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Eleghos –  the Socratic Eleghtic method

Now we arrive at Socrates (469-399 B.C.) .. an enigma, wrapped up in a mystery ..
In my view… Socrates in a way is a renaissance man, he puts the human at the centre of everything.  Supposedly, he was a short unattractive man. He is said to have an overbearing wife. So at first sight, nothing to write home about: short, robust and a bit rough at the physical edges – what in the recent past might have been dismissed as apparently a labouring type.
 
Indeed, Socrates was the son of Sophroniscus, an Athenian stone mason and sculptor. He learned his father’s craft and for many years that is what he was.
He fought in the Peloponnesian War (431–04 B.C.) until Athens was finally crushed by the Spartans, and was distinguished for his courage in battle.(saving the general Alcibiades – perhaps a mistake, given what Alcibiades went on to do … ) 
 
Details of his early life are scarce, although he appears to have had no more than an ordinary Greek education before devoting his time almost completely to Philosophy.
 
Plato records the fact that Socrates met Zeno of Elea (c. 495–430 B.C.) and Parmenides (born c. 515 B.C.) – two famed philosophers on their trip to Athens, which probably took place about 450 B.C.E.
 
Socrates himself wrote nothing, therefore evidence of his life and activities must come from the writings of Plato, Xenophon (c. 431–352 B.C.E.), and at one remove, from Aristotle.
 
Plato’s Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Symposium have details which might be close to the life of Socrates. These were Plato’s earliest works.
From his Apology we learn that Socrates was well known around Athens.
  
Most Greeks when thinking of the Socratic method of teaching use the word   Maieutike …. the midwifes method.
Asking and answering questions in a form of a dialogue to establish critical thinking.
Helping us achieve deeper and further understanding of our presuppositions (and usually the errors therein!).
Also known as Eleghos –  the Socratic Eleghtic method.
Socrates through questions and argument tested the common shared truths of the people that shaped them and their belief system.
He then would lead them to determine their consistency of their own and other beliefs. By thus exploring definitions, he hoped to guide them to general truths: which were of course his core values rather than those of traditional ways of thought.
 
This did not make him that popular .. as he was deemed subversive .. and in the aftermath of the failed war against the Spartans .. anyone not readily visible as a true-blue Athenian was suspect. Socrates also suggested that philosophers should be kings and rulers because they were trained to have arête or virtue: apparently not a very democratic state of being …
Think MacCarthy and the Communist Scare for a flavour of the times then in Athens ….
 
Socrates was one of the most inspiring teachers in the history of ancient philosophy. 
His fame was widespread in his own time, and his name soon became a household word although he professed no extraordinary wisdom, constructed no philosophical system, established no school.
His influence on the course of ancient philosophy, through Plato, the Cynics, and less directly, Aristotle, is immeasurable.
 
What Socrates brought not only to Athens, but to the world, was the idea that we should pester each other (like gad-flies) to think about these questions and choices that effect one another.
The notion of eudaimonia does not only effect me and my family, but you and your family, and of course yours effects mine.
The Socratic method of teaching was simple: one simply asks another a series of questions about the basic assumptions and forces to identify those assumptions and see whether or not it is possible to support them.
A very often eye-opening and difficult experience for each and every one of us even today.

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