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Plato/ Socrates[edit]

Are there any guidlines for quoting Plato as Socrates himself in his works? Or should these quotes go to the Plato article? --Slac 23:45, 27 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]

We have no guideline yet, I think. And in my opinion it is not a good way to quote Plato's hero as "Socrates" ...--Aphaia 00:11, 28 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]
As nearly all we have of Socrates comes through Plato's accounts there is little choice but to quote him through Plato's attributions, or those of a few others. The writings of Plato can of course Insert non-formatted text herebe quotey often are based on the teachings of Socrates, but indications should be made when he claims to be quoting the statements of others, including Socrates. ~ Kalki 00:28, 28 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Then should we move the quotes from the Plato article that are attributed to Socrates in his works? --Slac 00:54, 28 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]
They can exist in both places, but ideally with comments regarding the origins in both. Some doubt how accurately Plato reflected some of Socrates statements and ideas, and think he often may have expressed many of his own ideas and attitudes through his portrayals of Socrates, but much of his testimony is generally accepted as accurate and genuine, and there is little definite reason to doubt some of it. There are also of course many variant translations of Plato and others from the ancient Greek that could be used, and when possible the translation used should be cited. ~ Kalki 01:30, 28 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]
We also have Xenophon and (the obviously satire) Aristophanes. Plato, Xenophon, and Aristophanes all describe very different versions of Socrates such that I think we should be suspicious of our ability to judge what historical Socrates was like. In addition to this, there is a lot of reason (e.g. the advancement in thought in Plato's work after Socrates' death that is nevertheless communicated via Socrates, that Plato explicitly indicates that he was absent from certain conversations) to suppose that Plato didn't stick to an accurate description of Socrates' thought. -- Anon 7 July 2017
OK, that's how I figured it might en deal as long as the everything is neatly explained, cited, and in order. "Noble and orderly," I think is how they would've wanted it. :) --Slac 01:48, 28 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]
Aphaia, what do you mean by this? --Slac 03:28, 28 May 2005 (UTC)[reply]

not a plato/socrates quote?[edit]

what is the citation for the 'education is the kindling of a flame ...' quote? wasn't this yeats, rather than plato? the closest plato comes to anything like this is in Republic 7, at the end of the Cave (518c-d) - education is turning the eye to the light, not putting sight in the eye.

I've just looked into this - no sign - and moved it to misattributions. Gordonofcartoon 18:54, 2 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Unsourced quotes listed as sourced[edit]

"Could I climb to the highest place in Athens ..." and "Education is the kindling of a flame ..." are listed under Sourced:Plato, but no sources are given. I'm moving these two quotes. -- 05:12, 2 September 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Moved from article per current practice. Gordonofcartoon 18:53, 2 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]

  • The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less
  • All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine.
  • An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all. [This quote is widely attributed to Socrates. For example, as cited (p. 12) by: Sasser, Renee M., "The Perceptions of Teachers in a Rural South Georgia County Regarding Merit Pay Based on Student Achievement" (2011). Electronic Theses & Dissertations. Paper 387. <>]
  • An honest man is always a child.
  • As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take the course he will. He will be sure to repent.
  • Be of good cheer about death and know this as a truth — that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.
  • Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
  • Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.
  • Beauty is the bait which with delight allures man to enlarge his kind.
  • Beware the barrenness of a busy life.
  • By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
    • Variant: By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
  • Call no man unhappy until he is married.
  • Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.
  • Could I climb to the highest place in Athens, I would lift my voice and proclaim, "Fellow citizens, why do you turn and scrape every stone to gather wealth, and take so little care of your children to whom one day you must relinquish it all?"
  • Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.
  • Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.
  • Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.
    • Variant: Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.
  • Envy is the ulcer of the soul.
  • Fame is the perfume of heroic deeds.
  • Flattery is like friendship in show, but not in fruit.
  • For who is there but you? Who not only claim to be a good man and a gentleman, for many are this, and yet have not the power of making others good. Whereas you are not only good yourself, but also the cause of goodness in others.
  • Four things belong to a judge: to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.
  • From the deepest desires often come the deadliest hate.
  • Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.
  • He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.
  • He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.
  • I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.
  • I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.
  • I decided that it was not wisdom that enabled poets 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, In "Apology," sct. 21, by Plato.

Greek philosopher in Athens [469 BC - 399 BC])

  • I hold that to need nothing is divine, and the less a man needs the nearer he does approach divinity.
  • I pray Thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within.
  • I was afraid that by observing objects with my eyes and trying to comprehend them with each of my other senses I might blind my soul altogether.
  • I was really too honest a man to be a politician and live.
  • If a man is proud of his wealth, he should not be praised until it is known how he employs it.
  • If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.
    • Variant: If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.
  • If thou continuest to take delight in idle argumentation, thou mayest be qualified to combat with the sophists, but never know how to love with men.
  • Let him that would move the world first move himself.
  • May the outward and inward man be at one.
  • My belief is that to have no wants is divine.
  • Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.
  • 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 any man, however much we have suffered from him.
  • Our prayers should be for blessings in general, for God knows best what is good for us.
  • Philosophy begins with wonder.
  • 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 gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
  • Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.
    • Variant: Remember, no human condition is ever permanent. Then you will not be overjoyed in good fortune nor too scornful in misfortune.
  • Remember what is unbecoming to do is also unbecoming to speak of.
  • See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.
  • Such as thy words are, such will thy affections be esteemed; and such will thy deeds be as thy affections and such thy life as thy deeds.
  • The fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown . . . and no one knows whether death which men in their fear apprehend to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good. . . .
  • The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods.
  • The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.
  • The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.
  • The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
  • The poets are only the interpreters of the Gods.
  • The shortest and surest way to live with honour in the world, is to be in reality what we would appear to be; and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues increase and strengthen themselves by the practice of them.
  • The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
  • Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.
  • Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.
  • To find yourself, think for yourself.
  • To need nothing is divine, and the less a man needs the nearer does he approach to divinity.
  • True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.
  • True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.
  • Upon the score of fore-knowledge and divining I am infinitely inferior to the swans. When they perceive approaching death they sing more merrily than before, because of the joy they have in going to the God they serve.
  • Virtue does not come from wealth, but health, and every other good thing which men have comes from virtue.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is a habit.
  • What a lot of things there are a man can do without.
  • What you cannot enforce, do not command.
  • Wind buffs up empty bladders; opinion, fools.
  • Wisdom begins in wonder.

Original Ancient Greek[edit]

Can we get the original, pre-translation Ancient Greek here, where possible? For example, part of the quotation from 354b in The Republic is ἕν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα (hen oida hoti ouden oida, "I know one thing, that I know nothing"). Doremítzwr 15:00, 12 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I don't believe it should be a goal to have all foreign quotes on all pages rendered in such ways, since there are now multiple language wikiquote projects, but placing some quotes in the original language is entirely acceptable here, and especially encouraged when they are short and very significant ones such as this. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 16:04, 12 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]
How should it be added? I am unfamiliar with Wikiquote's formatting standards &c. Doremítzwr 15:48, 15 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]

"As for me, all I know is that I know nothing"[edit]

I don't think this is Rep. 354b, but rather 354c. Also, the original reads "μοι νυνι γεγομεν εκ του διαλογου μηδεν ειδεναι", which, roughly translated, means as much as "I didn't learn anything during this talk". —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:15, 27 February 2011

Whatever the un-cited source of this translation is, it does not appear to be in GoogleBooks. Grube (1974) translates it as "... the result of our discussion for me is that I know nothing." Jowett (1871) translates it as "... the result of the whole discussion has been that I know nothing at all." Reading the paragraph of 354b-c in any good translation, it is clear that Plato's intent in concluding Book I thusly is to say that the foregoing has raised the question of Justice and dispensed with some misconceptions about it, but has not yet gotten to the root of what Justice is. (In Grube's translation, Book II begins "... this was only a prelude.")

The Wikipedia article about "I know that I know nothing" lists other "origins" that also do not say the same thing, but treats them as if they do. Priscilla Sakezles, in "Socratic Skepticism,", eSkeptic (25 June 2008) identifies still more false origins, and discusses why this misrepresents Socrates. A commenter at that column aptly notes, "as always, context is everything."

Taking the clause out of context and universalizing it (with boldface!) misleads the reader about Socrates' epistemological stance. (As with a similar statement attributed by Diogenes Laertius.) Socrates' brand of skepticism is all about questioning assumptions and, arguably, denying the validity of certain absolutes. It has nothing to do with denying the possibility of knowledge. ~ Ningauble 00:36, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

"Man must rise above the Earth—to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives"[edit]

This quote appears in the Plato's Dialogue, Phaedo, around 109e. The Greek text is: τὸ δὲ εἶναι ταὐτόν, ὑπ᾽ ἀσθενείας καὶ βραδυτῆτος οὐχ οἵους τε εἶναι ἡμᾶς διεξελθεῖν ἐπ᾽ ἔσχατον τὸν ἀέρα: ἐπεί, εἴ τις αὐτοῦ ἐπ᾽ ἄκρα ἔλθοι ἢ πτηνὸς γενόμενος ἀνάπτοιτο, κατιδεῖν ἂν ἀνακύψαντα, ὥσπερ ἐνθάδε οἱ ἐκ τῆς θαλάττης ἰχθύες ἀνακύπτοντες ὁρῶσι τὰ ἐνθάδε, οὕτως ἄν τινα καὶ τὰ ἐκεῖ κατιδεῖν, καὶ εἰ ἡ φύσις ἱκανὴ εἴη ἀνασχέσθαι θεωροῦσα, γνῶναι ἂν ὅτι ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθῶς οὐρανὸς καὶ τὸ ἀληθινὸν φῶς. A translation can be found by referencing the Perseus project.

This seems to be fairly uniformly attributed to Socrates, and is usually quoted by aviation enthusiasts or space exploration advocates. I had my doubts about its authenticity because I wasn't sure Socrates would have had a concept of 'the top the atmosphere' as such, but I have seen variants where 'the clouds' replaces 'the atmosphere'. The earliest example I can find of it is from a 1982 book "Shuttle" by David C. Onley. Can anyone shed any light on this quote? HisRuntyDogma (talk) 02:23, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

A little earlier. It appears in an issue of 'Designer' magazine (UK) 1977. HisRuntyDogma (talk) 09:16, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
There's something vaguely similar to this in Aristophanes' The Clouds. No obvious ancient source though, and unlikely to be correct in the form above due to anachronistic ideas. --User:Tryst (talk to me!) 09:30, 8 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

An exact translation from greek is: "... because of our weakness and slowness we are unable to cross and reach the edge of air (atmosphere). Because if someone reaches its edge or gain wings and fly, he will raise up his head and see, in a way that the fish down here pull up their heads above the sea and see the world around them, shall see the things up there. And if his hold is firm and continues to watch he may perceive that that is the real sky, the real light and the real earth. Our earth down here and the stones and all the places are in decay and is eroded, as those that are inside the sea from the salt..."

Envy quotation[edit]

  • Τοῖς μὲν διὰ τοῦ ἡλίου πορενομένοις ἕπεται κατ' ἀνάγκην σκιὰ, τοῖς δὲ διὰ δόξης βαδίζουσιν ἀκολουθεῖ φθόνος
    • As those who walk in the sun are of necessity followed by their shadow, so also those who tread the paths of fame are pursued by envy.
      • Potentially from Strobaeus Florilegium XXXVIII. 34 [1]

IOHANNVSVERVS (talk) 16:28, 27 March 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Plutarch ???[edit]

Under Quotes about Socrates we have the following remark attributed to Plutarch, which contains references to medieval Popes which Plutarch cannot possibly have made. If the reference is to some book ABOUT Plutarch, this should be made clear. Please clean up the attribution.

The accusations of atheism, the introducing of foreign deities, and corrupting of the Athenian youth, which were made against Socrates, afforded ample justification for Plato to conceal the arcane preaching of his doctrines. Doubtless the peculiar diction or 'jargon' of the alchemists was employed for a like purpose. The dungeon, the rack, and the fagot were employed without scruple by Christians of every shade, the Roman Catholics especially, against all who taught even natural science contrary to the theories entertained by the Church. Pope Gregory the Great even inhibited the grammatical use of Latin as heathenish. The offense of Socrates consisted in unfolding to his disciples the arcane doctrine concerning the gods, which was taught in the Mysteries and was a capital crime. He also was charged by Aristophanes with introducing the new god Dinos into the republic as the demiurgos or artificer, and the lord of the solar universe. The Heliocentric system was also a doctrine of the Mysteries; and hence, when Aristarchus the Pythagorean taught it openly, Cleanthes declared that the Greeks ought to have called him to account and condemned him for blasphemy against the gods," — ("Plutarch"). But Socrates had never been initiated, and hence divulged nothing which had ever been imparted to him. Plutarch quoted by H.P. Blavatsky, in Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, Vol. I, Before the Veil, (1877)