Socrates (ca. 470-399 BC) is not just another "dead white male" despised by our university elite but a man who philosophical breakthroughs reverberate down through the centuries and significantly affect us today. Athens in the fifth century BC was the age of Pericles. The grandiose construction projects undertaken by Pericles such as the Parthenon were being built during Socrates' lifetime.
Philosophically, Athens was in a time of confusion, flux and disarray. The pre-sociological philosophers, particularly the sophists such as Protagorus, Gorgias and Thrasymachus were teaching moral relativism in their philosophical schools. The term "sophist" means "wise man" and these wise men implicitly regarded their own personal wisdom as the foundation of understanding right behavior.
Protagorus, Gorgias and Thrasymachus were not native to Athens and had traveled extensively. In their travels they had seen that what was hidden in one culture was permitted or even encouraged in another. This led them … Read More