Socrates legacy of the founder of Western philosophy

In many people’s minds, Socrates (469-399 B.C.) is the father figure of Western philosophy since he is both the most outstanding and the most bizarre of the Greek philosophers. He was born and raised in Pericles’ Athens, served his country valiantly as a soldier, and rose to prominence as a sceptic of everything and everyone. Rather than imparting knowledge, his technique of teaching was based on the Socratic Method, which involves asking pupils questions until they come to their own conclusions.

It is important to know that Socrates left no writings of his own, so the only way to learn about him is through the works of his students and contemporaries, most notably Plato. Socrates was poisoned to death for the crime of corrupting the young of Athens. However, he did not run away. He spent his final days with his companions before succumbing to the lethal hemlock in the executioner’s cup.

Socrates Early Life


Athens was where Socrates was born and where he spent much of his life. He had a voracious hunger for knowledge even as a child. According to Plato, the renowned Athenian statesman Pericles’ mistress, Aspasia, taught him eloquence and encouraged him to read Anaxagoras’s writings.

Socrates’ career as a hoplite appears to have been launched thanks to his family’s seeming modest income. During the siege of Potidaea in 432 B.C., Socrates, an infantryman, displayed extraordinary physical endurance and heroism by rescuing the future Athenian commander Alcibiades.

Socrates served in the Peloponnesian War for several years, but he also spent enough time in Athens to be well-known and liked by the city’s young at that period. In Aristophanes’ comedy “Clouds”, he was first exposed to the general audience in 423. He was presented in “Clouds” as an untidy clown whose philosophy consisted of teaching rhetorical techniques to get out of debt.

What Is Socratic Philosophy

Socrates was an odd sight in Athens since he walked around barefoot, with long hair and unclean in a culture where beauty was highly prized. The fact that he was physically unattractive, with an upturned nose and protruding eyes, didn’t help either.

Athenians were supposed to aim for the kind of prominence and power that he defied. His life and death exemplified his attitude of challenging every assumption about virtue, intelligence, and a decent existence of a man.

Xenophon and Plato, two of Socrates’ younger disciples, documented the most important aspects of his life and thought. Xenophon’s Socrates differs from Plato’s because it provides a more direct and eager to give advice than merely asking more questions. The views that Socrates expresses in Plato’s later writings appear to be those of Plato.

When it comes to Socratic dialogue, in which two or more characters (in this case, Socrates) discuss moral and philosophical issues, the earliest of Plato’s “Dialogue” is considered by historians to be the most accurate portrayal because Socrates rarely expresses his own opinions but instead brilliantly aids his interlocutors in dissecting their own thoughts and motives.

Socrates’ Trial & Death

Even after the Peloponnesian War ended, Socrates avoided getting involved in politics by making friends with people on both sides of the conflict. One of ancient Greece’s three democratic branches, the ekklesia, elected him to serve in Athens’ assembly in 406 B.C.

A number of Athens’ greatest generals were to be tried for failing to recover their dead from a fight with Sparta, but Socrates was the only one to oppose the plan. This act of civil disobedience would eventually be referenced in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” in which he referred to Socrates’ refusal to join in the arrest and death of Leon of Salamis.

In 399, after the tyrants had been removed from power, Socrates was brought up on charges of disrespecting the Athenians’ gods and indoctrinating the youth. His conviction was based solely on his beliefs and teachings, despite some historians’ claims that there may have been political motivations. Plato describes Socrates in his “Apology of Socrates,” in which he makes a passionate defence of his goodness before the jury but then accepts their judgment with composure.

A religious holiday postponed his death by 30 days, giving the philosopher’s anguished companions one more chance to persuade him to flee Athens. Plato describes him as “appearing both cheerful in attitude and speech as he died nobly and without fear” on his final day. When the cup of brewed hemlock his executioner handed him had been downed, he stood around until his legs got numb before lying down in the company of his pals and waiting for the poison to get to his heart.

Legacy of Socrates

Only Socrates is presented and remembered as a quasi-saint or holy person among the other great thinkers. The Skeptics, Stoics, and Cynics, to name just a few, all sought to claim him as one of their own, while only the Epicureans rejected him as “the Athenian fool.”

There are still many unanswered questions in the field of Socratic philosophy, or Socratic inquiry, because all that is known about the philosopher is dependent on other people’s writings, and it remains an open topic for researchers today.


Socrates and his adherents shifted the focus of philosophy from attempting to comprehend the world around us to attempting to discern our own personal ideals. From the time of Aristotle through the Renaissance and into the modern-day, his zeal for definitions and hair-splitting issues stimulated the creation of formal logic and systematic ethics.

As a result, Socrates’ life became an example of how difficult and important it is to live and die according to one’s well-examined convictions. “Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates,” Benjamin Franklin said in his autobiography in 1791.

What is the importance of Socrates’ philosophy

Philosophy may be separated into two parts: the one that preceded and the one which followed Socrates and his way of looking at the world. Pre-Socratics and post-Socratic philosophers have been referred to as such because of this, and it has been argued that “all philosophy is a footnote to Plato.” Plato, on the other hand, was Socrates’ most cherished student and the principal propagator of Socratic philosophy.

As Socrates never wrote anything, it might be difficult to identify how much of Plato’s writing is based on his own thoughts and how much is based on the real Socrates. Nevertheless, we may gain a sense of who Socrates was from his letters and speeches. Socrates and the protagonist of Meno sat down to discuss what it means to be virtuous. A heated debate ensued, and together they arrived at two different definitions of what it is to be virtuous. Typical Socrates is never satisfied with a simple answer and is constantly asking probing questions.

What is “reasoned argument” in Socrates’ Philosophy

Democracy in Athens necessitated the use of persuasion. In the end, this culminated in a whole industry of education that was taught by Sophists. The free services included rhetoric, oratory, and logical reasoning. The Sophists received a lot of negative attention. The practice of paying for one’s own education was frowned upon in ancient Athens, and the term “mere sophistry” is still used to describe arguments devoid of substance.


Socrates frequently debated the Sophists and railed against their actions. To be fair to Socrates, he followed in the tradition of the earlier Sophists, but he didn’t charge for his lectures and was more concerned with discovering truth than merely disseminating logical arguments. However, he was clearly an expert in the field.

It is widely accepted that Socrates was one of the greatest thinkers of all time and an amazing communicator who could convey his thoughts in an expressive manner.

According to legend, the Delphic Oracle, who the Greeks thought spoke for the gods, said that Socrates was the smartest man.

When Socrates first heard this, he couldn’t believe it. It was his goal to find out if it was real by interrogating everyone he felt was intelligent or educated. However, he was let down by the lack of clarity in each person’s claims of knowledge. After realizing that he knew nothing, Socrates realized that he was the wisest man living, not because he was the most knowledgeable.

Interesting Facts About Socrates

He was bisexual

Even though he was married and had three children with Xanthippe, Socrates was known to be openly bisexual and frequently claimed to be drawn to younger men. He said that their polished spirits drew him to them more than their outward appearances. Socrates fell in love with Alcibiades, the leader of the Athenian army!

It’s possible Socrates was a democrat

The fact that Socrates served in the military and refused to assist in the capture and execution of Leon, a democratic general, all point to him having been a democratic socialist. He refused to run away from his execution because he believed in democracy. His anti-religion lectures, which he used to discourage young people from joining the church, contributed to his death.

Socrates served in the military

According to his teachings, a war would be contrary to Socrates’ ideals. However, he participated in the military during the Peloponnesian War, fighting in the battles of Amphipolis and Potidaea and saving the life of Athenian General Alcibiades in the process.

The motto of Socrates

To paraphrase Socrates, “Know thyself” means “evaluate thy life.” He was the inventor of the Socratic method of teaching, in which he solicited responses from his students. People’s ultimate aspirations would be spurred on by his challenging the precision and thoroughness of their thought processes. For his unconventionality and frugality in life, he was a household name.

Socrates is a well known educator

So outstanding was Socrates’ work that he is said to have taught Alexander the Great, Plato, Aristotle, and many others during 356-323 BCE. “Ideals belong in the universe only the intelligent man can comprehend,” said the guy who publicly protested Athens’ democratic government.

Socratic questioning demonstrates six sorts of inquiries: conceptual clarification questions, probing assumptions, probing reasoning, reason, and evidence; questioning viewpoints and perspectives; probing implications and consequences; and questions regarding the question.

He did not leave behind any written instructions

Xenophon and Plato documented and taught his epistemological findings and teachings. He didn’t record anything, either. He dedicated most of his time to thinking about things.

Socrates was killed by hemlock poisoning

As punishment for his crimes, Socrates was given a death sentence for hemlock poisoning. His companions attempted to pay the guards so that Socrates might escape, but he refused, saying that if he did so, it would reveal him as being terrified of death, which was not the case. Isn’t it ironic that he stayed instead of going?

Agnosticism toward religion

When Socrates sought to turn young people away from religion, it led to a lot of adversaries. The theological conviction was not important to him; rather, he valued moral values such as friendship over religious ones. After being accused of impiety, Socrates was executed because he held to a belief in a god named diamon, which was unknown and unlicensed in Athens at the time.

He earned a living by instructing

Despite claims that he did not take money from students, many people assume that Socrates made his living primarily from teaching, even if this was only true in his early years. He also spent a long time honing the sculpting and masonry skills he learned from his father.

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