Socrates And His Pursuit Essay, Research Paper
The pursuit for the meaning of knowledge, a search the scholar Socrates had great difficulty achieving. He takes us into a world of questioning and makes us contemplate our thoughts of the particular concept on hand. In order to focus on the statements given to him, which were to defuse his drive of the question, he analyzed. Analyzing brought upon a whole variety of methods, which in turn broke down the big question into countless smaller questions. Evidently the definitions given to him are disproved, a repeated scenario for young Theaetetus. Thus, Socrates explored human thought to a point only a few men in history have achieved and we can that this was an art he tried to teach Theaetetus and those who were interested. This is what must be proven, whether Socrates teachings were to alter the behavior of how the pupil sees knowledge or to just change the pupil s knowledge.
Part of Socrates great art was to find a reasonable question out of statements given to him. Theaetetus was always asked to answer honestly and without regret the questions that were given to him. Take for example the first question given to him-what is knowledge? Socrates would then focus on the response Theaetetus gave him and determined its credibility. Mostly the statements were disproved and Socrates would ask him if he d agree. Evidently this was a cycle that never broke, but both were not in any way discouraged. By agreeing to continue Theaetetus not only became enlightened of Socrates teachings, he also accepted his way of thinking.
Further finding to portray Socrates as a man of teaching can be found in the basic parts of his method of question-answer. When Theaetetus presents his answer to the question of the moment, Socrates would then derive a statement, which would express his thoughts of the answer. The answer was integrated into the discussion and this was what Socrates would express whether the reply would fit into the equation of the current thought. This was Socrates way, a natural occurrence in the dialogue, thus dealing with behavior and not an urge to correct young Theaetetus. In 154d-e it becomes apparent when Theaetetus is asked a question in which he s response becomes vital to the discussion in terms of Theaetetus s thoughts and continuation of the conversation (Socrates needs to blend the ideas together).
To be fair and for argument s sake we must find some evidence pointing in the other direction to strengthen the view. There is to some degree a level of difficulty in Socrates teachings, which seem to do the opposite of his intentions. In 210b, Socrates points out to Theaetetus that his definitions are not consistent- knowledge is neither perception nor true judgement, nor an account added to true judgement . Though, the theories were incorrect on defining knowledge, hasn t his sense of knowledge changed? Not only is Theaetetus ideas and truths washed away but what of his knowledge of courage? He had what seemed to be an enthusiastic approach to difficulties, but what is to be of his ideals now? He s a young boy and to be incorrect in every angle of the matter, there must be a change of ideals. Very clear of this is (in 165d) when Theaetetus states how he has contradicted himself and Socrates points out that this has probably happened more than once. One should view this not negatively but more as evidence of Theaetetus trying to grasp new concepts. Nonetheless his beliefs are altered even if by Socrates standards this is acceptable in hopes of a better thinker.
With both sides one can also come to the conclusion that Socrates is a man who not only changes attitudes but as well as a man that shifts people s understanding of knowledge. Hasn t Socrates explain his point by means of not only using methods that helped visualize but as well as rearranging he s pupils thoughts of the matter? One might add this argument to be a more civilized way to settle our dilemma, but what we have shown evidence for (the former point of views) can also be used for this new concept we ve stumbled upon. In the example used previously (165d) Well, I draw a conclusion that contradicts my original suppositions , we can examine and see that Socrates has two effects on Theaetetus. The first effect is that Socrates is changing he s perception of worldly views. The second is the one stated previously in which Theaetetus has to grasp new ideas. This can be associated with most of Socrates and Theaetetus conversation using the question-answer style.
Being totally unbiased one can come up with a more rational viewpoint that corresponds to the original (stated in the beginning). Socrates obviously had no intent in demolishing the ideals of Theaetetus and replacing it with his own. Neither is there any evidence that this is what occurred. In fact, examples that Socrates gave not only were to help in illustrating the theory at hand, but as well as showing his frame of thought. Take in to account the example Socrates gives Theaetetus trying to describe if perception is what our senses know and if we know what they tell us is always understood? He gives us the example of foreign language to explain in detail what he s trying to explain. Are we to say that Socrates is not trying to teach Theaetetus how to analyze? Is he not trying to show Theaetetus how to take better criticism of arguments displayed to him? This seems more like the objective Socrates wishes to accomplish with his young pupil. If we keep going down in the same section of the dialogue (163), Theaetetus gives a very in depth answer that in turn gives an implicit statement. The statement is simply that he feels he s in the same state of mind that Socrates is in. Rather than taking pride, Socrates is impressed at Theaetetus s conduct on the handling of the material (implied with very good indeed ).
Centering now on the metaphor Socrates gives on the basis of his role in philosophy, a better understanding could be arrived at in determining teachings sought after. Socrates is skilled in the art of midwifery, not literally but he explains the comparisons. He helps men bring what s inside them, referring to there knowledge as a midwife does. This statement is not a concept an average man of his time would say, nonetheless he points that he means only to bring the best of a man-he s knowledge. One can say a midwife helps nurture and raise the child, as Socrates would want to comprehend, in which he helps nurture ideas as well as raise them. Those thoughts, which cannot be used because of their inconsistency, are thought by him to be wind eggs, not discrediting the author of the thought. In more detail, he goes on to Theaetetus of the similarities, and quite generally he is only trying to bring men in to a realm better questioning there own beliefs. He wants to cleanse them of any favoritism or any other unjust ways of determining theories, ideas, etc, what he would want for them is for them to break them down for themselves. The pupils haven t learned this art yet, but that s what Socrates feels he can help build in there thinking process.
Perhaps the best way to acknowledge that Socrates never wanted to fill Theaetetus mind with ideologies and wanted to mold the boy s perceptions is through certain examples he gave. We ve established that the examples were to help Theaetetus grasp the material easier and there was the question that if he was changing he s knowledge, but now there is a basis to say that the reply is no. What of the examples Socrates gave that dealt directly with what he has learned? The knowledge he so much values taught by him by Theodorus. It is written that Theaetetus enjoys very much what Theodorus has taught him so far, and that would be knowledge. Coming back to Socrates examples the one that needed Theaetetus, aren t they helping Theaetetus on approaching knowledge without affecting the knowledge he has acquired? The geometry references (147d), the history that he has learned (152e), his knowledge of what is logical (questions him all throughout the dialogue for the answers that make more sense), we cannot overlook how often the knowledge that Theaetetus already possess is used whether to prove a point or to make an example in terms that its easier for young Theaetetus can comprehend. This thought is only to encourage that Socrates teachings didn t promote leaving your reasoning, understandings, or anything of equal value.
Socrates always considered himself as a man who didn t possess true knowledge and was barren from the concept. He continued the thought by adding that he brought knowledge from the man who listened and this to him was a true act. It was mentioned earlier that he took answers and tried to see if it fit in the equation, which was the theory, argument, or discussion of the moment. Can it not be said then that his actions were an art form that like a sector of math tried to solve a problem or in philosophical terms, answer a question of life. If one can agree to this, then like an artist Socrates is only explaining his work of art or like a math teacher trying to teach his pupils how to solve a problem, in philosophical terms trying to answer a question of life. Theaetetus being the pupil asks questions if there s something he doesn t comprehend and Socrates is always like a caring teacher always willing to explain it. Like a great artist always able to except or listen to critique, thus his teachers are aimed at showing the student the craft he has specialized in.
We ve displayed that Socrates has a great skill in questioning and analyzing the subjects on hand. It has come apparent Socrates tries to change the behaviors of his students rather then changing their knowledge, even thou there is evidence of that Theaetetus s sense of knowledge has been altered. Whether it was his examples that illustrated (as well as showed Socrates mindset) the point or examples that dealt with Theaetetus perception of the matter using both his logic and knowledge, it was always dealing with the mind of the listener. One might see that in the dialogue, Socrates and Theaetetus went nowhere with there discussion and therefore it was pointless. That would be the case if nobody realized that there were benefits for Theaetetus and that the teaching pointed as references for both of them in their futures. We have no knowledge of Socrates trying to glorify himself or any of his worldly views, but instead he did push forward he s ways for a better philosopher as well as a better human being. We can state that if Theaetetus has learned from Socrates then he is a gentler, more modest, more barren student. Showing that Socrates work was valuable in terms of questioning and identifying the subject. It happened to be that Theaetetus and Socrates never found the definition of knowledge, but there pursuit will continue with better technique.
Thesis: Showing that Socrates teachings promote the growth of knowledge.