Socrates: An Examined Life

3.1 The Philosophical Gadfly

  • Appreciate that, in contrast to his outward appearance, Socrates was charismatic, inspiring, brilliant, and persuasive, profoundly affecting the lives of those around him, gaining both followers and detractors.
  • Understand why his words had such a powerful effect on those he encountered.

3.2 The Socratic Method

  • Know what the Socratic method is and how it can be used to expose errors in ethical thinking.
  • Define reductio ad absurdum and explain how this kind of argument is used in Socratic dialogues.
  • Be able to create a Socratic dialogue that demonstrates the inadequacies of a moral concept.

3.3 Knowledge and Ignorance

  • Explain the differences between Socrates’s approach to philosophical discourse and that of the Sophists.
  • Understand how Socrates’s views the connection between knowledge and virtue.
  • Know why Socrates says that nothing can harm a good man and that an unexamined life is not worth living.

3.4 Socrates’s Trial and Death

  • Summarize the arguments Socrates made to the Athenian jury and be able to evaluate them.
  • Relate Socrates’s explanation of why he is called wise and has “such an evil fame.”
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