120 Socrates Quotes

Classical Greek Philosopher Socrates left a huge mark in the world and has been a great example to everyone. He is one of the founders of Western philosophy and the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought. If you love Socrates as much as we do, you definitely should be sharing this list of Socrates quotes we compiled.

Socrates Quotes

1. A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.

2. By all means, marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher.

3. When desire, having rejected reason and overpowered judgment which leads to right, is set in the direction of the pleasure which beauty can inspire, and when again under the influence of its kindred desires it is moved with violent motion towards the beauty of corporeal forms, it acquires a surname from this very violent motion, and is called love.

4. I pray Thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within.

5. Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak.

6. In childhood be modest, in youth temperate, in adulthood just, and in old age prudent.

7. The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like Him.

8. We are in fact convinced that if we are ever to have pure knowledge of anything, we must get rid of the body and contemplate things by themselves with the soul by itself. It seems, to judge from the argument, that the wisdom which we desire and upon which we profess to have set our hearts will be attainable only when we are dead and not in our lifetime.

9. Nothing is to be preferred before justice.

10. Let him that would move the world, first move himself. – Socrates


Socrates Quotes

11. The comic and the tragic lie inseparably close, like light and shadow.

12. I am not an Athenian, nor a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

13. Call no man unhappy until he is married.

14. Happiness is unrepentant pleasure.

15. Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires. All wars are undertaken for the acquisition of wealth, and the reason why we have to acquire wealth is the body, because we are slaves in its service.

16. Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle. – Socrates

17. If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman. – Socrates

18. The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms. – Socrates

19. The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles. – Socrates

20. Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of for credit is like fire, when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear. – Socrates

21. In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature, which peers out in sleep. – Socrates

22. He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature. – Socrates

23. I only know that I know nothing. – Socrates

24. All I know is that I do not know anything. – Socrates

25. Those who are hardest to love need it the most. – Socrates

26. All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine. – Socrates

27. Esteemed friend, citizen of athens, the greatest city in the world, so outstanding in both intelligence and power, aren’t you ashamed to care so much to make all the money you can, and to advance your reputation and prestige while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your soul you have no care or worry? – Socrates

28. My advice to you is get married, if you find a good wife you’ll be happy, if not, you’ll become a philosopher. – Socrates

29. To be is to do. – Socrates

30. I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled to write their poetry, but a kind of instinct or inspiration, such as you find in seers and prophets who deliver all their sublime messages without knowing in the least what they mean. – Socrates

31. I did not care for the things that most people care about making money, having a comfortable home, high military or civil rank, and all the other activities, political appointments, secret societies, party organizations, which go on in our city I set myself to do you each one of you, individually and in private what I hold to be the greatest possible service. I tried to persuade each one of you to concern himself less with what he has than with what he is, so as to render himself as excellent and as rational as possible. – Socrates

32. Virtue does not come from wealth, but wealth, and every other good thing which men have comes from virtue. – Socrates

33. The mind is everything, what you think you become. – Socrates

Socrates Quotes


34. He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god. – Socrates

35. Wisdom begins in wonder. – Socrates

36. Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued. – Socrates

37. I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others. – Socrates

38. Is it true, is it kind, or is it necessary? – Socrates

39. There is no solution, seek it lovingly. – Socrates

40. The misuse of language induces evil in the soul. – Socrates

41. God takes away the minds of poets, and uses them as his ministers, as he also uses diviners and holy prophets, in order that we who hear them may know them to be speaking not of themselves who utter these priceless words in a state of unconsciousness, but that God himself is the speaker, and that through them he is conversing with us. – Socrates

42. And therefore if the head and the body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul, that is the first and essential thing. And the care of the soul, my dear youth, has to be effected by the use of certain charms, and these charms are fair words, and by them temperance is implanted in the soul, and where temperance comes and stays, there health is speedily imparted, not only to the head, but to the whole body. – Socrates

43. Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing. – Socrates

44. There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse. – Socrates

45. One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice, and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to. – Socrates

46. To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom. – Socrates

47. Give me beauty in the inward soul, may the outward and the inward man be at one. – Socrates

48. Well, although I do not suppose that either of us know anything really beautiful & good, I am better off than he is  for he knows nothing & thinks that he knows, I neither know nor think that I know. – Socrates

49. To express oneself badly is not only faulty as far as the language goes, but does some harm to the soul. – Socrates

50. Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul? – Socrates

51. The only thing I know is that I know nothing, and i am no quite sure that i know that. – Socrates

52. My plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth. – Socrates

53. He is not only idle who does nothing, but he is idle who might be better employed. – Socrates

54. Do not trouble about those who practice philosophy, whether they are good or bad, but examine the thing itself well and carefully. And if philosophy appears a bad thing to you, turn every man from it, not only your sons; but if it appears to you such as I think it to be, take courage, pursue it, and practice it, as the saying is, ‘both you and your house. – Socrates

55. For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him, when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles. – Socrates

56. Money and honour have no attraction for them, good men do not wish to be openly demanding payment for governing and so to get the name of hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of the public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being ambitious they do not care about honour. Wherefore necessity must be laid upon them, and they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment. And this, as I imagine, is the reason why the forwardness to take office, instead of waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable. Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself. And the fear of this, as I conceive, induces the good to take office, not because they would, but because they cannot help not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one who is better than themselves, or indeed as good. For there is reason to think that if a city were composed entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object of contention as to obtain office is at present. – Socrates

57. The ancient oracle said that I was the wisest of all the greeks. It is because I alone, of all the greeks, know that I know nothing. – Socrates

Socrates Quotes

58. Are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honour and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul? – Socrates

59. May the inward and outward man be as one. – Socrates

60. Be true to thine own self. – Socrates

61. I honor and love you, but why do you who are citizens of the great and mighty nation care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor And reputation, and so little amount wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul? Are you not ashamed of these? I do nothing but go about persuading you all, not to take thought for your persons and your properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by more, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man. – Socrates

62. An unconsidered life is not one worth living. – Socrates

63. True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. – Socrates

65. And so they grow richer and richer, and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance, the one always rises as the other falls. – Socrates

66. As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent. – Socrates

67. Such as thy words are such will thine affections be esteemed and such as thine affections will be thy deeds and such as thy deeds will be thy life. – Socrates

68. I desire only to know the truth, and to live as well as I can. And, to the utmost of my power, I exhort all other men to do the same. I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict. – Socrates

69. Now the hour to part has come. I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better lot is known to no one, except the god. – Socrates

70. Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men, both individually and collectively. – Socrates

71. One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing. – Socrates

72. Intelligent individuals learn from every thing and every one, average people, from their experiences. The stupid already have all the answers. – Socrates

73. For the fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown, and no one know whether death, which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. Is not this ignorance of a disgraceful sort, the ignorance which is the conceit that a man knows that he does not know? And in this respect only I believe myself to differ from men in general, and may perhaps claim to be wiser than they are that whereas I know but little of the world below, I do not suppose that I know. – Socrates

74. God would seem to indicate to us and not allow us to doubt that these beautiful poems are not human, or the work of man, but divine and the work of God, and that the poets are only the interpreters of the Gods. – Socrates

75. I do believe that there are gods, and in a far higher sense than that in which any of my accusers believe in them. – Socrates

Socrates Quotes 

76. As for me, all I know is that I know nothing, for when I don’t know what justice is, I’ll hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappy. – Socrates

77. I soon realized that poets do not compose their poems with knowledge, but by some inborn talent and by inspiration, like seers and prophets who also say many fine things without any understanding of what they say. – Socrates

78. How many things can I do without? – Socrates

79. Wisdom is knowing you know nothing. – Socrates

80. The true champion of justice, if he intends to survive even for a short time, must necessarily confine himself to private life and leave politics alone. – Socrates

81. The law presumably says that it is finest to keep as quiet as possible in misfortunes and not be irritated, since the good and bad in such things aren’t plain, nor does taking it hard get one anywhere, not are any of the human things worthy of great seriousness. One must accept the fall of the dice and settle one’s affairs accordingly in whatever way argument declares would be best. One must not behave like children who have stumbled and who hold on to the hurt place and spend their time in crying out, rather one must always habituate the soul to turn as quickly as possible to curing and setting aright what has fallen and is sick, doing away with lament by medicine. – Socrates

82. I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man. – Socrates

83. Neither in war nor yet at law ought any man to use every way of escaping death. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death, and in other dangers there are other ways of escaping death, if a man is willing to say and do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness, for that runs faster than death. – Socrates

84. And a thing is not seen because it is visible, but conversely, visible because it is seen, nor is a thing led because it is in the state of being led, or carried because it is in the state of being carried, but the converse of this. And now I think, Euthyphro, that my meaning will be intelligible, and my meaning is, that any state of action or passion implies previous action or passion. It does not become because it is becoming, but it is in a state of becoming because it becomes, neither does it suffer because it is in a state of suffering, but it is in a state of suffering because it suffers. Do you not agree? – Socrates

85. Nobody is qualified to become a statesman who is entirely ignorant of the problem of wheat. – Socrates

86. Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state. – Socrates

87. Mankind is made of two kinds of people, wise people who know they’re fools, and fools who think they are wise. – Socrates

88. And the same things look bent and straight when seen in water and out of it, and also both concave and convex, due to the sight’s being mislead by the colors, and every sort of confusion of this kind is plainly in our soul. And, then, it is because they take advantage of this affection in our nature that shadow painting, and puppeteering, and many other tricks of the kind fall nothing short of wizardry. – Socrates

89. To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know.  No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils.  And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. It is perhaps on this point and in this respect, gentlemen, that I differ from the majority of men, and if I were to claim that I am wiser than anyone in anything, it would be in this, that, as I have no adequate knowledge of things in the underworld, so I do not think I have.  I do know, however, that it is wicked and shameful to do wrong, to disobey one’s superior, be he god or man. I shall never fear or avoid things of which I do not know, whether they may not be good rather than things that I know to be bad. – Socrates

90. By far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities. – Socrates

91. It is not difficult to avoid death, gentlemen of the jury, it is much more difficult to avoid wickedness, for it runs faster than death. – Socrates

92. The only thing I know for sure is that I know nothing at all, for sure. – Socrates

93. I might fairly reply to him, you are mistaken, my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one. – Socrates

94. The really important thing is not to live, but to live well. – Socrates

95. The answer I gave myself and the oracle was that it was to my advantage to be as I am. – Socrates

96. I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know why I enjoyed it, and I don’t know why I’ll do it again. – Socrates

97. Everything is plainer when spoken than when unspoken. – Socrates

98. Is there anyone to whom you entrust a greater number of serious matters than your wife? And is there anyone with whom you have fewer conversations? – Socrates

99. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

100. He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

101. Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.

102. When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. – Socrates

Socrates Quotes 

103. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

104. The easiest and noblest way is not to be crushing others, but to be improving yourselves.

105. My friend care for your psyche know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves.

106. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

107. It is better to change an opinion than to persist in a wrong one.

108. Be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth, that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.

109. Let him who would move the world first move himself.

110. Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.

111. Every action has its pleasures and its prices.

112. Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.

113. Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. – Socrates

Socrates Quotes

114. Those who are hardest to love, need it the most.

115. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

116. I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.

117. Understanding a question is half an answer.

118. Life is full of questions. Idiots are full of answers.

119. Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.

120. I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only make them think.

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