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77 Socrates Quotes & 6 Exciting Facts about His Philosophy

As the first major philosopher of Ethics, Socrates’ pursuit of wisdom and virtue changed Western philosophy forever. That’s exactly what makes his work so inspirational, which is why we have gathered some of his most influential quotes here so you can incorporate his wisdom into your life.

Socrates is one of the most famous Greek philosophers, and was renowned for his contribution to the field of Ethics.

Although he left behind no published writings, the second-hand accounts from his contemporaries offer an illustration of an enigmatic thinker who took nothing for granted.

Questioning every assumption and predisposed idea, his method has left a lasting impact in philosophy and is still studied to this day.

Quotes from Socrates to Think about

Quotes from Socrates to Think about

Socrates (c. 469–399 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher born in Athens. He devoted his life to discussing philosophy, challenging the popular beliefs of the people of Athens and questioning their implications.

His philosophy emphasized the pursuit of knowledge, believing it to be essential for personal growth.

But many people felt intimidated by his refusal to conform to societal expectations, and felt his teachings threatened their way of life. As a result, he was sentenced to death at the age of 70.

Socrates’ work can help you to better understand Ethics and will encourage you to ask questions, apply reason and focus on the greater good.

The thought-provoking quotes below are a great resource for harnessing Socrates’ wisdom and will help you to lead a more virtuous, knowledgeable life.

Find here inspirational quotes about stoicism.

Most Famous Socrates Quotes

Most Famous Socrates Quotes

Even if you’re not a philosophy enthusiast, you are sure to have encountered some of Socrates’ most famous quotes throughout your life. His nuggets of wisdom have stood the test of time and still offer inspiration to people today.

Have a browse of the famous Socrates’ quotes below and allow yourself to reflect on some of his most thought-provoking ideas.

  1. Awareness of ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.
  2. If you want to be wrong, then follow the masses.
  3. Falling down is not a failure. Failure comes when you stay where you have fallen.
  4. The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.
  5. In every person there is a sun. Just let them shine.
  6. When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
  7. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
  8. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.
  9. When you want success as badly as you want the air, then you will get it. There is no other secret of success.
  10. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is a habit.
  11. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
  12. Sometimes you have to let go to see if there was anything worth holding onto.

More famous quotes from inspirational people.

Quotes about Change by Socrates

Quotes about Change by Socrates

Socrates often reflected on the concept of change. He understood that it was a unavoidable phenomenon and that people are better served by embracing change than by fighting it.

He also taught how we can change ourselves for the better, so that we may be more virtuous.

Below are some of Socrates’ thoughts on change (more change quotes). Use them to handle change in your own life or to inspire change in yourself.

  1. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
  2. Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.
  3. Only the extremely ignorant or the extremely intelligent can resist change.
  4. It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.
  5. Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.
  6. He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.
  7. He who would change the world should first change himself.
  8. Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
  9. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.
  10. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death.

Socrates Quotes on Love

Socrates Quotes on Love

When it came to matters of the heart, Socrates was perhaps not the most romantic of sorts, especially by today’s standards.

Married to a younger woman named Xanthippe who was renowned for her nagging nature, Socrates allegedly justified his marriage on the basis that a horse-trainer needs to hone his skills on the most spirited animals.

That being said, Socrates still had a lot to say about love. You can find some of his famous quotes about love below.

  1. 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.
  2. Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.
  3. Those who are hardest to love need it most.
  4. The hottest love has the coldest end.
  5. Call no man unhappy until he is married.
  6. Love is a madness. The madness of love is the greatest of Heaven’s blessings.
  7. From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.
  8. One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life, and that word is love.
  9. Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.
  10. Be slow to fall into friendship, but when you are in, continue firm and constant.

Quotes from Socrates about Fitness

Quotes from Socrates about Fitness

If you’re embarking on a fitness journey, you are probably aware that some external motivation always helps. Especially for those days where you’re just not feeling it. Luckily, the wise Socrates also had strong opinions about fitness.

Here we have gathered some of Socrates’ thoughts on keeping fit and strong so that you can motivate yourself with his wisdom.

  1. The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.
  2. It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit.
  3. We can do nothing without the body, let us always take care that it is in the best condition to sustain us.
  4. Surely a person of sense would submit to anything, like exercise, so as to obtain a well functioning mind and a pleasant, happy life.
  5. The results of physical fitness are the direct opposites of those that follow from unfitness. The fit are healthy and strong, and many, as a consequence, save themselves decorously on the battle-field and escape all dangers of war; many help friends and do good to their country, and for this, they earn gratitude, glory, and honor that leads to a better life and provide their children a better means of achieving a livelihood.
  6. I tell you, because military training is not publicly recognized by the state, you must not make that an excuse for being a whit less careful in attending to it yourself. For you may rest assured that there is no kind of struggle, apart from war, and no undertaking in which you will be worse off by keeping your body in better fettle.
  7. But a sound and healthy body is a strong protection to a man, and at least there is no danger then of such a calamity happening to him through physical weakness: on the contrary, it is likely that his sound condition will serve to produce effects the opposite of those that arise from bad condition.
  8. And yet what has to be borne by anyone who takes care to keep his body in good condition is far lighter and far pleasanter than those things subjected to the out-of-shape person.
  9. For in everything that we do, the body is useful; and in all uses of the body, it is of great importance to be in as high a state of physical fitness as possible.
  10. Why, even in the process of thinking and not using our body, it is a matter of common knowledge that grave mistakes may often be traced to bad health. And because the body is in a bad condition, loss of memory, depression and discontent often attack the mind so violently as to drive out whatever knowledge it contains.

Find here more fitness and workout quotes.

Socrates Quotes about Life

Socrates Quotes about Life

Socrates had many ideas and thoughts on how a life should or should not be lived. He encouraged his students to value their lives, to do away with frivolities and to examine ourselves and everything around us.

The quotes about life below teach us how to live a virtuous life in accordance with Socrates’ beliefs.

  1. The unexamined life is not worth living.
  2. Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
  3. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
  4. Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.
  5. Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.
  6. Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue – to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.
  7. The energy of the mind is the essence of life.
  8. I have lived long enough to learn how much there is I can really do without… He is nearest to God who needs the fewest things.
  9. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
  10. The only true possession you have is your own self.

Best Quotes by Socrates

Best Quotes by Socrates

With so many quotes from Socrates out there, it can be hard to choose your favorite.

Whether you’re looking for something inspirational to share to your social media or just need to add some wisdom to your day, we’ve gathered the best quotes by Socrates here.

  1. The mind is everything; what you think, you become.
  2. He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.
  3. To find yourself, think for yourself.
  4. The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.
  5. The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.
  6. The only true freedom comes from knowledge.
  7. There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.
  8. The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually fear you will make one.
  9. Let him that would move the world first move himself.
  10. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.
  11. Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.
  12. Know thyself.

Quotes from Socrates about Death

Quotes from Socrates about Death

Death can be a difficult subject to address. Many people fear death and find it uncomfortable to talk about.

Socrates, however, believed that we should not fear death because we do not know whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, and to fear it implies we know it is bad.

If you would like a new perspective on death, Socrates quotes about the matter are a refreshing take.

  1. 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.
  2. And now we go, you to your lives, and I to death, and which of us goes to the better only God knows
  3. Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.
  4. …a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death, and that his affairs are not neglected by the gods.
  5. To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not; for it is to think one knows what one does not know.
  6. Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.
  7. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.
  8. It is only in death that we are truly cured of the ‘sickness’ of life.
  9. The wise man seeks death all his life, and for this reason death is not terrifying to him.
  10. Death will be an unspeakable gain.
  11. I will not yield to any man contrary to what is right, for fear of death, even if I should die at once for not yielding.
  12. Do you feel no compunction, Socrates, at having followed a line of action which puts you in danger of the death penalty?
  13. When death comes to a man, the mortal part of him dies, but the immortal part retires at the approach of death and escapes unharmed and indestructible.

Here you’ll find more quotes about death to think about.

Exciting Facts about Socrates and His Philosophy

Exciting Facts about Socrates and His Philosophy

Given that Socrates did not publish any of his own writing, his life is somewhat of a mystery. We do, however, know a certain amount about his philosophy and influence thanks to other writers’ dialogues about him.

Below are a number of exciting facts about Socrates and his school of thought that are sure to fascinate you.

Socrates Was a Moral Philosopher

He repeatedly preached that we should do no wrong. There is never a situation in which it is right to do wrong – not in the face of death or to save your family. All of Socrates’ self-examination was in the pursuit of greater wisdom, and therefore greater virtue.

Socrates Did Not Write Any Philosophical Texts

Socrates Did Not Write Any Philosophical Texts

Everything we know about Socrates comes from texts written by his students and contemporaries. We therefore do not know the “real Socrates.”

The plays and texts about him did not distinguish between historical, biography and drama. This is known as the Socratic problem.

It becomes even more difficult in texts written by Plato, his student, where it is unknown where Socrates’ ideas end and Plato’s own ideas begin.

Socrates’ Philosophical Style Is Known as the Socratic Method

Socrates’ Philosophical Style Is Known as the Socratic Method

Rather than writing philosophical texts, Socrates opted for interrogation, now known as the Socratic Method. He would hang around the market in Athens and ask people questions.

In doing so, he would break down false assumptions and expose ignorance until the person being interrogated arrived at some truth.

People reactions varied from fury to enlightenment – one student, after witnessing Socrates’ interrogation, went home and burned all his plays and poems. This student was Plato.

Socrates Believed No One Does Wrong Willingly or Knowingly

Socrates Believed No One Does Wrong Willingly or Knowingly

He believed that any wrongdoing was done from a place of ignorance rather than evil. According to Socrates, every person doing wrong believed they were doing good.

People do hurtful things because they do not possess the knowledge and the tools to know any better.

This ties in to his commonly-repeated belief that we should constantly strive to increase our wisdom and become less ignorant: the only true good is knowledge, and the only true evil is ignorance.

He Influenced Many Major Philosophical Movements

His ideas gave rise to Platonism, the school of thought of his principal student Plato, as well as Cynicism and Stoicism.

Socrates Was Sentenced to Death

Socrates Was Sentenced to Death

At 70 years of age, Socrates was charged with impiety and the corruption of Athenian youth. His pursuit of virtue and truth clashed with Athenian politics and society, as his constant questioning did not uphold the status quo.

Despite having the opportunity to escape execution, he felt justice should run its course and was sentenced to death by drinking a poisonous concoction.

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