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Socrates never existed

tacomancer

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Gentlemen,
It seems that we have some issues with the historicity of the existence of Socrates.

Socrates

Scholars and historians who try to gather accurate information about Socrates face a peculiar problem, known as the Socratic problem. This problems arise due to 3 key features - There is no proof that Socrates ever wrote anything, philosophical or biographical.
Whatever information we derive about Socrates is from the works of 4 scholars namely - Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, and Aristophanes.
The writings are in an artistic and creative style, therefore creating a doubt whether these details are truth or fiction.
So the information on Socrates that is available cannot be proved and has no historical evidence. If the evidence is only through the writings of his associates, there is doubt that Socrates ever existed or he was an imaginary character in his students writings to explain their philosophy.
Socrates - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Socratic problem

Forming an accurate picture of the historical Socrates and his philosophical viewpoints is problematic at best. This issue is known as the Socratic problem.
Socrates did not write philosophical texts. The knowledge of the man, his life, and his philosophy is based on writings by his students and contemporaries. Foremost among them is Plato; however, works by Xenophon, Aristotle, and Aristophanes also provide important insights.[4] The difficulty of finding the “real” Socrates arises because these works are often philosophical or dramatic texts rather than straightforward histories. Aside from Thucydides (who makes no mention of Socrates or philosophers in general) and Xenophon, there are in fact no straightforward histories contemporary with Socrates that dealt with his own time and place. A corollary of this is that sources that do mention Socrates do not necessarily claim to be historically accurate, and are often partisan (those who prosecuted and convicted Socrates have left no testament). Historians therefore face the challenge of reconciling the various texts that come from these men to create an accurate and consistent account of Socrates' life and work. The result of such an effort is not necessarily realistic, merely consistent.
Plato is frequently viewed as the most informative source about Socrates' life and philosophy.[5] At the same time, however, many scholars believe that in some works Plato, being a literary artist, pushed his avowedly brightened-up version of "Socrates" far beyond anything the historical Socrates was likely to have done or said; and that Xenophon, being an historian, is a more reliable witness to the historical Socrates. Parsing which Socrates—the "real" one, or Plato's own mouthpiece—Plato is using at any given point is a matter of much debate.
However, it is also clear from other writings, and historical artifacts that Socrates was not simply a character, or invention, of Plato. The testimony of Xenophon and Aristotle, alongside some of Aristophanes' work (especially The Clouds), can be usefully engaged in fleshing out our perception of Socrates beyond Plato's work.
Too bad historical records are crappy and we have to take some things on faith.
 
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rivrrat

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Ditto for Homer.

But damn the Iliad and Odyssey are awesome!
 

Tashah

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Too bad historical records are crappy and we have to take some things on faith.
Indeed. There are literally dozens of ancient Egyptian Pharaoh's without any historical mention whatsoever beyond Manetho, an Egyptian priest who lived in the Ptolemaic era. Yet Egyptology is fundamentally based on Manetho's dynastic system.
 

digsbe

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I think the point is that despite evidence, people don't question the existence of Socrates. Yet they question the existence of religious figures when we do indeed have more proof for their existence than we do for Socrates.
 

tacomancer

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Then his existence is rather unimportant, eh?

Can you say the same thing about your savior?
The point is that historical records are often crappy and the whole "this guy did or did not exist" is fundamentally silly due to that fact.
 

rivrrat

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I think the point is that despite evidence, people don't question the existence of Socrates. Yet they question the existence of religious figures when we do indeed have more proof for their existence than we do for Socrates.
I don't question the existence of socrates because I don't give a ****. I don't question the existence of cult leaders either, because I don't give a ****. Now, if someone wants to get into a debate over the existence of a specific person, then I may or may not decide to engage in said debate and offer up the lack of evidence for the existence of said person. But other than that, I just really don't give a **** since it has no bearing whatsoever on my life.

I imagine you SEE more questioning religious/cult leaders because religions/cults are more often discussed than philosophers.
 
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Catz Part Deux

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The point is that historical records are often crappy and the whole "this guy did or did not exist" is fundamentally silly due to that fact.
No. The point is that if this is the only means by which to reach eternal life, and without this person, you are doomed to an eternity of suffering and separation from God, then he did a piss poor job with advertising and promotions.

Exceptional claims require exceptional levels of evidence.

No one is suggesting that Socrates died for our sins, performed miracles during his life, was born of a virgin, was resurrected after three days, and will sit on high to judge our eternal destiny. Hence, whether or not he existed is really more of an exercise in mental masturbation than anything else.

But, the followers of Jesus, called the Christ, make all of the above outrageous claims, including that Jesus, called the Christ, is the only way by which man can connect to God. Mohammed's followers make similar claims.

As a fan of Socrates, I've only ever suggested that he provides good tips on formatting reasonable and coherent arguments.

If jesus Christ, as advertised, is the only way to God, then God wasn't very interested in being found.
 
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tacomancer

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No. The point is that if this is the only means by which to reach eternal life, and without this person, you are doomed to an eternity of suffering and separation from God, then he did a piss poor job with advertising and promotions.

Exceptional claims require exceptional levels of evidence.

No one is suggesting that Socrates died for our sins, performed miracles during his life, was born of a virgin, was resurrected after three days, and will sit on high to judge our eternal destiny. Hence, whether or not he existed is really more of an exercise in mental masturbation than anything else.

But, the followers of Jesus, called the Christ, make all of the above outrageous claims, including that Jesus, called the Christ, is the only way by which man can connect to God. Mohammed's followers make similar claims.

As a fan of Socrates, I've only ever suggested that he provides good tips on formatting reasonable and coherent arguments.

If jesus Christ, as advertised, is the only way to God, then God wasn't very interested in being found.
There is a very real and discernable difference between someone existing and that person having supernatural powers. Denying that someone had those powers is one thing and is logical while denying that the person ever existed when the evidence is as good as evidence for many famous figures of the past is quite another.
 

GarzaUK

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Socrates did not write philosophical texts. The knowledge of the man, his life, and his philosophy is based on writings by his students and contemporaries.


Name one student or contemporary of Jesus that wrote about his life's work? Paul? While a contempary he wrote nothing about the life of Jesus - even though he was hanging around - with disciples of Jesus who supposedly seen in him in the flesh. Paul talks about love and compassion in his letters I am totally 100% baffled why he never wrote "this is what jesus said about love...". The gospels were not written yet, he didn't know they were going to be written, why would he leave out some intricate detail?

The damning point in the historicity of Jesus is that his contemparies (unlike Socrates) mention NOTHING of his life. Zero. Zilch. I mean this the supposed son of God, the one saviour of mankind - this s**t is important, surely someone wrote it down. Sure they could have been burned, but that does not excuses Paul's letters. Surely Jesus's brother James, or Peter John mentioned SOMETHING to Paul about what sort of guy Jesus was, or the things he said.

He doesn't mention Jesus's birth, herod slaying of infants, walking on water, sermon on the mount, loaves and fishes, lazurus, healing the sick, Judas, pontius pilatus, the temple.

The most obvious answer to this is, he did not mention them, because they had not been invented yet by Mark - who wrote a clearly allegorical story 40 years after Jesus's supposed death.

Not that I am 100% convinced Jesus never existed, there is a possibility that he was just a angry Jewish preacher that happened to inspire a few people - who decided to immortalised him. I'm 50:50 personally.

For the record I'm ready to admit that Socrates MIGHT not have existed based on the evidence/
Can Christains admit the same about Jesus? That is what will always be the difference.
 

mikhail

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It is somewhat likely socrates never existed but was used as a tool example for plato.Its not important because unlike jesus socrates never claimed to be the son of god or know what happens when you die.
 

tlmorg02

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These debates, if you can call them such while amusing are quite unreasonable. You simply cannot argue faith as fact. Now while I see no reasons for believers to perhaps debate the text of the bible or the like, both parties are believers and take the material as fact. To argue faith with one who does not subscribe to the beliefs in quesiton is futile and seriously unproductive to either side.
 

Cephus

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I couldn't care less if Socrates ever existed or not. The things that Socrates supposedly wrote don't change whether or not the man was real or not. So sure, if you want to posit that Socrates is a complete and utter myth, more power to you. Doesn't bother me in the least.

Now, can you say the same thing about Mohammed and Jesus?
 

Degreez

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A perfect thread to show why a certain user is a perfect imbecile.
 

Redress

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Moderator's Warning:
Degreez is now banned from this thread.
 

mac

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Shakespeare is a myth too.
 

spud_meister

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Megaprogman never existed, this thread is simply a forgery, a conglomeration of earlier threads that coalesced into one for the sake of convenience.
 

tacomancer

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Megaprogman never existed, this thread is simply a forgery, a conglomeration of earlier threads that coalesced into one for the sake of convenience.
Hey I exist!!! I am right here!!! You can se
 

First Thought

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No. The point is that if this is the only means by which to reach eternal life, and without this person, you are doomed to an eternity of suffering and separation from God, then he did a piss poor job with advertising and promotions.
We're already on a planet that's full of suffering perpetuated by ignorance(most people lack the willpower or even the desire to consciously shape their lives). We already seem to be seperate from God.

Exceptional claims require exceptional levels of evidence.
Or belief. One is sometimes shocked when they change their beliefs to see how differently the world functions from this new vantage point.

But, the followers of Jesus, called the Christ, make all of the above outrageous claims, including that Jesus, called the Christ, is the only way by which man can connect to God. Mohammed's followers make similar claims.
You could call me a follower of Christ and I make none of those claims. Most of those claims are made by churches, whose members can sometimes be known to leave their brain at the door when they enter. Thus, we get people proselytizing and condemning others in Jesus' name. This is suffering due to ignorance.
 

Geo Patric

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These debates, if you can call them such while amusing are quite unreasonable. You simply cannot argue faith as fact. Now while I see no reasons for believers to perhaps debate the text of the bible or the like, both parties are believers and take the material as fact. To argue faith with one who does not subscribe to the beliefs in quesiton is futile and seriously unproductive to either side.
keep saying it.

we cannot qualify one by the other.

faith is personal. reason provides a means for interacting with others. if reason is an obstacle to faith it is not necessarily so that the inverse is true - faith need not be an obstacle to reason.

geo.
 

scourge99

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I think the point is that despite evidence, people don't question the existence of Socrates.
Apparently some (many?) people do question the existence of socrates.

Yet they question the existence of religious figures when we do indeed have more proof for their existence than we do for Socrates.
This is a strawman argument.

Very rarely do religious arguments revolve around whether a particular person actually was born or not. Disagreement almost always is focused on what the religious CLAIM historical people did.

E.G., I don't find it outrageous to believe an itinerant preacher named Jesus was born and preached many things 2000 years ago. However, its outrageous to believe that a man did the following things when it contradicts what we know about reality and is supported by nothing but hear-say, conjecture, and holy-book tales::
1) Turned water into wine
2) Flew into the sky
3) Rose from the dead after 3 days after receiving mortal wounds.
4) Heals blindness and disease by touch.
5) Etc

I'm confident most people can distinguish between ordinary claims and extraordinary.
 

Aunt Spiker

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The first bad assumption on the OP's part is that anyone who draws wisdom from Socrates cares whether or not such a figure existed. The only thing I care about is his (or Plato, whoever's) ideas, his existence is an interesting but unimportant question.

The second bad assumption is that if records are sometimes spotty, we suddenly have the assume a large number of baseless ideas simply because we couldn't possibly have any proof for them. Should doctors start assuming that patients have medical conditions simply because their medical records are poorly kept?
 
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