Socrates is an enigmatic figure, known chiefly through the accounts of others like Plato and Aristophanes. He was one of the most brilliant intellects ever, and devised what would later be called the Socratic method, which is a way of leading one's interlocutor to see his errors and contradictions through clever questioning before leading him to the truth. In ancient Athens, Socrates was widely known as a "gadfly", that is, an annoying insect buzzing at people's ears, because he kept questioning prejudices and contradictions; he was eventually tried and executed for "corrupting the minds of the youth".
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Fighting for justice, for freedom of speech, and sometimes even for their own lives, some of history's most significant figures demonstrate the finest resources of language in the service of the most dramatic issues of their day.
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Pupil of the great Plato, teacher of Alexander the Great, Aristotle is a massively influential figure in Western philosophy. Cicero described his literary style as "a river of gold". Modern ethics are based on his ideas about virtue; his writings literally encompassed all the scientific knowledge of the time and beyond, so much that many of his findings were still considered cutting-edge many century afterwards. Aristotle also shaped modern logic, and put his mark on all subsequent philosophy and theology.
Socrate : une figure majeure, aux fondements de toute la philosophie occidentale ; une légende bizarre, qu'on ne connaît qu'à travers les récits des autres ; et surtout, un drôle de philosophe. Sa méthode est simple et directe : pour apprendre à l'autre à penser par lui-même, il faut questionner sans cesse, afin de mettre au jour les préjugés, présomptions et contradictions. L'autre est amené par un jeu de questions à découvrir lui-même son erreur, ce qui lui permet enfin d'accueillir la vérité.