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When the Delphic Oracle proclaimed the Greek philosopher, Socrates (470­399 B.C.) to be the “wisest man in the world,” Socrates countered that he was wise only in that he knew that he did not know. He believed man had a right to search for his own truth and that through increased understanding would become happier and more tolerant.

Socrates believed himself charged with a mission from God to make his fellow men aware not only of their own ignorance but also that knowledge could redeem them.

Socrates held that neither he nor anyone else had the right to force opinions on others. Rather, through systematic questioning, he sought to lead others to cast aside preconceptions and reach their own conclusions. He challenged falsehoods and pomposity, but his ironic criticisms and intellectual honesty were misunderstood by the authoritarians of his time.


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