Portal:Philosophy/Selected philosopher/3

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Socrates 470 BC - 399 BC

Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher who is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy. He was born and lived in Athens, where he spent most of his time in enthusiastic pursuit of wisdom (philosophy). He "followed the argument" in his personal reflection, and in a sustained and rigorous dialogue between friends, followers, and contemporary itinerant teachers of wisdom. Later in his life he became known as the wisest man in all of Greece.

Opinions about Socrates were widely polarized, drawing very high praise or very severe ridicule. He had many devoted followers (such as Plato), and many angry detractors. As an old man, he fell into grave disrepute with the Athenian state powers, and was commanded to stop his public disputes, and his associations with young aristocrats. He carried on as usual. Finally, he was arrested and accused of corrupting the youth, inventing new deities (heresy), and disbelieving in the divine (atheism). According to traditional accounts, he was sentenced to die by drinking poison. Presented with an opportunity to leave Athens, he...