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Socratic schools

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A127-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 16, 2024, from

Article Summary

For approximately one and a half centuries after Socrates’ death in 399 bc, several Greek philosophical schools and sects each claimed to be the true intellectual heirs of Socrates. Later doxographers emphasized the Socratic pedigree of each of these schools by establishing an uninterrupted succession (diadochē) between its alleged founder, who was invariably a member of Socrates’ own entourage, and the philosophers who succeeded him as leaders of the school.

Leaving aside Plato, the founder of the Academy, the members of the Socratic circle who left a succession behind them are Antisthenes, Aristippus of Cyrene, Euclides of Megara, and Phaedo of Elis, considered respectively the founders of Cynicism, and of the Cyrenaic, Megarian and Elian schools. It is these groupings, plus several of their offshoots, that are conventionally known as the ‘Socratic schools’. All can be seen as, in their own ways, developing Socrates’ ethical outlook, and several were concerned with exploring the logical and metaphysical implications of his dialectical principles.

Citing this article:
Tsouna, Voula. Socratic schools, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A127-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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