Volume 4, 2008
Approaches to Philosophy
Jeffrey Benjamin White
How Did Socrates Become Socrates?
On the Socratic Recipe for the Philosophic Life
Socrates is philosophy’s greatest hero, and a model for the philosophic life. Yet, why did Socrates live the way he did? How did Socrates become Socrates? How can a contemporary philosopher aspire to be like Socrates, even in ways and contexts in which there is no record of a Socratic example? This short paper explores the implications of Socrates’ encounter with Callicles in the Gorgias on the aspiring philosophic life. In this dialogue, we find Socrates’ own testimony as to why he lives the way he does, how he comes to die the way he does, and also discover how it is that we can presently pursue the philosophic life by his recipe.