It is hard to overstate the profound influence Socrates cast over western thought and history. Revered by the Greeks and canonized during the Renaissance, his philosophy—and that of his pupil, Plato—offers a unique lens through which to understand Athenian and Greek history. In this 3-hour Socrates in Athens Tour, we'll join a local philosophy scholar to discover key sites in the history of Greek philosophy, including the ruins of Plato's Academy, and delve into the life of Socrates, the state of thought before and after the introduction of his philosophy, and how that has impacted the world in which we live today.
Socrates in Athens
We'll begin at the Church of St. Trifonos, located in the neighborhood of Akadimia Platonos, named for Plato's Academy, which is also located in the vicinity. Together, navigating this area of Greece—loaded with sites of historical significance but not particularly frequented by tourists—we'll discuss the life of Socrates (as we know it) and his impact on the lives of his contemporaries. Naturally, a significant portion of our discourse will centering in on the circumstances that led to his imprisonment and death. Why, we'll ask, didn't Socrates defend himself more vigorously? What was the value (or threat) of philosophy to Athenian society, and does that situation have parallels today? In fitting with the theme of the walk, our discussion will reflect the Socratic method; together, we'll weigh the value of the philosopher's ideas, circumstances, and their relevance in today's society.
We’ll also delve deeply into the role of philosophy and the school founded by Socrates' star pupil Plato. We'll explore the history of this site, the life of Plato and his writings. In the course of our walk, we will explore a number of Plato’s ethical, political, and metaphysical views and place them in the context of ancient Athens, delving not only into the reception these ideas received during the time of their introduction, but reflecting on how they continue to influence today's society. We'll compare on contrast Socrates and Plato, sharpening our understanding of the unique contributions each has made to western thought.
This walk is a unique opportunity for anyone interested in the history of ideas to see the actual places where fundamental concepts were first postulated and to discuss them with a local scholar.