Hegel's Deep Reverence For Socrates

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Hegel’s deep reverence for Socrates is reflected in his comparison of Socrates with Jesus. While there are many similarities between them—both men attracted disciples, taught orally, were persecuted for undermining traditional authority, were martyrs and dichotomized world history—Hegel’s comparison primarily meant to convey his belief that Socrates’ importance cannot be overstated (Most). For Hegel, Socrates not only introduced the world to philosophy, but also brought about the advent of a type of consciousness formerly absent from the world. Hegel refers to this as “subjective consciousness”, which enabled individuals to critically examine the world around them and look within, as oppose to the external, to determine morality. Socrates introduced the world to this concept by deliberately engaging in conversations with individuals, imploring them to articulate their beliefs then highlighting contradictions and confounding the individual. The ramifications of Socrates’ teachings threatened Athenian institutions and ultimately contributed to Athens’ downfall. Despite, perhaps being the most influential being to ever live, Socrates remains a tragic figure, as his philosophy of negativism was never supplemented with positivism or anything to fill the created void. Socrates had a profound impact on the world as his introduction to “subjective freedom” spurred critical examinations in Athens and continues to inspire examination today. Socrates inspired generations of thinkers,

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