Discussion Forum

Was Socrates a Chauvinist, or did he view Men and Women as equals?

Socrates was condemned to death around 399 BC, by Athens. The charges for his death were, ” for not believing in the gods in which the states believed, and for currupting the youth.”

Socrates was a thinker, he was well known for his Socratic Method, in which he would question everything – from the common things even to the most sensitive topics.

This was one reason why Athens condemned him to death in the first place…
After speculating about death, Socrates explored the idea of speaking with many people in the afterlife…

“What would not a man give, O judges, to be able to examine the leader of the great Trojan expedition; or Odysseus or Sisyphus, or numberless others, men and women too! What infinite delight would there be in conversing with them and asking them questions!” – Socrates on his Condemnation to Death

By this phrase, taken from the Appology, by Plato, do you think that Socrates viewed women and men as equals?
Socrates never recorded his sayings, but assuming that Plato truthfully recorded Socrates’ sayings, what is your opinion on this topic?

Plato never mentioned women anywhere else in this text…

It’s a hard question, but it’s kind of an opinion based question.

Have fun with this one…

3 Comments

  • There is no conclusive evidence that Socrates beleived that women were inferior- though there also is no evidence that he didn’t. We DO know that Socrates primary disciple, Plato, beleived that wemon should be educated- a major abberation from the mainstream beleifs of the time. Plato’s primary disciple, Aristotle, did NOT share this veiw and beleived that educating women was pointless. Because of this, we can guess that Plato got his ideas from his teacher- instead of comming up with them himself, leading us to assume that Socrates was NOT a Chauvinist.

    And by the way, you have incorrect ussage of Chauvinist. A Chauvinist is someone who beleives his country is infallible, however over the years it has been used to describe a man who beleives in inferiority of women.

  • Plato may not have referenced women more directly in the Apology, but he certainly did in the Republic. Try book V. Plato thought that women should have the same rights and responsibilities as men. The ignorant, and I just mean this in the literal sense, will assume that the older culture will necessarily be more chauvinist. The “Republic” will disprove this very convincingly. Although Socrates did not write anything, most scholars assume that through the middle works Plato is laying out the main thought of his teacher.

  • i think you can take a calculated guess that socrates was a chauvinist. afterall women were until recently considered inferior to man even by the best thinkers of the time. also as you know plato was his disciple and in his republic you can find very socialistic ideas where there is o place for family and everything has to be done for the state .

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