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Top 50 Inspiring Quotes about Socrates

Status of Socraes

Quotes about Socrates: Socrates (470 – 399) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. An enigmatic figure, he authored no texts and is known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers composing after his lifetime, particularly his students Plato and Xenophon. 

Common Questions about Socrates

What did Socrates teach?

Socrates professed not to teach anything (and indeed not to know anything important) but only to seek answers to urgent human questions (e.g., “What is virtue?” and “What is justice?”) and to help others do the same. His style of philosophizing was to engage in public conversations about some human excellence and, through skillful questioning, to show that his interlocutors did not know what they were talking about. Despite the negative results of these encounters, Socrates did hold some broad positive views, including that virtue is a form of knowledge and that “care of the soul” (the cultivation of virtue) is the most important human obligation.

How do we know what Socrates thought?

Socrates wrote nothing. All that is known about him has been inferred from accounts by members of his circle—primarily Plato and Xenophon—as well as by Plato’s student Aristotle, who acquired his knowledge of Socrates through his teacher. The most vivid portraits of Socrates exist in Plato’s dialogues, in most of which the principal speaker is “Socrates.” However, the views expressed by the character are not consistent across the dialogues, and in some dialogues the character expresses views that are clearly Plato’s own. Scholars continue to disagree about which of the dialogues convey the views of the historical Socrates and which use the character simply as a mouthpiece for Plato’s philosophy.

Our Favorite Quotes about Socrates

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

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

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

“To find yourself, think for yourself.”

“By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

“If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

“Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.”

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

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“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

“Know thyself.”

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

“Let him who would move the world first move himself.”

“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.”

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.

“The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.”

“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.”

“Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.”

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die, and you to live. Which of these two is better only God knows.”

“Every action has its pleasures and its price.”

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world."

“We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.”

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“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

“understanding a question is half an answer”

“Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.”

“Envy is the ulcer of the soul.”

“The hottest love has the coldest end.”

“Be as you wish to seem.”

“The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.”

“From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.”

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

“To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.”

“Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.”

“Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior.”

“My friend...care for your psyche...know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves" -Socrates”

“If you want to be a good saddler, saddle the worst horse; for if you can tame one, you can tame all.”

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“If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.”

“I pray Thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within. ”

“One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.”

“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”

“The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles.”

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