Socratic Essay : Socratic Ignorance Or Socratic Brilliance

1383 Words Apr 27th, 2015 6 Pages
Socratic Ignorance or Socratic Brilliance “For I’m only too aware that I’ve no claim to being wise in anything either great or small.” (Apology, 21b) Socrates declares his ignorance in the Apology with that phrase. Here, Socrates is asserting that he has no vast knowledge of any subject and he even continues to be doubtful of those who call him wise. However, before diving into the complex subject that is Socratic ignorance, the background of this fabled man needs establishing. Socrates lived from 470 to 399 B.C., during his life Socrates spent his days contemplating the deep questions of life and teaching this method of contemplation to others. Though, as great as he was, Socrates never actually wrote anything, the only recorded works that exist from this great thinker are ones that were wrote in his voice by his closest student (and another philosophical powerhouse) Plato. In fact, all of Plato’s early works are Socratic dialogues, all of which followed a similar pattern. Socrates is renowned for his method of questioning that seem always to force his opponents or interlocutors to doubt their original beliefs. His method is call elenchus, and his supposed claim to ignorance is important to its success. In this paper, Socrates’s claim to ignorance is going to be examined. Was it really his ignorance that fueled his endless pursuit for knowledge or was it his denied brilliance shining through? It is tough to say, but through reading his works and paying close attention to…

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