Socrates on Wisdom

Socrates, 470-399 BC. [Public domain image via Wikipedia]
The great Greek philosopher, Socrates, left behind no writings. What we know of his teachings and sayings came to us via his students… in particular, Plato.

Quote of the Week:

I only wish that wisdom were the kind of thing that flowed… from the vessel that was full to the one that was empty. (Socrates)

Plato: Symposium


2 thoughts on “Socrates on Wisdom

  1. Andrew Mylko

    Yes, I think I remember hearing that Socrates was AGAINST writing things down, because he believed that a person should only use their natural faculties to seek truth, and that writing is an artificial influence.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit that I never got round to study Plato – from whom we get most of our ideas of what Socrates thought – in depth. With that caveat, my understanding is that Socrates was against writing because he felt you couldn’t gain complete knowledge that way. So he advocated dialogue instead, which of course makes sense as far as it goes: if you can ask questions to clarify your understanding, you’re going to do better than merely by reading somebody else’s thoughts.

      But though I acknowledge the underlying logic in Socrates’s argument, I can’t quite agree with him – perhaps because I always did most of my learning by reading, not by engaging in dialogue with teachers… Horses for courses!


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