Did Socrates's philosophical lifestyle have the potential to "wake up" Athenians in a way that could have been useful to that society?

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Some of the answer to this question depends on how you define useful and what you consider the ends of such utility. 

Socrates was concerned primarily with seeking wisdom. The end goal of wisdom for him was "eudaimonia", a Greek term that means "well-being" or flourishing. It is associated with...

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Some of the answer to this question depends on how you define useful and what you consider the ends of such utility. 

Socrates was concerned primarily with seeking wisdom. The end goal of wisdom for him was "eudaimonia", a Greek term that means "well-being" or flourishing. It is associated with the quest for the "arete" (virtue or excellence) of the person qua person, or the highest form of human excellence. Socrates' conversations did seem to be useful for this, as many of the leading thinkers of the subsequent generation were inspired by him. Platonism, Stoicism, and Cynicism were all influenced by Socrates. 

In so far as Socrates' conversation helped people gain wisdom and helped educate the youth to improve their intellectual and moral character, then it did benefit the city. Since Athens was a democracy, with trial by jury, having an educated populace who could make wise decisions about laws and legal cases was quite important, and thus teaching young people to think critically would benefit the polis

Socrates' personal austerity also helped people think about the value of material goods and whether those were indeed necessary for happiness. 

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