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October 19, 2012

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The Definition Of An Educated Man According To Socrates


According to Socrates its not about the accumulation of knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge, according to him, are matters of behavior.

These include:
  • Those who control unpleasant situations, instead of being controlled by them
  • Those who treat all events with bravery and good old common sense
  • Those who are honest in all their dealings
  • Those who face unpleasant situations and are calm even when mistreated by people who dislike them
  • Those who can control their pleasures
  • Those who were not defeated by their misfortunes and failures
  • And Those who do not become arrogant and corrupt by their success and glory

Socrates seems to say that the educated have an even greater responsibility in society. According to him, an educated man has a responsibility to remedy the shortcomings of society when he or she sees them.

We personally admire his nobility, his integrity, his ethical consistency, but sometimes we wonder if his wisdom can be adopted by the present world. What we mean to say is that how many of us would have abandoned rational argument for any kind of argument that could beat the rap?

Unfortunately many of us would.

But if we were better educated, in accordance to what Socrates taught us, then we would know that an educated person has a commitment to the rational process of finding truth, and a commitment to self-examination and articulation of truth. And this person would be a hypocrite if he/she abandoned those commitments for convenience's sake.

The aims of education as derived from Socratic thought are:
  • Self-knowledge. The educated man is wise when he knows himself.
  • Individual Moral Good. The acquisition of knowledge is valuable for man because it makes him virtuous and happy. Socrates repudiated any ornamental theory of knowledge. In similar fashion Socrates would deplore the use of knowledge merely for material success in life. Knowledge is ethically and morally important for all men.
  • Skill in Thinking. Each man must develop his skill in critically appraising propositions through the reasoning process.

We here at HellasFrappe also want to add a few more characteristics to Socrates' list, from our own perspective:
  • An educated person must also be a persuasive leader (teacher/great mind)
  • An educated person must also be an intellectual, (open mind, open to instruction)
  • An educated person must also be committed to the systematic pursuit of the truth. (truth seeker)
  • An educated person must also be completely and utterly devoted to a set of principles and defend them at all times (steadfast, consistent, systematic)
  • An educated person must also act with integrity and defend his beliefs, even if these beliefs prove to be inconvenient. (well-read, be able to debate calmly and with confidence)

Editor's Note - Without a doubt Socrates remains the paradigm of a brilliant mind that also had courage and character. He was, and forever will be, an ideal for philosophers that will never be matched. 

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