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Who Socrates really was is fundamental to virtually any interpretation of the philosophical dialogues of Plato because Socrates is the dominant figure in most of Plato’s dialogues.
Standards of beauty are different in different eras, and in Socrates’s time beauty could easily be measured by the standard of the gods, stately, proportionate sculptures of whom had been adorning the Athenian acropolis since about the time Socrates reached the age of thirty.
The implication that he was guided by something he regarded as divine or semi-divine was all the more reason for other Athenians to be suspicious of Socrates.
Socrates was usually to be found in the marketplace and other public areas, conversing with a variety of different people—young and old, male and female, slave and free, rich and poor—that is, with virtually anyone he could persuade to join with him in his question-and-answer mode of probing serious matters.
an enigma, an inscrutable individual who, despite having written nothing, is considered one of the handful of philosophers who forever changed how philosophy itself was to be conceived.
Socrates let his hair grow long, Spartan-style (even while Athens and Sparta were at war), and went about barefoot and unwashed, carrying a stick and looking arrogant.He didn’t change his clothes but efficiently wore in the daytime what he covered himself with at night.Something was peculiar about his gait as well, sometimes described as a swagger so intimidating that enemy soldiers kept their distance.Because Socrates was no transmitter of information that others were passively to receive, he resists the comparison to teachers.Rather, he helped others recognize on their own what is real, true, and good (Plato, )—a new, and thus suspect, approach to education.
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It is no less true now that, “The ‘real’ Socrates we have not: what we have is a set of interpretations each of which represents a ‘theoretically possible’ Socrates,” as Cornelia de Vogel (1955, 28) put it.