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True/False (True=A, False=B)

do raise
objections against those beliefs.

1. To say that philosophy encourages the adoption of


a questioning attitude means that philosophic thinking

8. Even though philosophy in general aims to clarify

encourages people to deny the existence of God or

our ideas and evaluate reasons for our beliefs, some

traditional moral beliefs.

areas of philosophy (e.g., ethics, aesthetics) are based


on the assumption that achieving such an aim is

2. Philosophical reflection often contradicts traditional

impossible.

beliefs about human existence because the aim of


philosophy is to show how all beliefs, no matter how

9. Philosophy attempts to answer questions such as

well justified, are false.

"Why do we exist?" by examining what it means to ask


such questions and to evaluate whether proposed

3. In philosophy the purpose of rational self-

answers to such questions are justified.

examination is to develop arguments that correct or


support beliefs in ways that

10. Philosophical questions are generally more

could be persuasive even to people with different

concerned with identifying how beliefs differ among

ackgrounds.

persons or cultures than with how those different


beliefs can be justified.

4. Though philosophy is defined as the pursuit of


wisdom, it does not investigate what it means to ask

11. Like philosophy, myth attempts to explain why

questions in the first

things are the way they are by giving a rationale

place.

or logos for things in terms of events in nature.

5. As the pursuit of wisdom, philosophy raises

12. Myth provides the vocabulary and grammar in

questions about almost everything except what it

terms of which both philosophical questions and their

means to question in the first

answers are intelligible.

place.
13. The philosophic insistence on providing a logos for
6. Because philosophy requires that we question our

the world might itself rely ultimately on a

beliefs, it cannot provide reasons why one set of

certain mythos, because philosophy often assumes

beliefs should be

that it is possible to reason meaningfully about the

preferred over another.

world.

7. One of the primary aims of philosophy is to see how

14. By giving us a sense of purpose and moral value,

our beliefs compare with those of others who can and

myth indicates our place in nature and explains in


general why things are the way they are.

15. Like science, law, and religion, philosophy aims to

23. According to Socrates, a person who does not

justify our personal beliefs and our society's practices.

know why an act is good occasionally might act


virtuously, but such occasions of accidentally "getting it

16. For presocratic thinkers like Thales and

right" cannot constitute a virtuous or worthwhile life.

Anaximander, the primary focus of philosophy is the


search for the fundamental stuff of the world in terms

24. By saying that "virtue is knowledge," Socrates

of which it can be understood.

means that it is good to know as much as possible


because knowledge is valuable in and of itself, even if

17. Pre-Socratic philosophers (e.g., Thales,

it does not guide a person to act morally.

Anaximander) suggest that we can understand nature


by identifying something constant beneath or behind

25. Socratic ignorance is the same as complete

the changing appearances revealed by our senses.

skepticism because Socrates admits he knows


nothing, not even whether his method of enquiry is

18. The point of the Socratic method is to determine

appropriate.

the truth of a belief by means of dialectical exchange


(questions and answers, hypothesis and counter-

26. Like the social sciences (e.g., psychology or

example).

sociology), philosophy discovers truths by identifying


what people in fact

19. Socrates's comment that "the unexamined life is


not worth living" is an example of his ironic technique

believe instead of judging whether those beliefs are


justified.

of saying something that means just the opposite.


27. To say that philosophy is a "second order"
20. Socrates argues that "the unexamined life is not
worth living," because without knowing how we should
act (based on universal principles) we would not be

discipline means that it investigates the


presuppositions, criteria, and methods assumed by
other disciplines.

able to live worthwhile lives.


28. To say that philosophy is more concerned with
21. In the Socratic method of enquiry, one asks
questions aimed at discovering the nature, essence, or
fundamental principles of the topic under

"second-order" or meta-level topics means that it is


concerned more with facts and beliefs than with their
presuppositions.

consideration.
22. According to Socrates, we cannot experience a

Multiple Choice

good life without knowing what it means to be human


and what it means to act virtuously.

29. "Is there anything you would be willing to die for?"


is a philosophical question insofar as:
(a) it does not have any right or wrong answer

because it is a meaningless question.


(b) it is a meaningless question because everyone
could have a different answer to it.

(d) without limiting our perspective to an internal


dreamworld, we cannot achieve any objective,
external knowledge of the real world.

(c) it forces us to articulate and justify our beliefs


about what we know and ought to do.
(d) it is more concerned with one's religious beliefs
than with factual claims about the world.

32. Philosophy is concerned primarily with identifying


beliefs about human existence and evaluating
arguments that support those beliefs. These activities
can be summarized in two questions that drive

30. One of the aims of philosophy is to think critically


about whether there are good reasons for adopting our

philosophical investigations:
(a) why should we bother? and what are the

beliefs. Reasons are considered "good reasons" if

consequences of our believing one thing over

they are consistent with everyday experience and:

another?

(a) are part of a set of religious, moral, or political


beliefs that an individual feels deeply about.
(b) are considered good by at least one culture, subculture, or individual.
(c) cannot be interpreted in different ways by different

(b) what do you mean? and how do you know?


(c) who really believes X? and how can we explain
differences in people's beliefs?
(d) how do philosophers argue? and are their
differences important?

people or cultures.
(d) take into account objections, are acceptable to
impartial third parties, and avoid undesirable
consequences.

33. A philosophical inquiry improves our critical


thinking skills and problem solving abilities by:
(a) indicating which issues or problems are
considered most important in contemporary society.

31. If the world that we individually perceive is limited


to an internal perspective, then there is no way that we
could determine whether our own perspective is
useful, true, or valuable because:
(a) we know whether our internal perspective is
correct only by comparing it with an objective, external
perspective (the "real" world).
(b) whatever we appeal to in order to prove that our

(b) clarifying what our concepts or words mean and


evaluating the reasons we give for our beliefs.
(c) providing final and specific answers to questions
about the nature of human existence.
(d) showing how each person's view about the
clarification of concepts or evaluation of arguments is
to be respected because they are equally valuable.

perspective is right itself would be part of the standard


we use in evaluating that perspective.
(c) scientific research that reveals facts about the
world would cause us to challenge our perceptions in
a dreamworld of our own making.

34. One of the tasks of philosophy is to test conceptual


frameworks for depth and consistency. It does this
through (1) expressing our ideas in clear, concise
language and (2) supporting those ideas with reasons

and with overcoming objections to them. Philosophy


thus emphasizes the need to:
(a) pose questions that can be resolved not by
reasoning but only by faith or personal belief.
(b) show why the beliefs adopted by most people in a

(c) metaphysicians are justified in reasoning as they


do because there is only one true answer about
being.
(d) myth and reason are the same: "myth" defines
"reason," and "reason" defines "myth."

culture are preferable since more people understand


those beliefs and see no reason to raise objections to
them.
(c) articulate what we mean by our beliefs and to
justify our beliefs by arguments.
(d) develop a set of ideas about the nature of society
(i.e., an ideology) that can be used to support a
religious conceptual framework.

37. Whereas the social sciences (e.g., psychology,


sociology, economics) ask questions about how
people think and act, philosophy is the study of:
(a) how people with different beliefs or backgrounds
disagree with one another.
(b) what beliefs mean and whether people with
different beliefs are justified in having them.
(c) the reasons why philosophic questions never have

35. The philosophic insistence on providing a logos for

better or worse answers.

the world and our experience of it might itself rely

(d) questions that can be answered better by

ultimately on adopting a certain mythos, insofar as:

appealing to scientific experiments.

(a) philosophy assumes that it is possible and


meaningful to reason about the world and experience.
(b) the myths of philosophy are really lies that are
told to make so-called philosophic enquiries sound
more respectable.
(c) philosophy is based on logic, whereas myths are
not based on logic.
(d) mythos refers to the philosophic understanding of
the world, whereas logos refers to the philosophic
understanding of our experience of the world.

38. Which of the following questions are


epistemological rather than ontological or
metaphysical questions?
(a) How are real things and imaginary things
different? What distinguishes reality from
appearance?
(b) What does it mean to know something? How is
knowledge different from belief or opinion?
(c) Are human beings free? Does God exist? Is
there an afterlife?

36. "There is no rationale for myth because it is


through myth that reason itself is defined." This

(d) How is the existence of an individual thing


different from the existence of the totality of all things?

means that:
(a) mythos is ultimately based on logos, just as myth
is ultimately based on reasoning or thinking.
(b) myth does not "explain" how things are related as
much as it simply reveals them as related.

39. To say that "philosophy" (like "love" or "art") is not


a closed concept means that we cannot state the
necessary and
sufficient conditions by which it is defined. Rather,

philosophic issues are identifiable as having "family

virtuously, he or she would still be considered virtuous

resemblances" with one another. In other words:

by others who also did not know the principles for

(a) there is no one distinguishing feature that


identifies an issue as philosophic, only an overlapping
of issues roughly associated with one another.
(b) the way we come to think about philosophy, love,
or art really depends on how we were raised by our
families to identify things as resembling one another.
(c) the necessary and sufficient condition for

good living.
(b) Because since Socrates was a philosopher, he of
course thought that people who examined their lives
philosophically were more virtuous than those who did
not.
(c) Because without knowing the rationale for why
one should act in a particular way, one does not know

something to be considered philosophic is that it

whether actions are justified and ought to be

answers either of these questions: What does it

repeated.

mean? and How do you know?


(d) philosophy is not a closed discipline insofar as it

(d) Because a virtuous life would be one in which


someone does what the rest of the society says is

is willing to accept any answer suggested by the

right, and that means examining views other than

"human family" as being true.

one's own.

40. According to Socrates, just as there is a difference

42. According to Socrates, "the unexamined life is not

between what an ironic statement says and its true

worth living" and "virtue is knowledge" because:

meaning, so also appearances differ from reality.


Even though societies or individuals appear to differ
about what is required for the good life, that in no way
contradicts the fact that:
(a) what is right or wrong, true or false varies from
one culture to another.
(b) appearances are the only real way we have for
knowing reality.

(a) human existence is valuable precisely because


everyone is interested in examining his or her life.
(b) unless our society tells us what we should do, we
will never be considered virtuous.
(c) the excellence or value (aret) of our lives
consists in the extent to which we act virtuously.
(d) without asking what makes life worthwhile, we
cannot know how we ought to live.

(c) the distinction of appearance and reality is the


basis for the dialectical discovery of truth.
(d) there are objective principles for thought and
action that are required for the good life.

43. Socrates acknowledges that he does not know


certain things (e.g., what justice is), but he claims to
know the method by which he and others can learn
those things. In this "Socratic method" we:

41. According to Socrates, an unexamined life is not


worth living; and it certainly could not be a virtuous
life. Why not?
(a) Because if someone did not know how to act

(a) act as if we know the truth of a thing even though


we acknowledge that we can never know it.
(b) follow the instructions of the philosophers, for they
are the only ones who have seen beyond the cave.

(c) ask questions to discover the essence or defining

45. According to Socrates, the value or quality of one's

characteristic of what makes a thing be what it is.

life depends on understanding the principles of, or

(d) agree that there is a distinction between how

basic rationale for human existence. Without such

things appear to us and the reality that is beyond us.

knowledge (he suggests) life lacks virtue, because:


(a) acting virtuously means acting in way that is

44. In spite of the fact that Socrates claims to be


ignorant of the essence or nature of certain things like
justice, he is wise
insofar as he recognizes that without such knowledge
actions are rationally unjustified. That is, his wisdom
consists in his recognition not only that he is ignorant
of such essences but also that:

informed about what one is doing and why.


(b) someone who does not understand existence
philosophically could never do anything right.
(c) to have the power or ability to do anything at all
requires that we know what we are doing.
(d) not only is virtue knowledge but also the
unexamined life is not worth living.

(a) justice, like knowledge, requires that we admit


that we know nothing and never will.
(b) he knows what he is supposed to be looking for-knowledge of the essences of things.
(c) knowledge of the essences of things is
impossible, because that would require that we know
what we are looking for before we know what it is we
are looking for.
(d) his method of asking questions about essences is
itself unjustified because he does not know why he
engages in such a practice.

46. According to Socrates, in order to know how we


ought to live, we have to determine whether our
personal beliefs and the beliefs of our society are
justified. We can make such a determination by:
(a) asking as many people as possible what it is that
they believe and following the majority opinion.
(b) distinguishing between personal beliefs (e.g.,
religion) and societal beliefs (e.g., upbringing).
(c) assuming that no belief can ever be justified
because we never escape Socratic ignorance.
(d) identifying the essential characteristics of being
human and evaluating our beliefs based on them.
47. According to Socrates, it is important that we
discover what makes a particular action (e.g., a
merciful or just act) the kind of action that it is,
because without such knowledge:
(a) no one in society will ever do any action that
really is merciful or just, only those actions that they
think are merciful or just.
(b) the primary purpose of human existence--which is
to think and to know--is replaced by a focus on

morality (acting and doing).


(c) we can refer only to how people characterize
actions without knowing why such actions should be
characterized that way.
(d) there would be no way to distinguish one kind of

without thinking about why we should do what we do


can hardly be thought of as worthwhile, noble, or
admirable.
(d) it is a waste of time to sit around thinking about
whether life is worth living; we should leave such

action (e.g., a merciful action) from another kind of

reflection to talk-show hosts, political figures, and

action (e.g., a just action).

religious leaders.

48. For Socrates, the belief that "virtue is knowledge"

50. Socrates claims that no one knowingly wills to do

is related to his claim that "the unexamined life is not

evil. Immorality, he says, is due to ignorance about

worth living," because he believes that:

what is in our own best interest. In response to this,

(a) the unexamined life is one in which we live day to


day without asking questions about who we are and
why we are here in the first place.
(b) the Delphic oracle identified Socrates as the
wisest person on earth because he claimed to know
nothing.
(c) by questioning traditional beliefs, we learn to
recognize how some answers seem to be more
satisfactory than others.
(d) the only way to be a good or worthwhile person is

critics such as Aristotle point out that Socrates


overlooks the fact that:
(a) simply knowing what is good is often insufficient
to overcome irrational or evil desires.
(b) doing what is good is often its own reward,
regardless of whether it promotes our interests.
(c) to will to do evil, we have to know what evil is; but
since evil cannot be known, we cannot will it.
(d) knowing the good is impossible, and thus no one
can knowingly will to do either good or evil.

to know how human beings should behave based on


universal norms or values.

51. According to Socrates, the task of the wise and


virtuous person is not simply to learn various

49. Socrates' claim that "the unexamined life is not

examples of just or virtuous actions but to learn the

worth living" is often cited as a central theme in the

essence of justice or virtue, because:

activities of philosophy. By it, Socrates is typically


understood to mean that:
(a) it is sometimes simply not worth all the effort of
examining life and its problems in great detail;
sometimes it is better simply to "go with the flow."
(b) while taking a reflective attitude toward life is

(a) by knowing enough examples of justice or virtue,


we will live a worthwhile life even if we do not know
what makes them examples of justice or virtue.
(b) knowledge of individual examples alone would not
prepare someone for situations of justice or virtue to
which the examples do not immediately apply.

interesting and even sometimes important, most of

(c) what makes an action just or virtuous can be

what makes life worth living is not worth examining.

known only by asking people for their opinions and

(c) simply doing whatever everyone else does

respecting each answer as equally valuable.

(d) justice and virtue are universal goals of all human

beings, even if people do not always agree on how to


achieve those ends.

Answers:

1. B

12. A

23. A

34. C

45. A

2. B

13. A

24. B

35. A

46. D

3. A

14. A

25. B

36. B

47. C

4. B

15. B

26. B

37. B

48. D

5. B

16. A

27. A

38. B

49. C

6. B

17. A

28. B

39. A

50. A

7. A

18. A

29. C

40. D

51. B

8. B

19. B

30. D

41. C

9. A

20. A

31. B

42. D

10. B

21. A

32. B

43. C

11. B

22. A

33. B

44. B

TEXTO 1

permanece inalterado a travs de todos los cambios y

Por encima de las diferencias entre sus concepciones,

que, en consecuencia, es lo nico permanente frente

hay algunos rasgos que son comunes a todos los

a lo secundario y pasajero. El principio que se

jnicos: a.- En cuanto al objeto del conocimiento:

busca (arj) debe cumplir simultneamente tres

Fisicismo. El objetivo fundamental es la bsqueda de

funciones: Debe ser la fuente y el principio de todas

la realidad primera y persistente, de aquello que

las cosas, el fin o el ltimo trmino y, finalmente, el

sustrato fundamental
conocimiento:

b.- En cuanto al mtodo de

Racionalizacin

realismo.

Su

d) su causa y consecuencia
e) su cambio o movimiento

actividad comienza en la observacin de la realidad

5. De acuerdo al texto, racional no se opone a

natural. Todas las elaboraciones posteriores son

a) sensorial

especulaciones basadas en la percepcin sensorial de

d) tradicin

la realidad. Todas las doctrinas anteriores haban

TEXTO 1

formulado proposiciones que se asentaban en la

El comienzo de la filosofa cientfica ... no coincide ni

emotividad o en la tradicin. Por el contrario, los

con el principio del pensamiento racional ni con el fin

planteamientos de los filsofos griegos se asientan en

del

la racionalidad (entendida como la capacidad de

historia de la filosofa griega como el proceso de

afirmar algo mediante la razn) y en el realismo

progresiva racionalizacin de la concepcin religiosa

(entendido como recurso a la experiencia comn).

del mundo implcita en los mitos. Si lo imaginamos

1. El texto caracteriza fundamentalmente la filosofa

como una serie de crculos concntricos que van

de

desde la exterioridad de la periferia hasta la

a) los milesios b) los pitagricos

c)

los

eleticos
d) los mitos

b) emotividad c) fantasa
e) irrealidad

pensamiento

mtico...debemos

considerar

la

interioridad del centro, veremos que el proceso


mediante el cual el pensamiento racional toma

e) los griegos

posesin del mundo se desarrolla en forma de una

2. El trmino asientan puede ser reemplazado por

penetracin progresiva que va desde las esferas

a) encubren

b) descubren c) soslayan

exteriores hasta las ms profundas e ntimas, hasta

d) sustentan

e) sintetizan

alcanzar, con Platn y Scrates, el punto central, es

3. El carcter racional del pensamiento de los

decir, el alma.

primeros filsofos se opondra bsicamente a

TEXTO 2

a) los planteamientos jnicos

Los

b) las construcciones mtico-religiosas

gnoseolgico

c) las observaciones naturalistas

relativismo, convencido de que los ejemplos concretos

d) las explicaciones realistas

encierran un elemento comn respecto al cual esos

e) las elaboraciones fisicistas

ejemplos tienen un significado. Si decimos de un acto

4. Con respecto a la realidad natural, los milesios

que es "bueno" ser porque tenemos alguna nocin

buscaban

de "lo que es" bueno; si no tuviramos esa nocin, ni

a) su objeto y mtodo de conocimiento

siquiera podramos decir que es bueno para nosotros

b) su racionalidad y realismo

pues, cmo lo sabramos? Lo mismo ocurre en el

c) su origen o fundamento

caso de la virtud, de la justicia o de cualquier otro

sofistas

haban
y

moral.

afirmado
Scrates

el

relativismo

criticar

ese

concepto moral. Para el relativismo estos conceptos

3. Qu filsofo representara el crculo ms exterior

no son susceptibles de una definicin universal: son el

a) Scrates

resultado de una convencin, lo que hace que lo justo

d) Thales

en una ciudad pueda no serlo en otra. Scrates, por el

b) Platn

c) Protgoras
e) N. A.

4. Qu enunciado es incompatible con los textos

contrario, est convencido de que lo justo ha de ser lo

I. Scrates buscaba el conocimiento verdadero como

mismo en todas las ciudades, y que su definicin ha

un fin en s mismo

de valer universalmente. La bsqueda de la definicin

II. La filosofa griega signific una progresiva

universal se presenta, pues, como la solucin del

racionalizacin del mundo

problema moral y la superacin del relativismo.

III. Scrates cuestiona y rechaza el convencionalismo


de los valores morales.

TEXTO 3
Todo parece indicar que la intencionalidad de
Scrates era prctica: descubrir aquel conocimiento
que sirviera para vivir, es decir, determinar los
verdaderos valores a realizar. En este sentido es
llamada

la

tica

socrtica

"intelectualista":

para la accin. De modo que si conociramos lo


"Bueno", no podramos dejar de actuar conforme a l;
falta

de

virtud

en

nuestras

acciones

definicin universal.
a) II y IV

b) I y IV

c) II y

III
d) I, III y IV

e) Solo IV

el

conocimiento se busca estrictamente como un medio

la

IV. Segn los sofistas, los valores estn sujetos a una

ser

identificada pues con la ignorancia, y la virtud con el


saber.

5. El hecho de que en una ciudad se considere buena


a una accin y en otra se la tenga por mala, segn
Scrates
a) implica que la moral es convencional
b) supone que existe ignorancia respecto al bien
c) demuestra que no hay valores absolutos
d) refuta los planteamientos de los sofistas

1. El fundamento de la conducta moral para Scrates

e) prueba la irrefutabilidad del relativismo moral

es
a) la verdad

b) el placer

d) la ignorancia

c) el conocimiento
e) la voluntad

LOS PRESOCRTICOS
Es afirmacin frecuentemente repetida la de que los
griegos en un momento determinado se liberaron de

2. De acuerdo al Texto 1

la especulacin mtica, caracterstica de todos los

a) la filosofa constituye el fin del pensamiento mtico

dems pueblos de la antigedad que los haban

b) mito y filosofa expresan una relacin antagnica

precedido en la historia, y emprendieron por vez

c) la filosofa comienza donde el mito culmina

primera la aventura de organizar un pensamiento

d) no hay una abrupta separacin entre mito y filosofa

sobre bases racionales. Como tantas otras, es sta

e) la filosofa y el mito son igualmente racionales

tambin una afirmacin que requiere ser matizada.


Desde luego que la especulacin mtica es ms

antigua que la filosfica, y en algunos aspectos es

constitua una profesin. Eran maestros ambulantes,

cierto que se produjo una transformacin de una a

que hicieron su modo de vivir del anhelo que

otra en el perodo que nos ocupa. Pero no es menos

empezaron a sentir los hombres de ser dirigidos y

cierto que ambos terrenos se mantuvieron por

orientados en los asuntos prcticos, anhelo que naci

caminos paralelos durante siglos y que no se trat en

en aquel tiempo de las causas que ya he mencionado:

modo alguno de una pura sustitucin radical de uno

las crecientes oportunidades para tomar parte en la

por el otro. Quiz conviene, antes que nada, que

poltica activa, la insatisfaccin cada vez mayor

tracemos, siquiera sea someramente, las analogas y

respecto de las doctrinas de los filsofos naturales, y

diferencias existentes entre especulacin mtica y

(podemos aadir tambin) el creciente escepticismo

racional. Ambas son, en efecto, actividades con algo

acerca de la validez de la enseanza religiosa

en comn; son obra de un ser pensante, el hombre,

tradicional, con sus representaciones de los dioses

que trata de interpretar racionalmente la realidad y de

toscamente antropomrficas.

comprenderla. En ambas se trata de reducir la variada

La palabra sophistes ("maestro de sabidura) no

complejidad,

los

haba implicado hasta entonces ningn sentido

acontecimientos del mundo a un esquema ordenado,

peyorativo. Era, en efecto, la palabra que se aplicaba

en el que son fundamentales las relaciones de causa

a los siete sabios de la tradicin. Fue la impopularidad

a efecto. En una y en otra se trascienden, pues, las

de los sofistas del siglo v la que le dio el matiz que

limitaciones del aqu, del ahora y de la experiencia

tiene desde entonces. Pero, aunque no puede decirse

personal,

de

que formara una escuela filosfica particular, los

referencia ms amplio, en el que se inserta el pasado

sofistas tenan en comn determinados puntos. Uno

con el presente, y se considera al mundo en su

era la naturaleza esencialmente prctica de su

totalidad como objeto de consideracin. En los dos

enseanza, la cual tena por objeto, segn decan,

casos se abordan los grandes temas: el origen del

inculcar la arete. Ya hemos analizado el sentido de

mundo y la forma en que pas de ser como era a ser

esta palabra, cuya significacin prctica est puesta

como es, el origen de los dioses y de los propios

de manifiesto en la ancdota del sofista Hipias, segn

hombres y cmo y cundo nacieron unos y otros. En

la cual ste, como una especie de anuncio viviente, se

suma, se trata de dar una respuesta a cmo fueron y

present en los juegos olmpicos llevando cosas que

cmo son las cosas y, sobre todo, por qu las cosas

l mismo se haba fabricado, inclusive el anillo que

son como son y no de otro modo.

portaba en un dedo.

LOS SOFISTAS

En segundo lugar, los sofistas compartan algo que

La reaccin hacia el humanismo est asociada con la

puede llamarse con ms propiedad una actitud

aparicin de una clase nueva, los sofistas. Se dice

filosfica: es, a saber, el escepticismo, la desconfianza

con frecuencia que los sofistas no fueron una escuela

respecto de la posibilidad del conocimiento absoluto.

filosfica particular, sino que la sofstica ms bien

Era esto el resultado natural del callejn sin salida a

aparentemente

para

intentar

catica,

elaborar

un

de

marco

que pareca haber llegado la filosofa natural. El

slo confusiones pueden resultar. Tales confusiones

conocimiento depende de dos cosas: la posesin de

sern

facultades capaces de ponemos en contacto con la

Intelectualmente,

realidad, y la existencia de una realidad estable que

la discusin con un hombre que usa las

pueda ser conocida. En cuanto instrumentos del

palabras dndoles un sentido diferente al que les

conocimiento los sentidos haban sido tratados con

da su interlocutor no puede conducir a nada como

gran severidad, y no se les haba sustituido con nada;

no sea a reir, probablemente; y moralmente, cuando

y la fe en la unidad y la estabilidad del universo haba

las palabras en cuestin representan nociones

sido socavada, sin que hasta entonces hubiera

ticas, no puede resultar ms que la anarqua. Este

surgido la idea de que puede haber una realidad

doble aspecto del problema, moral e intelectual, es

permanente y cognoscible fuera y ms all del mundo

el que quera expresar Scrates al decir que la virtud

fsico.

es conocimiento. Adems, era tan claro su propio

SCRATES

pensamiento y tan firme su carcter, que le

En mi ignorancia dice Scrates empec

pareca evidente por s mismo que si los hombres

por suponer que las gentes que las usaban saban

llegaban a comprender esta verdad automticamente

lo

que

significaban

esas

palabras,

pues

las

la

vez

intelectuales

morales.

elegiran lo justo. Lo nico que se necesitaba

empleaban

era moverles a tomarse el trabajo de averiguar

con tanta soltura, y conceb la esperanza de que

qu es lo justo. De aqu su otra sentencia famosa:

me lo enseasen, a m que no lo saba. Sin embargo,

Nadie hace el mal voluntariamente. Si la virtud es

cuando los interrogu, descubr que nadie poda

conocimiento, el vicio se debe nicamente a la

darme una explicacin satisfactoria. Quiz a la luz

ignorancia.

de las enseanzas de los sofistas haba que suponer

Cmo

que esas palabras no tenan en realidad ningn

conocimiento

sentido, y si en efecto es as, los hombres debieran

de lo que son la virtud, la justicia, etc.?

dejar de usarlas. Si, por otra parte, tienen un

Scrates, como ya he dicho, estaba dispuesto a

significado

sugerir un mtodo, tanto para los otros como para

fijo, entonces las personas que las usan deben

s mismo. El conocimiento se adquiere en dos etapas

ser capaces de decir cul es. No podemos hablar

a las que se refiere Aristteles cuando dice que

de la rectitud de la conducta bien y adecuadamente,

Scrates poda en justicia reclamar para s el mrito

si no sabemos lo que son la sabidura, la justicia

de dos cosas: el argumento inductivo y la definicin

y la bondad. Si, como sospechaba Scrates, las

general. Estos trminos lgicos un tanto secos, que

personas

indudablemente hubieran sorprendido al

que usan las mismas palabras dicen con ellas

mismo Scrates, no parecen tener mucha relacin

cosas distintas, hablan sin entenderse y de ello

con la moral; mas, para Scrates, esa relacin era

procederemos,

pues,

para

adquirir

el

vital. La primera fase consiste en recoger ejemplos


a los cuales todos estn de acuerdo en que se les
puede aplicar el nombre de justicia (si es la justicia
de lo que se trata). Despus, esos ejemplos de
acciones justas son sometidos a examen para
descubrir
en ellos alguna cualidad comn por virtud
de la cual merecen aquel nombre. Esta cualidad
comn, o ms probablemente este grupo o nexo de
cualidades comunes, constituye su esencia en cuanto
actos justos, y es, en realidad, abstrado de las
condiciones accidentales de tiempo y circunstancias
que corresponden individualmente a cada uno
de los actos justos, lo que define la justicia. As, pues,
el argumento inductivo, como lo dice su nombre
griego, es un "llevar a de la mente desde los
ejemplos
particulares, reunidos y considerados colectivamente,
a la comprensin de su definicin comn.

En el pensamiento socrtico, la
virtud depende esencialmente
del conocimiento: solamente se
puede actuar con justicia si se
sabe qu es la justicia,
solamente se puede ser
valeroso si se sabe qu es el
valor, etc.
Esta concepcin socrtica que
tiende a reducir la virtud al
conocimiento,a identificarla con
e1 saber, suele denominarse
intelectualismo moral.
En principio, Scrates
interpreta la accin moral

desde el modelo de los


saberes tcnicos. En el caso
de este tipo de saberes es
razonable suponer, por
ejemplo, que solamente el que
sabe arquitectura es arquitecto
y capaz de construir bien;
anlogamente, solamente el
que sabe qu es la justicia ser
justo y capaz de obrar
justamente.()
El saber (de la virtud) es
condicin necesaria y
suficiente de la conducta
virtuosa. Nadie obra maI
voluntariamente, es la
posicin socrtica. Por tanto, el
que obra mal lo hace siempre
involuntariamente. El
intelectualismo socrtico lleva,
de este modo, a situar el origen
del mal moral
en la ignorancia.