Through the ages there have been many great philosophers. Socrates, one of these, is known and respected throughout history. Socrates was born in Athens in 470 BCE, and he dedicated his life to teaching. He never wrote a book, but his teachings were passed on through his student’s writings. He was sentenced to drink hemlock, a poison that killed him in 399 BCE, because his ideas were considered to corrupt the youth of his time (Haber). Although he did not have any writings, Socrates was an important philosopher in the ancient world and in the modern world today. Through His philosophy, his influence on other philosophers, and principles were and have been universal through the ages.
Socrates was important in the ancient world because of the nature of his philosophy.
Throughout his philosophy he wanted to develop a way, for people to understand how little they knew, therefore leave ignorance behind. This method he developed was called the Socratic method, it consisted on asking and answering questions to his students (Spielvogel, McTighe 5). The goal of this method was for whom ever used it to develop an understanding of how much ignorance there was about a topic. As a result, he believed that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”(ABC Clio) and how for Socrates, philosophy was more than just knowledge. Equally important Socrates had both positive and negative influences on other philosophers. Philosophers of his time did not like him, because he looked for those who considered themselves smart, and proved to them how little they actually knew by using his Socratic method. (Bleiberg) This was considered a scandalous behavior because people of Greece did not like to be told they were wrong, which eventually led to his execution. During his execution he was offered to flee which he denied because he believed that the justice of the law would be fair and stood for his believes. Socrates did not lead a bias opinion and although he worshiped the gods, he also criticized them. (Bleiberg) More over the importance of Socrates ideas can be seen on how his method is still effective today and how it was able to be passed down through many generations.
Socrates was also important in the ancient world because of his influence on other philosophers, either directly through his own students or indirectly through his students’ students. Through this influence Socrates was contributory in the development of other ways of thinking that were expansions of his own. These students went on to develop other philosophy’s that where not developed by Socrates. Plato and Aristotle are two examples of these types of philosophers. Plato was the student of Socrates, and perhaps the most important one. Not only he wrote almost all the information that is known about Socrates, but he later became an important philosopher on his own, that continued to pass Socrates’s ideas through his own teachings. Another example of the influence Socrates had was Aristotle, and although he was not a student of Socrates, he was one of Plato’s students and perhaps a well-known philosopher. Another important person that Socrates influenced was Alexander the great, Aristotle educated him. Through some of alexander’s behaviors it is able to see how some of Socrates ideas are showed in his actions, through his decision to expand Greeks philosophy’s rather than destroying him. From alexanders greatness Socrates ideas have been considered and not forgotten as well as the ones of his students. Socrates was considered to be the person that brought philosophy down from the heavens (Mitcham), which means not that he was the one to develop philosophy, but he was the one that taught it better.