(470/469 – 399 BC) – the first (by birth) Athenian philosopher, originating from the deme of Alopeca, entering the Athenian polis. The father of Socrates is considered to be the artisan-stone of Sofroniska, and the mother is the midwife of Finareta.


Socrates is one of the founders of dialectics, an idealist. The first of the philosophers passed from the consideration of nature and the surrounding world to the analysis of the human personality. He preached on the streets and squares, setting as his goal the struggle against the Sophists and the education of the youth. He was executed (he took the poison of the Cicuta), as the official accusation said, for the introduction of new deities and for the corruption of the youth in a new spirit.

Socrates did not leave behind any works; the most important sources of information about his life and teachings are the writings of his disciples – Xenophon and Plato, in most of the dialogues which Socrates acts as the main character.

Socrates participated in the war between Athens and Sparta.

On the battlefield, the philosopher succeeded in quitting three times, the last one in 422 BC at the Battle of Amphipoda, where the Athenians were defeated by the Spartans.

Socrates led the life of a true philosopher.

He was not interested in public activities, material goods and his own family, as part of his wife and three (born late) sons.

Socrates opposed writing.

This is evidenced by the dialogue “Phaedrus” written by his disciple, Plato. In this work, Socrates opposes the inventor of the Egyptian writing, Thoth, claiming that writing depersonalizes knowledge, and, accordingly, prevents them from fully mastering. Perhaps that is why we know about Socrates only from other people’s lips – the philosopher himself left no written evidence behind him. But his students – Plato (as mentioned earlier) and the historian Xenophon dedicated many of his works to Socrates. So Xenophon’s pen belongs to the works titled “Memories of Socrates” and “Apology of Socrates”, but the teachings of Plato are often fully associated with the teachings of Socrates.

Socrates opposed the study of nature.

The philosopher believed that a person should not interfere with his mind in the creation of the gods, especially since the latter is so diverse and large that it can only be comprehended by means of divination – for example, in the Delphic oracle. Socrates did not recognize the problems that occupied his contemporaries, philosophers, engaged in the knowledge of the essence of the primordial nature and the universe. The philosopher believed that it was necessary to deal with issues related to the human personality, the moral component of man and the essence of knowledge, that is, questions of purely ethical nature.

Socrates believed that the knowledge of the world must begin with the knowledge of oneself.

According to Socrates, only by knowing himself, a person could comprehend the surrounding world, its internal laws and such global concepts as morality and religion. Comprehension of morality, according to Socrates, was necessary for any person who claims to be truly moral.

The morality norm according to Socrates is autonomous and individual.

A real morally positive act, according to the philosopher, a person can make only consciously and at his own will. If a person does well only because he is so accepted in society, his action can not be called moral, because he is not caused by his personal impulse, but solely by the habit of doing things like everyone else. Accordingly, the norm of morality for Socrates is the individuality in committing a good deed and his autonomy from public opinion.

Socrates developed his own method of cognition.

It is based on such concepts as “irony” and “mayevtic”, but it is based on a system of consecutive questions, the answers to which should lead the interlocutor to an internal contradiction with himself and, as a consequence, to the recognition of his own ignorance. In the end, we will get what is called “Socratic irony” in philosophy.And immediately after it “Mayevtica” (or, as Socrates said, “midwifery”) is the art of overcoming contradictions in order to discover truth, a kind of “birth” of knowledge.

Socrates was an ideologist of the aristocracy.

The philosopher believed that the knowledge on which the three basic virtues are based are accessible only to people of noble blood. Among these knowledge Socrates attributed: knowledge of curbing passions – virtue “moderation”, knowledge of overcoming danger – virtue “courage”, knowledge of observance of divine and human laws – virtue “justice”.

Socrates was sentenced to execution.

The restoration of democracy in Athens led to Socrates being accused of atheism. The accusatory claims were expressed by the tragic poet Melet, rich tanner Anit and orator Likon. In the spring of 399 BC. Socrates was forced to appear before the jury, where he had already been formally charged with atheism, the introduction of new deities into the religious life, the corruption of youth and a decision was made on the execution of the philosopher. Socrates died in prison, taking in the presence of students vegetable poison (tsikuta) from the bowl.

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