p.21 Socrates was pleased if his mistakes were proved wrong
p.21 Socrates agrees that virtue is teachable, but then denies that there are teachers
p.45 Socrates was the first to base ethics upon reason, and use reason to explain it
p.46 Socrates conservatively assumed that Athenian conventions were natural and true
p.55 For Socrates our soul, though hard to define, is our self
p.68 The only good is knowledge, and the only evil is ignorance
p.72 We should ask what sort of people we want to be
p.80 No one willingly commits an evil or base act
p.89 The common belief is that people can know the best without acting on it
p.92 Socrates did not consider universals or definitions as having separate existence, but Plato made Forms of them
p.93 It is legitimate to play the devil's advocate
p.102 Socrates did not accept the tripartite soul (which permits akrasia)
p.103 Socrates despised good looks
p.127 All human virtues are increased by study and practice
p.159 A well-made dung basket is fine, and a badly-made gold shield is base, because of function
p.159 Things are both good and fine by the same standard
p.161 The wise perform good actions, and people fail to be good without wisdom
p.161 For Socrates, wisdom and prudence were the same thing
p.164 Socrates holds that right reason entails virtue, and this must also apply to the gods
p.190 Socrates was the first to grasp that a cruelty is not justified by another cruelty
p.197 A new concept of God as unswerving goodness emerges from Socrates' commitment to virtue
p.199 Obedience to the law gives the best life, and success in war
p.200 By 'areté' Socrates means just what we mean by moral virtue
p.205 Philosophical discussion involves dividing subject-matter into categories
p.207 People do what they think they should do, and only ever do what they think they should do
p.211 Socrates always proceeded in argument by general agreement at each stage
p.217 Socrates emphasises that the knower is an existing individual, with existence his main task
p.228 Socrates was shocked by the idea of akrasia, but observation shows that it happens
p.260 A lover using force is a villain, but a seducer is much worse, because he corrupts character
p.402 Socrates sought essences, which are the basis of formal logic
p.402 Socrates developed definitions as the basis of syllogisms, and also inductive arguments
p.425 Socrates began the quest for something universal with his definitions, but he didn't make them separate
399BCE talk
p.25 Socrates is accused of denying the gods, saying sun is stone and moon is earth
p.27 Men fear death as a great evil when it may be a great blessing
p.28 Wealth is good if it is accompanied by virtue
p.33 The unexamined life is not worth living for men
p.35 If death is like a night of dreamless sleep, such nights are very pleasant
p.36 A good man cannot be harmed, either in life or in death
p.88 One ought not to return a wrong or injury to any person, whatever the provocation
p.88 We should not even harm someone who harms us
p.90 Will I stand up against the law, simply because I have been unjustly judged?