• WordNet 3.6
    • adj Socratic of or relating to Socrates or to his method of teaching "Socratic teaching"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In all of Shakespeare's works and excluding Roman numerals only one word begins with the letter "X." Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates, appears in The Taming of the Shrew.
    • a Socratic Of or pertaining to Socrates, the Grecian sage and teacher. (b. c. 469-399), or to his manner of teaching and philosophizing.☞ The Socratic method of reasoning and instruction was by a series of questions leading the one to whom they were addressed to perceive and admit what was true or false in doctrine, or right or wrong in conduct.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: According to Scientific American magazine: if you live in the northern hemisphere, odds are that every time you fill your lungs with air at least one molecule of that air once passed thru Socrates lungs.
    • Socratic Of or pertaining to the methods, style, doctrine, character, person, or followers of the illustrious Athenian philosopher Socrates (about 470–399 b. c). His father, Sophroniscus, was a sculptor, and he was brought up to the same profession. His mother, Phænarete, was a midwife. Socrates was unjustly accused before the council of the prytanes of being a corrupter of youth and of not believing in the gods of the city, was condemned, and died by drinking hemlock. His philosophy is known to us by the account of Xenophon, written to show the practical upshot of his teachings and the injustice of his sentence, and by the Dialogues of Plato, in most of which Socrates is introduced only to give an artistic setting to Plato's own discussions. Some things can also be inferred from fragments of Æsachines, and from the doctrines of other companions of Socrates. He wrote nothing, but went about Athens frequenting some of the best houses, and followed by a train of wealthy young men, frequently cross-questioning those teachers whose influence he distrusted. He himself did not profess to be capable of teaching anything, except consciousness of ignorance; and he bargained for no pay, though he no doubt took moderate presents. He called his method of discussion (the Socratic method) obstetrics (see maieutic), because it was an art of inducing his interlocutors to develop their own ideas under a catechetical system. He put the pretentious to shame by the practice of Socratic irony, which consisted in sincerely acknowledging his own defective knowledge and professing his earnest desire to learn, while courteously admitting the pretensions of the person interrogated, and in persisting in this attitude until examination made it appear bitter sarcasm. He was opposed to the rhetorical teaching of the sophists, and had neither interest nor confidence in the physical speculations of his time. The center of his philosophy, as of all those which sprang directly or indirectly from his—that is to say, of all European philosophy down to the rise of modern science—was morality. He held that virtue was a species of knowledge; really to know the right and not to do it was impossible, hence wrong-doers ought not to be punished; virtue was knowledge of the truly useful. He was far, however, from regarding pleasure as the ultimate good, declaring that if anything was good in itself, he neither knew it nor wished to know it. The great problems he held to consist in forming general conceptions of the nature of truth, happiness, virtue and the virtues, friendships, the soul, a ruler, a suit of armor—in short, of all objects of interest. These conceptions were embodied in definitions, and these definitions were framed by means of analytic reflection upon special instances concerning which all the world were agreed. He would not allow that anything was known for certain concerning which competent minds opined differently. This process of generalization, the Socratic induction, together with the doctrine of the necessity of definitions, were his two contributions to logic. The disciples of Socrates were Plato, Euclides, Phædo, Antisthenes, Aristippus, Xenophon, Æschines, Simonias, Cebes, and about twenty more. Properly speaking, there was no Socratic school; but the Academy and the Megarian, Elean, Eretrian, Cynic, and Cyrenaic schools are called Socratic. as having been founded by immediate disciples of Socrates.
    • n Socratic A disciple of Socrates: as, Æschines the Socratic.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Socrates committed suicide by drinking poison hemlock.
    • adj Socratic sō-krat′ik pertaining to Socrates, a celebrated Greek philosopher (469-399 B.C.), to his philosophy, or to his manner of teaching, which was an art of inducing his interlocutors to discover their own ignorance and need of knowledge by means of a series of simple questions
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  • G. M. Trevelyan
    G. M. Trevelyan
    “Socrates gave no diplomas or degrees, and would have subjected any disciple who demanded one to a disconcerting catechism on the nature of true knowledge.”
  • Thomas Carlyle
    “The difference between Socrates and Jesus? The great conscious and the immeasurably great unconscious.”
  • Tom Morris
    Tom Morris
    “Socrates had a student named Plato, Plato had a student named Aristotle, and Aristotle had a student named Alexander the Great.”
  • Richard Rorty
    Richard Rorty
    “The usual picture of Socrates is of an ugly little plebeian who inspired a handsome young nobleman to write long dialogues on large topics.”
  • Michel Eyquem De Montaigne
    “Socrates thought and so do I that the wisest theory about the gods is no theory at all.”
  • Plutarch
    “Socrates said he was not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. Socraticus, Gr.


In literature:

Socratic dialectic is not a better means of learning to know oneself.
"The Life of Reason" by George Santayana
Yet the interior of Socrates-Diderot was as little blessed by domestic sympathy as the interior of the older and greater Socrates.
"Diderot and the Encyclopaedists (Vol 1 of 2)" by John Morley
He was a sad clown, a Socratic wag, a countryman dressed up for a state occasion.
"Children of the Market Place" by Edgar Lee Masters
AJAX: Hullo, Socrates, what are you doing patrolling the streets at this late hour?
"Plum Pudding" by Christopher Morley
That was what Socrates had in mind.
"Humanly Speaking" by Samuel McChord Crothers
Socrates in the Crito (c. 10) says the same in other words, and St. Paul (Ep.
"Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus" by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
We are accepting the Socratic dictum that knowledge is virtue.
"Preaching and Paganism" by Albert Parker Fitch
Socrates was like a tornado when inflamed by anger.
"The Ascent of the Soul" by Amory H. Bradford
The wisest of them all, Socrates, was actually put to death on that charge; and finally, they failed.
"Health and Education" by Charles Kingsley
Thus we see how Critias frequented Socrates, and what opinion they had of each other.
"The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates" by Xenophon

In poetry:

The Chinese "Way" one watcher sees,
And one a Brooding Dove,
One Baldur, Buddh or Socrates-
But always It is Love.
"Dominions Of The Boundary" by Bernard O Dowd
"Oh! be not rash," her father said,
A mild Socratic bird;
Her mother begged her not to stray
With many a warning word.
"The Lay Of A Golden Goose" by Louisa May Alcott
Should I not love thee? and for more than these,
By feasts (ah, sought too waywardly!) of thine,
Where sat the Stagyrite, and Socrates,
And 'Poets poured us wine.'
"Good-bye To Oxford" by Samuel John Stone
“They gave to Socrates the poisoned bowl,
They closed Hypatia’s noble eyes with fire,
They drove proud Dante forth, an exiled soul,
Reft of his heart’s desire;
"Ad Astra" by George Essex Evans
S is for Swinburne, who, seeking the true,
The good, and the beautiful, visits the Zoo,
Where he chances on Sappho and Mr. Sardou,
And Socrates, all with the same end in view.
"Alphabet Of Celebrities" by Oliver Herford
I do not believe,
Musing on Socrates and his great wisdom,
And the Alexandrian schools,
That wise men are worth survival.
I see only in the dusk of these great stones
That the wise are destroyed by fools.
"Avebury" by Dorothy Violet Wellesley

In news:

These days, even Socrates might have trouble finding a job right out of college.
Think Socrates, Not Icarus .
Cracking the Socrates Case from the March 31, 1988 issue.
Stone's The Trial of Socrates, M.F.
The Id Has Its Posterchild By Socrates Crenshaw and Orlando W Harris May 14, 2004 - 7:04:00 PM.
Socrates Sculpture Park- LIC Boathouse.
Socrates Thinks He is the Perfect Fit for Your Family.
Socrates , a Boxer mix.
It is not easy to evaluate the continued vitality of the Socratic method because we do not all mean the same thing when we use the term.
While questioning everything sounds subversive (and maybe it is), it has a most august pedigree: Thomas Jefferson, Galileo, Buddha, Euripides and Socrates have all been credited with the phrase and the spirit of inquiry it expresses.
The Socratic method of teaching is based on Socrates ' theory that it is more important to enable students to think for themselves than to merely fill their heads with "right" answers.
Socratic Dialogue Gives Way to PowerPoint.
I am teaching my college course in American economic history the same way I did 47 years ago, which is similar to the way Socrates taught 2,400 years ago.
His goal was to give philosophy back to the people, by facilitating discussions and using the Socratic method around the country in jails, shelters, nursing homes and other public locales.
"Sometimes the Hottest Love has the Coldest End" Socrates.

In science:

We are grateful to the Italian Group of Mathematical Physics (INDAM), to the Erasmus-Socrates pro ject and to the Research Commissions of the Free University of Berlin (Convolutions Pro ject) and of the University of Bologna for supporting joint efforts of our research groups in Berlin and Bologna.
Discrete random walk models for space-time fractional diffusion
The high velocity tail of the distribution implies that large kicks are imparted to proto-neutron stars during core collapse, and a number of mechanisms have been proposed for these natal kicks (e.g., Burrows & Hayes 1996; Janka & Mueller 1996; Arras & Lai 1999; Socrates et al. 2005).
Precision Astrometry with the Very Long Baseline Array: Parallaxes and Proper Motions for 14 Pulsars
Piercing the socratic veil: adding an active learning alternative in legal education. William Mitchel Law Review 15.
Biological Concepts Instrument (BCI): A diagnostic tool for revealing student thinking
Moreover, both the radial velocity and transit surveys are biased against the detection of highly-eccentric planets (Socrates et al. 2012), as such, the fraction of these planets is likely under-represented.
On the Survivability and Metamorphism of Tidally Disrupted Giant Planets: the Role of Dense Cores
Belot, G. and Earman, J. (1999), “Pre-Socratic Quantum Gravity”, in this volume.
Why the Quantum Must Yield to Gravity