Switters’ Blog

The Great Philosopher

Posted by switters on November 21, 2006

Keep this philosophy in mind the next time you hear or are about to repeat a rumour…

In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance that ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”         

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”        

“Test of Three?     

“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student, let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”‘

“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”        

“No, to the contrary…”           

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”         

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test, 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?”

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why Socrates never found out that Plato was banging his wife.

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One Response to “The Great Philosopher”

  1. dakeeper said

    This may or may not amuse you, but along the same vein as the Socrates post I have this hypothetical problem. This is merely a thought inspiring riddle and not meant to impart or imply any act of violence on any individual. I heard this awhile back and I found it inspired deep thought.

    You are given a gun with two bullets. You are instructed to shoot Al Sharpton and O.J Simpson. Who do you shoot first?

    The number one provided answer- You shoot Al Sharpton twice to make sure he’s dead…..

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