Ancient Philosophers: Socrates, General Notions

Classic Philosophers: The Great Thinkers of the Western World


by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.

I. The Philosophy of Socrates: General Notions

The Sophists had turned their attention to man, but they had stopped at sensitive impressions, at empirical data. They logically ended in Skepticism. Socrates moves on the same plane as the Sophists, i.e., the study of man, and raises the Delphic motto: “Know thyself” as the standard of his teaching. He does not stop at sensations, at opiniative knowledge; his investigation tended to scrutinize the more intimate part of man, that by which man is man, his reason. It is in this intimacy of reason that he discovers a knowledge which has the characteristics of universality and necessity: the concept. Behold the great Socratic discovery through which philosophy finds its road and later arrives at the greater systems which the human mind has been able to construct.

Socrates, like the Sophists, was not concerned with metaphysics, but excused himself by saying that nature is under the direction of gods. He concentrated all his attention on the search for moral concepts; he was convinced that the practice of morality must be preceded by a concept of justice, and was opposed to that destructive idea which was the basis of Sophistic teaching.

After the great discover of Socrates the Sophists did not entirely disappear; we find them also during the time of Aristotle, but they lose all their influence and importance.

The late Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty was the Founder and President of The Center for Applied Philosophy and the Radical Academy, and is Honorary Philosophy Editor at The Moral Liberal. The Moral Liberal has adopted these projects beginning with a republishing and preserving of all of Dr. Dolhenty’s work. “Classic Philosophers: The Great Thinkers of the Western World” was designed and organized by Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D. Copyright ©1992 -2011 The Radical Academy. Copyright renewed in © 2011 -2013 The Radical Academy (a project of The Moral Liberal).

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