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Socrates
Greek philosopher
(469-399 BC)



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How you, O Athenians, have affected by my accusers I cannot tell; but they almost made me forget who I was -- so persuasively did they speak; and yet they have hardly uttered a word of truth.
-- Opening words of Socrates address to his judges during his trial, as quoted in: Plato, Apology (in The Dialogues of Plato, Benjamin Jowett, tr., O.U.P., 1871)

Socrates is a doer of evil, who corrupts the youth; and who does not believe in the gods of the state, but has other new divinities of his own. Such is the charge.
-- Summary of the charges against Socrates at his trial, in: Plato, Apology (in The Dialogues of Plato, Benjamin Jowett, tr., O.U.P., 1871)

Then I, however, showed again, by action, not in word only, that I did not care a whit for death... but that I did care with all my might not to do anything unjust or unholy.
-- Quoted in: Plato, Apology, 32d. Here Socrates is reflecting on how he reacted when ordered by the Thirty Commissioners to join in the liquidation of Leon of Salamis;

The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.
-- Quoted in: Plato, Apology, 40

Death is one of two things: Either it is nothingness and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as people say, it is a change and migration of the soul from this place to another.
-- Quoted in: Plato, Apology, 38a

The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways — I to die and you to live. Which is the better, only God knows.
-- Quoted in: Plato, Apology, 42a

It is never right to do wrong or to requite wrong with wrong, or when we suffer evil to defend ourselves by doing evil in return.
-- Quoted in: Plato, Crito, 49d

Crito, Crito, we owe a cock to Aesculapius. Pay it and do not neglect it.
-- Last words of Socrates, quoted in: Plato, Phaedo, 118a

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.
-- Quoted in: Plutarch, Moralia, bk. 7, 'On Exile'

There is only one good, knowledge, and only one evil, ignorance.
-- Quoted in: Diogenes Laertius, Vitae Philosophorum (R. D. Hicks, tr., 1950), 2.31

How many things I have no need of!
-- Spoken while looking at goods on sale; quoted in: Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, 'Socrates', 24


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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