Plato’s Dialogues

Eventually, the son is taught the unjust speech which enabled them to get rid of the creditors. However, the son also does not spare his father but gives him a beating due to a disagreement on recitation of poetry and justifies his actions using sophistry. The father gets angry and burns the Thinkery as well as chasing students away for deceiving him. What is then the difference between Socrates of the cloud and Socrates of platonic dialogues? These two present Socrates as two different individuals or an individual having two personalities. In the clouds Aristophanes portrays Socrates as an intellectual man who teachers others especially the young how to make arguments. This is contrary to platonic dialogues and especially in his defense (on the Apology) where he argues that he is not a teacher thus there is no way he can corrupt the young. He argues that he is not a wise man as revealed in the oracle by his friend Chaerephon. This he says is because he knows nothing unlike the politicians, poets and craftsmen. However, in the clouds Socrates is a knowledgeable man who has made a lot of discoveries. When Strepsiades visited the sophistry the student told him of how Socrates had discovered jumped by a flea, the cause of the buzzing noise by a gnat and also huge pair of compasses for measuring the land. Now he was engaged in discovering celestial bodies such as the sun. Besides, his work was to teach the young how to make arguments, in this case there are two types of arguments superior and inferior or just and unjust. Another difference between the Socrates of the cloud and Socrates of platonic ideas besides being a teacher is that in the clouds he is not against nature but following it. Aristophanes says that Socrates emerged in a balloon basket hanging mid-air. He was thus walking in the air to speculate about the sun. This he explained to Strepsiades helps him to suspend judgment and open the mind to new ideas. This shows that Socrates was interested in nature thus following it to discover more. Furthermore, more of his students were bent on the earth trying to discover what lies underneath the earth thus he was trying to discover celestial bodies. No wonder he was accused of studying all the things in the sky and below the earth and teaching the same things to others. On the other hand, platonic dialogues though they do not deny his concern for natural science do not depict him as following nature either. Instead, he is portrayed as a critical and rational thinker depicted by the manner in which he asks questions and makes conclusions. When the oracle declared him as the wisest man of all he didn’t accept the situation there and then but set out to understand what being wise means by studying those people who considered themselves as wise such as politicians and poets. He discovered that he was indeed the wisest since those who consider themselves wise did not know what to be wise means but at least for him he did not pretend to know and the beginning of wisdom is accepting that we do not know and surely if the gods decided he was wise then he must be wise. He also engaged in questioning Euthyphro to discover what piety and impiety means. Is it pious because the Gods love it, or do the Gods love it because it is pious