Socrates (circa 470 – 399 BCE)
Ancient Greek philosopher – Socrates is widely credited for laying the foundation for Western philosophy, and is held as its most influential practitioner. The most important source of information concerning Socrates is Plato. Plato’s dialogues portray Socrates as a teacher who denies having disciples, as a man of reason who obeys a divine voice in his head, and a pious man who is executed for the state’s own expediency. Socrates disparages the pleasures of the senses, yet is excited by beauty. His most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the ‘Socratic Method’. Socrates seems to have often said that his wisdom was limited to an awareness of his own ignorance. Socrates may have believed that wrongdoing was a consequence of ignorance. The one thing Socrates consistently claimed to have knowledge of was “the art of love” which he connected with the concept of “the love of wisdom”, i.e., philosophy.