Based on the BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time discussion with host Melvin Bragg, answer each of the following questions as thoroughly as possible. Do make sure to check for correct spelling, proper grammar, logical coherence, to provide evidence for any claim you make, and context where necessary.

Don’t worry about being ‘right’ when answering these questions. The idea here is to get a sense of who you take Socrates to be now, and how that might change as the semester progresses.

As you’ll see below, there is a bullet point already provided for your answer. Just go to the beginning of that line and type away (that’ll help keep things organized on my end when I grade your work).

When you are done answering all these questions, simply select all the text below and copy it into your own thread in the corresponding discussion forum.

  1. Given the differences in the ways in which Plato, Xenophon, Aristophanes and others depict Socrates (sometimes to the point of being mutually exclusive), what is your own overall impression about what kind of person he might have been?
  • I tend to believe that Socrates was a relativist philosopher who had different philosophical and religious points depending with the context and environment of his teachings. The different scholars give their depiction of the man based on their different experiences with him dependent on time of interaction or even its nature. Whereas some like Aristophanes depict Socrates in his bad image especially to the youths, others like Plato bring out the impressive and philosophic part which are primarily exclusive from each other. Despite the relative nature of his teachings he was left an indelible mark in the foundations of western philosophy.
  • Are there any other historical or contemporary figures that somehow remind you of Socrates? Explain your choice.
  • Plato is one of the outstanding historical figures who greatly took after Socrates. He was converted in one of the Agora forums that was held by Socrates after which he fully subscribed to the new Socratic ideologies. He even founded his own academy to expound to the philosophies taught by Socrates.
  • Why is Socrates so concerned with the question of definitions?
  • Socrates was much obsessed with definitions because he outrightly opposed generic and relative way of doing or defining things. He believed that even on questions touching on morality there was the good and bad part and that both parts are critically important for a better comprehension of the subject. He posited that personal opinions and perspectives should not be confused with objective definitions since doing so will be fallacious.
  • Why is the agora (the marketplace) so important to Socrates? How do you think this might be connected to the fact that Socrates seems never to have written anything?
  • The Agora was given a central importance by Socrates because at that time it was the epicenter of human life and activities. The market place was ever active with many economic and social activities and therefore it provided a perfect avenue for Socrates to go and question principles and philosophies which were prevalent at that time. I think he was busy talking to people at Agora to the extend of documenting his words and beliefs into written books or articles.

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