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Limitations of Democracy in Ancient Greece

Socrates was eventually charged with impiety and the corruption of Athenian youth and was executed. The impiety accusation was related to his claim that he received divine inspiration and the charge of corruption "may have been based on his criticisms of the rationality of democratic practices" and his connection with Athens' antidemocratic faction (O'Connor 24).

It is extremely difficult to say exactly what Socrates believed or taught because he wrote no books or letters and the details of his life are very scarce. In addition to a few scattered sources, most information about Socrates comes from a play, in which Aristophanes satirized the philosopher, and the dialogues written by two of his followers, Plato and Xenophon. This type of dialogue, in which Socrates was featured as a character who questions his pupils in the attempt to get at philosophical truths, was common practice among his followers and the surviving examples are only a portion of the genre. In the dialogues Socrates is not depicted in order to "give a historical account of him," but to show how he went about getting at the truth (O'Connor 25). Unfortunately, Plato and Xenophon emphasize this Socratic method and provide little information about "any doctrines or opinions he may have defended" (O'Connor 25). Scholars have determined that some of Plato's earliest dialogues probably reflect the thinking of his teacher while his later works, even when they retain Socrates as a character, are usually expressions of Plato's own ideas. There is, however, a great deal of unsettled debate about what, if anything, can be known about Socrates' ideas.

But it is clear that Socrates started a philosophical revolution by turning philosophy away from the gods to focus on "human affairs in the city and the household" (O'Connor 23). The little that is known about him makes it clear that he made philosophy the central activity of his life. He was married to a woman named...

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Limitations of Democracy in Ancient Greece. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 13:07, October 31, 2014, from http://www.collegetermpapers.com/viewpaper/1303927886.html
 
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