Talk:Socrates

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(Content moved to talk:Trial of Socrates)

From Socratic Irony and Aristotle's "Eiron": Some Puzzles[edit]

By: P. W. Gooch, Scarborough College (University of Toronto)
Published: Phoenix, Vol. 41, No. 2. (Summer, 1987), pp. 95-104.
Obtained from JSTOR Sunday March 2nd, 2008

This Article adresses my some of my comments. (See blockquote below. The text is from a footnote.)

At the end of the last century J. A. Stewart wrote, "Aristotle is the first to make Socrates the type of refined Irony" (Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle [Oxford 18921 1.359). Next Burnet: "This passage seems to be the origin of the current phrase 'Socratic irony,' a thing which is almost as mythical as 'tragic irony'" (The Ethics ofAristotle [London 19001 196). Then T. Marshall: "Irony, in the sense in which it is now commonly taken, as meaning an affectation of ignorance, is here attributed to Sokrates . . . . The authority of Aristotle has had a good deal to do with fixing the present meaning of the word" (Aristotle's Theory of Conduct [London 19091 264). And G. G. Sedgewick: "our ideas of Socratic irony spring ultimately from Aristotle's definition of eironeia as a pretence which takes the form of self-depression . . . .[Aristotle] fixed the general sense of Socratic irony for all time" (OfIrony, Especzally in Drama2 [Toronto 19481 11-12). (Works mentioned in this note will be cited by author's name, as will R. A. Gauthier and J. Y. Jolif, ~ ' f ' t h i ~2u eNicomaque [Louvain 19591 and T. Irwin, tr., Nicomachean Ethlcs [Indianapolis 19851).

Edit Request April 18 2013: Third Death Hypothesis[edit]

According to Larry Gonick's The Cartoon History of the Universe, Volume I, there is a third hypothesis the article fails to mention regarding the meaning of Socrates' last words: As it says, Asclepius is the Greek god of healing. Socrates' owing a sacrifice to the god implies he could have been sick - he may have already been dying and known it, which would provide another explanation for his not bothering to try to flee, accepting his execution as he did instead.

Foucault Reinterprets Socrates' Last Words[edit]

In The Courage of Truth, Michel Foucault makes a compelling case against the traditional interpretation, which Nietzsche also held, and which the primary Wikipedia article offers, that Socrates' last words, "Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt," implies that Socrates felt he was cured of the disease of life, or that dying, in freeing the soul from the body, can be understood as a kind of cure, thus deserving of a sacrifice to Asclepius. Foucault points out that neither Plato nor Socrates saw life as a disease, and, referring to Dumezil, makes a compelling argument that Socrates' last words signified that he believed himself, along with Crito and his followers, to be cured from the disease of false opinion.

In this sense, Socrates stayed true to his conviction that it was better to die than to escape, than to accept the false opinion of his followers who believed it was better to live by any means, or to accept the opinion of those who tried him. He did not compromise, did not submit to false opinion, and, in the context of Foucault's lectures, Socrates thus remains true to his own sense of parrhesia, of telling the truth, of caring for himself and for others, and thus freeing himself of falsity. See The Courage of Truth for what appears to be the most convincing, historically and philosophically significant interpretation of Socrates' last words, for Foucault's lens gives new depth to truth-telling practices and to the care of self and others (kinds of parrhesia) which constitute an under-examined core of Western philosophy since Socrates, a core that transcends ontology and metaphysics -- theories of truth, subjectivity, knowledge, power, etc. -- and focuses on an aesthetics of existence, a lifestyle of truth.

Socrates' last words, then, according to Foucault, show harmony between his ontology and lifestyle, which integrate his care for himself, others, truth, and the courage of the "True Life of Truth," the very basis and purpose of his dialogues: to navigate the dizzying array of views, especially in a democracy, Foucault states, which allows anyone to say anything, anywhere, at any time, and thus to cure ourselves of false opinions.

  • For these reasons, I believe that the part of the article on Socrates' last words should be revised to include Foucault's central contribution that Socrates requested a cock be sacrificed due to being cured, along with Crito and his followers, from the disease of false opinion, as this has a significant impact, as Foucault discusses, on the foundations and trajectories of Western philosophy, namely, the branches of metaphysics and aesthetics of existence. Rleack (talk) 04:22, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Rleack (talkcontribs) 03:58, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Do you have a full reference, & preferably a Google books link? You should really provide the words you want added or changed. Myrvin (talk) 08:49, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

minor edit : drop the "later" in "known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers"[edit]

Socrates is characterized as "an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers" -- "especially," the lede says, Plato, Xenophon, and Aristophanes. But all three were contemporaries of Socrates, and the same sentence (the article's 2nd) confusingly _cites_ Aristophanes as a contemporary. _Clouds_ was written decades before Socrates' death. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Matthew Freytag (talkcontribs) 18:17, 1 August 2014 (UTC)

Done. Myrvin (talk) 20:21, 1 August 2014 (UTC)