Socratic method Perhaps his most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of "elenchus", which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice.
These features represent the contributions of scholars of many generations and countries, as does the ongoing attempt to correct for corruption. Important variant readings and suggestions are commonly printed at the bottom of each page of text, forming the apparatus criticus.
In the great majority of cases only one decision is possible, but there are instances—some of crucial importance—where several courses can be adopted and where the resulting readings have widely differing import.
The work of the translator imports another layer of similar judgments. Some Greek sentences admit of several fundamentally different grammatical construals with widely differing senses, and many ancient Greek words have no neat English equivalents.
A notable artifact of the work of translators and scholars is a device of selective capitalization sometimes employed in English. Others have employed a variant of this convention in which capitalization is used to indicate a special way in which Plato is supposed to have thought of the forms during a certain period i.
Still others do not use capital letters for any such purpose. Readers will do best to keep in mind that such devices are in any case only suggestions.
In recent centuries there have been some changes in the purpose and style of English translations of ancient philosophy. The great Plato translation by Benjamin Jowett —93for example, was not intended as a tool of scholarship; anyone who would undertake such a study already knew ancient Greek.
At the other extreme was a type of translation that aimed to be useful to serious students and professional philosophers who did not know Greek; its goal was to indicate as clearly as possible the philosophical potentialities of the text, however much readability suffered in consequence. Exemplars of this style, which was much in vogue in the second half of the 20th century, are the series published by the Clarendon Press and also, in a different tradition, the translations undertaken by followers of Leo Strauss — Except in a few cases, however, the gains envisioned by this notion of fidelity proved to be elusive.
This is particularly true of the short, Socratic dialogues. In the case of works that are large-scale literary masterpieces, such as the Phaedrus, a translation of course cannot match the artistry of the original. Finally, because translators of difficult technical studies such as the Parmenides and the Sophist must make basic interpretive decisions in order to render any English at all, reading their work is very far from reading Plato.
In the case of these dialogues, familiarity with commentaries and other secondary literature and a knowledge of ancient Greek are highly desirable.
Yet he also made notoriously negative remarks about the value of writing. Similarly, although he believed that at least one of the purposes—if not the main purpose—of philosophy is to enable one to live a good life, by composing dialogues rather than treatises or hortatory letters he omitted to tell his readers directly any useful truths to live by.
Plato conversing with his pupils, mosaic from Pompeii, 1st century bce.
Moreover, it is a possession that each person must win for himself. The writing or conversation of others may aid philosophical progress but cannot guarantee it.
Contact with a living person, however, has certain advantages over an encounter with a piece of writing. As Plato pointed out, writing is limited by its fixity: So it is only natural that Plato had limited expectations about what written works could achieve.
On the other hand, he clearly did not believe that writing has no philosophical value. His use of dramatic elements, including humour, draws the reader in.
Plato is unmatched in his ability to re-create the experience of conversation. The dialogues contain, in addition to Socrates and other authority figures, huge numbers of additional characters, some of whom act as representatives of certain classes of reader as Glaucon may be a representative of talented and politically ambitious youth.
These characters function not only to carry forward particular lines of thought but also to inspire readers to do the same—to join imaginatively in the discussion by constructing arguments and objections of their own.
Spurring readers to philosophical activity is the primary purpose of the dialogues.
Because Plato himself never appears in any of these works and because many of them end with the interlocutors in aporia, or at a loss, some scholars have concluded that Plato was not recommending any particular views or even that he believed that there was nothing to choose between the views he presented.
But the circumstance that he never says anything in his own person is also compatible with the more common impression that some of the suggestions he so compellingly puts forward are his own.
Rather, as in a slightly archaic English usage, it is a matter of having things go well. Anything that has a characteristic use, function, or activity has a virtue or excellence, which is whatever disposition enables things of that kind to perform well.
The excellence of a race horse is whatever enables it to run well; the excellence of a knife is whatever enables it to cut well; and the excellence of an eye is whatever enables it to see well.
Human virtue, accordingly, is whatever enables human beings to live good lives. Thus the notions of happiness and virtue are linked. In the case of a bodily organ such as the eye, it is fairly clear wherein good functioning consists.
But it is far from obvious what a good life consists of, and so it is difficult to say what virtue, the condition that makes it possible, might be. Traditional Greek conceptions of the good life included the life of prosperity and the life of social position, in which case virtue would be the possession of wealth or nobility and perhaps physical beauty.
The overwhelming tendency of ancient philosophy, however, was to conceive of the good life as something that is the achievement of an individual and that, once won, is hard to take away.To 'know' is to 'be able to explain what you know (give an account) to others' in Socratic dialectic (answer and cross-questioning).
Socrates' methods and nature in the 'Memorabilia' and 'Symposium' of Xenophon are in many ways very different from Plato's dialogs, especially after Plato's 'Apology'. He is visited before dawn by his old friend Crito, who has made arrangements to smuggle Socrates out of prison to the safety of exile.
Socrates seems quite willing to await his imminent execution, and so Crito presents as many arguments as he can to persuade Socrates to escape.
Socrates on Trial / Last Days of Socrates / Death of Socrates The Apology by Plato. In the year B.C. three Athenian citizens - Meletus, Anytus and Lycon - brought a public action against Socrates as being a menace to society. In earliest times known by the title 'On the Soul', this dialog presents the Platonic Socrates' last hours before death, with Plato's proofs of the soul's immortality based on the argued-for premise that learning is recollection of Absolutes (Forms).
Crito (/ ˈ k r aɪ t oʊ / KRY-toh or / ˈ k r iː t oʊ / KREE-toh; Ancient Greek: Κρίτων) is a dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher timberdesignmag.com depicts a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito regarding justice (δικαιοσύνη), injustice (ἀδικία), and the appropriate response to injustice.
Socrates thinks that injustice may not be answered with. Dear Crito, your zeal is invaluable, if a right one; but if wrong, the greater the zeal the greater the evil; and therefore we ought to consider whether these things shall be done or not.