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Socrates was a Greek philosopher whose way of life, character, and thought exerted a profound influence on ancient and modern philosophy. He was the first Greek philosopher to seriously explore questions of ethics. His influence on the subsequent course of ancient philosophy was so great over the cosmologically-oriented philosophers.
See the fact file below for more information on the Socrates or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Socrates worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Socrates’ father was a sculptor, and his mother was a midwife. He may have been a stonemason like his father. It was known that he was influenced by an older philosopher, Archelaus, and he talked with anyone who had interesting ideas in Athens, but beyond that, nothing is known.
- Contemporaneous sources stated he was born not very much later than the year 471 BC. His date of birth is within the period of years ranging 470 to 469 BC, or within a range 469 to 468 BC (corresponding to the fourth year of the 77th Olympiad).
- For a time, Socrates fulfilled the role of hoplite, participating in the Peloponnesian War—a conflict which stretched intermittently over a period spanning 431 to 404 BC.
- In the monologue of the Apology, Socrates states he was active for Athens in the battles of Amphipolis, Delium, and Potidaea.
- Socrates married Xanthippe, a younger woman, who bore him three sons: Lamprocles, Sophroniscus, and Menexenus.
- Socrates had little to do with his sons’ upbringing and expressed far more interest in the intellectual development of Athens’ other young boys.
PHILOSOPHY AND BELIEF
- Socrates believed that philosophy should achieve practical results for the greater well-being of society. He attempted to establish an ethical system based on human reason rather than theological doctrine.
- Socrates pointed out that human choice was motivated by the desire for happiness. Ultimate wisdom comes from knowing oneself. The more a person knows, the greater his or her ability to reason and make choices that will bring true happiness.
- Socrates believed that this translated into politics with the best form of government being neither a tyranny nor a democracy. Instead, government worked best when ruled by individuals who had the greatest ability, knowledge and virtue, and possessed a complete understanding of themselves.
- Socrates frequently said his ideas were not his own, but his teachers’.
- Socrates’ most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of “elenchus”.
- This method has often been considered as a defining element of American legal education.
- To illustrate this method, a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge.
- The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions.
TRIAL AND DEATH
- In 399 B.C., Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens and of impiety, or heresy. He chose to defend himself in court.
- Socrates declared that he fulfilled an important role as a gadfly, but the jury was not swayed by Socrates’ defense and convicted him by a vote of 280 to 221.
- The jury was not amused and sentenced him to death by drinking a mixture of poison hemlock.
- Before Socrates’ execution, friends offered to bribe the guards and rescue him so he could flee into exile.
- Socrates turned down Crito’s pleas to attempt an escape from prison, stating he wasn’t afraid of death, felt he would be no better off if in exile and said he was still a loyal citizen of Athens, willing to abide by its laws, even the ones that condemned him to death.
- Plato described Socrates’ execution in his Phaedo dialogue: Socrates drank the hemlock mixture without hesitation. Numbness slowly crept into his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before his final breath, Socrates described his death as a release of the soul from the body.
- The students of Socrates immediately set to work both on exercising their perceptions of his teachings in politics and also on developing many new philosophical schools of thought.
- In the 19th century, Socrates was regarded as a seminal figure in the evolution of European thought or as a Christ-like herald of a higher existence.
- The death of Socrates is considered iconic and his status as a martyr of philosophy overshadows most contemporary and posthumous criticism.
- The ambiguity and lack of reliability serves as the modern basis of criticism—that it is nearly impossible to know the real Socrates. Some controversy also exists about Socrates’ attitude towards homosexuality and as to whether or not he believed in the Olympian gods, was monotheistic, or held some other religious viewpoint.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Socrates across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Socrates worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Socrates who was a Greek philosopher whose way of life, character, and thought exerted a profound influence on ancient and modern philosophy. He was the first Greek philosopher to seriously explore questions of ethics. His influence on the subsequent course of ancient philosophy was so great over the cosmologically-oriented philosophers.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Socrates Facts
- Socrates Info
- Let’s Discuss
- Letter Clue
- Socratic Method
- Word Bank
- Essay Writing
- Letter Scrambled
- Known Philosopher
- It’s a Trivia!
- Breaking News
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Use With Any Curriculum
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