Socrates' language was powerful

Life and Philosophy of Socrates

SOCRATES (469 BC - 399 BC)


The Greek philosopher Socrates was born in 469 BC. Born in Alopeke, a suburb of Athens, as the son of the sculptor Sophroniskos and the midwife Phainarete. As a boy he helped in his father's sculptor's workshop and first learned his father's trade, until one day Crito took him with him "delighted by his spiritual stimuli" in order to introduce him to a love of knowledge.

In 399 BC Socrates was charged with alleged "seduction of youth and godlessness" and sentenced to death by the poison cup. He died at the biblical age of 70 in Athens.

Socrates led a simple, level-headed life. When Socrates was almost fifty years old, he married the much younger Xanthippe. Xanthippe was a woman with strength of character. What Xanthippe was most upset about was Socrates' philosophizing. Aristotle reports that Socrates had a second wife. Myrto gave him two sons, Sophroniskos and Menexenus, thereby increasing the descendants of the philosopher, who already had the son Lamprokles together with Xanthippe, to three children.

Since Socrates had given up his profession and had used up his parents' fortune, starvation gnawed at him and his family. One of his best-known sayings in this context is: "How numerous are the things that I do not need!"


- Maieutik (midwifery art)

The Socratic or elenkische (elentik = art, of proving, refuting, convicting) method of finding the truth is called Maieutik (= midwifery art). The conversation: accountability and search for truth

Truth: hidden in the human mind under prejudice, false ideals and superstitious beliefs

Conversation progress:

Questions - "Socratic irony" (questioning "veiled") - skillful and probing questions - confronted with contradictions - knowledge of ignorance - readiness to learn new knowledge - knowledge of right and wrong

So Socrates forced people to think about life and morals, about good and bad. He helped people "give birth" to true knowledge through the use of reason.

With his strong belief in human reason, Socrates was a pronounced rationalist.

- ethics.

Socrates' ethics are assigned to eudaemonism. An ethic that regards happiness as the goal and motive of all striving is called Eudaemonism.

Socrates was primarily concerned with the study of man and the possibility of his self-knowledge. Socrates called for self-knowledge ("know yourself") and self-discipline ("rule yourself"). He called for human knowledge to be tested and "virtue to be determined". So for him the most important thing was the investigation of the soul, since it contains virtue (good). For he believed that correct knowledge led to correct action. Socrates wanted to find very clear, universal and "universal" definitions of what is right and what is wrong. In this way he developed the concept of the "universal".

It was very important to Socrates that one should not do injustice. Socrates traced this command of the heart back to a god. Socrates believed he heard a divine voice within himself and that this "conscience" told him what was right. He said whoever knew what is good will also do what was good. He called this divine voice the daimonion and rejected it so to the realm of the divine, for the demons are for him the mediators between gods and men.

- philosopher

Socrates could not accept the "eristic dialectic" of the sophists (that is, making the true false, the false appear true). He therefore turned against the strict rational orientation of the sophists and believed in eternal, universally valid ethical rules or norms for human action .

But Socrates differed from the sophists in one important respect. Socrates called himself a philosopher, in the truest sense of the word. A "philosopher" is actually a "lover of wisdom," someone who seeks to attain wisdom. Socrates is therefore considered to be the forefather of philosophy.

A philosopher is someone who realizes that there is a great deal that he does not understand. And that torments him. Seen in this way, he is still smarter than anyone who brag about their supposed knowledge. In his defense speech, Socrates said: ,,I know that I know nothing."


In 399 BC In BC, Socrates was accused by the 3 Athenian men Meletus, Anykos and Lykon for godlessness and seduction of the youth.

In his defense speech, Socrates refrained from voting his judges favorably. After finding guilt, he did not ask for mercy. Because he thought his own conscience - and the truth - was more important than his life. In the presence of his closest friends, he drank a cup of poison, the hemlock cup.

Why did Socrates have to die? Godlessness and the seduction of the youth were certainly not the real reasons. Through his art of conversation and especially through his irony, Socrates was repeatedly able to uncover weaknesses in the thinking of the Athenians. Also, he did not invent certainties for people so that they could live, but said that no one could really know anything. It was therefore annoying and annoying - especially to the powerful in society. His philosophical activities were

Socrates ultimately doomed


Socrates did not write down his teachings himself and so did not leave a written source. Therefore only the writings of Xenophon, those of Plato and some commentaries by Aristotle give information about his personality and way of thinking. It is above all Plato's image of him that has inspired Western thinkers for almost 2,400 years.


The followers of the teachings of Socrates are therefore called Socratics. Among them were his 7 most important students: Plato, Antisthenes, Alkibiades, Euclid of Megara, Aristippus, Phaedo of Elis and Xenophon. The most important Socratics founded schools of philosophy and thus spread philosophical thinking, although each represented a very different philosophical position.