Explore BrainMass

Greek and Roman Philosphers

Write specifically about the three great philosophers' theories and how/why they relate to modern life. Please include Socrates!

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com July 23, 2018, 8:05 am ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview


Let's look at three early philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle), which have complicated and many different theories on different topics, so I provided a brief explanation and provided excerpts of the different theories, along with other links for further reading.


I. SOCRATES (~c.469-399 B.C.),

Socrates has several theories about different concepts, such as the soul, wisdom and knowledge, epistemology, etc. as discussed in the following excerpt. The Socratic legacy is in turning critical thought quite directly in the direction of humanity, human morality and virtue and the idea of a good life for a human. Socrates' theory of the soul and its virtue and the use of reasoning in the service of virtue were lasting contributions to humanity. His legacy to Philosophy is in two areas: of Ethics and Epistemology. This relates to modern life (see attached resource).


1. Socrates theory of the Soul:

Socrates believed that he had a mission to seek after wisdom. He died being faithful to that mission. He attempted to find a stable and certain truth and a wisdom that would serve as a guide for life. He attempted to lead others to real insight. He wanted to persuade others to look into themselves, to seek wisdom and virtue and to care for their noblest possession, their soul, before all else. He attempted this even at his trial and in his final days and hours. He used the dialectical method as a midwife to ideas to lead others to knowledge, truth and virtue. He used the dialectical process (asking questions to get ot the truth) to arrive at universal definitions (see attached resource). Plato would develop the explanatory schema in which the universal definition is attainable due to a process of recollection through which all people can gain knowledge of what is within them, their minds from birth. Socrates himself believed in the universality of the inner rational being. He believed that:

The unexamined life is not worth living! The best manner to examine that life is through reasoning which employs the dialectical method of inquiry.

"Plato inherits this belief, expands upon it and promulgates this belief"

(excerpted from http://www.san.beck.org/SOCRATES4-What2.html#12).


See http://www.str.org/free/studies/socratic.htm.

Socratic Method and Scientific Method: http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~phildept/Dye/method.html

This is socratic method is used today. It lives on in many disciplines and is how it relates to modern live.



For Socrates the key to a virtuous life was knowledge of the GOOD and this links ethics with epistemology. If one knew the Good one would choose it. One always chooses the best of the options available. The question was, what is the Good? What is Best? Virtue would depend on knowledge. Knowledge itself is a virtue but knowledge of the GOOD and of Virtue was necessary for the GOOD Life. The soul must choose the GOOD but only if it knows what it is. Evil is the result of ignorance. The soul chooses what it thinks is the Good but it isn't the soul has made a mistake! Wrong doing is involuntary. Evil doers must be educated, instructed as to what truly is the GOOD and then they will choose it. Socrates believed that no one does wrong voluntarily. Evil is the result of ignorance. If people knew what was the right thing to do they would do it. We always choose what we think is the best or good for us. So, if someone chooses to do what we think is wrong, then that person made a mistake and must be educated to see the error. They mistook evil for the GOOD. Do you agree? Why or why not?

Socrates ...

Solution Summary

This solution explores three great philosophers' theories (Socrates, etc.) and how/why they relate to modern life. Supplemented with one article on Socrate's philosophy for further research.