I have no doubt that you have at some point in your life heard of Socrates, one of Ancient Greece’s most famous philosophers. He was an interesting man that questioned almost everything around him, becoming a man that was both highly thought of and well despised in his time. It is in fact he that is credited with being the man that pretty much created the foundations of western philosophy and as such went on to inspire many after through his teachings. He led an interesting life with a thirst for knowledge that came before all else and as such is still revered by people to this day.
“Wisdom Begins in Wonder”
Socrates was an Athenian, born in Athens some time around the year 470 BCE. His mother was a midwife and his father a stone mason. As an Athenian he received a basic Athenian education, later working as a stone mason just as father did. He married and had three children with his wife, though supposedly he didn’t care too much for his family. Before long he turned to philosophy, more specifically the hunt for knowledge and with this he began teaching children, specifically young boys. His aim was to develop their understanding of knowledge in his trademark way of thinking that would go on to be very well known over Athens and later the world.
“The Only Wisdom is in Knowing You Know Nothing”
He became famous for his new line of thinking, Socrates believed the only way to attain true knowledge in life was by questioning absolutely everything, no vague or none committal answers would be accepted by him. When hoping to learn about something he would only accept appropriate accounts that entailed the nature of the problem, with no principles or opinions attached. Because of his dedication to this pursuit Socrates actually lived an impoverished life, even though he was very well known amongst the Athenian elite.
“I Cannot Teach Anyone Anything, I Can Only Make Them Think”
What is really interesting about Socrates, considering his now infamous status is that he never actually wrote down any of his philosophy or his teachings. In fact, everything we know about the man comes mainly from his students, mainly from Plato, Xenophon and the plays written by Aristophanes. Plato’s account is considered to be the most accurate of these because he himself was a philosopher and included many of his own theories alongside the teachings of Socrates.