Father of western philosophy- Socrates

Socrates is one of the most prominent philosophical figures in the history of western philosophy. He laid the bricks for the very same idea on which philosophers like Plato and Aristotle built upon in the coming years.

Firstly let’s dissect the term “philosophy”, it comes from the Greek word philo- meaning love and sophia- meaning wisdom, i.e., the love for wisdom. 

Socrates’s lifestyle

Socrates followed his love for wisdom/knowledge for as long as he lived, he pursued knowledge in it’s absolute true sense, he thought that pursuing knowledge was the ultimate purpose of life and Socrates didn’t just think that he lived by these words, his actions reflected his ideas in the purest form. But he was born in 469 BC in Athens during a time when court trials were on the basis of the intensity of the arguments made and not facts, so no points for guessing that Socrates’s ideas were not received well by the Athenian population. 

And you can’t really blame them, that was a long long time ago, a time when women were thought to be inferior than men, it was a time when slavery was normal. On the other hand socrates did not do a very good job at dealing with people either, he was not the most hygienic person of that time, he did not shower for days and would go around the city asking random people questions and if that wasn’t enough he would tell them they were wrong. This is what Socrates loved to do, question and not because he knew more than an average Athenian citizen or that he wanted to massage his own ego; on the contrary Socrates admitted that he knew nothing. There is a very well known quote by Socrates that goes “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing”, that is why he went around Athens asking everybody questions hoping to one day find some answers, spoiler alert he didn’t. The Athenian population wasn’t very fond of him, and found him to be annoying.

Socrates- the martyr

And just to make it more clear, he annoyed the people so much that they united together and eventually he was put on trial. At this point you might think that Socrates would have given up on his unapologetic attitude but he didn’t. He stood by his principles even though he knew it would lead to his death. Socrates was a smart person, he could have very easily won that trial by making a strong argument but if he did then all his ideas and all his actions would have been in vain. In that trial, Socrates said that the people of Athens should be thanking him for asking them questions and showering upon them his own wisdom, this did not sit well with the jury and about many more dialogues later the jury declared Socrates guilty and was later sentenced to death by drinking poison.

Socrates died a martyr, a martyr for philosophy, he died defending his ideas. Socrates might have died but he made sure to immortalize his ideas.