.] The services which he rendered to philosophy, as enumerated by Tennemann, [Footnote: Tennemann; Schliermacker, Essay on the Worth of Socrates as a Philosopher
, translated by Bishop Thirlwall, and reprinted in Dr. Wigger's Life of Socrates
.] "are twofold, - negative and positive: Negative
, inasmuch as he avoided all vain discussions; combated mere speculative reasoning on substantial grounds, and had the wisdom to acknowledge ignorance when necessary, but without attempting to determine accurately what is capable, and what is not, of being accurately known. Positive
, inasmuch as he examined with great ability the ground directly submitted to our understanding, and of which man is the centre."
Socrates cannot be said to have founded a school, like Xenophanes. He did not bequeath a system of doctrines; he rather attempted to awaken inquiry, for which his method was admirably adapted. He had his admirers, who followed in the path which he suggested. Among these were Aristippus, Antisthenes, Euclid of Megara, Phaedo of Elis, and Plato, all of whom were disciples of Socrates, and founders of schools. Some only partially adopted his method, and all differed from each other. Nor can it be said that all of them advanced science. Aristippus, the founder of the Cyreniac School, was a sort of Epicurean, teaching that pleasure was the end of life. Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynics, was both virtuous and arrogant, placing the supreme good in virtue, but despising speculative science, and maintaining that no man can refute the opinions of another. He made it a virtue to be ragged, hungry, and cold, like the ancient monks; an austere, stern, bitter, reproachful man, who affected to despise all pleasures, like his own disciple Diogenes, who lived in a tub, and carried on a war between the mind and body - brutal, scornful, proud. To men who maintained that science was impossible, philosophy is not much indebted, although they were disciples of Socrates. Euclid merely gave a new edition of the Eleatic doctrines, and Phaedo speculated on the oneness of the good.
[His education and travels.]
[He adopts the Socratic method.]
Such intellectual quickening, which could never commence until the mind had been disabused of its original illusion of false knowledge, was considered by Socrates not merely as the index and precursor, but as the indisputable condition of future progress." It was the aim of Socrates to force the seekers after truth into the path of inductive generalization, whereby alone trustworthy conclusions could be formed. He thus improved the method of speculative minds, and struck out from other minds that fire which sets light to original thought and stimulates analytical inquiry. He was a religious and intellectual missionary preparing the way for the Platos and Aristotles of the succeeding age by his severe dialectics. This was his mission, and he declared it by talking. He did not lecture; he conversed. For more than thirty years he discoursed on the principles of morality, until he arrayed against himself enemies who caused him to be put to death, for his teachings had undermined the popular system which the Sophists accepted and practiced. He probably might have been acquitted if he had chosen it, but he did not wish to live after his powers of usefulness had passed away. He opened to science new matter and a new method, as a basis for future philosophical systems. He was a "colloquial dialectician," such as this world has never seen, and may never see again. He was a skeptic respecting physics, but as far as man and society are concerned, he thought that every man might and ought to know what justice, temperance, courage, piety, patriotism, etc., were, and unless he did know what they were he would not be just, temperate, etc. He denied that men can know that on which they have bestowed no pains, or practice what they do not know. "The method of Socrates survives still in some of the dialogues of Plato, and is a process of eternal value and universal application. There is no man whose notions have not been first got together by spontaneous, unartificial associations, resting upon forgotten particulars, blending together disparities or inconsistencies, and having in his mind old and familiar phrases and oracular propositions of which he has never rendered to himself an account; and there is no man who has not found it a necessary branch of self-education to break up, analyze, and reconstruct these ancient mental compounds." [Footnote: Grote has written very ably, and at unusual length, respecting Socrates and his philosophy. Thirlwall has also reviewed Hegel and other German authors on Socrates' condemnation. Ritter has a full chapter of great value. See Donaldson's continuation of Muller. The original sources of knowledge respecting Socrates are found chiefly in Plato and Xenophon. Cicero may be consulted in his