Socrates -470 - -399 (71)

The unexamined life is not worth living.



Socrates was an ancient Greek Athenian philosopher, one of the major figures of Greek and world culture and civilization , one of the founders of Western philosophy. The main source for his life comes from his disciple Plato, Xenophon the historian , Aristotle the philosopher and Aristophanes the comedy writer. It has been said that Socrates “got philosophy from the stars on earth" because thanks to him, philosophers ceased to deal with natural phenomena and began to deal with the man himself and his society . He used the Socratic method (pretending complete ignorance about a subject , trying through questions to elicit the truth ) , dialectic ( trying to lead the party in the discovery of the deepest truth of things through dialogue ) , reasoning (starting with simple examples taken from everyday life with a view to export universal conclusions).

His father was Sofroniskos, a sculptor and his mother Fenareti a midwife. Initially he followed the profession of his father, but quickly abandoned the sculpture and devoted himself and his whole life to philosophy, teaching and discussing on social, moral , religious matters. He fought in Amphipolis, Delion and Potidaia, where he saved Alcibiade’ s life. He married Xanthippe , who was much younger than him and gave him three sons, she is described as a very wayward woman ( once when in public she cried out and then threw him a basin full of water , Socrates calmly told attendees : Xanthippe is like Jupiter, first thunders then rains) .

Plato refers to Socrates as the "horsefly" of the state (as the horsefly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung various Athenians), insofar as he irritated some people with considerations of justice and the pursuit of goodness.[20] His attempts to improve the Athenians' sense of justice may have been the cause of his execution. According to Plato's Apology, Socrates' life as the "gadfly" of Athens began when his friend Chaerephon asked the oracle at Delphi if anyone were wiser than Socrates; theOracle responded that no-one was wiser. Socrates believed the Oracle's response was a paradox, because he believed he possessed no wisdom whatsoever. He proceeded to test the riddle by approaching men considered wise by the people of Athens—statesmen, poets, and artisans—in order to refute the Oracle's pronouncement. Questioning them, however, Socrates concluded: while each man thought he knew a great deal and was wise, in fact they knew very little and were not wise at all. Socrates realized the Oracle was correct; while so-called wise men thought themselves wise and yet were not, he himself knew he was not wise at all, which, paradoxically, made him the wiser one since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance. Socrates' paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to accusations of wrongdoing, corruption of the young and contempt of the gods.

He could avoid conviction if he had begged for his life, instead he proudly and boldly declared that he could not stop teaching because it was the Gods' will. And after conviction he could escape with the help of his disciples , however he refused, saying: 'it is a citizen’s obligation to obey the country’s laws". He drank hemlock peacefully and waited, he last words were: Crito, we owe Asclepius a rooster, do not forget.
What did he mean ? Is death a cure ? Was he a scapegoat and his death was to purge Athens of woes ? With the help of Asclepius ( God of Medicine ), was his death painless? It is described how hemlock numbed his legs first, he then lied down and covered himself with a sheet, said his last sentence, covered his face, the numbness went up and reached his heart, Socrates died in peace with himself.