Spotlight on Socrates, founding figure of Western philosophy

Socrates was born in 469/470 BC to the sculptor Sophronicus and the midwife Phaenarete. He studied music, gymnastics and grammar in his youth and followed his father’s profession as a sculptor. Historians say he was an outstanding artist, who served with distinction in the army and, at the Battle of Potidaea, saved the life of General Alcibiades.

The famous Greek philosopher grew up during the golden age of Pericles in Athens and became known mostly as a questioner of everything and everyone.

His teaching style, known as the “Socratic Method,” involved not imparting knowledge, but rather asking questions after clarifying the matter until his students came to their own understanding.

Socrates did not write anything, so all that is known about him is through his disciples, mainly his pupil Plato.

Socrates was born and lived most of his life in Athens. His father Sophroniscus was a stonemason and his mother, Phaenarete, was a midwife. As a young man he showed an appetite for learning.

When he was middle-aged, Chaerephon, a friend of Socrates, asked the famous Oracle of Delphi if there was anyone wiser than Socrates, to which the Oracle replied, “None.

Ancient and modern philosophers claim that Socrates’ main goal was to live a good and righteous life and would have inspired his followers to think for themselves instead of following what was expected of society and the superstitions regarding the gods and how we should behave.

Socrates is one of the few people who shaped the cultural and intellectual development of the world and according to many, without him the story would be profoundly different.

It was the inspiration for Plato, the thinker widely regarded as the founder of the Western philosophical tradition. Plato, in turn, served as Aristotle’s teacher, thus establishing the famous triad of ancient Greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

At the age of 70, he was accused of having corrupted the youth of Athens and sentenced to death.

Until his last moments, Socrates expressed his belief that the key to happiness is to divert attention from the body to the soul.

Here are some of the most famous quotes from Socrates-

– “The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

– “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves and the world around us.”

– “Those who are the most difficult to love need it the most.”

– “I consider myself a peaceful warrior because the battles we are fighting are inside.”

– “What bothers us the most in life is the image in our heads of what it is supposed to be.”

“Strong minds discuss ideas, middle minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

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

– “The mind is everything; what you think you will become.

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Keywords:
Ancient Greece, Ancient Greek, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Aristotle, Greek Culture, Greek History, Greek Philosophers, Greek Philosophy, Oracle at Delphi, Phaenarete, Plato, Socrates, Famous Quotes from Socrates, Sophroniscus, Western World

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