View Full Version : Socrates's three filters

11-29-2003, 06:54 PM
In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was well known for his wisdom.
One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who said
excitedly: "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like
you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?"

"That's right," Socrates continued "Before you talk to me about my
student, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what
you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made
absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and ...."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not.

Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are
about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary ..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him,
but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though,
because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you
want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true
nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

This is why Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

11-29-2003, 07:30 PM
thats a good one.... every 1 would have heard about socrates but some ppl wouldnt knw abt his wisdom.. so post more things like this its enlightning.
thanks sundaraveena

11-29-2003, 07:41 PM
Plato's horse
Once upon a time, many years ago (386BC or thereabouts) in Ancient Greece there was a philosopher by the name of Plato. Besides writing his dialogues (sounds like a contradiction in terms doesn’t it?) he founded a Training School which he called the Academy. One of his main teaching methods was discussion leading.

One fine Grecian evening Plato and a group of his students were seated around a rock on the shores of the Aegean Sea. (They had taken an Awayday from Athens.) After a while the discussion centred round teeth — horses teeth in fact — and more specifically: “What do you consider to be the correct number of teeth for an adult, male horse to possess?”

Glaucon said that as a horse had such a small mouth it was obvious that there could be no more than fifteen teeth.

“Nonsense!” cried Thrasymachus “Any fool can see that a horse has a very long jaw bone so it must have forty-two teeth.”

By this time the discussion became very heated and Plato decided that it was time to control the pace of the discussion by summarising: “Glaucon has said that a horse has fifteen teeth because it has a small mouth, and Thrasymachus has said that a horse has forty-two teeth because of its long jaw.” (Notice how careful Plato was not to put forward his own ideas on the subject. Plato was convinced that a horse has eighty-two teeth because of an image that he saw in the shadows of some cave or other.)

But this strategy didn’t work. As soon as Plato had finished his summary, Aristophanes threw aside his pet frog, jumped to his feet and exclaimed that a horse must have twenty-three teeth because it takes 23 minutes to eat a bag of hay.

The discussion went on this vein for a further two days and nights. (They had to hitch-hike back to Athens because their Awayday had expired.) Eventually Socrates who was not looking very well and had remained silent for the whole of the discussion suggested that they should walk over to one of the horses, that were used for giving rides on the beach, open its mouth and count the number of teeth. The class was so amazed at the sagacity of the suggestion that silence reigned for the first time in three days.

11-29-2003, 07:44 PM
By all means marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher.

If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.


11-29-2003, 07:46 PM
There once was an eager student who wanted to gain wisdom and insight. He went to the wisest of the town, Socrates, to seek his counsel. Socrates was an old soul and had great knowledge of many things. The boy asked the town sage how he too could acquire such mastery. Being a man of few words, Socrates chose not to speak, but to illustrate.

He took the child to the beach and, with all of his clothes still on, walked straight out into the water. He loved to do curious things like that, especially when he was trying to prove a point. The pupil gingerly followed his instruction and walked into the sea, joining Socrates where the water was just below their chins. Without saying a word, Socrates reached out and put his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Looking deep into his student’s eyes, Socrates pushed the student’s head under the water with all his might.

A struggle ensued, and just before a life was taken away, Socrates released his captive. The boy raced to the surface and, gasping for air and choking from the salt water, looked around for Socrates in order to seek his retaliation on the sage. To the student’s bewilderment, the old man was already patiently waiting on the beach. When the student arrived on the sand, he angrily shouted, "Why did you try to kill me?" The wise man calmly retorted with a question of his own: "Boy, when you were underneath the water, not sure if you would live to see another day, what did you want more than anything in the world?"

The student took a few moments to reflect, then went with his intuition. Softly he said, "I wanted to breathe." Socrates, now illuminated by his own huge smile, looked at the boy comfortingly and said, "Ah! When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you wanted to breathe, it is then that you shall have it."

11-29-2003, 07:48 PM
Socrates' last words
In his Apologia, Plato related Socrates' last words: "The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is the better, God only knows."

11-29-2003, 07:49 PM
way to go sundara veena another good one .... keep up the good work...

11-30-2003, 04:46 AM
Socratic method:- a teaching technique in which a teacher does not give information directly but instead asks a series of questions to the students, with the result that they comes either to the desired knowledge by answering the questions or to a deeper awareness of the limits of knowledge.

11-30-2003, 04:47 AM
One of Socrates' friends, well aware of his frugality, was surprised to find him in the marketplace one day carefully examining some of the more luxurious wares on display.
He asked the philosopher why he bothered coming to the market when he never bought anything. "I am always amazed to see," Socrates replied, "just how many things there are that I don't need."

11-30-2003, 04:48 AM
One day Socrates was blessed by his pupils with a number of gifts, among them a remarkable tribute from Aeschines: "Nothing that I am able to give to you do I find worthy of you," Aeschines declared, "and only in this way do I discover that I am a poor man. And so I give to you the only thing that I possess - myself."


11-30-2003, 05:00 AM
Actually the first post in this topic forms the initial part of quite a funny joke, but I'm reluctant to post it here, as some people might find it lacking in taste.... :)

11-30-2003, 06:26 AM
i too have heard of it...plz don't post it here...that wud be sick humor :wink:

12-01-2003, 05:55 PM
all postings are good ones sundaraveena!!!!!

the first postitng about Socrates i really enjoyed it...!!!

the other about Plato is good!!!!

12-01-2003, 07:16 PM
good work,sundaraveena, i liked the first one about(truth,goodness,usefulnes s), its very nice, keep going.

12-02-2003, 01:20 AM
just curious... what is all the heck about that 'Plato's Horse' thing !! :think:

For once .. I dont see any concrete wisdom in it and totally deprecate it ! :evil:

It is a well known fact that most of the so called philosophers were animus

towards living a pleasant life... so atleast i would love to be in my world of nescience

rather than be a philosopher ! :nono: :P :P