Socrates, Plato and Aristotle

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Socrates:
Socrates was born in Athens about 470 BC and lived until 399 BC, he was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher and is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. An accurate picture of the man, his life, and viewpoints are problematic because he did not write any philosophical texts, everything we know is based on writings by his students and contemporaries… this is what is known as the Socratic problem. Socrates was later tried and put to death for “corrupting the youth and impiety”. Throughout his life Socrates never wrote anything down because he believed knowledge was a living interactive thing and not to be written in a static writing (I bet the internet would have really appealed to his love of interactive discussions), so his typical method of philosophical inquiry consisted of questioning people on their positions and working them through questions until they reached a contradiction, thus proving to them that their original assertion was wrong. Socrates most famous philosophical ideas: The necessity of doing what one thinks is right even in the face of universal opposition, and the need to pursue knowledge even when opposed, which he did end up paying the price for these ideas in the end. Socrates was unconcerned with physical or metaphysical questions; the issue of primary importance for him was ethics and living a good life. During his trial and written in Plato’s “The Apology” he gave the idea that truth needs to be pursued by changing your position through questioning and conflict with opposing ideas. It is THIS idea of the truth being pursued, rather than discovered, that characterizes Socratic thought and much of our “Western” philosophical thought today.

Plato:
Plato was born in around 428 BC and lived until 348 BC, he was a classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy of Athens… which was the first institution of higher learning in the Western world....
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