Was Socrates Greek?


  1. Greeks are citizens of Greece.
  2. Greece rejected Socrates.
  3. Socrates was not a Greek.

Does that syllogism work?

Ronnie Royston

Posted 2016-10-17T02:20:38.623

Reputation: 667

Here's the crux : Socrates inflicted the greatest damage to Greece by submitting to its justice. Same story for Jesus, i.e., if they had fled, ran, then they would have illustrated the righteousness of the State; by standing pat and allowing the State to administer her 'justice' a single man destroyed the entire State (the States legacy).

“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.” ~ Socrates – Ronnie Royston – 2017-07-10T17:46:26.140

i've been banned from asking more questions here, btw... what's up with that? – Ronnie Royston – 2017-07-10T17:47:02.770

3Obviously NO. You need a new assumptuion : Someone rejected from Greece is not a Greek. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2016-10-17T06:18:15.990

Right, and that premise is not true. Our notion of state, and our notion of citizenship evolved into its current level of relativism. And even now, if you revoke someone's American citizenship, others will still consider them Americans. Even if Snowden ever has to renounce his citizenship to avoid extradition for treason, he will still be an American, if not a citizen, in everyone else's eyes. – None – 2016-10-17T15:40:18.457

See Was Socrates Athenian? for a glance at the value of proceeding.

– Ronnie Royston – 2016-10-18T20:43:18.987



First of all this is not a syllogism. Syllogisms have terms with logical connections. 'Rejected' and 'citizen' are not terms with logical connections. The U.S. has in its history rejected traitors, imprisoning them and depriving them of the vote, and then tried them for execution exactly because they are citizens. We clearly do not consider foreign nationals traitors to our country, just enemies -- and once we have taken them prisoner as POWs we cannot execute them.

Other nations (Chile?) near us have rejected their governments and exiled them, depriving them of citizenship. So there is no clear, logical connection between these two statements.

So we need a context to interpret the connections that is not logical and outside the realm of syllogism. We can't find one.

There were no citizens of Greece at the time. So no, it makes no sense. Greece, like Germany, and post-Roman Italy, was not a single nation until after the culture already had a long shared history. (This has led German philosophers like Hegel and Nietzsche to link and contrast the psychological foundations of the Greek, German, and renaissance Italian cultures.)

Socrates was a citizen of Athens, one of the few Greek states that had citizens at all. The rest were run by Tyrants, and therefore had subjects.

Also, Socrates was not exiled or ostracized, he was sentenced to death and followed through on the sentence instead of taking on a different nationality. He insisted on not requesting exile, despite that he could have counter-plead for that punishment, and would probably have gotten it. And he insisted on not escaping, even though some of his students seem to have arranged a way for him to do exactly that, and offered him the option. So he was Athenian to the end.


Posted 2016-10-17T02:20:38.623


Historical facts are not a way to evaluate the correctness of a syllogism – b a – 2019-08-15T11:53:50.303

@ba When the premises are false statements of historical facts they matter. – None – 2019-08-17T23:51:37.323

The question was "Does that syllogism work?" Just because "1+1=3, if 1+1=3 then 1+2=4, therefore 1+2=4" is incorrect in standard math doesn't mean it isn't a valid syllogism – b a – 2019-08-18T00:08:05.543

@ba 'Greece rejected Socrates" is not a logical statement related to the two other terms. (We may reject traitors and execute them exactly because they are citizens, other countries can exile their governors making them non-citizens.) It is totally unclear what set of definitions the terms of the form have in common, so this is not a syllogism. It is either a deduction based on facts, or it is a meaningless sequence of disconnected statements. Sorry, not only is it incorrect, it is not a syllogism. – None – 2019-08-19T15:41:13.487

I will add that to the answer. – None – 2019-08-19T15:51:53.500

I see, so Socrates was not Greek at all - he was Athenian. – Ronnie Royston – 2016-10-17T21:27:51.547

Only to the extent that Napoleonic-era Prussians aren't German and renaissance Florentines weren't Italian... As noted above, these were cultural groups not nationalities until their periods of peak ascendacy were already over. – None – 2016-10-17T22:25:15.277

Galileo was not killed by Italy, he was imprisoned for life by the Vatican State, I believe. Leibniz was not put to death by Germany, either. – Ronnie Royston – 2016-10-17T22:29:28.130

Relevance? I was talking about where they were born, and held citizenship/fealty. He was as much a Greek person as those were Germans and Italians. – None – 2016-10-17T22:29:51.660

I see. I am fixated on Greece's claim to Socrates. – Ronnie Royston – 2016-10-17T22:31:11.887

He would have been welcome elsewhere in Greece, had he chosen to renounce his Athenian citizenship. – None – 2016-10-17T22:32:10.427

Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– None – 2016-10-17T22:32:40.423

1by this logic there were no Greeks at all at that time, which is obviously absurd. what made Greeks Greek was the language. Socrates was very obviously a Greek. – None – 2016-10-17T22:49:36.987

oops, here's where I take it back;) he was Greek but not a citizen of Greece. my bad. – None – 2016-10-17T22:52:12.173


Greeks are citizens of Greece.

It's possible to be both Greek and not yet a citizen of Greece. A first generation Greek immigrant into Ireland, say, could still justifiably call himself Greek without being a Greek national. He's merely recognising his birth-right. You could, alternatively say

Greek citizens are citizens of Greece

This, of course, is a tautology - so how can it be wrong? Well, you go on to write:

Greece rejected Socrates

Except of course, Greece was not constituted as Greece, then. Greece, is a modern nation-state; whereas then, there were city-states and alliances of such - compare with now, alliances of states such as the EU, or a federation of states, such as the USA. Thus, Greece could not have rejected Socrates, as there was no such place as Greece then (in the sense of having established political rights, and thus, making it possible to be a citizen there-of).

Moreover, the history is wrong - whereas Socrates was sentenced to death; Athens repented of its deed after he was executed. So, one could hardly call that 'rejection' per se. If anything, Socrates is now, more synonymous and emblematic of Greece than any other Greek figure one could care to name.

Socrates was not a Greek

This is true. But not by the chain of so-called deductive logic that you have outlined.

Mozibur Ullah

Posted 2016-10-17T02:20:38.623

Reputation: 1