Socrates

Socrates
469 B.C.
399 B.C.

Greek Athenian Classical Philosopher, credited as one of the founders of Western Philosophy known chiefly through the accounts of his students Plato and Xenophon because Socrates left no writings of his own

Author Quotes

You will know that the divine is so great and of such a nature that it sees and hears everything at once, is present everywhere, and is concerned with everything.

You would say... inexperienced as I am, and ready to start, as the proverb says, at my own shadow, I cannot afford to give up the sure ground of principle...and when you are further required to give an explanation of this principle, you would go on to assume a higher principle, and the best of the higher ones, until you found a resting place; but you would not refuse the principle and consequences in your reasoning like the Eristics?at least if you wanted to discover real existence.

Young men of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and proceed to examine others; there are plenty of persons, as they quickly discover, who think that they know something, but really know little or nothing; and then those who are examined by them instead of being angry with themselves are angry with me: This confounded Socrates, they say; this villainous misleader of youth! and then if somebody asks them, Why, what evil does he practice or teach? they do not know, and cannot tell; but in order that they may not appear to be at a loss, they repeat the ready-made charges which are used against all philosophers about teaching things up in the clouds and under the earth, and having no gods, and making the worse appear the better cause; for they do not like to confess that their pretence of knowledge has been detected which is the truth; and as they are numerous and ambitious and energetic, and are drawn up in battle array and have persuasive tongues, they have filled your ears with their loud and inveterate calumnies.

Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder.

Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.

Would that the majority could inflict the greatest evils, for they would then be capable of the greatest good, and that would be fine, but now they cannot do either. They cannot make a man either wise or foolish, but they inflict things haphazardly.

You are providing for your disciples a show of wisdom without the reality. For, acquiring by your means much information unaided by instruction, they will appear to possess much knowledge, while, in fact, they will, for the most part, know nothing at all; and, moreover, be disagreeable people to deal with, as having become wise in their own conceit, instead of truly wise.

You think that upon the score of fore-knowledge and divining I am infinitely inferior to the swans. When they perceive approaching death they sing more merrily than before, because of the joy they have in going to the God they serve.

You want to have proven to you that the soul is imperishable and immortal, and you think that the philosopher who is confident in death has but a vain and foolish confidence, if he thinks that he will fare better than one who has led another sort of life, in the world below, unless he can prove this; and you say that the strength and divinity of the soul, and of her existence prior to our becoming men, does not necessarily imply her immortality...For any man, who is not devoid of natural feeling, has reason to fear, if he has no knowledge or proof of the soul's immortality. That is what I suppose you to say, Cebes, which I designedly repeat, in order that nothing may escape us...

Whenever, therefore, people are deceived and form opinions wide of the truth, it is clear that the error has slid into their minds through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth.

Where there is reverence there is fear, but there is not reverence everywhere that there is fear, because fear presumably has a wider extension than reverence.

Wherefore, O judges, be of good cheer about death, and know that this is of a truth ? that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death...For which reason also, I am not angry with my accusers, or my condemners; they have done me no harm, although neither of them meant to do me any good; and for this I may gently blame them.

Whom do I call educated? First, those who manage well the circumstances they encounter day by day. Next, those who are decent and honorable in their intercourse with all men, bearing easily and good naturedly what is offensive in others and being as agreeable and reasonable to their associates as is humanly possible to be... those who hold their pleasures always under control and are not ultimately overcome by their misfortunes... those who are not spoiled by their successes, who do not desert their true selves but hold their ground steadfastly as wise and sober -- minded men.

Why should I resent it when an ass kicks me?

Will you not allow that I have as much of the spirit of prophecy in me as the swans? For they, when they perceive that they must die, having sung all their life long, do then sing more than ever, rejoicing in the thought that they are about to go away to the god whose ministers they are.

Wind buffs up empty bladders; opinion, fools.

Wisdom is knowing you know nothing.

Woman once made equal to man becomes his superior.

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.

When the feeling of pleasure or pain in the soul is most intense, all of us naturally suppose that the object of this intense feeling is then plainest and truest; but this is not the case...because each pleasure and pain is a sort of nail which nails and rivets the soul to the body, and engrosses her and makes her believe that to be true which the body affirms to be true; and from agreeing with the body and having the same delights she is obliged to have the same habits and ways, and is not likely ever to be pure at her departure to the world below, but is always saturated with the body; so that she soon [after death] sinks into another body and there germinates and grows, and has therefore no part in the communion of the divine and pure and simple.

When you belong to a minority, you have to be better in order to have the right to be equal.

When you propose ridiculous things to believe, too many men will choose to believe nothing at all.

When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you want to breathe, it is then you shall have it.

Whence come wars, and fighting, and factions? Whence but from the body and the lusts of the body? For wars are occasioned by the love of money, and money has to be acquired for the sake and in service of the body; and in consequence of all these things, the time which ought to be given to philosophy is lost.

Author Picture
First Name
Socrates
Birth Date
469 B.C.
Death Date
399 B.C.
Bio

Greek Athenian Classical Philosopher, credited as one of the founders of Western Philosophy known chiefly through the accounts of his students Plato and Xenophon because Socrates left no writings of his own