What would happen if we all reconsider Socrates, the real person instead of the version we have from Plato?

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Please consider the fact that the ideas and approach of Socrates did not come to us from Socrates but from Plato and other writers. The Socratic Method was not a dialectic where a loser and winner are needed; it actually involves humility between a listener and a speaker in seeking for the truth together. Plato distorted this and his student Aristotle distorted it even more. Aristotle wrote that slavery is acceptable and that women are inferior. Some say the problem all started with Cain and Abel, or with Lucifer and Eve and Adam. Fine. But I say it started with Plato and Aristotle. There you go…just consider it without getting all worked up and angry, OK?
I am reinterpreting Socrates and separating his humble search for truth from the dialectic and debate, where the need for a winner and loser, that are just far too popular today.

11 Comments

  1. The fact is that the most important version of Socrates is Plato, mainly because he did not write. But he is not the only source, there are references to him in Aristotle, Jeno font and Aristophanes as well.
    However it would be really interesting for us to be able to read or know more about Socrates in a direct manner. Unfortunately, that seems like not possible.
    On the other hand, that might be the best of him. Just like Jesus, who did not write any of his thoughts, which makes us not only consider what he said, but also wonder about if he was understood by those who did the writing back then.

  2. There are two other sources about Socrates form his lifetime: one is Xenophanes and the other the playwright Aesyelus in the play ‘The Clouds.’
    Plato may have put many of his own words in his mentor’s mouth, but, it seems much of what he presents is accuarte.

  3. For all we know there IS no real Socrates. He may very well have been just a commonly used foil in philosophical writing. I wonder if three thousand years from now people will wonder about the qualities of the REAL Mickey Mouse? Hm…

  4. I see your point. I’ve considered that perhaps one of the fundamental issues of disagreement, leading to this method of argument (winner, loser) is that (in each of the pairs you mentioned: Cain, Abel, Plato, Aristotle, etc) there was one core issue with which they could ultimately not get over, that is whether or not we are human beings or humans being; are we ultimately each alone or ultimately part of something larger (and the implied responsibility most important to each view). Perhaps Socrates brilliance of method lies in the fact he knew he didn’t know, so chose to continue discussion as a dance, rather than a fight.

  5. As I see it all homo sapien problems began with farming i.e. the story of Cain and Able, the farmer destroying the hunter gatherer. When we started to own things, sharing was lost. In my whole life I have known one person that I have been able to have a real communication with. Not two people trying to be heard, but two people trying to discover together. Perhaps having had that experience is what makes me so truly lonely ever since.

  6. As you probably know, the whole concept of winners and losers was an Aegean creation. For example, ancient civilisations fought battles and then went home, no claim to victory or loss was deemed necessary until the Greeks developed it. This is the background from which you must judge Plato. As has already been stated, we really don`t know if Socrates subscribed to this concept or not, however, being a product of that society it is difficult to imagine that he would not. When a philosopher searches for the truth there must come a point when a choice has to be made between a more or less favourable proposition;a winner or a loser in fact. Any philosopher who tries to avoid that choice has their brain in neutral – pass the Hemlock.

  7. The problem is, we don’t know anything about Socrates except through Plato. It is possible that he is a fictional character Plato invented.

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