Socrates' Contribution to Philosophy of Self-knowledge

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1490 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Jun 12, 2023

Words: 1490|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Jun 12, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Crucial Role of Self-Knowledge From Socrates' Viewpoint
  2. Socrates’ Methodology of Employing Self-Knowledge Into His Argument
  3. Conclusion

It is often said that we should 'know ourselves' in life. However it isn't clear what sort of information this phrase is instructing us to formulate, or how to obtain it. We hear a great deal of advice that, in theory, is not always very convincing. Could the idea of self-knowledge be too common? All things considered, there are many intriguing things to know. For what reason should realizing ourselves be singled out from every other form of advice? Also, regardless of whether self-knowledge is essential or non-essential, doesn't every one of us think enough about ourselves? I know when I am tired, or cold, or even mentally in check. So what is the real argument here? To provide an accurate argument and understand Socrates contribution to philosophy, I will be analyzing Plato’s Apology of Socrates.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Crucial Role of Self-Knowledge From Socrates' Viewpoint

We start our exploration of self-knowledge in Athens, where Socrates is defending himself against accusations that have been brought against him by some Athenians. Among the numerous focuses he makes to better his plea, he states that his companion Chaerephon has spoken with the Oracle at Delphi, who disclosed to him that nobody is smarter than Socrates.

Socrates declared ignorance about the world’s most essential issues, so he is confused by the Oracle's statement. In any case, he recommends that maybe he is conscious of his own innocence, while huge numbers Athenians are definitely not. I will analyze this accusation and relate it to Socrates' later comment that “the unexamined life is not worth living”.

Socrates states that “the unexamined life is not worth living” which is that only in attempting to to know ourselves do our lives have any meaning or value. What happens if we stop questioning ourselves or even the world around us for that matter? We would find difficulty in distinguishing between good or bad. Socrates even seems to insinuate that humans are no better than animals without philosophy. Socrates’ statement of his own ignorance points to a level of knowledge which is previous and deeper than that of the sciences and crafts. Socrates doesn’t have any science or craft, but he is able to acknowledge his own ignorance, and this self-knowledge makes him wiser than anyone else, because people who have science or skills think they know everything, but they don’t really know anything. Socrates at least is aware of the limits of his knowledge, and he realizes that he is truly worth nothing with respect to wisdom.

Self-knowledge is critical on the grounds that it causes you to understand yourself better. Through better self comprehension, you are ready to be responsible for your own life. You would then be able to make your life as you see fit, rather than external influences coming into play.

Through self-knowledge, we are in a better position to comprehend the external universe just as the internal universe resides inside of us. We realize that the meanings we place on the facts of life greatly affect the nature of our human experience than the facts themselves. Consequently, we can change our lives by changing the manner in which we think and view our surroundings. We can end up being more joyful by evolving ourselves, without changing the world. In theory, when we do change ourselves, our surroundings change as well, as though all meaning in the world has ceased to exist. In realizing that we make our own lives, we are completely and totally in charge of what we make. It is amazing that what we take control of strays from the victimization of circumstances.

Socrates’ Methodology of Employing Self-Knowledge Into His Argument

“The so-called 'Socratic method' is a means of philosophical enquiry, wherein people are interrogated about what they have said and subsequently worked through several related questions to see if they contradict themselves. If they do, this proves to the person that their original position had been inconsistent, and in the end, they are wiser than they were before, because they have been made aware of their own ignorance. Socrates calls this method elenchus

Socrates continuously identifies his own lack of wisdom, which is almost incriminatory in a sense. Why does such a wise man deny his own intellectual power and competency? Fear seems to be a key player in a lot of Socrates dialogue.

Fear reappears throughout the beginning of Apology in different arguments, but hypothetically all the same. Socrates discusses man’s fear of death and its impact on the decisions and the layout of one’s life. Even with all of his conjecture, Socrates exposes his own flaws and weaknesses among the Athenians which to them, is an automatic red-flag in his plea of innocence due to their interpretation of his intentions. This philosophical work seems to be constructed on the very basis of the idea that context is extremely crucial in all aspects of life. Whether it be self-knowledge, fear, wisdom, or even just the education of another. The idea is quite clear as to how vital context actually is. Without context, we immediately jump in our heads to what we want to say next, based upon just a few words from another source or individual. Obviously, Socrates’ supposed intentions were blown out of context which raised all of these questions and propaganda. An individual may have a genuine belief, yet regularly that belief does not depend on real knowledge. To fill out this account it would be necessary to say something about what a belief is, what truth is, and what justification is.

Socrates clearly states that he is going to speak as he sees fit, which is telling the whole and logical truth. The topic of right and wrong has been struggled over for quite a long time. I trust that truth is a person's impression of beliefs and choices. Truth differs among people with contrasting thoughts or idea. Yet, truth is something that everybody accepts to be right. In this sense, it significantly relies upon what's right for most people. In actuality, truth that is spoken with the wrong purpose is viewed as even worse than a lie. But by today’s standards, people do not like the truth, and sometimes won’t even accept what’s right in front of their eyes.

In the case of Socrates, What is life without beliefs? Life is supposedly only a progression of lies, and they're lies told for the reason of deception. The deception might be to sway others, and even perhaps to sway yourself. What is life without valuable beliefs? It's a useless life. In the event that you have confidence in instruction, or love, or craftsmanship, at that point you're building things and developing things and sustaining things and creating things. You stand an chance of leaving the earth greater than it was before. So is Socrates’ overall intention to deceive? It appears that his intentions seem scattered among the Athenians to the point where nothing is believed. Belief is when information is missing. The less we are certain of something, the more reasoning goes into our acceptance. Socrates doesn’t seem to sway the Athenians, therefore he questions his own wisdom, even though the Oracle said otherwise.

Desperation also plays a major role in this work. It comes from both ends of the spectrum in the trial. Socrates says “What I say is true, gentlemen, but it is not easy to convince you. At the same time, I am not accustomed to think that I deserve any penalty. If I had money, I would assess the penalty at the amount I could pay, for that would not hurt me, but I have none, unless you are willing to set the penalty at the amount I can pay, and perhaps I could pay you one mina of silver. So that is my assessment”. Socrates is beginning to resort to bribery and last ditch efforts in order to preserve what is left of himself. He is defeated, but does not show the true emotions which flood through himself at the point of no return. “Let us reflect in this way, too, that there is good hope that death is a blessing, for it is one of two things: either the dead are nothing and have no perception of anything, or it is, as we are told, a change and a relocating for the soul from here to another place”.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.


In conclusion, there were a substantial amount of subsets that stemmed from the argument of self-knowledge. Topics such as deception, lies, values, beliefs, fear, and wisdom all took part in the central focus of the trial of Socrates. Self-knowledge is defined in many ways, but in reality is used as a lesson well learned from a wise man. There is always room to learn, and there is always room for more knowledge. The complex part is how you utilize that knowledge to the best of your ability. You should always use knowledge for good, but in Socrates's case, proof played the larger role in a life or death situation. 

Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Socrates’ Contribution to Philosophy of Self-Knowledge. (2023, Jun 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Socrates’ Contribution to Philosophy of Self-Knowledge.” GradesFixer, 12 Jun. 2023,
Socrates’ Contribution to Philosophy of Self-Knowledge. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Socrates’ Contribution to Philosophy of Self-Knowledge [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Jun 12 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now