Who was Socrates?
Socrates was born in about 470 B.C. None of his own writings have been left behind, but we know about him through some of the writings of his students. Socrates didn't grow up in a wealthy family, so he probably received only a very basic education. Before becoming a philosopher, he was a sculptor. Some Athenian leaders believed that Socrates was a threat to them, and sentenced him to death. His friends offered to help him escape, but Socrates stated that he was not afraid of death and would obey the law.
Philosophy and Ideals
Socrates believed that an absolute truth existed and that each person had real knowledge. He disagreed with the Sophists and thought that there was nothing in between right and a wrong. Socrates often asked questions that made his students think and use reason to find the answer.
Impact on Greek Society
Socrates used the Socratic method, which had his students openly debate. This helped many Greeks see new points of view. However, the Athenian leaders eventually got concerned and accused him of teaching the Athenians to rebel. Open debate had been common, but it was no longer trusted after the Peloponnesian War.
Socrates invented the Socratic Method, which is still used by many teachers today. This method helps students ask and discuss different topics. With the Socratic method, students are able to interact with each other while also being able to learn and see how others think about the topic.
- Social Studies textbook