October 21, 2007

A man who simply encouraged critical thinking

Socrates taught his students to question the validity of virtually everything. He never claimed to be a teacher of truth but just a learner himself. His method of teaching was dialectical. It was a method whereby he posited questions and his students tried to find the answers on their own through discussions and debates. Hence, syntheses of ideas were formed from theses and anti-theses.
One of the many things that Socrates questioned was the polytheist religion of his time. The rich Greek mythology that we know today was formerly a religion that was believed by many. Socrates doubted the existence of the Greek gods and the many stories related to them. He asked if the gods really do exist or they were mere personification of the forces of nature invented by humans and given human attributes.
However, Socrates was far from being an atheist. Nonetheless, his religion was more rationally-based and morally superior than the polytheist religion of his time. He was a Deist. He strongly influenced Aristotle’s idea of the “transcendent unmoved-mover.” Socrates hinted the idea of a supreme being who created the cosmos. On the other hand, when it comes to ethics, Socrates’ adhere to the principle of the summum bonum or supreme good. This principle is sometimes corrupted to the idea of greatest good for the greatest number. Socrates religious and moral philosophy were more akin to the Christian philosophy. In fact, a significant number of theological ideas of Christianity were based on the teachings of Socrates and other ancient Greek Philosophers. The great triumvirate of ancient philosophy was composed of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle... Posted by Homar Murillo at 1:32 AM

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