Political Philosophy and Plato Essay

9254 Words Aug 24th, 2014 38 Pages
Socrates 469 BC–399 BC, was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Many would claim that Plato's dialogues are the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.
Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who also lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method,
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Socratic Paradoxes
Many of the beliefs traditionally attributed to the historical Socrates have been characterized as "paradoxal" because they seem to conflict with common sense. The following are among the so-called Socratic Paradoxes.
No one desires evil.
No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly.
Virtue—all virtue—is knowledge.
Virtue is sufficient for happiness.
The phrase Socratic paradox can also refer to a self-referential paradox, originating in Socrates' phrase, "I know that I know nothing noble and good".
One of the best known sayings of Socrates is "I only know that I know nothing". The conventional interpretation of this remark is that Socrates' wisdom was limited to an awareness of his own ignorance. Socrates believed wrongdoing was a consequence of ignorance and those who did wrong knew no better. The one thing Socrates consistently claimed to have knowledge of was "the art of love", which he connected with the concept of "the love of wisdom", i.e., philosophy. He never actually claimed to be wise, only to understand the path a lover of wisdom must take in pursuing it. It is debatable whether Socrates believed humans (as opposed to gods like Apollo) could actually become wise. On the one hand, he drew a clear line between human ignorance and ideal knowledge; on the other, Plato's Symposium (Diotima's Speech) and Republic (Allegory of the Cave) describe a method for ascending to wisdom.
In Plato's Theaetetus