Socrates was one of the few teachers who actually died for his craft, executed by the Athenian authorities for supposedly corrupting the young. Most learning professionals will have heard of the ‘Socratic method’ but few will know that he never wrote a single word describing this method, fewer still will know that the method is not what it is commonly represented to be. How many have read the Socratic dialogues?
How many know what he meant by his method and how he practised his approach? Socrates, in fact, wrote absolutely nothing. It was Plato and Xenophon who record his thoughts and methods through the lens of their own beliefs. We must remember, therefore, that Socrates is in fact a mouthpiece for the views of others. In fact the two pictures painted of Socrates by these two commentators differ hugely. In the Platonic Dialogues he is witty, playful and a great philosophical theorist, in Xenophon he is a dull moraliser.
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