Western Civilization I, Week 4 – Socrates and Plato

  1. What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?

The Sophists were 5th century Greeks who taught public speaking and persuasion for a fee. They taught public speaking because, at the time, being able to speak properly and persuade your audience was very important. One reason that this was so important was that there were no lawyers, so in the event that someone had to go to court, he would have to speak for himself. However, the Sophists did not care if someone used their public speaking skills to spread lies. They simply taught persuasive public speaking to anyone who paid them, regardless of what the person wanted to say. Socrates thought this was horrible and that it was corrupting the Athenian youth because the truth was no longer valued.

2. What was Plato’s point in his allegory of the cave?

Plato’s allegory of the cave describes people in a cave, chained in a way that they can only see a wall. Behind them is a fire and puppeteers who cast shadows of objects and animals onto the wall. Since the people chained in the cave have only ever seen the shadows, they think the shadows are the real thing. One day, a person escapes and goes outside of the cave and sees the real world, not just shadows. When he goes back to tell the other people, they do not believe him. Plato regards the people who did not believe the truth about the shadows as people who do not understand his Theory of the Forms. The person who escaped is the philosopher who does understand that there is something bigger out there. There is something beyond material things. Plato believed that we should not focus on the material world. He believed that the material world was fleeting, and that the Forms indicated that there was some existence out in the universe that we should strive for.


2 thoughts on “Western Civilization I, Week 4 – Socrates and Plato

  1. Thank you for sharing, Sofia. Socrates is one of my favorite thinkers and I have never hear about the disagreement. So interesting. In Plato’s question, remember that a reader knows little, so explain more. Help them understand the situation completely. Your writing structure is excellent and your use of commas has improved tremendously.

    What was the disagreement Socrates had with the Sophists?
    The Sophists were 5th century Greeks who taught public speaking and persuasion for a fee. They taught public speaking because(,) at the time, being able to speak properly and persuade your audience was very important. One reason (this was so important was) there were no lawyers, so in the event that someone had to go to court, he would have to speak for himself. However, the Sophists did not care if someone used their public speaking skills to spread lies. They simply taught persuasive public speaking to anyone who paid them, regardless of what the person wanted to say. Socrates thought this was horrible and that it was corrupting the Athenian youth because the truth was no longer valued. (So so interesting. Socrates was a believer of asking questions – always in search of truth!)

    2. What was Plato’s point in his allegory of the cave?

    Plato’s allegory of the cave describes people in a cave, chained in a way that they can only see a wall. Behind them is a fire and puppeteers who cast shadows of objects and animals onto the wall. Since the people chained in the cave have only ever seen the shadows, they think the shadows are the real thing. One day(, a) person escapes and goes outside of the cave and sees the real world, not just shadows. When he goes back to tell the other people, they do not believe him. Plato regards the people who did not believe the (the truth about the) shadows as people who do not understand his (T)heory of the Forms. The person who escaped is the philosopher who does understand that there is something bigger out there. There is something beyond material things. (If you could continue to explain this further, that would allow the reader to understand it better. What does that mean “something beyond material things…”)

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    1. I added “Plato believed that we should not focus on the material world. He believed that the material world was fleeting, and that the Forms indicated that there was some existence out in the universe that we should strive for.” to the end. Does that suffice?

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