The Wisdom of Socrates (Step 3) The Wisdom of Socrates (Step 3)
Click to Start TimerClick "I read this story!" to stop the timer.BeeOasis Step 3 The man mixed the hemlock plant into a drink. It... The Wisdom of Socrates (Step 3)

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DeathofSocratesSmall.jpgThe man mixed the hemlock plant into a drink. It was a strong cup of poison. And then, a slave led the man into a room where Socrates was waiting. When Socrates saw the man, he said, “Now, good sir, you understand these things. What must I do?” The man said, “Just drink it and walk around until your legs begin to feel heavy, then lie down. It will soon act.” And with that, he offered Socrates the cup.

Socrates took the cup cheerfully. But before drinking it, he prayed that his journey from this world to the next would be successful. Then he put the cup to his lips and drank the poison calmly. When his friends saw this, they covered their faces and cried. They were losing their teacher, mentor, and friend.

Socrates is considered to be one of the fathers of western philosophy. Much about his life is a mystery to us because he wrote nothing. But we know him through the writings of his students, especially Plato. Thus, our knowledge of his life is second hand, and many people argue about it. But Socrates changed philosophy forever. And he is famous for many ideas, especially ideas about ethics, virtue, and the Socratic Method.

DeathofSocratesup.jpgEthics is the study of morality, or the study of right and wrong. And virtue concerns how to be a good person. In Socrates’ time, virtue was any kind of excellence that led to success. But for Socrates, virtue was also the power to do right and resist doing wrong. He believed that wrong actions harm the soul, and that a person of virtue has a healthy soul. For Socrates, a healthy soul was more important than material life. He said that a person may be healthy, wealthy, and beautiful, but wisdom brings true wealth and beauty. Wise people know what is right and do what is good. It is the wise, therefore, who are truly happy.

Perhaps Socrates’ greatest gift to philosophy was his method of searching for truth. The Socratic Method is teaching and learning by asking questions. It is a way of getting at the truth by question and answer. When Socrates asked a question, he pretended to be ignorant, and he tried to show the ignorance of his conversation partners. For Socrates, the first step of knowledge was admitting ignorance. Socrates claimed he was wiser than others because he was aware of his ignorance.

Socrates was put to death in 399 BC. He was accused of having a bad influence on young people and of not respecting religious values. He accepted his death sentence, and he willingly drank the poison that was given to him. He felt that a philosopher should not fear death. Today, people continue to argue about the death of Socrates. Was it fair or unfair? Was it just or unjust? And so, even after 2,400 years, Socrates still makes us think. He makes us think about the way we learn, the meaning of justice, and the nature of truth.

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I read this story! Honestly!

  • Shion Kobayashi

    October 27, 2010 #1 Author

    It was difficult for me, to know what this story wants to say.

  • Kanako

    October 28, 2010 #2 Author

    This is my first time to know about Socrates. this story remained us think about the way we learn, the meaning of justice, and the nature of truth.

  • Shota Mimoto

    October 30, 2010 #3 Author

    To search way we learn, the meaning of justice, and the nature of truth is important, but I think than any philosophy, believe in God is the most important thing for people.

  • Yuko Inoue

    October 30, 2010 #4 Author

    I have heard this sentence that “knowledge was admitting ignorance”.
    I think this sentens is famous in Japanese.

  • 松平聖晴

    November 5, 2010 #5 Author

    I should also think whether it is a thing that with what pleased of the god.