Socrates is one of the most famous Greek Athenian philosophers, who was one of the Western philosophy founders. His works and views are mostly known through the accounts of later classical writers and the works of his students, Plato, Xenophon and plays by Aristophanes. Plato’s dialogues are considered to be the most exhaustive account of Socrates that survived from the ancient times.
This philosopher greatly contributed in the sphere of ethics and his name was given to a kind of irony, now called the Socratic irony, and there is also Socratic method, called elenchus. The method is widely used today in various discussions. It is also a foundation for a type of pedagogy that is based on asking questions not just to receive students’ answers, but also to facilitate deep insight into the issue under consideration. Socrates described by Plato also made significant contributions into logic and epistemology. The influence of his ideas is still present in the foundation of the Western philosophy.
There is an issue known as the Socratic problem, which lies in the fact that there is no possibility to create an accurate picture of the philosopher. Descriptions given by his students are the only source of information about him, which is why real Socrates is hidden from us. The problem is that the texts are mostly philosophical and do not present straightforward history. Plato’s works, for instance, are too literary to create a true picture of Socrates, and many scientists think that there is a high possibility that Plato presented not really accurate version of the philosopher, exaggerating many of his actions and contributions.
To my mind, there will always be a mystery related to the figure of Socrates, his role and viewpoints, but it is absolutely clear that he is one of the people who defined a lot in today’s mode of thinking.