Socrates
(469-369 B.C.)

In his use of critical reasoning, by his unwavering commitment to truth,
and through the vivid example of his own life, fifth-century Athenian Socrates
set the standard for all subsequent Western philosophy. Since he left no literary
legacy of his own, we are dependent upon contemporary writers like
Aristophanes and Xenophon for our information about his life and work. 

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As a pupil of Archelaus during his youth, Socrates showed a great deal of interest in the scientific theories of Anaxagoras, but he later abandoned inquiries into the physical world for a dedicated investigation of the development of moral character.  Having served with some distinction as a soldier at Delium and Amphipolis during the Peloponnesian War, Socrates dabbled in the political turmoil that consumed Athens after the War, then retired from active life to work as a stonemason and to raise his children with his wife, Xanthippe. After inheriting a modest fortune from his father, the sculptor Sophroniscus, Socrates used his marginal financial independence as an opportunity to give full-time attention to inventing the practice of philosophical dialogue.

      
If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.
  
Bad people live that they may eat and drink, whereas good people eat and drink that they may live.


Virtue is doing nothing to excess.


The unexamined life is not worth living.
   

Beloved Pan, and all ye gods who haunt this place, give me beauty in the inward soul; and may the outward and inward man be at one.

 

Having the fewest wants, I am nearest to the gods.

 

 

Let those that would move the world first move themselves.

 

All that we know is nothing can be known.

 

To do is to be.

   
 

What most counts is not to live,
but to live aright.

  
Children today are tyrants.  
They contradict their parents,
gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.
 

 

Our prayers should be for blessings in general,
for God knows best what is good for us.

  
Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
 

How many things there are which I do not want.

 
 

Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing.

 

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