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Socrates has many interesting views on various concepts and ideas. He goes into depth about how these concept and ideas can be detrimental or beneficial to human existence. Socrates is well known for being one of the greatest philosophers in history. He is recognized for being well versed in philosophy and the deep knowledge he possess. However, the information that we know about Socrates was not documented by Socrates. Our information of Socrates was documented by his mentee, Plato. One of Socrates most interesting perspective is his views on human wisdom. From certain angles, one can say that Socrates theory on human wisdom is contradictory. Giving what we know, or what we think we know, about wisdom today, doesn’t quite add up to Socrates point of view on wisdom.
Today’s definition of wisdom can be defined as, “the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment…the ability to make rational decisions based off knowledge that you possess or obtain.” But Socrates has a different way of viewing wisdom. Socrates thinks that wisdom is having the ability to understand that you don’t know everything and that it is foolish to think otherwise. A famous quote that Socrates makes about wisdom is “I don’t think I know what I do not know.” What Socrates is saying here is that if you do not have the knowledge about a certain topic, idea, or concept, don’t speak on it as if you do. If you don’t know or understand the subject matter than it is best to not share your views on it and trick yourself into believing what you are talking about. Socrates stood firm in recognizing his own ignorance and accepting it. In fact, Socrates displays this idea in a very modest way.
One of Socrates friends, Chaerephon asked the oracles if there was anyone as wise as Socrates? The oracle responded and told Chaerephon no. When Socrates got word of this, he was confused. Because of how Socrates sees himself in the light of wisdom, he couldn’t believe that there was no one that was as wise or obtain more wisdom that he did. So he took it upon himself to challenge the oracles and go find someone who was wiser than himself. What Socrates discovered during this investigation was, there were people who were very wise in what they were properly skilled to do but, those same wise people were very ignorant in other aspects but they pretended that they were wise in those areas which exposed their true ignorance.
Socrates says “I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do.” Socrates is telling how both him and the man he was speaking to were ignorant about a topic but unlike the man Socrates did not pretend to know anything about the topic, he accepted he was ignorant on the subject matter and did not speak on it. And that’s when Socrates came to the realization that he wisest in the aspect of recognizing his own ignorance. This inturned led to the Socratic method. Socrates views and the Socratic Method can be used to explain the Oedipus’s tragic flaw, which eventually led him to his downfall.
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