Socrates, Spielvogel, Western Civilization

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Socrates was arguably one of the wisest men to ever live. Having written nothing of his own, everything known about him was recorded by his pupils, especially Plato, who is considered by many to be the greatest philosopher of Western civilization.1 The vision of Socratic philosophy can be traced through Socrates' very actions and words as recorded in documents like The Apology, Crito, and Phaedo of Socrates. Socrates' vision pours out into what his goals and methods were like and overflows into critical application in society now.
While on trial in Athens, Socrates seemed to keep himself level-headed, defending himself to his accusers while also laying out what his vision and goals were. He spoke to his accusers as he would speak to any
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Spielvogel, Western Civilization, 64.
4. Spielvogel, Western Civilization, 64. making them think for themselves and question where their ideas are coming from. As well as this, it was his desire to also help men realize that they did not know everything and that they were not as wise as they believed themselves to be.5 Socrates himself realized that the only reason he could be considered "the wisest man on earth" was because he knew that he did not know everything. He says in his trial that neither he nor a man he spoke to "appears to know anything great and good" but that the other man acted as though he knew something, when in reality he did not. In response to this, Socrates' says he "does not know anything, so [he does] not fancy [he does]."6 His realization that his wisdom comes from his own admittance to not knowing the answers is central to his goal of helping other young men realize that they and the people around them do not know all the answers as they claim to.
Socrates' method of teaching and questioning would sometimes leave men feeling demeaned, reducing them to tears because they did not know the answers to the questions they were being asked.7 His teaching method is reasonably named the "Socratic Method," and
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In society now, people are both easily satisfied by answers and not easily satisfied by answers. They want things as quickly as they possibly can get them, and they are constantly on a seemingly insatiable search to reach new heights of efficiency. As a result of this, sometimes they will settle for simple answers or the most widely believed consensus. By using his method of questioning in conversations, people could begin to think more deeply again and to question what they have merely been accepting as a result of wanting quicker answers and faster results. The Socratic method can pour into nearly every aspect of modern life if people allow it to, and it is completely applicable to time
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