Socrates Biography and Philosophy Essay

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer


Socrates is one of the great thinkers of all times owing to the fact that his philosophy shaped the Greek’s tread of thoughts. Although he was a great personality among the Greek people, Socrates did not record any of his thoughts making it difficult to trace clearly his early life. Nussbaum asserts that “this historical Socrates did not write” (125). However, the information we have about him is garnered from his disciples and contemporaries. Therefore, this paper seeks to present Socrates’ life, history, and thoughts in a historical context.

Although, the early life of this Greek legend is not well known, Socrates is believed to have existed around 470 BCE and was executed about the year 399 BCE. He hailed from Athens city in Greece at the time when the Athenians were at war with the Partisans. Although Athenians were at war with the Persians at the time Socrates was born, its cultural influence was felt in her neighboring cities.

Johnson claims that “he lived his early life in great days of Athens, city at the height of its influence and its cultural flowering” (9). Athenians were led by myths in interpreting every occurrence before the birth of Socrates. It is Socrates who initiated the new way of explaining the reality by reasoning rather than believing in myths for their answers. His ideas are based on his love for wisdom and the pursuit of what can actually be known.

Socrates is such a historic personality that he cannot be ignored in the history of the world. His influence is felt across all kinds of thoughts such as poetry, philosophy, cultures, history, ethics, politics, and anthropology. He is actually likened to the Historical Jesus in many ways since he stood for the truth and taught it to all and especially the youth.

He loved wisdom and he was executed innocently because he taught new knowledge to the society. According to Priestley “both discourses and the general manner of life Socrates and Jesus have an obvious resemblance as they both went about gratuitously, doing good, according to their several abilities, situations and opportunities” (36). Socrates believed that he was the gadfly of the society and the herald of the Truth.

Inspired by his mother (midwife) and his father (sculptor), Socrates analogically became a midwife in that he helped people bring forth their ideas by asking them questions which triggered their way of thinking. Christian claims that “Socrates believed the only path to knowledge was through discussion of ideas, so he spent his life conversing with disciples, friends, and bystanders…” (Christian 31).

His philosophy is based on his quest for knowledge and truth as well as justice in the society. He extensively discussed many critical issues that are still relevant in our contemporary time. Some of the fields that he dealt with are: Knowledge, truth, ethics, happiness, virtue, and justice; he believed that knowledge would make a man good which means living a virtuous life whereby truth, justice and ethics are put in practice.

In conclusion, Socrates is both legend and hero; a saint and a martyr of philosophy who should be emulated by today’s thinkers in the society . People should cherish the truth, fight ignorance, and practice justice which will make them live a virtuous life. This will better human society.

Works Cited

Christian, L. James. Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering.11 ed. 2011. United States: Cangaging learning. Print.

Johnson, Derek. A brief History of Philosophy: From Socrates to Derrida, London: Continuum International Publisher Group, 2006. Print.

Nussbaum, C. Martha. The Fragile of Goodness: Luckand Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy Part 2. 2 ed. 2000. England: Cambridge University Press. Print.

Priestley, Joseph, and Socrates (the philosopher). Socrates and Jesus Compared, Oxford: Oxford University, 1803. Print.

Read more