Who and what is Socrates?

Socrates, the original one that is, is dear to the hearts of many philosophers.  This page is not about the Socrates who plagued the alleys and plazas of ancient Athens with his piercing questions and "Socratic method" but about the bot who assists discussions on the Philosophical Channel by giving definitions (and thus answering questions, rather than posing them).

There are two types of definitions available from Socrates.  The first, most reliable, method is to type

!define <word>   or   /msg Socrates define <word>

in the channel.  The first query will be seen by all but both result in a definition from www.dict.org being piped to you personally in a separate query window.

The second method is to type

?? <word_or_phrase>

in the channel.  This will access a definition if and only if it has been added by one of the ops (see here to see a list of words and phrases added).  These definitions are more philosophically oriented and are open to discussion and improvement if necessary.  To see if a particular word or phrase has been added, type

** <string>

in the channel.  The result will be list of definitions which include the string in either the name or within the text.

You can also request a random definition by typing


After each philosophical definition output by Socrates, either the source or a number will appear enclosed in square brackets [like these].  The numbers indicate that the source is a standard reference, as follows:

[1] - www.philosophypages.com/dy/

[2] - www.m-w.com

[3] - Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

Socrates also performs a few other vital housekeeping duties so please use him sensibly.

© 2005 Philosophical Channel (neopolitan)

Last update 2005-04-09