Besides Plato’s works? I mean, what if Plato made up Socrates just to use as a kind of mouth piece to explain his own beliefs and ideas? Is that not plausible? Socrates could merely be a fictional character.
It’s not as if Plato would have no reason for doing so. He could use the character of Socrates so that he wouldn’t be persecuted himself for his beliefs. I’m not saying that this is probable, I’m merely asking the question, to see if it is possible.

16 Comments

  • This isn’t a stupid question at all. There is split between experts in his field as to whether Socrates did exist in Plato’s dialogues.
    The base facts are that, Socrates did exist and Plato probably studied under him. But Plato may have made up Socrates as literary technique in his dialogues.
    Many writers of that time used Socrates (sokratikoi logic) from the 390s, so Plato may have just been conforming to this literary technique.
    The general consensus is that, although Socrates did exist Plato placed him in scenes in order to conduct a dialogue and provoke a philosophical discussion.
    If you are still interested there is great article discussing this called ‘Socrates in the Platonic Dialogues’, Catherine Osborne, 2006

  • It only takes a few minutes to see the politics of the current era and see how this could be the case. We have urban myths and legends. Just because these myths are repeated and believed by some does not make them true. Writers (and even historians) can be found to blend fact and fiction in weaving a more exciting tale. We can also look, as you did, to the motivation of the person who is recording events for history.

    I commend you on your critical thinking. Not accepting being spoon-fed is a rarity.

    In today’s era, we don’t have to speculate as much as there are more accurate record keeping systems and technology that can help address these issues.

    For anyone familiar with international immigration. People create fake identities all the time. Stolen ID is often used to create a new identity for people. Most banks are familiar with the concept of identity theft.

  • Marco is right. But nevertheless a good q. Try to prove it by reading what others said about him and judge whether they were talking about a real or an invented person. For that matter was Shakespeare a real person?

  • He was a well known person af his time, even lampooned in a contemporary play, ” The Clouds” by Aristophanes. I never heard this idea that he wasn’t a real person — what’s your problem w/ him?

  • plato’s ideas differ from socrates — i guess you could say plato in an attempt to make himself a genius created a teacher for himself named socrates — they were very ethos centered and what your credentials were said a lot obout you. politicians like to use ethos a lot — (“i am not gay” — larry craig while standing next to his wife in big dark sunglasses).

  • Its a possibility many writers have two or three pen names, Mark Twain for example.

    You would have to do a lot of research to know for sure did you look it up research on the Internet? You sound wise and intuitive this is a sign of high intelligence congratulations, keep drumming up the facts of why you believe this to be so, research to see if anyone else thinks so, outside of your study group and so on. Good luck. Very interesting question.

  • That is possible, but not probable. Plato is not the only source of knowledge of Socrates, the “philosopher, soldier” Xenophane gave accounts of Socrates as did the play write Aristophanes.

    Plato, Xenophane and Aristophanes each had different views on what type of person Socrates was, it is doubt full that Socrates was an imaginary figure.

  • Socrates was not a real person. There was another man using the name Socrates at the time. (Don’t take this answer seriously!)

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