Socrates: Philosophy in an Hour, Paul Strathern
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Paul Strathern

Socrates: Philosophy in an Hour

Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted12 days ago
As Socrates wrote nothing down, it seems only fair to begin with a quotation that explains why he did this:

Knowing nothing, what could I write down?

He goes on to explain:

Once there was an ancient Egyptian god called Theuth. He invented numbers, geometry, astronomy, dice, and writing. One day Theuth went to see Thamus, the King of Upper Egypt, and began to show him all he had invented. When Theuth reached the alphabet, he explained: “This is an invention which will greatly improve the wisdom and memory of your people.” But the king replied: “O ingenious Theuth, your alphabet will have exactly the opposite effect from the one you claim. As soon as Egyptians begin to rely upon written wisdom, they will stop using their memory and call things to mind not by using their own internal resources, as they should, but by using these external signs.
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted12 days ago
. He would begin by asking his adversary to define the subject under discussion – which might be anything from the nature of justice to the method of becoming a general. Whether sublime or ridiculous, the subject was given the same treatment. This was the great innovation of the dialectic: it was a tool that could be applied to anything. Having elicited a definition of the subject, Socrates would then proceed to pick holes in it, and in the process a better definition would be achieved. In this way he advanced from particular examples to those with more general application, finally arriving at the universal truth.
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted12 days ago
He would begin by asking his adversary to define the subject under discussion – which might be anything from the nature of justice to the method of becoming a general. Whether sublime or ridiculous, the subject was given the same treatment
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted12 days ago
He would begin by asking his adversary to define the subject under discussion
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted13 days ago
Socrates saw the soul as being much more like the conscious personality: an entity that could be judged clever or stupid, good or bad – that is, something for which we are morally responsible
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted13 days ago
One way of explaining this is to use the image of a plaster cast being made out of a mould
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted13 days ago
According to Socrates, particular objects receive their qualities by “participating” in the ideas from which they derive
Nicolas Palacios
Nicolas Palacioshas quoted13 days ago
Socrates would seek to clarify the debate by starting from first principles. This meant defining the basic concepts upon which his adversary’s ideas rested, exposing inconsistencies, and particularly pointing out the consequences of such ideas
Alejandro Casas Ibáñez
Alejandro Casas Ibáñezhas quotedlast month
He goes on to explain:
Once there was an ancient Egyptian god called Theuth. He invented numbers, geometry, astronomy, dice, and writing. One day Theuth went to see Thamus, the King of Upper Egypt, and began to show him all he had invented. When Theuth reached the alphabet, he explained: “This is an invention which will greatly improve the wisdom and memory of your people.” But the king replied: “O ingenious Theuth, your alphabet will have exactly the opposite effect from the one you claim. As soon as Egyptians begin to rely upon written wisdom, they will stop using their memory and call things to mind not by using their own internal resources, as they should, but by using these external signs.”
– Plato, Phaedo, 274, 275
Alejandro Casas Ibáñez
Alejandro Casas Ibáñezhas quotedlast month
The precise outlines of this prison may still be seen, one hundred yards southwest of the present ruins of the Agora
Alejandro Casas Ibáñez
Alejandro Casas Ibáñezhas quotedlast month
The world of forms is the only real world, and is universal. It is the ultimate world in which all particular things participate
Alejandro Casas Ibáñez
Alejandro Casas Ibáñezhas quotedlast month
One thing is certain about the Theory of Forms: neither Socrates nor Plato was the first to think of it.
Stas Matushevschii
Stas Matushevschiihas quoted5 years ago
Original thought of any kind requires idleness – a fact often overlooked by earnest, industrious mediocrities.
Stas Matushevschii
Stas Matushevschiihas quoted5 years ago
It has taken philosophers twenty-five centuries of getting it wrong to conclude that getting it wrong isn’t the point. Now they believe that the mere practice of philosophy is what matters. Thus philosophy has become an activity, like wine-tasting or tax evasion, with similarly ambiguous effects on the practitioner.
Stas Matushevschii
Stas Matushevschiihas quoted5 years ago
Anaxagoras first demonstrated these lessons to Socrates – that philosophy was both serious and dangerous. As we shall see, Socrates chose to ignore them. Ignoring the first lesson made him one of the most engaging of all philosophers. Ignoring the second was to cost him his life
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