• Don Landes

Socrates Vivant

Updated: Apr 2, 2018


Perhaps the first thing I learned in philosophy was that Socrates is mortal. At least that seemed to be the lesson implied in the incessantly repeated basic syllogism:


Socrates is a man,

All men are mortal,

Therefore, Socrates is mortal.


Perhaps his death notice, re-inscribed in countless philosophy introduction books and upon logic classroom blackboards, has been a bit premature... to allude to another great baseball player. Here is what Henri Bergson said about it:


"When the philosopher, closing himself up within his wisdom, detaching himself from everyday men – whether to teach them, to serve as a model, or simply to devote himself to the work of cultivating an inner perfection – Socrates, alive and well, is there, acting via the incomparable prestige of his character." Translation by Don Landes. Original:

« Quand le philosophe, s’enfermant dans sa sagesse, se détache du commun des hommes, soit pour les enseigner, soit pour leur servir de modèle, soit simplement pour vaquer à son travail de perfectionnement intérieur, c’est Socrate vivant qui est là, Socrate agissant par l’incomparable prestige de sa personne. » (Henri Bergson, Deux sources de la morale et de la religion, 61.





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