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Socrates - A Biography of Socrates Life

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates is best known today through his appearance in the Dialogues of Plato. Socrates left no writings behind him, and indeed was by his principles precluded from dogmatic exposition.

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The only records we have of the life Socrates are through the previously mentioned Dialogues, and the records and works of Xenophon, a noted Ancient Greek historian. Xenophon having no philosophical views of his own to develop, and no imagination to lead him astray is an excellent witness. Plato, though he understood his master better, is a less trustworthy authority, as he makes Socrates the mouthpiece of his own more advanced and even antagonistic doctrine.

Yet to all appearance The Apology is a careful and exact account of Socrates’s habits and principles of action; the earlier dialogues, those which are commonly called “Socratic,” represent Socrates’ method; and if in the later and more important dialogues the doctrine is the doctrine of Plato, echoes of the master’s teaching are still discoverable, approving themselves as such by their accord with the Xenophonean testimony. It is in the face of these two principal witnesses that The Life of Socrates may be constructed.

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