Socrates Era In The Socratic Era

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THE CLASSIC ERA.

In this the Socratic era, Socrates and his followers, set out to form great philosophies which turn out be the main platform of Western civilisation. The lesser Socratics, the Platonic Academy, the Aristotelian Lyceum, and the Hellenistic movements, start here and all later thought has to take account of these and a great part of it consists essentially of an elaboration or a commentary upon, or a criticism of, theses movements. The questioning method of Socrates was the initial stimulus. There followed an elaboration and interpretation of his suggestions by less important followers; then the writings of Plato and the Academy; and finally, the study of factual details by Aristotle and his school. Meanwhile, some tendencies from the Pre-Socratic continued without being absorbed entirely by the Platonists and Aristotileans. Socrates met the Relativism of the Sophists by seeking the conceptions which are common to the positions of those who disagree, thus formulating inductive definitions of the meanings of terms. He also saw in the effort to lead an intelligent existence, the key to the only criterion of virtue acceptable to a rational mind. Plato presented a detailed portrayal of Socrates at work on ethical concepts, studied the nature and degrees of knowledge,
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The Cynics led by Antisthenes emphasised the disciplining of human needs and insisted upon severer aspects of living. Ethics, they said is the essential part of philosophy, and the highest good is the chief concern of man. The highest good is to be found in virtue, and virtue is happiness. Virtue is attained by means of intelligent living and is expressed in independence of external circumstances and mastery of desires-limiting them to those that are indispensable for life. Work is the essential good and is the source of satisfaction. The wise man is free from domination by custom and the acquisitions of civilisation. His riches lie in his

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