This page aims to make learning about Socrates as easy as possible by bringing together the best articles, podcasts, and videos from across the internet onto one page. To get started, simply choose one of the resources listed below, or browse a selection of key quotes by Socrates at the bottom of the page.
This section features articles from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The SEP is probably the most comprehensive online philosophy resource. It features in-depth articles on a huge number of philosophical topics, however, it is aimed at an academic audience and may be too detailed and technical for beginners. The IEP is generally more beginner-friendly but is also considered to be less reliable. Wikipedia is also an option, but it is much less reliable than either of these.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
This section features short articles written by professional philosophers and aimed at a general audience. These articles are ideal for anyone looking for a shorter or more beginner-friendly introduction to Socrates than the encyclopedia articles listed above.
- Socrates in love: how the ideas of this woman are at the root of Western philosophy
- What the trial of Socrates teaches about the difference between winning and excellence
- What is wisdom, and is it unwise to pursue it?
The New York Times (The Stone)
This section features episodes from leading philosophy podcasts. These are also aimed at a general audience and are a good option for beginners who prefer audio content.
The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps
- Socrates without Plato: the Accounts of Aristophanes and Xenophon
- Method Man: Plato’s Socrates
- Raphael Woolf on Socrates
In Our Time
The Philosopher’s Zone
Short Videos (<30 mins)
This section features short videos aimed at beginners.
Academy of Ideas
University of Edinburgh
Lectures/Longer Videos (>30 mins)
This section features longer videos and lectures. These tend to be less beginner-friendly and aimed at a more academic audience.
This section features a selection of university course syllabi. Browsing course syllabi can be a useful way to find reading recommendations.
- A First Course in Socratic Philosophy – Phil 211 | University of British Columbia
- Before and After Socrates – Phil 260 | Concordia University
- Socrates and the Examined Life – Phil 306 | University of Texas at Austin
- Socrates and Plato – GREE 10023 | University of Edinburgh
This section features requests for book recommendations on philosophy forums. These can also be useful to browse when trying to find reading recommendations.
- Buying first books on Socrates and Plato. Advice?
- Where to start with Socrates?
- The best books on Socrates recommended by M M McCabe
There is only so much that you can learn using free online resources. This section features books that may be useful if you’re looking to learn more about Socrates. This list was created using the books featured in the course syllabi and forum recommendations above.
- Socrates: A Very Short Introduction – Christopher Taylor
- Socrates – George Rudebusch
- Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher – Gregory Vlastos
- The Cambridge Companion to Socrates – Donald R. Morrison
- The Trial and Death of Socrates – Plato
- Complete Works – Plato
Socrates – Allan Bloom | U. Chicago
This section features a selection of key quotes by Socrates.
The unexamined life is not worth living.
– as quoted in Plato, Apology, 28A, trans. Benjamin Jowett
He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing.
– as quoted in Plato, Apology, 23B, trans. Benjamin Jowett
I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but first 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, public as well as private.
– as quoted in Plato, Apology, 30B, trans. Benjamin Jowett
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways—I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.
– as quoted in Plato, Apology, 42A, trans. Benjamin Jowett
[on looking at an expensive shop] How many things I can do without!
– as quoted in Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, II, 25, trans. Robert Drew Hicks
No man voluntarily pursues evil, or that which he thinks to be evil. To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to chose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater when he may have the less.
– as quoted in Plato, Protagoras, 358C, trans. W.R.M. Lamb
If you are wise, all men will be your friends and kindred, for you will be useful and good; but if you are not wise, neither father, nor mother, nor kindred; nor anyone else, will be your friends.
– as quoted in Plato, Lysis, 210B, trans. Benjamin Jowett
We ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him.
– as quoted in Plato, Crito, 49C, trans. Benjamin Jowett
Not life, but a good life, is to be chiefly valued
– as quoted in Plato, Crito, 48C, trans. Benjamin Jowett
To do is more disgraceful than to suffer injustice.
– as quoted in Plato, Gorgias, 489B, trans. Benjamin Jowett
The Daily Idea aims to make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best philosophy resources from across the internet. To get started, check out this organized collection of 400+ articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide range of philosophical topics.
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