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Socrates was born in Athens, the son of Sophroniscus, a sculptor, and of Phaenarete, a midwife, he received the regular elementary education in literature, music, and gymnastics. Socrates followed the craft of his father; according to a former tradition, he executed a statue group of the three Graces, which stood at the entrance to the Acropolis until he 2d century ad. In the Peloponnesian war with Sparta he served as an infantryman with conspicuous bravery at the battles of potidaea in 432-430 bc, Delium in 424 bc, and amphipolis in 422 bc. Socrates believed superiority of argument over writing and therefore spent the greater part of his mature life in the marketplace and public resorts of Athens in dialogue and argument with anyone who would listen or who submit to interrogation. He wrote no books and establish no regular school of philosophy. He belief in a purely objective understanding at such concepts as justice, love, and virtue, and the self-knowledge that he inculcated, were the basis of his teachings. He believed that all vice is the result of ignorance, and that no person is willingly bad; correspondingly, virtue is knowledge, and those who know the right will act rightly. Plato represents Socrates as hidings behind an ironical profession of ignorance, known as Socratic irony, and possessing a mental acuity and resourcefulness that enabled him to penetrate arguments with great facility. Socrates was nonetheless regarded with suspicion by many of his contemporaries, who dislike his attitude toward the Athenian state and the established religion.

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