What made Socrates the greatest philosopher? Was it his method of questioning? What do you think?
Saying Socrates is the greatest philosopher is like saying blue is the greatest color. What makes a philosopher good is merely a matter of whether his discoveries interest us. I consider him great because he contributed greatly to modern medicine and setting the foundation for much of it. I don't think your asking the right question about his "method" of thinking. You just think. Even Albert Einstein had trouble explaining his method because it's something a person just does.
Before Socrates philosophers were basically paid tutors. He was the first to question power structures and the status quo. But saying he is "the greatest" since he never wrote anything is highly dubious.
Sorry for not wording it right...but I believe when Socrates came and went...even if he did or did not set written work into play...he still allowed for the basic foundation behind the Greek culture flourishing...a huge example of this being the hellinized period after Alexander the Great fell was greatly influenced by the father of Greek philosophy, his questioning opening the doors to both middle eastern and western European questioning of political, moral, and scientific structure.
Even if Socrates is not the greatest philosopher, he is certainly a foundational figure in the tradition of philosophy. Had there been no Socrates, there would have been no Plato, and then no Aristotle. As Plato and Aristotle were immensely important to the development of western thought, Socrates deserves a great deal of credit.
The oracle at Delphi claimed that Socrates was the wisest man alive. Socrates himself took this to be true because he alone knew that he was ignorant with regard to the most important things. His avowed ignorance led him to question so many of the people reputed to be wise in Athens.
I do not think his method of questioning made Socrates great. Rather, I think it was his humility with respect to the topics he asked about. If we take Plato's characterization to be semi-accurate, he seems to have been open to any answer, including answers that proved his preconceived notions wrong or made him look ignorant. He was willing to investigate, upturning tradition in the process if need be, because the he believed that what was true should guide inquiry (This is especially the case in Plato's Euthyphro). Without the view that truth should override tradition and preconceived opinions, most of the science and humanistic thought that follows from Socrates would not have taken place.
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