The Greek Triumvirate
Golden Era of Greek Philosophy
The Greek Triumvirate
The Greek Triumvirate of
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle is
considered as the golden era of Greek
philosophy, the period of highest
perfection. The period of highest
perfection in philosophy was also the
period of the political greatness of
Greece. From the preoccupation with the
ultimate material stuff which composes
the universe, the Greek triumvirate
started inquiring topics about
man, virtues such as
justice, happiness, temperance, the state
and some other diverse issues.
• World-renowned classical Greek
• The trio of Plato, Socrates (his
teacher) and Aristotle (his student) laid
the fundamentals of Western
• Socrates: Athens' street-corner
• Socrates was the big-city philosopher
in ancient Athens.
• His father is a stone-man or sculptor,
his mother is a midwife.
• His wife Xantippe, said to be an ugly
woman, bore him three children.
• The wealthy Athenian Crito took him
out of the stone-mason‟s workshop
and paid for his education
• He was a pupil of Anaxagoras
• Attracted to the topics raised by the
• One dialogue of Plato has a young
Socrates listening to Zeno of Elea and
talking with him and Parmenides.
• Chaerephon, went to the Delphic
oracle asking if there was anyone who
was wiser than Socrates, oracle
responded that there was not.
• Not feeling wise, Socrates crossexamined the „wise‟ men of society.
(statesmen, poets, artisans, and
others.) He did NOT find them wise.
• the pursuit of wisdom became
Socrates‟ full-time job
Socrates didn't write books; he just liked
to ask probing and sometimes
humiliating questions, which gave rise
to the famous Socratic Method of
A man of VIRTUE
Famous quote: "The unexamined life is
not worth living."
• Simply means Question and Answer
• Socrates spent most of his time asking
question about ethical issues.
• He had a knack for asking questions
exposing ignorance, hypocrisy, and
conceit among his fellow
Athenians,particularly in regard to
• argued that knowledge was virtue
The Peloponnesian War
• Disastrous twenty-seven year struggle
(431-404 B.C.E.) between the rival
Greek city-states of Athens and
• Socrates fought in this war and it
defined him intellectually.
• He was critical of Athenian democracy
and Spartan Oligarchy
• 3 of his former students were leaders
associated with the downfall of Athens
The Trial of Socrates
• An Athenian Democrat, Anytus, who
suffered under Spartan control of
Athens (when a puppet government of
„30 tyrants‟ led by a former student of
Socrates was in charge.) brought
charges against Socrates….
• “Socrates is guilty of not believing in
the gods in which the state believes,
but brings in other new divinities; he
also wrongs by corrupting the youth .”
b) Corruption of the minds of
Death of Socrates
• In his defense Socrates gave a
spontaneous speech relying on
reason, refuting all the charges one by
• There were 501 men on the jury, and
he was condemned by 60 votes.
• The prosecutors proposed the death
penalty, and Socrates had the
opportunity to offer an alternative but
antagonized the jury.
• He died after drinking glass of hemlock
• Socrates was an awakened thinker
that questioned the moral and political
aspects of Athens and found flaws
• He pioneered the use of inductive
(reasoning from general to specific)
reasoning which is to make
conclusions. Aristotle stated that
Socrates founded the Scientific
Method which refers to a body of
techniques for investigating
• He showed the world the meaning of
commitment; he could have escaped
the death sentence but went through
with it because it doesn‟t cope with his
philosophy which was to question.
Socrates had these and many other
important contributions to mankind.