Confucius and Socrates Contents
BECK index


Style and Methods

Poetry and Metaphor

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Poetry and Metaphor

Socrates used more than pure reasoning to get his points across. He often quoted or interpreted poetry to illustrate a particular idea. He also used analogies extensively, and occasionally he would develop an allegory or recount a tale which was appropriate to his theme. Socrates was very familiar with the myths, fables, history, poetry, and plays of his culture. However, in his discussions he did not really examine these for their own sake, but he referred to them for the benefit they might add to the listeners. Xenophon recalled Socrates saying, "And the treasures that the wise men of old have left us in their written books I open and explore with my friends. If we see something good, we extract it and believe it is a great gain to be useful to one another."142

Xenophon in his defense of Socrates against certain accusers, labored to show that Socrates' interpretation of certain lines of poetry was not as his detractors had imagined.143 In persuading Aristippus that the easy and pleasant life is not always the best, Xenophon had Socrates quote a similar passage from Hesiod that Plato had him use in the Protagoras about the road to virtue being a steep, hard climb, though it is easy on top.144 He then quoted Epicharmus twice on a similar theme.

Xenophon also recorded an incident when Socrates was talking with a man who had been chosen general. He quoted Homer about Agamemnon being "shepherd of the people" and that a good general is a good king. Since a good king makes his subjects happy, his duty ought to be to make the people happy.145

Both Xenophon and Plato had Socrates quote the same lines from Theognis about good people teaching each other, while company with the bad is corrupting.146 In the Meno Socrates quoted another passage from the same poet which contradicted the idea that virtue could be taught. The implication is that poetry can be used to illustrate an argument but not to settle one.

In the Protagoras when this sophist questioned Socrates he based his arguments on phrases from the poets Simonides and Pittacus. Socrates through his ability to interpret their precise meanings brought out a deeper understanding of the poems. However, at the conclusion of this detailed literary critique, he indicated his preference for direct discussion between the participants compared to having poetry as a kind of entertainment like flute-girls or dancing girls. The poets were not there to declare what they meant in specific passages, and therefore each person could only offer one's interpretation. However, true gentlemen can put poetry aside and discuss in their own persons, testing the truth and themselves more directly.147

How poetry is somewhat removed from wisdom and self-knowledge is indicated in Plato's Ion. Ion was a man who had become accomplished at reciting the poems of Homer, and therefore claimed to know about everything which was mentioned by Homer. Socrates used his usual method of questioning, but he also demonstrated the ability to call forth appropriate lines from the great poet in order to communicate with Ion who did not seem to care about anything else. Although Ion had memorized all of Homer and could portray his work admirably, it became apparent through Socrates' questioning that this did not make him wise in these subjects as he had thought.148

Praising Socrates in Plato's Symposium Alcibiades described how he was able to use words so as to reveal an inner meaning. The words, like the physical appearance of Socrates which resembled Silenus or a satyr, might seem common and ordinary, but just as a statue of a satyr might open to reveal a god within it, the words of Socrates also held a deep understanding extending to the entire duty of the good and noble person.149

Let us look at how Socrates clothed his ideas in everyday language by examining next his use of analogies.In the Charmides when Critias said that temperance is a science of itself, Socrates compared it to other sciences such as medicine which produces health and architecture which produces buildings so that he could ask him what results come from wisdom or temperance.150

To describe the inspiration and influence of poetry in the Ion Socrates used the analogy of a magnet and a series of rings attracted to it. God is the source of the inspiration for the poet who through his inspirational output attracts a rhapsode to recite the poetry; this expression in turn has a magnetic appeal to the audience. In the figure, God is the magnet, and the poet, rhapsode, and the audience are the respective metal rings attached to the magnet.151 Such a picture could convey the overall relationships of the situation in a holistic manner.

In the Cratylus Socrates used the analogy of the arts to show that the proper tool must be used in a correct way. He started with the natural processes of cutting and burning, then moved on to speaking, weaving, carpentry, and the legislator. The user of each thing knows it best, and it is the dialectician who can ask and answer questions who knows words best.152 By showing the relationships in the simple arts, Socrates could lead people from what they knew to see the relationships in areas which they did not yet know.

Socrates employed many analogies in the Republic. He asked what good thing justice gives as medicine gives drugs and diet and as cookery gives seasoning. The physician helps the sick; the pilot guides a ship in rough seas. How does the just person help? Polemarchus replied that it is in war that he could harm his enemy and help his friends. Justice might also be useful in time of peace, as farming and shoemaking. Polemarchus suggested contracts, and Socrates asked about brick-layers and harp-players to discover that he meant money partnerships. Socrates got Polemarchus to agree that anyone who has knowledge of using things such as the horseman for horses and the pilot for ships is better in these areas than the just person. Polemarchus got in the position of saying that justice is only useful when these things are useless. Also since Polemarchus had left out any concept of right and wrong, by the analogies that a good guard can most easily sneak off and a good keeper most easily steal, Socrates showed that justice is a thief!153 Here we see that the use of analogies and examples in no way guaranteed a good argument. Rather they are more of a pedagogical tool which enables one to look at relationships of things that may already be familiar.

To refute Thrasymachus' notion that the ruler does things for his own advantage, Socrates used the analogies of the physician who helps his patients and the captain whose interest is for his sailors.154

Most of the Republic is in fact based on the analogy between the individual and the state, which may allow its greatest danger of misrepresentation, because the members of the social classes are not whole people but represent only part of the psyche. Nevertheless Socrates used this pedagogical tool to blow up justice from its small size in the individual to the larger scope of the state.155 In other words, justice may be easier to understand or learn about if we can see it in its larger scope. Another purpose of this analogy is to compare justice in the state with justice in the individual. He said,

If they agree, we shall be satisfied;
or, if there is a difference in the individual,
we will return again to the state and test the theory.
The friction of the two when rubbed against each other
may possibly strike a light in which justice may shine forth,
and the vision which is then revealed we will fix within us.156

In examining the characteristics of the psyche it is noted, as with the arms of the archer, that there seems to be opposing forces of motivation. Because the logical principle holds that nothing can be and not be at the same time in the same relation, it is likely that there are at least two different aspects of the consciousness. These are held to be desire and reason, and they are illustrated by the story of Leontius, who felt a desire to see some dead bodies lying on the ground after an execution while at the same time he felt an abhorrence to them.157

A good analogy is one which gives the listener a clear and comprehensive picture of the relationships in the situation. The selection and education of the guardians is likened to the dyeing of wool. The ideal is to find the white wool and prepare it so that it will take the purple and hold it fast. Thus the guardians must be of good character so that the laws will make a clear and lasting imprint on them.158

The government was described as a ship with a mutinous crew of politicians, and the skillful pilot is the true philosopher but appears to some as a useless star-gazer. The reason the star-gazer is considered useless is because the other people refuse to make use of his abilities.159

Book VIII of the Republic is a very enlightening analysis of political psychology. Socrates described four forms of government, which can degenerate from the best government of virtue. They are timocracy, oligarchy (or plutocracy), democracy, and tyranny. After each state was described, the analogous human character was portrayed, and the process by which the government degenerated into the next form was shown over the course of a family generation.160 The analogies of the ship and of bees were also utilized. The result of drawing such a comprehensive picture is that the listener can relate it to many aspects of one's experience and on different levels of consciousness.

In the Theaetetus Socrates used the analogy of an aviary with the whole cage representing the mind, and birds indicating various elements of knowledge. There are three stages of possessing the birds: 1) the original capture, 2) maintaining them in the cage, and 3) their recapture for some use. The three stages of knowledge are: 1) the original learning, 2) latent awareness, and 3) conscious use of the knowledge. Wrong opinion is due to catching the wrong bird for the purpose. The analogy may be helpful as far as it goes, but Socrates challenged it by wondering where ignorance comes from if we have knowledge in our mind. How could knowledge cause ignorance? Theaetetus further confused the metaphor by suggesting that some of the birds might be forms of ignorance.161 Alas, the figure may have been helpful in understanding some principles, but it fails to resolve others. In order to understand knowledge as a composite of elements, Socrates suggested the analogy of letters and syllables. However, this analogy did little more than stimulate a discussion of the whole and the parts. The letters were not defined, and the syllables could not be truly known if the letters were not known.162 It seemed that this analogy did not prove to be very useful, because it did not really show any meaningful relationships or a pattern familiar to our experience.

Also in this dialog the metaphor of a wax tablet was used to represent memory as the impressions made by perception. These impressions are then recalled suitably or not in relation to perceptions later on. The quality of one's memory is indicated by the nature of the wax-whether it is clean or muddy, too hard to make a deep imprint or too soft to hold the pattern.163 This metaphor seems to be appropriate for memory, but it is hard to relate it to other aspects of knowledge.

In the Philebus Socrates used the analogy of letters to show the intermediate steps between one and infinity which it is the task of dialectic to show. The sound of the voice is one and yet infinite, but as the child learns the letters, as they were first invented by the Egyptian god Theuth, he learns the art of speech. The knowledge of the number and nature of these sounds makes one a grammarian.164 In this case the subject is more abstract and the use of letters and the experience of learning them is more appropriate and meaningful.

In discussing how false opinions can develop, Socrates described the soul or consciousness as a book where memory and perception write down words, sometimes falsely. In addition to the scribe there is an artist who paints images in the soul, and the images may also be true or false. This image-painting, especially of future hopes, is often related to pleasures which may be good or bad. Socrates associated the good pleasures with true images and the bad pleasures with false images.165 This analogy appears to work because of the close relationship between the imagination and the desire for pleasure which most people probably experience visually. Also it is interesting to note the characteristic Socratic unification of the true with the good and the false with the bad.

One of the most frequent analogies Socrates used was to examine something on the level of the soul or consciousness as compared to the level of the body or the physical. This is used several times in the Gorgias. The most comprehensive series of relationships is designed to show how rhetoric as a flattery rather than an art of consciousness corresponds to other arts and flatteries of the consciousness and the body. There are also two arts and their two shams each for soul and body, one which institutes and the other which corrects. The physical arts and their flatteries are as follows: gymnastics is to beautification (cosmetics, clothing) as medicine is to cookery. The consciousness arts are: legislation is to sophistry as justice is to rhetoric. The complete geometric ratios are: gymnastic is to beautification as legislation is to sophistry, and as medicine is to cookery, justice is to rhetoric.166 This can give us a comprehension of many relationships in a short space; it is easy to remember because it all fits together in a pattern.

Later on Socrates compared bodily disease and the need for medicine with vice, the disease of the soul, and the need for justice.167 This helps those who have difficulty seeing the soul level to recognize the relationship on the physical level. Once the relationship is understood, only the level needs to be transferred. Finally in the discussion with Callicles, Socrates indicated that the disease of the body is treated by temperance, and vices of the soul are cured by self-control and the chastisements of justice.168 By means of the physical analogies Socrates was able to get Callicles to see this.

Socrates would often tell a story or use an allegorical figure to express comprehensive and deep meanings. In the Gorgias to show Callicles the value of temperance Socrates recounted the tale of an Italian that the soul is a vessel, and the ignorant or uninitiated have holes that leak where the desires are because of intemperance and incontinence. The temperate person may have equal difficulty filling one's containers with wine, honey, and milk; but because they remain full one is not bothered by them, while those that are leaky are continually striving to fill them by painful struggle.169 By this metaphor Socrates was able to indicate the dissipation of energy and perpetual stress caused by lack of self-discipline over one's desires.

Socrates often got these allegories from other people and then applied them in an appropriate situation. Xenophon recorded his using a tale from Prodicus' essay "On Heracles" to show Aristippus the dangers of a life of pleasure and the value of duty. The story presented the young Heracles at a crossroads where he must decide whether to pursue a life of virtue or vice, which are personified as women. Virtue is fair, temperate, of high-bearing, pure, and modest in her manner and dress, while Vice is plump, soft, sensual, and looking for attention. Vice runs up to meet Heracles first and promises him all sorts of delights and pleasures without any work. Her friends call her Happiness, but those who hate her have nicknamed her Vice. Virtue tells Heracles he must work for the truly good things by benefiting his friends and taking care of things. When Vice says that her road is shorter, Virtue criticizes her for being always unsatisfied by her pleasures and for leading to an old age of weakness and misery. The virtuous enjoy simple food, do their duties, sleep well, are content and respected even in old age. By this story Socrates presented Aristippus with clear choices to consider in regard to the life that he would lead.170

In the Philebus Socrates personified the pleasures and wisdom, and then he asked them questions. The pleasures would like to live with wisdom; but wisdom is only willing to dwell with the more pure pleasures because the heavier pleasures hinder wisdom by carelessness and forgetfulness.171 Also in the Crito Socrates personified the laws of the state so that he could carry on a discussion with them.172 This technique enabled Socrates to get deeply into an abstract subject in such a way as could be closely related to human experience and have a personal appeal to the listener.

Socrates used natural metaphors as in the Phaedo where he interpreted the song of the swans before they die as prophetic rejoicing in expectation of the blessings in the other world.173 In the Republic Socrates referred to their search for justice as hunters following along its trail.174 Again this would enable his listeners to be more interested because of the picture in their minds which recalled some familiar experience.

In the Republic we find Socrates using several allegories to explain and describe complex relationships. In Book VI Socrates was attempting to convey the idea of the good, but he discovered he could not do it adequately. Therefore he offered to give a representation of the child of the good even though he warned them the description could not help but be false to the reality of what they were talking about. He described sight as dependent on the eyes, color, and the light which comes from the good in the visible world; what the sun is in the visible world, the good is in the intellectual world. Just as the sun generates light, the good creates truth and knowledge. Then Socrates showed more detailed relationships again by means of geometrical proportions or ratios. In the visible world there is the reflection of images and shadows as compared to actual physical things which we perceive. In the intellectual world what corresponds to the images and shadows are the hypotheses, and above them are the actual ideas. Geometry is an example of using hypotheses, and dialectic is the process concerned with the ideas themselves as first principles. Each of the four levels has the corresponding faculty of the soul which engages in those activities. The ideas are the domain of the pure intellect and knowing. Hypotheses are dealt with by understanding and thinking. Our higher relation to the visible world is one of belief, and the lower is that of image-making or conjecture.175 This design shows the relationships in a very intellectual and abstract way without feeling tone or much to hold on to from personal experience.

Therefore Socrates followed it up with the allegory of the cave which uses the sun again and attempts to give a higher perspective on the human condition. To indicate how the good itself is really better, human experience must be portrayed worse than it is so that a better level can be shown which people can grasp. Socrates used a similar device in the Phaedo when he said that this world is as murky as being in the ocean compared to the clarity of the other world which would be like air, except that our world is of air and the other even clearer.176 In the cave people are chained in darkness and can only see the shadows of a fire cast on a wall of the cave. Most of the prisoners cannot even turn their heads to see those who are carrying the objects by the fire which make the shadows on the wall. To the prisoners the shadows are the only reality. When a prisoner is liberated he needs time to adjust to moving his body and seeing the light of the fire directly. He has difficulty persuading the other prisoners that there is a higher reality, and he begins to lose interest in the shadows which are their whole world. Gradually he will be able to accustom his eyes to the light of the fire as he climbs the rugged ascent out of the cave. First he sees shadows best, then objects themselves; he gazes at the moon and stars, and finally he is able to behold the sun in the light of day, seeing everything in its proper place. When he returns to the cave, he has compassion for his fellow prisoners but does not care about their contests and honors; his eyes are not used to the darkness, and he appears ridiculous to them. They feel threatened by anyone who would try to free a prisoner and lead him up to the light; and therefore if they caught him, they would put him to death.177

Having presented the allegory, Socrates explained how it fits with the worlds of the visible and the intellectual, and his analogy of the sun to the idea of the good. The cave represents the visible world and the fire the physical sun. This indicates how he has lowered it a level in order to show two levels with a higher one than is usually recognized. The journey out of the cave represents the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world which is culminated with the idea of the good (sun outside the cave). This good is the source of reason and truth and the essential guide for all human life. It explains why those who have had the beatific vision are reluctant to become involved in human affairs and the difficulties they have in dealing with the shadows of justice as conceived by those who have never seen absolute justice itself. It is more appropriate to laugh at the one who is adjusting his eyes to the light, for this is a joyful occurrence, rather than to laugh at the one who has returned to the cave. Education does not consist of putting knowledge into the soul, like sight into blind eyes, because the soul already has the ability to learn. Education should be the process of liberating the prisoner's whole being from the chains and turning one by degrees toward the light of the good. The future leaders must turn away from sensual pleasures and seek the knowledge of the good; after they have seen the light, they ought to return to the cave to serve the state and take up the duties of philosophers. Their experience with the good will enable them to transcend any concerns of honors, wealth, ambition, or jealousy.178 By the comprehensiveness of this allegory and its interpretation, Socrates was able to tie many things together concerning human experience in this world and how the process of transcendence can be approached.

In Book IX of the Republic Socrates gave a three-part image of the soul to represent different aspects of human consciousness. The appetites are symbolized by a many-headed monster or beast, the aggressive instinct by a lion, and reason by a person. These three creatures appear on the outside as a single human to those who are not able to look within. Injustice in the individual is to allow the beast to feast and strengthen the lion while starving and weakening the person. Justice is giving the person control and mastery over the creature so that the beast is tamed and made gentle, and the lion-heart becomes one's ally. Then Socrates used this comparison to explain how justice, when the divine element in people rules over the bestial, is far superior to the intemperate wildness of the beast. People are blamed when they allow the lower nature to control them. Letting the divine wisdom rule is generally considered best, and it is better for the other levels to serve. Also children are ruled by adults until the ruling principle is established within them with a guardian in their heart. These are evidences of the value of justice, temperance, and wisdom.179 These vivid images and the analogous experiences, which show how these elements interact, enable the listener to comprehend the three levels of this psychology and its application.

In the Phaedrus Socrates gave an inspired speech on love as a madness. He described the soul and its travels with the image of two winged horses and a charioteer flying through various realms of heaven. One horse is noble and the other ignoble, and the driving of them is not easy. The souls that lose their wings, fall to earth and taking up a body become a living creature; it is the soul which moves the body. The souls that travel with the gods perceive the true essence of justice, temperance, and absolute knowledge. The wings of the soul are nourished on the truth found in the higher realms, but those that cannot control the horses fall into a human body on earth, where they reincarnate until the wings are grown again. Philosophers can grow these wings more quickly than others. Learning is a process of recalling or recognizing in earthly experience the images of beauty, temperance, and justice which were seen directly in the heavenly realms of true being. Many souls have forgotten the holy things they have seen, but beauty and love tend to re-awaken these divine qualities. As the beauty of the beloved vitalizes the love, the wings begin to grow. Souls are differentiated by the characteristics of the gods they follow. Socrates described the good and virtuous horse as compared to the bad, vicious one. The beauty of the beloved inspires the white horse to adoration as true beauty is recalled, while the dark horse is filled with desire and urges the chariot toward sensual indulgence. As the charioteer exercises temperance and goodwill, then:

Love overflows upon the lover,
and some enters into one's soul,
and some when one is filled flows out again;
and as a breeze or an echo rebounds from the smooth rocks
and returns whence it came,
so does the stream of beauty passing through the eyes
which are the windows of the soul,
come back to the beautiful one;
there arriving and animating the passages of the wings,
watering them and making them grow,
and filling the soul of the beloved also with love.180

One loves but does not understand it, and the lover is one's mirror to see oneself. Their love from this point on depends on their self-control whether they will give in to the desires of the dark steed or begin the heavenly pilgrimage through philosophy.181 Here Socrates has presented another image to portray the heavenly in relation to the earthly and to describe love and two possible choices of how to experience its inspiration.

In Plato's Symposium Socrates related the teachings he heard from Diotima on love. To describe Love as an intermediary between the divine and the mortal, and as a mean between opposites such as ignorance and wisdom, she used an allegory of the birth of Love. The story goes that at a feast in heaven on the birthday of Aphrodite, Poverty contrived to lay with Plenty, who is the son of Discretion. The child conceived was Love, who shares the qualities of being poor and always in need with the resourcefulness of a strong and enterprising hunter. Love is what unites the mortal and immortal, pursues wisdom, and is always flowing in and out.182 Here Socrates used the personification of opposites in order to show love as a dynamic quality which bridges opposites as a mean.

In Xenophon's Symposium, Socrates also referred to figures from myth to show the spiritual connection between gods and humans through love. He pointed out that Zeus loved many mortals, but it was only those he loved for their souls' sake that he carried up to heaven, such as Ganymede.183 Here again Socrates was implying the significant difference between divine love and mortal passion.

Phaedrus once accused Socrates of making up stories from whatever country he pleased. This was after Socrates told an Egyptian story of how the god Thamus (Ammon) commented upon the dangers of Theuth's invention of written letters. Memories will be weakened, and people will have the appearance of wisdom, thinking they know more than they do.184 Socrates used this story to warn Phaedrus of the dangers and limitations of the written word.

In the Charmides Socrates told how he got his charm cure from a Thracian physician of the divine king Zalmoxis which can even make a human immortal, but one must not use it on a part of the body until the whole of the soul is treated.185 In this way Socrates implied the precedence of the spiritual work prior to the physical, and it enabled him to move the focus of the discussion from Charmides' headache to an investigation of temperance.

In the Gorgias Socrates concluded his argument on justice by relating the Greek myth of the judgment which follows after death. He suspected that Callicles would only look upon it as a fable, but Socrates believed that it is true. He started with the Homeric account of how the empire was divided between Zeus, Poseidon, and Pluto, and how since the days of Kronos those who lived in justice and holiness have passed over after death to the Islands of the Blessed. The unjust and impious go to Tartarus for punishment. Socrates showed the problem of judging by worldly standards by having Pluto complain that the judgments according to apparel, physical appearance, wealth, and rank have not been accurate. Therefore Zeus decided that Prometheus should take away the foreknowledge of death, and they should be stripped naked to the soul before they are judged-both those who are judged and the judges. The judges were to be the sons of Zeus: Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus.
Then Socrates interpreted the myth. Death is nothing else but a separation of the soul from the body. Just as bodies tend to maintain their habits and qualities, so too does the soul exhibit its character and former actions. When the soul presents itself before the judge, there is no indication of its social station on earth; even a king may only be seen as a cruel and wicked criminal, insolent and licentious. In fact a position of power tends to corrupt the soul more often than not, while it is often the humble and private citizen who may be a philosopher and go to the Islands of the Blessed. Finally Socrates concluded that these things are true as far as he is concerned, and therefore he strove to live as best he could so that he could present his soul pure and undefiled before the judge after death. He also exhorted Callicles to be just in this life in preparation for what would inevitably come.186 Again Socrates had to use myth and allegory to attempt to convey what pertains to the soul, because these are the areas of life which are invisible to physical perception. Also he presented the listener with a definite choice of alternatives.

A similar account is found in the tale of Er at the conclusion of the Republic. This story was presented as an actual experience of a man who died in battle, had his soul leave his body to go on a long journey before he returned to his body and came alive again twelve days later. Here again the description of the other world appears symbolic and mythical. He first found himself at the place of judgment between two openings from the lower world and two openings in the upper heaven. The unjust were bound and taken down below, and the just ascended the heavenly way. Souls also came from these places, some dusty and worn, the others clean and bright. All actions from earthly life were balanced out by punishments or rewards; Er witnessed several cases of each. Then he and the souls that had returned from the other worlds went to a place with a great column of light with bright and pure colors. They saw the spindle of Necessity and the revolutions of the planets with their corresponding musical sounds. The three Fates of the past, present, and future accompanied their harmony. Each soul was to choose their guiding spirit or divinity for their next life on earth. The various destinies were very complex, and Socrates reminded his listeners at this point of the great value of wisdom in discerning good from evil. Er then saw the choices made by various famous heroes. When the selections were made, the genius or divinity led the souls to the Fates to ratify their destiny. Then they marched to the scorching plain of Oblivion where they drank varying amounts from the river of Forgetfulness, except Er who was prevented from drinking. From there they went to their births, and Er returned to his body with the ability to remember what had happened.

After the tale, Socrates briefly exhorted his friends toward the heavenly way of justice and virtue, remembering that the soul is immortal.187 By means of this tale, Socrates explained the ultimate balancing action of divine justice, showed that individual human destinies are not random but freely chosen, indicated what kind of things might happen to the eternal soul before, in between, and after lives on earth, and symbolically portrayed why people do not remember what they have done in the other world or before birth. Such an account may assist souls in recognizing or intuiting the experiences they have had but do not remember.


Socrates was a master at handling a discussion, and in addition to his way of asking questions and using metaphors and stories, he also would point out examples, analyze concepts, search for definitions, lead by dialectical agreement, and summarize the main points.

In Xenophon's Symposium Socrates used various kinds of examples to support an idea. Even a girl who did somersaults and gymnastic tricks through hoops of swords became for Socrates evidence that courage could be taught.188 In further encouraging Callias to a more spiritual rather than carnal love, Socrates moved from the mythic example of Zeus and Ganymede to other heroes and then to the customs of the Thebans, Eleans, and Lacedaemonians in their lovers' relations in battle situations, and finally to the noble gifts Themistocles, Pericles, and Solon gave to Athens.189 Socrates often compared the practices of other people when it was appropriate to the topic to show real possibilities.
In order to refute an argument or a definition, Socrates would often cite cases which were appropriate but contradictory to the previous statement. When Charmides said that temperance is a kind of quietness implying slowness or caution, Socrates brought up many actions such as writing, reading, playing the lyre, wrestling, boxing, running and jumping which are better done quickly rather than slowly. By a couple more questions Socrates made it clear to Charmides that quietness could not be temperance. Then Charmides suggested modesty, but Socrates cited Homer to say that modesty is not good for a needy person, but obviously temperance is good.190 Socrates always seemed to be able to think of cases or examples which could challenge a particular definition or viewpoint.
In the Ion the rhapsode thought he knew Homer so well that he could even be a good general except that the Athenians would not pick him because he was an Ephesian. Socrates was quick to point out actual cases where the Athenians had selected foreigners to be their generals.191 In this way Socrates tested and challenged the statements of others so that the discussion could proceed as accurately as possible.

In analyzing a situation Socrates might also offer constructive criticism. Again in Xenophon's Symposium after the dancing girls had performed with the swords, Socrates recognized that it was dangerous; but he felt that such feats were not appropriate at a banquet. He was more interested in such questions as why a flame gives light while a bronze mirror only reflects it or why olive oil burns. Finally he suggested to the dancers that if they portrayed the Graces or Seasons or the Nymphs in their dance to a flute accompaniment they might get less worn out and the banquet would be enhanced.192 Although Socrates could be critical, he also gave positive suggestions.

At the beginning of the Politician Socrates pointed out to Theodorus, the geometrician, the different values of the sophist, politician, and philosopher by humorously referring to mathematical proportions.193 This brief comment gives some perspective on the relative weight of the entire discussion.

In questioning Theaetetus on knowledge Socrates tested the ideas of Protagoras that knowledge is perception and that "Man is the measure of all things." Socrates showed that knowledge can and must be more than sense perception as in the example of memory. If whatever anyone thought was right, there would be no purpose at all in philosophical discussion, and the ideas of Protagoras would not be worth any more than anyone else's.194 By showing these contradictions Socrates got the other person to clarify his ideas and consider other possibilities.

In the Phaedrus Socrates analyzed the speech of Lysias and then analyzed his own speech. He said that Lysias should have defined love which he never did. Also his speech had no organization; it began with the conclusion and then rambled around. In Socrates' own speech he started with madness, explaining it was caused by human infirmity or divine release of the soul. He then described the four kinds of divine madness as prophecy, initiation, poetry, and love. Socrates employed two principles in his speech: first, a definition unifying the idea of love, and second, dividing it into appropriate species, symbolized here by the two horses. These two principles of the one and the many are the tools of the dialectician who attempts to clarify meaning rather than of the rhetorician who strives only to persuade.195 Such analysis sheds added light on the speeches made and gives a greater understanding of speech-making itself.

Socrates was aware of how easy it is to fall into verbal contradictions, but he knew it was important to distinguish whether the verbal opposition really made a difference to the argument. A good example of this is found in the Republic when he was accused of treating men and women the same when their natures are obviously different. He held that the major difference between the sexes, which is the ability to have babies or not, is no reason for not giving women the same education as men. Women are just as capable as men in taking up the various pursuits in the state except that women tend to be a little weaker physically. In the various abilities there are degrees of difference among all people, men and women. Therefore the government of the state should be in the hands of the best men and the best women.196 The person who could not make such distinctions was easily refuted and would never get very far in dialectic.

After comparing the different forms of government and types of human character, Socrates went on to show that the philosopher is better off than the lover of honor or the lover of wealth. The philosopher has experienced the pleasures of gain and honor from childhood, but the wealthy and the brave have not necessarily developed their reason and experienced the joys of knowing true being. Thus the philosopher is more comprehensive than the others and must know which pleasures are the best.197 By this analysis Socrates showed the relationship of the concepts to each other and which experience level is included within that of a larger one. Having established these, his conclusion became clear to the listener.

One of Socrates' preoccupations was to attempt to define the concept they were talking about. Xenophon told us that he never gave up considering definitions and analyzing others' responses through his questions. Xenophon gave a sample by narrating a discussion with Euthydemus which goes over piety, justice, wisdom, the good, the beautiful, courage, and government; the discussion shows that most of these are interrelated. Xenophon added that whenever someone debated with him about whether a specific person was wiser or braver, Socrates would go back to the definition in question. Xenophon concluded,

By this process of leading back the argument
even his adversary came to see the truth clearly.
Whenever he himself argued out a question,
he advanced by steps that gained general assent,
holding this to be the only sure method.198

This is the crux of the Socratic method and could be used both to refute the other person's hypothesis and to establish a positive understanding.

After refuting Charmides' notions of temperance, Socrates took on Critias, who likewise was caught in contradictions. Critias attempted to save his definition by making new distinctions. This prompted Socrates to request that he define his terms if he intended to make these various distinctions.199 A clear and useful discussion depends on the accuracy of the communication, and therefore agreeing upon the definitions of the terms is essential.

In the Euthyphro Socrates pursued a definition of piety because the man claimed to be an authority on the subject. However, Socrates ran into the common problem of being given cases or examples of piety (as Hippias had done with beauty) rather than its essential meaning that could be applied to all its manifestations. Euthyphro suggested a couple of definitions, but Socrates showed him the contradictions in each of them. When Euthyphro said that piety is justice, Socrates wanted to know their relationship which turned out to be the part to the whole; piety is a part of justice. Then the part must be explained, which Euthyphro said is "attending on the gods." Then the concept of people attending on the gods must be scrutinized and was eventually shown to be fallacious, for how can humans benefit or help God? Neither do humans really trade with the gods. Euthyphro finally came around to his original assertion which had already been refuted. At this point he became frustrated and hurried away.200 Such an exercise was not conclusive, but it did enable a person to examine several definitions that he thought were true and perhaps to realize that he may need to look deeper and more thoroughly to really understand what had seemed so obvious.

In the Theaetetus Socrates asked the young man for a definition of knowledge or science. However, Theaetetus began to list some of the sciences. Socrates explained that this does not tell us what science itself is. He gave the example of clay which could be defined as moistened earth, though there are several different kinds of clay. He also gave the example of geometry of square roots and cube roots. Thus Socrates had given him a model to follow.201 However, defining knowledge turned out to be a difficult task. Although they spent considerable time on it, they were never really satisfied with the results.

One of the best examples of the Socratic method of education is found in the Meno. Meno wanted to know how virtue could be acquired; but Socrates confessed that he did not know what virtue is, which ought to be the first step in the inquiry. Having heard Gorgias, Meno was confident that he could describe the nature of virtue. He declared what a virtuous man does and how a virtuous woman behaves; but Socrates wanted to know the essence, what every act of virtue has in common. Virtue itself will be the same in men or women, and temperance and justice are more abstract examples of it. To help him see the idea of a universal definition, Socrates gave the example of plane figures and gave a definition that would include all kinds. So Meno suggested that virtue is the desire of the good; but Socrates showed that all people desire what they consider to be good. Virtue must be the ability to attain the good. This could be a good definition, but Socrates tripped him up by showing how some people may desire partial goods, such as gold and silver, and may attain them in unjust ways. Therefore the good must be attained with justice, but justice is one of the virtues. How can we define the whole by means of a part of the whole when we still do not know what the whole is? So Socrates returned to the original question, and Meno realized that he had been thrown into confusion by Socrates' spell.202 This is the early stage of the dialectical process which "makes use of those points which the questioned person acknowledges he knows."203 Socrates had been working in a very individual way with the awareness that Meno had in regard to this subject. The refutation part of the process reduced the other person to the kind of ignorance which Socrates usually admitted from the beginning and which seemed so ironic.

Next Meno asked a very important question,

How will you inquire, Socrates,
into that which you do not know?
What will you put forth as the subject of inquiry?
And if you find what you want,
how will you ever know that
this is the thing which you did not know?204

If these doubts were correct, there would be no such thing as learning, because what is known would already be known, and what is not known could never be known. This obviously goes against human experience, but how, then, did Socrates account for the process of learning? Understanding the Socratic psychology of learning is the key to understanding how the Socratic method of pedagogy works. To explain it Socrates referred to the divine mystery of the eternal soul and its inspirational wisdom. Then he described the process.

The soul, then, as being immortal,
and having been born again many times,
and having seen all things that exist,
both in this world and in the other realms,
there is nothing it has not learned;
so that it is no wonder that it is able to call to mind
what it knew before about virtue and other things.
For as all nature is akin, and the soul has learned all things,
there is no difficulty by recalling one thing-
what people call learning-to discover everything else,
if a person is courageous and does not give up searching;
for all research and learning are wholly recognition.205

The word "recognition" is used here to imply "re-cognition" which is what Socrates was describing and differs from what is usually experienced as memory. What he was saying is that the soul has the unique ability to know anything and everything because it is eternal and has a relationship with everything that exists.

When Meno asked how this could be and sought some proof, Socrates offered to give a demonstration with one of his slave boys who would have had no formal education. Socrates presented him with a fairly difficult problem in geometry: how to make a square twice the area of the original square. Socrates used his usual method of asking questions to discover what the person's ideas were. The notions which were not correct, he showed to be false by his questioning. The boy, then, was first brought to the point of realizing that what he first thought was actually incorrect. The negative refutation was completed, and Socrates began the positive part of the dialectic by asking the boy to recognize the validity of certain propositions he had not yet thought of. By presenting these propositions in a step-by-step manner so that the boy could understand each one of them, he was finally able to grasp and fully understand the solution to the problem. This spontaneous recognition of what is incorrect or correct by closely examining the possible solutions is an example of the boy's recalling to mind what is true. He had no experience with geometry before, but nevertheless he demonstrated his ability to recognize and know the solution to a difficult problem.206 Thus education is not only possible, but through a correctly guided inquiry any person can actually learn to recognize any truth that exists! Also since our beliefs are so often found to be faulty, there is even a greater incentive to question them, to search and inquire so that we might shed our false opinions and discover the real truth of things. No wonder Socrates was so committed to this process of inquiry!

Since they now more fully realized that inquiry is worthwhile, Socrates suggested they search together into the nature of virtue. Meno, however, preferred to examine his original question, which was whether virtue could be taught. Socrates agreed to work on testing this hypothesis even though they had not established what virtue is. What is taught must be a form of knowledge. Virtue is good, and knowledge or wisdom also made everything beneficial. Therefore virtue must be closely related to wisdom. If wisdom is taught, and they agreed that it is, then by this argument virtue must be taught. However, if it can be taught there ought to be teachers of it and cases where they taught someone to be virtuous. This search for a teacher of wisdom proved fruitless, and now it looked as though virtue could not be, or at least had not been, taught. Then Socrates suggested that virtue may not always be based on actual knowledge but in many cases merely is due to right opinion. Since people are virtuous without having learned it, it appears as though virtue comes from divine inspiration as a gift of God; for the virtuous are often called divine or blessed. This is the best conclusion available, but Socrates believed they would never know the certain truth until they inquired into and discovered the actual nature of virtue.207 This gap in the dialectic because of Meno's desire to skip over this question prevented them from gaining the original definition they needed.

This idea of recollecting or recognizing knowledge one already has was also demonstrated in Xenophon's Oikonomikos. Here Socrates was learning about household management and farming from the successful Ischomachus. Socrates was relating how this gentleman assisted him in realizing all the things he knew about farming by simply asking him questions and reinforcing Socrates' correct answers. As Ischomachus asked each specific question, Socrates became aware that he knew the answer.

I really wasn't aware that I understood these things;
and so I have been thinking for some time
whether my knowledge extends to smelting gold,
playing the flute, and painting pictures.
For I have never been taught these things
any more than I have been taught farming;
but I have watched men working at these arts,
just as I have watched them farming.208

This is the ability of the soul to learn simply by giving attention to something. Socrates commented on this method of education that he was experiencing. At first he thought he did not know, but the questioning had artfully revealed to him what he did know.

Of course there is nothing in what you have said
that I don't know, Ischomachus.
But I am again set thinking what can have made me
answer 'No' to the question you put to me a while ago,
when you asked me briefly if I understood planting.
For I thought I would have nothing to say
about the right method of planting.
But now that you have undertaken to question me
in particular, my answers, you tell me, agree exactly
with the views of a farmer so famous for his skill as yourself!
Can it be that questioning is a kind of teaching, Ischomachus?
The fact is, I have just discovered
the plan of your series of questions!
You lead me by paths of knowledge familiar to me,
point out things like what I know,
and bring me to think that I really know things
that I thought I had no knowledge of.209

This indicates that the understanding of Socrates' dialectical method and theory of recognition was not limited to the works of Plato.

Part of the process of dialectic is for the participants to correct each other as best they can. The better they are at doing this, the more accurate is the discussion likely to be. In the discussion of knowledge Theaetetus was willing to offer his ideas because of his confidence that Socrates would point out any mistakes he made and set him right. Socrates agreed to do this as well as he could.210

Also in discussion Socrates paid close attention to the whole manner of the person, not just his words.In the Republic he treated Glaucon and Adeimantus much differently than Thrasymachus even though the debate over justice and injustice was similar. He said, "I infer this from your general character, since from your words I should have distrusted you."211 Although they were taking the same side of the argument as the angry sophist, their purpose and intention in doing so was completely different.

Another principle of the dialectical process is that each person must agree on the points as they proceed. Otherwise they would have to take a vote or a tally at the end, and the conclusion would obviously be in doubt. Even Thrasymachus agreed to this method. Socrates suggested to him, "If, as in the preceding discussion, we come to terms with one another as to what we admit in the inquiry, we shall be ourselves both judges and pleaders."212 Step-by-step agreement is what enables true progress to be made and acceptance of the eventual conclusion.

A very elevated dialectic took place in the Phaedo as Socrates endeavored to demonstrate the immortality of the soul. The setting was the prison on the last day of Socrates' life, and the topic of concern to everyone was death, which Socrates was glad to discuss. Socrates urged the others to ask any questions on this subject they might have because of their doubts and fears. He moved one step at a time, first showing that life and death are opposites which are generated out of each other like sleeping and waking, and then calling upon the doctrine of recollection to indicate that souls existed before birth which is implied by the soul's ability to understand ideals. Socrates distinguished the invisible and lasting things from the visible and corruptible things. After Cebes and Simmias agreed to reincarnation but still doubted the soul's immortality because of certain theories they had heard, Socrates dealt with their questions, very specifically refuting them by showing their contradictions with what they had already accepted about the soul. To demonstrate conceptually the immortality of the soul, Socrates needed first to gain their agreement that ideas have an absolute existence. He then went back to the generation of opposites, indicated the difference between concrete opposites and the essential opposites of the absolute ideals, and by identifying the soul with the essence of life, showed that it could not die and therefore must be immortal.213 In this example Socrates was able to use propositions which were earlier admitted as a foundation to demonstrate higher and more complicated ideas. This shows the power and comprehensiveness that the dialectical process can have.

Another common pedagogical technique that Socrates used was to summarize the main points already discussed. Often the dialectic took a roundabout course to refute or prove an argument, and it was often helpful to review the agreed-upon conclusions so that everyone would be clear on what the results were so far. In the Phaedo Socrates restated the argument of Cebes in order to be certain that he had understood it correctly.214 This is a useful technique in any communication.

In the Gorgias when Callicles became frustrated and tired of the argument, Socrates with the encouragement of Gorgias carried on the discussion by summarizing the points made and requesting corrections from Callicles.215 This allowed Socrates to bring the main points home, and eventually he lulled Callicles back into the discussion.

In Xenophon's Oikonomikos after Socrates had gotten Critobulus to recognize the value of studying estate management, he deemed it useful to recapitulate the points already discussed so that Critobulus could review them now that he was more open. In fact Critobulus found pleasure in discussing things they both agreed upon.216 Thus by means of the review the young man was able to grasp the ideas much better as he really wished to do so now that he was motivated.

The beginning of the Timaeus is devoted to a brief outline of the previous day's discussion, which is found in the Republic.213 Apparently Socrates also found it useful to review discussions from previous occasions.

The conclusions were especially joyful when there were some positive propositions which had been agreed upon, as at the close of the Philebus. A list of priorities had been drawn up showing that the suitable mean, symmetrical beauty and perfection, intelligence and wisdom, and the arts and sciences all rank above the pleasures, even the pure ones. These results were happily offered before the witness of Zeus even though all the animals of the world might assert otherwise.218 Here Socrates and his friends found particular strength in their agreement based on the inquiry even though they might be outnumbered by those who were thoughtless. The conclusion in this case became almost a firm resolve.

We have examined in considerable detail the various pedagogical techniques and methods that Socrates used by looking at many instances where he has been described employing them. The summary of these will appear in Chapter 14 where they will be compared to the methods of Confucius. To continue our descriptive portrait of Socrates as an educator we turn now to an investigation of the subjects he discussed.


1. Plato Timaeus 27.
2. P. Republic IV, 432.
3. P. Phaedrus 279.
4. P. Alcibiades I 127.
5. Ibid. 135.
6. P. Theages 128-129.
7. Ibid. 129-130.
8. Ibid. 130.
9. P. Phaedo 95.
10. P. Cratylus 396.
11. Ibid. 411.
12. Ibid. 428.
13. Field, G. C. Plato and His Contemporaries, p. 149.
14. Xenophon Mem. I, vi, 11-14.
15. P. Theaetetus 146, 162.
16. P. Phaedo 89 (38).
17. P. Laches 181.
18. Ibid. 195.
19. X. Symposium I, 2-7.
20. Ibid. III, 9.
21. Ibid. III, 10.
22. X. Mem. I, iii, 8.
23. P. Euthyphro 11.
24. P. Euthydemus 285.
25. P. Euthyphro 15.
26. P. Philebus 53-54.
27. Diogenes Laertius II, 33.
28. Ibid. II, 34.
29. X. Mem. III, xiv, 1-6.
30. X. Symposium II, 24-26.
31. X. Mem. I, ii, 2-4.
32. X. Mem. I, ii, 5-8.
33. X. Apology 26.
34. X. Symposium II, 4.
35. Ibid. VIII, 7-12.
36. Ibid. VIII, 27-28.
37. Ibid. VIII, 37-43.
38. P. Charmides 169.
39. P. Apology 38-39.
40. Ibid. 41.
41. P. Laches 186-187.
42. Ibid. 200-201.
43. P. Gorgias 526-527.
44. P. Euthydemus 278-282.
45. P. Republic IX, 589-592.
46. Ibid. X, 621.
47. P. Symposium 214.
48. P. Phaedo 89-91.
49. X. Mem. I, iv, 1.
50. X. Mem. IV, vii, 1-2.
51. X. Apology 20.
52. Ibid. 29.
53. P. Laches 180.
54. P. Protagoras 311-314.
55. Ibid. 318-319.
56. P. Theaetetus 143.
57. P. Laches 187-188.
58. X. Symposium III, 2-3.
59. Diogenes Laertius II, 62.
60. Ibid. II, 29-30.
61. X. Mem. III, xiii, 1.
62. X. Mem. III, xiii, 2.
63. X. Mem. III, xiii, 3.
64. X. Mem. III, xiii, 4.
65. X. Mem. III, xiii, 5.
66. X. Mem. III, xiii, 6.
67. X. Mem. II, viii, 1-6.
68. X. Mem. II, ix, 1-8.
69. X. Mem. I, ii, 30.
70. X. Mem. I, ii, 31.
71. X. Mem. I, ii, 32.
72. X. Mem. I, ii, 37.
73. X. Mem. II, vii, 1-14.
74. X. Anabasis III, i, 4-7.
75. X. Mem. II, i, 1-34.
76. X. Symposium IV, 24.
77. X. Oeconomicus II, 11-18.
78. Ibid. III, 7-16.
79. X. Mem. IV, ii, 1.
80. X. Mem. IV, ii, 2.
81. X. Mem. IV, ii, 3-7.
82. X. Mem. IV, ii, 8-23.
83. X. Mem. IV, ii, 24-29.
84. X. Mem. IV, ii, 30-39.
85. X. Mem. IV, ii, 40.
86. P. Alcibiades I 103-114.
87. Ibid. 115-124.
88. Ibid. 125-135.
89. P. Phaedrus 228.
90. P. Symposium 199-201.
91. P. Theaetetus 144-145.
92. P. Meno 71.
93. Ibid. 86.
94. Ibid. 90-92.
95. P. Euthyphro 5.
96. Ibid. 9.
97. Apology 24-27.
98. P. Crito 48-54.
99. X. Mem. IV, i 1-5.
100. P. Lysis 208-210.
101. Ibid. 212-223.
102. P. Meno 80.
103. P. Charmides 155-157.
104. P. Phaedo 77-78.
105. P. Parmenides 127-130.
106. Ibid. 135-136.
107. P. Cratylus 391.
108. Ibid. 425-428.
109. P. Charmides 165-166.
110. P. Theaetetus 148-150.
111. Ibid. 151.
112. Ibid. 157.
113. Ibid. 161.
114. Ibid. 162-184.
115. P. Republic I, 328-331.
116. Ibid. I, 336-345.
117. Ibid. I, 345-354.
118. X. Symposium IV, 56-60.
119. Ibid. V, 1-10.
120. P. Alcibiades I 106.
121. Ibid. 112-114.
122. P. Greater Hippias 286-304.
123. P. Protagoras 320.
124. Ibid. 329.
125. Ibid. 334-347.
126. P. Gorgias 449-454.
127. P. Ibid. 458-461.
128. Ibid. 486-489.
129. Ibid. 462-467.
130. Ibid. 462.
131. P. Euthyphro 14.
132. P. Alcibiades I 115-116.
133. P. Euthydemus 277-278.
134. Ibid. 288-289.
135. Ibid. 295-296.
136. P. Phaedrus 234-237.
137. P. Protagoras 342-347.
138. P. Theaetetus 166-168.
139. P. Menexenus 236-249.
140. P. Timaeus 19-20.
141. P. Critias 108.
142. X. Mem. I, vi, 14.
143. X. Mem. I, ii, 56-59.
144. X. Mem. II, i, 10; P. Protagoras 340.
145. X. Mem. III, ii, 1-4.
146. X. Symposium II, 4; P. Meno 95-96.
147. P. Protagoras 339-348.
148. P. Ion 530-542.
149. P. Symposium 221-222.
150. P. Charmides 165-166.
151. P. Ion 533-536.
152. P. Cratylus 387-390.
153. P. Republic I, 332-342.
154. Ibid. I, 341-342.
155. Ibid. II, 368-369.
156. Ibid. IV, 434-435.
157. Ibid. IV, 436-440.
158. Ibid. IV, 429-430.
159. Ibid. VI, 488-489.
160. Ibid. VIII, 544-569.
161. P. Theaetetus 197-200.
162. Ibid. 202-210.
163. Ibid. 191-195.
164. P. Philebus 17-18.
165. Ibid. 38-40.
166. P. Gorgias 464-465.
167. Ibid. 477-478.
168. Ibid. 505.
169. Ibid. 493.
170. X. Mem. II, i, 21-34.
171. P. Philebus 63-64.
172. P. Crito 50-54.
173. P. Phaedo 84-85.
174. P. Republic IV, 432.
175. Ibid. VI, 506-511.
176. P. Phaedo 109-110.
177. P. Republic VII, 514-517.
178. Ibid. VII, 517-521.
179. Ibid. IX, 588-591.
180. P. Phaedrus 255.
181. Ibid. 246-257.
182. P. Symposium 203.
183. X. Symposium VIII, 28-31.
184. P. Phaedrus 274-275.
185. P. Charmides 156-157.
186. P. Gorgias 523-527.
187. P. Republic X, 614-621.
188. X. Symposium II, 11-12.
189. Ibid. VIII, 31-39.
190. P. Charmides 159-161.
191. P. Ion 541.
192. X. Symposium VII, 2-5.
193. P. Statesman 257.
194. P. Theaetetus 151-165.
195. P. Phaedrus 262-266.
196. P. Republic V, 454-456.
197. Ibid. IX, 582-583.
198. X. Mem. IV, vi, 1-15.
199. P. Charmides 161-163.
200. P. Euthyphro 5-15.
201. P. Theaetetus 146-148.
202. P. Meno 71-80.
203. Ibid. 75.
204. Ibid. 80.
205. Ibid. 81.
206. Ibid. 81-86.
207. Ibid. 86-100.
208. X. Oeconomicus XVIII, 9.
209. Ibid. XIX, 14-15.
210. P. Theaetetus 146.
211. P. Republic II, 368.
212. Ibid. I, 348.
213. P. Phaedo 70-106.
214. Ibid. 95.
215. P. Gorgias 506-509.
216. X. Oeconomicus VI, 1-10.
217. P. Timaeus 17-19.
218. P. Philebus 66-67.

Copyright © 1996, 2006 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book CONFUCIUS AND SOCRATES Teaching Wisdom. For ordering information, please click here.


Life of Confucius
Attitudes of Confucius
How Confucius Taught
What Confucius Taught
Example of Confucius
Influence of Confucius


The Socratic Problem
Life of Socrates
Attitudes of Socrates
How Socrates Taught
What Socrates Taught
Example of Socrates
Influence of Socrates
Confucius and Socrates Compared

Socrates, Xenophon, and Plato

BECK index