choose questions from my words

Choose 1 of those question and write an essay

  • Q.1) The death of Socrates, to a large extent, occurred because the citizens of ancient Athens’ were unable to distinguish clearly between Socrates and any old sophist; accordingly, a comparison of Socrates to the sophists will help one to avoid making the same mistake as that committed by those early members of the Western world. Why, then, is Socrates often mistaken as a sophist? In what ways is he different from them? In crafting one’s response, one would do well to consider to what respective ends rhetoric is employed and why; nomadism versus fidelity to Athens; Aristophanes’ portrayal of Socrates in The Clouds; Socrates’ description of himself as a “gadfly”; Socrates’ description of himself as a “midwife”; Socrates’ reason for confessing that he cannot teach knowledge and, accordingly, why he cannot accept payment; the sophists’ reason for charging their students; and relativism and skepticism/cynicism versus absolute knowledge, or Truth.
  • Q.2) Who are the sophists? One would do well to consider some, if not all, of the following: the historical context surrounding the emergence of sophistry; the nature of the material that the sophists claimed to teach; the definitions of, and the relationship between, rhetoric and relativism, respectively, (including the roles of skepticism, agnosticism, and the logos, as well as Protagoras’ claim that “of all things, man is the measure”); the definitions of, and the relationship between, physis and nomos (including the tie to relativism, the collapse of the distinction between knowledge and opinion, and, consequently, what becomes of the logos)
  • Q.3) According to Socrates’ friend, Chaerephon, the sacred Oracle at Delphi claimed that no one was wiser than Socrates of Athens; however, Socrates claims to know only one thing: that he possess no wisdom whatsoever. Nonetheless, what four beliefs does Socrates appear ‘to know,’ or hold to be true? What makes him reasonably certain of these convictions? Is there anything ironic about his seeming ‘to know’ these things? One would do well to include consideration of the Socratic method and dialectic vs. dogmatism; Alcibiades’ eulogy of Socrates; Socrates’ attitude in the face of death; and his pronouncement that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”