Understanding Socrates' Philosophy

"The unexamined life is not worth living."


It is fascinating just how much philosophy has opened my eyes to the world we live in.  To be honest, when I enrolled in this class, I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Would it be boring?  Would I learn things beneficial to my career as a student, or to who I am as a human being?  Would I even like it?  Looking back on the semester I spent learning about various philosophers and their respective philosophy's, it is crystal clear that the benefits of learning about them are vast.  Every philosopher that I have discovered has taught me something new, not just in relation to their ideas, but the world that we live in.  Of all of these great thinkers however, it was Socrates that stuck out to me the most.

Socrates was one of the first philosophers we discussed in class and my interest in the subject skyrocketed as soon as I read the quote, "The unexamined life is not worth living."  It was really no surprise that I chose to write my term paper on this quote and how it relates to Socrates' concepts of the psyche, techné, virtue, and intellectualism, all the while, tying in the Socratic motto, "Know Thyself."

Truth be told, writing this paper was difficult.  I knew as soon as I chose the paper topic that it would be because sometimes, philosophy is just as brain-melting as an unsolved Rubik's Cube; but the prospect of examining one's life, as well as the importance of doing so, had reeled me in and I welcomed the challenge.  This essay was more than a grade for me; I was eager to learn.

I truly enjoyed writing this paper, and the feeling of accomplishment once I had finished it is second to none in my career as a student.  This experience has not only offered me a more positive approach to life, but has encouraged me to face area's in my own world that need to be examined.  When I think back to who I was a year ago, or even a few months ago, I have become a very different person; I view the world in a much different light.  My goals and dreams have become clear to me and I believe that every day serves as an opportunity to better myself.  Honestly, none of this would have been possible without the opportunity to write this essay.  There are other factors of course, but without a doubt, one of the most prominent was Socrates.

An Excerpt from "Understanding Socrates' Philosophy"

            Throughout the ages, many philosophers have had a great impact on society, as well as how Western philosophy is perceived in modern times.  From Friedrich Nietzsche to René Descartes to Aristotle, all have produced concise, well-constructed philosophies that have had a lasting impression on the thinkers of each era.  However, there is one man whose influence on this area of study has coined him as the founder of such philosophies: Socrates. 

The Socratic concepts of psyche, techné, virtue as excellence of function, and intellectualism serve as a detailed exploration of the Socratic motto, “Know Thyself,” as well as Socrates’ belief in the importance of examining one’s own life. One of the most profound statements made by Socrates was that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”  This phrase has continued to inspire thought-provoking conversations among modern day philosophers.  Though it may be very powerful standing on its own, Socrates’ true meaning is greatly expanded on throughout his philosophy of life.

Through a genuine understanding of these Socratic concepts, the true significance of knowing thyself and examining one’s life is revealed. ...Continue Reading

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