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Value of a philosopher:Socrates - Essay Example

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Socrates is one of the greatest ancient Greek philosophers of the fifth century. However, there is no opportunity to analyze his great works, because he was teaching and philosophizing orally. …
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Download file to see previous pages Socrates is one of the greatest ancient Greek philosophers of the fifth century. However, there is no opportunity to analyze his great works, because he was teaching and philosophizing orally. Famous Xenophon and Plato were Socrates’ students who managed to record some of the great thoughts and teachings of the wise philosopher (Harris & Taylor, 4). Socrates’ main direction in teaching was logical way of thinking. One of the most famous Socratic methods of teaching was a dialogue, during which knowledge was uncovered by logical thinking of a student and reasonable guidance by a teacher. Thesis, Socrates’ personal input in development of Athens is in his Method of Inquiry, excellent oratorical skills, beliefs and teachings about eternal virtues. Therefore, it would be justified to claim that Socrates provided a ‘vital’ service to Athens. At the same time, however, Socrates was a brilliant speaker and could charm his audience without much effort. Some of the listeners were really bothered by his thoughts and claims, while the others really liked the way of thinking Socrates presented to them. The variety of topics Socrates covered was rather fast starting individual and the state and ending with religious issues. Being atheist himself Socrates claimed that there is only one God and not many. Because of his ‘anti-religious’ claims the great philosopher was sentenced to death becoming a national martyr. Socrates’ Rhetoric Because primary means of expression was oral language in Athens, it was crucial to know how to speak on public. Socrates was one of the great speakers at his time. Laws were firstly discussed and only then recorded. Persuasive speaking was one of the major skills of successful leader or beginning politician. Most of the important social and political issues were decided through oral debates and speeches. An effective interlocutor could defend himself easily in court. Therefore, speaking skills as well as education were essential to be effective in any state affair and in public life in general (Colaiaco, 24). When Socrates was young he also belongs to the so-called group of philosophers, sophists. The sophists became central figures in political life of Greece and especially of Athens. These people were believed to be wise and able to teach their wisdom to the others. Therefore, the Athenians used to believe that philosophical education especially that of sophists was the essential part of further successful career. However, Socrates knew this system too well and it was the reason that he decided to leave the sophists. Later, during his defensive Socrates proves that effective persuasive speech is not necessarily true speech. He begins his defensive speech with the following ironic statement, which is also the beginning of the Apology: I don’t know, men of Athens, how you were affected by my accusers. As for me, I was almost carried away by them, the spoke so persuasively. And yet almost nothing they said is true. Among their many falsehoods, however, one especially amazed me: that you must be careful not to be deceived by me, since I’m dangerously clever speaker (Morgan, 46). Such a warning of the Sophists implies that Socrates was very effective public speaker. Their fear that he might influence judges is sincere. However, Socrates from his side tries to make a distinction between deceitful persuasive speaking and truthful speech, that of sophists and his own respectively. Colaiaco makes an assertion that during his trial Socrates raises the issue of “the morality of conversional forensic rhetoric” (p. 28). From the very beginning to the very end of his life Socrates was sincere and truthful in everything he did and said. The major distinction between Socrates and the sophists is that he was speaking from the bottom of his soul conversing the truth and wisdom of life by effective speech; while the sophists were delivering effective speech, whether truthful or not, to reach their aim, which was to persuade the audience. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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