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Socrates

Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he made no writings, is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers writing after his lifetime his students Plato and Xenophon. Other sources include the contemporaneous Antisthenes and Aeschines of Sphettos. Aristophanes, a playwright, is the main contemporary author to have written plays mentioning Socrates during Socrates' lifetime, though a fragment of Ion of Chios' Travel Journal provides important information about Socrates' youth. Plato's dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity, from which Socrates has become renowned for his contributions to the fields of ethics and epistemology, it is this Platonic Socrates who lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. However, questions remain regarding the distinction between the real-life Socrates and Plato's portrayal of Socrates in his dialogues.

Socrates exerted a strong influence on philosophers in antiquity and in the modern era. Depictions of Socrates in art and popular culture have made him one of the most known figures in the Western philosophical tradition; as Socrates did not write down any of his teachings, secondary sources provide the only information on his life and thought. The sometimes contradictory nature of these sources is known as the Socratic problem, or the Socratic question. Plato and Xenophon's dialogues provide the main source of information on Socrates's life and thought; these writings are the Sokratikoi logoi, or Socratic dialogues, which consist of reports of conversations involving Socrates. As for discovering the real-life Socrates, the difficulty is that ancient sources are philosophical or dramatic texts, apart from Xenophon. There are no straightforward histories, contemporary with Socrates, that dealt with his own time and place. A corollary of this is that sources that do mention Socrates do not claim to be accurate, are partisan.

For instance, those who prosecuted and convicted Socrates have left no testament. Historians, face the challenge of reconciling the various evidence from the extant texts in order to attempt an accurate and consistent account of Socrates's life and work; the result of such an effort is not realistic if consistent. Two factors emerge from all sources pertaining to the character of Socrates: that he was ugly, had a brilliant intellect, he lived within ancient Athens, he made no writings, he was executed by being made to drink hemlock. The character of Socrates as exhibited in Apology, Crito and Symposium concurs with other sources to an extent to which it seems possible to rely on the Platonic Socrates, as demonstrated in the dialogues, as a representation of the actual Socrates as he lived in history. At the same time, many scholars believe that in some works, being a literary artist, pushed his avowedly brightened-up version of "Socrates" far beyond anything the historical Socrates was to have done or said.

Xenophon, being a historian, is a more reliable witness to the historical Socrates. It is a matter of much debate over which Socrates it is who Plato is describing at any given point—the historical figure, or Plato's fictionalization; as British philosopher Martin Cohen has put it, "Plato, the idealist, offers an idol, a master figure, for philosophy. A Saint, a prophet of'the Sun-God', a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic."It is clear from other writings and historical artifacts, that Socrates was not a character, nor an invention, of Plato. The testimony of Xenophon and Aristotle, alongside some of Aristophanes's work, is useful in fleshing out a perception of Socrates beyond Plato's work. According to one source, the name Σωκρᾰ́της, has the meaning "whole, safe" and "power"; the problem with discerning Socrates's philosophical views stems from the perception of contradictions in statements made by the Socrates in the different dialogues of Plato. These contradictions produce doubt as to the actual philosophical doctrines of Socrates, within his milieu and as recorded by other individuals.

Aristotle, in his Magna Moralia, refers to Socrates in words which make it patent that the doctrine virtue is knowledge was held by Socrates. Within the Metaphysics, he states Socrates was occupied with the search for moral virtues, being the "first to search for universal definitions for them"; the problem of understanding Socrates as a philosopher is shown in the following: In Xenophon's Symposium, Socrates is reported as saying he devotes himself only to what he regards as the most important art or occupation, that of discussing philosophy. However, in The Clouds, Aristophanes portrays Socrates as running a Sophist school with Chaerephon. In Plato's Apology and Symposium, as well as in Xenophon's accounts, Socrates explicitly denies accepting payment for teaching. More in the Apology, Socrates cites his poverty as proof that he is not a teacher. Two fragments are extant of the writings by the Py

Martín Zapater

Martín Zapater y Clavería was a wealthy Aragonese merchant, with an enlightenment point of view. He is known for his close friendship with the famous artist, Francisco Goya; the letters they exchanged constitute one of the primary sources of knowledge about Goya's life. He remained unmarried; as a member of the growing bourgeoisie of the eighteenth century, he amassed a significant fortune from his land sales and leasing to the City of Zaragoza, other institutions, the local nobility. In 1778, he was appointed Diputado del Común for the city and, the following year, became a member of the Aragonese nobility himself, by order of King Charles IV, he was an initiator for many of the Enlightenment-related institutions in Aragon. He participated in the creation of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Luis, his actions were decisive in establishing the Teatro Principal. He gave grants and stipends to numerous promising students, his friendship with Goya dates from their youth, when they studied together, although some historians have questioned this.

In any event, they were known to have been close friends at the time of Goya's wedding, in 1773. His collection of letters passed to his grand-nephew, Francisco Zapater y Gómez, who published some of them and wrote a short biography of Goya. Francisco de Goya, Cartas a Martín Zapater, Mercedes Águeda and Xavier de Salas, Tres Cantos, Istmo, 2003. ISBN 978-84-7090-399-1. "Martín Zapater" @ the Gran Enciclopedia Aragonesa

Singalila National Park

Singalila National Park is a national park of India located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu; the park was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1986, was made an Indian national park in 1992. The region had long been used as the trekking route from Manebhanjang to Phalut. Political geography: The park is located in the Darjeeling subdivision, Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India, it is bordered on the north on the west by the country of Nepal. Physical geography: The park is part of the Eastern Himalayas; the Singalila Ridge, which runs North to South and separates Himalayan West Bengal from the other Eastern Himalayan ranges to the west of it. The two highest peaks of West Bengal and Phalut, are located on the ridge and inside the park. River Rammam and River Sirikhola flow through the park; the park has no significant history of human settlement. However, small settlements have grown up along the trekking route to Phalut.

There is a reasonably large village at Kala Pokhri, around the lake of the same name. The Singalila Ridge was used as an approach route by the first documented mountaineering team which unsuccessfully attempted to climb Kanchenjunga in 1905; the team was led by the famous occultist Aleister Crowley. The national park falls in the Indomalaya ecozone, the biomes corresponding to the ecozone which are present in the park are: Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests of the Temperate coniferous forests biome Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests of the Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome Himalayan subtropical pine forests of the Subtropical coniferous forest biomeThe subtropical biome exists in the altitude range of 1800 to 3000 m, the temperate biome exists in the altitude range of 3000 m to 4500 m. Thick bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest between 2000 and 3600 m cover the Singalila Ridge. There are two seasons of wildflower bloom - one in spring when the rhododendrons bloom, another in the post-monsoon season, when the lower forests bloom.

Sandakphu is known as the "mountain of poisonous plants" due to the large concentration of Himalayan cobra lilies which grow there. The plant life has been surveyed in 2001. Mammals: The park has a number of small mammals including the red panda, leopard cat, barking deer, yellow-throated marten, wild boar and pika. Larger mammals include the Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard and takin. Tigers wander into the area, but do not have a large enough prey base to make residence in these forests feasible. Birds: The park is a birder's delight with over 120 species recorded including many rare and exotic species like the scarlet minivet, kalij pheasant, blood pheasant, satyr tragopan and fulvous parrotbills, rufous-vented tit, Old World babblers like the fire-tailed myzornis and the golden-breasted fulvetta; the park is on the flyway of many migratory birds. Reptiles and amphibians: The endangered Himalayan newt frequents the region and congregates around the lakes of Jore Pokhri and Sukhiapokhri and nearby lakes to reproduce.

Jore Pokhri and Sukhiapokhri are within 20 km of the park boundary and are protected wildlife sanctuaries. The major issues at the park are trash collection on trekking routes and ensuring minimal damage of flora by trekkers, as flora at such high altitudes tend to grow slowly. Grazing of yak and cattle from neighbouring villages can be a problem. Forest fires can be a threat to the park in spring when the accumulated debris from winter can be a hazard. A forest fire swept through the park on 6 March 2006. Though the national park has a resident red panda population of only about 42 members, Project Red Panda chose Singalila National Park for reintroduction of red pandas from its captive breeding program at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling due to reasons of proximity. Two females and Milli, were released in November 2004. Milli was killed by a leopard, but Sweety adapted to the wild and gave birth to an offspring - the first such successful re-entry for red panda; the reintroduction was filmed by noted Indian filmmakers Rajesh Naresh Bedi.

The documentary, named Cherub of the Mist, won the Best Conservation and Environmental Film at the 29th International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana. The park is one of the most popular family camping destination in the Eastern Himalayas; the two seasons to visit the park are in post monsoon. The park is closed to tourists from 16 June to 15 September every year on account of the monsoons. Trekking and camping: The trek along the Singalila Ridge to Sandakphu and Phalut is one of the most popular ones in the Eastern Himalayas, due to the grand vistas of the Kangchenjunga range, the Everest range which can be seen from the ridge, for the seasonal wildflower blooms and birding. Treks begin at Manebhanjan, 51 km from Darjeeling; the trekking routes inside the national park have 4 stages. Manebhanjan to Meghma: This is a 4-hour trek through the lower forest Meghma to Gairibans: There are two alternative trekking routes. Both go via Tumling; the boundary of the national park passes though a checkpost is located there.

From Tumling, a shorter trail cuts thro