Socrates and Syllogism

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One of the erudite of Western world Socrates. An Athenian well known figure using Inductive and Deductive arguments to thwart his opponents. In the language of Aristotle, Socrates was confronted by sophists and moral conservatives who were using incoherent moral vocabulary as if they were sure of it’s subtle meaning.

Socrates who is a mouth piece of Plato with excellence of character became first to raise the problem of universal definition always seeking for the essence that must be the starting point of syllogisms. He used this method in the interest of discovering definitions.

In Republic we repeatedly see when he raise questions, what is piety?, what is justice? Etc. Then we see him syllogizing using deductive method with the intention of convicting his interlocutors of inability to answer the questions rather than the intention of supplying an answer leaving them into fury. What was wisest of all Athenian expecting from this procedure? Only he knew among all of them, he knew nothing. As a teacher he always knew how to make his pupils wiser by making them discover their own ignorance.

It was one of the reason to left his interlocutors in an exasperated fury who haughty and prejudiced. His method is more intelligible and more justifiable if it is understood as aimed at securing a particular sort of change in the hearers rather that arriving at a particular conclusion. Socrates agrees with sophists on the thesis that ‘virtue is teachable’ but paradoxically he denies that their are teachers. As we found in the thesis about knowledge, which is already present in us and has only to be brought to birth by a philosophical midwife leaving the thought obscurer than clearer. For him every moral virtue is a form of knowledge i.e when we knew what Justice is then we are just. For him no one willingly goes wrong, no one errs willingly.

He points out that giving a child what is good for him is quite different from giving him he wants for example what is good for ‘M’ what ‘M’ wants do not mean same thing. A drug addict wants drugs, An alcoholic wants alcohol and a sadist wants victims. For these men the object of desire apparently falls under the same genuine good. There mistake is the intellectual one of misidentifying an object not noticing its properties. Hence ‘ No one errs willingly’ is an intellectual error not a moral weakness. His analysis of moral concepts suggest defects in contemporary morality brings his fall. It is mark of Socrates greatness he was not surpassed at his own fate.

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