(c. 469–399 BC)



Knowing the frugality of Socrates’ way of life, a friend was surprised to discover the philosopher studying with rapt attention some flashy wares on display in the marketplace. He inquired why Socrates came to the market, since he never bought anything. “I am always amazed to see just how many things there are that I don’t need,” replied Socrates.


I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.


More Socrates quotes

Biographical Note: 

Socrates was a Greek philosopher. Although he wrote nothing himself, his ideas survive in the writings of Plato and Xenophon. Socrates broke with earlier philosophical traditions and laid the foundations for the development of both ethics and logic. Refusing to bow to tyranny, whether exercised by the mob or by oligarchs, Socrates was tried on the charge of corrupting the young people of Athens and sentenced to death by drinking hemlock.