ERIC Number: EJ1031594
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Why Did Socrates Deny That He Was a Teacher? Locating Socrates among the New Educators and the Traditional Education in Plato's "Apology of Socrates"
Mintz, Avi I.
Educational Philosophy and Theory, v46 n7 p735-747 2014
Plato's "Apology of Socrates" contains a spirited account of Socrates' relationship with the city of Athens and its citizens. As Socrates stands on trial for corrupting the youth, surprisingly, he does not defend the substance and the methods of his teaching. Instead, he simply denies that he is a teacher. Many scholars have contended that, in having Socrates deny he is a teacher, Plato is primarily interested in distinguishing him from the sophists. In this article, I argue that, given the historic educational transformation in Socrates' and Plato's lifetimes, Socrates' denial is far more complex and far reaching than the Socrates-versus-the-sophists distinction indicates. Socrates suggests that Athenians have failed to recognize that there were various types among the new educators of fifth century Athens: orators, sophists, natural philosophers and, perhaps, a philosopher like Socrates. Further, the traditional education, which the Athenians believed was threatened by the new educators, was itself fractured. Ultimately, rather than offering a straightforward distinction between philosophizing and teaching, Socrates and the sophists, Plato treats the question of teaching aporectically in Apology; that is, after pointing to various alternatives for understanding the nature of teaching, Plato concludes the work without offering a clear resolution to that question.
Descriptors: Philosophy, Educational Philosophy, Teachers, Teacher Characteristics, World History, Teaching (Occupation), Educational Change, Educational History, Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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