It's hard to separate the man from the myth when it comes to Socrates. Since he left us no writings of his own, it's probably more useful to speak of the doctrines of Plato, who, as did Xenophon, recorded much of what we know about Socrates' teachings. The great strength of his pupil, Plato, was in Plato's ability to grasp objections to his arguments. He even seemed to have an uncanny knack for anticipating arguments that wouldn't arrive for years after his own demise. His weakness, it seems to me, arises from some of the positions he defended, and the questionable defenses he offered. He has certainly had his detractors (not the least of whom was Thomas Jefferson), and his mystical idealism appears to have been a major set-back for philosophy for centuries afterward, but he also had a firm grasp of the major problems confronting philosophy.
Last edited by WT Sharpe; 06-05-2010 at 03:48 PM.