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Socrates (470/469 - 399 BC) - the first (by birth) Athenian philosopher, descended from the deme Alopek, which is part of the Athenian polis. The father of Socrates is considered to be the artisan-stone-cutter Sofronisk, and the mother is the midwife Finareta.
Socrates is one of the founders of dialectics, an idealist. The first of the philosophers moved from considering nature and the world around him to analyzing the human personality. He preached in the streets and squares, with the aim of fighting the sophists and educating the youth. He was executed (took the poison of hemlock), as the official charge said, for the introduction of new deities and for corrupting the youth in a new spirit.
Socrates did not leave behind any writings; the most important sources of information about his life and teachings are the works of his students - Xenophon and Plato, in most of whose dialogues Socrates acts as the main character.
Socrates participated in the war between Athens and Sparta. The philosopher managed to enter the battlefield three times, the last one in 422 BC at the Battle of Amphipod, where the Athenians were utterly defeated by the Spartans.
Socrates led the life of a true philosopher. He was little interested in social activities, material wealth and his own family, consisting of a wife and three (born quite late) sons.
Socrates opposed writing. This is evidenced by the dialogue "Phaedrus", written by his student, Plato. In this work, Socrates opposes the inventor of Egyptian writing, Thoth, arguing that writing depersonalizes knowledge, and, accordingly, interferes with their full assimilation. Perhaps that is why we know about Socrates only from someone else's mouth - the philosopher himself did not leave behind any written evidence. But his students - Plato (as mentioned earlier) and the historian Xenophon dedicated many of their works to Socrates. So the pen of Xenophon belongs to the works entitled "Memories of Socrates" and "Apology of Socrates", but the teachings of Plato are often completely associated with the teachings of Socrates.
Socrates opposed the study of nature. The philosopher believed that a person should not interfere with his mind in the creation of the gods, especially since the latter is so diverse and great that it can only be comprehended with the help of fortune telling - for example, with the Delphic oracle. Socrates did not recognize the problems that occupied his contemporaries-philosophers, who were engaged in the knowledge of the essence of the principles of nature and the universe. The philosopher believed that it was necessary to deal with issues related to the human personality, the moral component of a person and the essence of knowledge, that is, exclusively ethical issues.
Socrates believed that the knowledge of the world should begin with the knowledge of oneself. According to Socrates, only by knowing himself, a person could comprehend the world around him, its internal laws and such global concepts as morality and religion. Comprehension of morality, according to Socrates, was necessary for any person who claims to be a truly moral person.
The moral norm according to Socrates is autonomous and individual. A real morally positive deed, according to the philosopher, a person can commit only consciously and of his own free will. If a person acts well only because it is so accepted in society, his act cannot be called moral, because it is not caused by his personal impulse, but solely by the habit of acting like everyone else. Accordingly, individuality in performing a good deed and its autonomy from public opinion become the moral norm for Socrates.
Socrates developed his own method of knowledge. It is based on such concepts as "irony" and "maieutics", and it is based on a system of sequential questions, the answers to which should lead the interlocutor to an internal contradiction with himself and, as a result, to the recognition of his own ignorance. As a result, we get what in philosophy is called "Socratic irony." And immediately after it comes "maieutics" (or, as Socrates said, "midwifery") - the art of overcoming contradictions in order to discover the truth, a kind of "birth" of knowledge.
Socrates was the ideologue of the aristocracy. The philosopher believed that the knowledge on which the three basic virtues are based is available only to people of noble blood. Among this knowledge Socrates attributed: knowledge of curbing passions - the virtue of "moderation", knowledge of overcoming danger - the virtue of "courage", knowledge of the observance of divine and human laws - the virtue of "justice".
Socrates was sentenced to death. The restoration of democracy in Athens led to the accusation of atheism of Socrates. Accusatory claims were made by the tragic poet Melet, the wealthy leatherworker Anit and the orator Lycon. In the spring of 399 BC. Socrates was forced to appear before a jury, where he was already formally charged with atheism, the introduction of new deities into religious use, the corruption of youth, and a decision was made to execute the philosopher. Socrates died in prison, taking in the presence of his disciples a herbal poison (hemlock) from a bowl.