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12 Lessons of Persuasion from Socrates

Socrates, the son of an Athenian sculptor, was born in 469 B.C. Instead of following in his father’s art, he dedicated his life to search for truth and virtue. His life was one of a normal citizen. Through war and peace he weathered a life of poverty and an aggressive assertive wife with little concern. Dissimilar to almost every philosopher at the time, Socrates did not provide formal instruction. He influenced people by engaging them in conversation. Through questioning his contemporaries, he challenged them to think clearly and to act reasonably. Socrates’ platform consisted of no knowledge except his own ignorance and a willingness to learn from anyone who professed to know.

Two states of emotion were evoked by such conversations: a state of irritation at the unmasking of one’s pretensions. Or of humility and earnestness to be instructed by his questioner. As is life, natural enemies evolved from such influence. Finally, he was accused of introducing new gods and of corrupting of the youth.

His defense is the “The Apology.”

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