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The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living Essay
- Author Kimberly Ball
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Socrates’ claim that the unexamined life is not worth living intends to cultivate the thinking capability of humankind. This claim means that the ability of human beings to conceptualize, question various issues as well as reflect thoughtfully determines the success of their lives. Through this, people can creatively and critically analyze every aspect of life. Socrates’ intention was to encourage humanity to have critical thinking, and not just accepting and believing anything that seemed unrealistic or unreasonable.
Furthermore, through examining the various concepts and ideologies of life, one can develop cognitive capabilities. This enables them to understand the notions of philosophy regarding facts about life effectively. Some of these concepts include truth as well as cultivating self-correction and questioning the various happenings in their surroundings. Furthermore, one can give reasons in regards to their beliefs. Through this, one can acquire and develop a concrete understanding regarding one’s understanding of the worldly occurrences (Thomas).
In regards to the ancient knowledge, Socrates argued that living a meaningful life was based on critical thinking. Furthermore, Socrates emphasized the need for one to examine own life. This mode of the examination should be approached ultimately based on a methodological doubt as proposed by Descartes.
To live up to his saying, Socrates lived an examined life. He was a man of convictions so strong that he lived a life full of the pursuit of the truth, wisdom, piety, knowledge and life according to God’s will. During his trial, as seen in the Plato’s Apology, he defended himself for the life he lived and believed. Socrates’ life was not only right by all means but satisfactory both to those that he interacted with and to himself (Thomas). He began by questioning what true knowledge is. This was directed to those who were considered to be the wisest in Athens. He further argued that true knowledge is not the true wisdom since it does not lead to a life that has been examined.
Socrates believed in true wisdom acquired through being curious (Thomas). The wisdom he had was gained by studying the lives of others as well as his. This was because he never had pride in his personal knowledge compared to those considered wiser. Rather, he believed in a supreme being and the desire for an examined life in a selfless manner. According to his belief, an examined life is best spent when seeking internal spiritual as well as wisdom. This also involves questioning and examining other people’s lives and finding the right state of the soul. His words justify this that he went around doing nothing except the persuasion of both old and young to put little care on their wealth or body. Instead, their preference should be directed in the best way possible, to the state of their inner soul (Julian).
Furthermore, he challenged those who thought had wisdom. Helped them to understand that whatever they were searching for in life did not lead to complete satisfaction and real knowledge. He believed that the right way to live was by asking questions, seeking clarification and answers. He argued that he ought to do the right thing even if it was going against the law. According to him, a command from God is of greater importance than the state’s dictates.
Besides, Socrates refused to live a different life even as it meant losing his life. Furthermore, he refused to escape death because that seemed like going against the law. He further holds fast to his values and principles even during the trial. Plato, Socrates’ student also lived an examined life, evident as he stated that if he had money; he would have proposed a fine though he did not have money (Julian). He went ahead to ascertain to his accusers that he would not yield to any of them concerning anything wrong, even if it meant losing his life, just like Socrates.
The argument by Socrates that unexamined life is not worth living has different implications. When taken at the point of view of someone who neither knows nor does not care to look for it, it is senseless. This is due to various people living a normal life happily and simple without bothering to question what Socrates asked. However, when considered from a curious person’s point of view, it makes a lot of sense; when taken from an inquisitive person’s perspective, it is very sensible. This is because such people have the desire of understanding and the passion of knowing the true wisdom. When such people live a life without pursuing true wisdom, their lives seem unfulfilled (Stack).
Though Socrates argument makes a lot of sense, it is too bold for everybody to accept it completely. This is because his thinking is based on those who have the knowledge and not considering those who do not have the curiosity. It cannot be accepted ultimately because many people live fulfilled and happy lives without questioning the happenings in the world. This makes their life simpler, satisfying and peaceful, unlike Socrates who died for being inquisitive and sticking to his principles.
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- > Journals
- > Volume 11 Issue 31
- > IS THE UNEXAMINED LIFE WORTH LIVING OR NOT?
Is the unexamined life worth living or not.
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 March 2012
According to Socrates, an unexamined life is not worth living. This view is controversial. Is the unexamined life worth living or not? Most philosophers disagree about the answer. While some argue for the worthlessness of an unexamined life, others support the superfluity of self critical examination. In his recent article, Jamison pooh-poohed the claim that an unexamined life is not worth living. According to Jamison, not only is an unexamined life worth living; the rigorous examination of life should not be encouraged due to its possible negative effects on the participants and the entire society. In Jamison's view, a consistent and unregulated examination of human life produces a feeling of ecstasy (a specie of spiritual feeling) in those who engage in it. The feeling, if allowed, could endanger both the thinker and the entire society. For Jamison, “once you get a taste of this kind of thing, you do not want to give it up”. Someone who engages in self-critical examination eventually becomes entangled with it. Socrates became entangled in dialectics, became unpopular, was accused of corrupting the youth and eventually sentenced to death.
1 See Plato's Dialogue, Apology (38a).
2 William S. Jamison, ‘Is the Unexamined Life Worth Living?' Available at http://afwsj.uaa.alaska.edu/un.htm , visited on 20/02/2011
4 Robert Gerzon, ‘Is the unexamined life worth living?’ Available at http://www.gerzon.com/resources/unexam_life.html , visited on 20/02/2011.
7 Jamison, ‘Is the Unexamined Life Worth Living?’.
8 See Bellah , Robert N. , ‘Community Properly Understood: A Defense of “Democratic Communitarianism” in Etzioni , Amitai , (ed.), The Essential Communitarian Reader ( New York : Rowman & LittleField Publisher , 1998 ), pp. 15 – 19 Google Scholar .
9 See Waismann , Friedrich , ‘How I See Philosophy’, in Lewis , H.D. (ed.), Contemporary British Philosophy , Third Series ( London : George Allen and Unwin Ltd , 1956 ) Google Scholar .
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- Volume 11, Issue 31
- J.O. Famakinwa
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1477175612000073
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The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living: Argumentative Essay
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Socrates is a greek philosopher and he once said that ‘An unexamined life is not worth living’. It means that we must examine our lives and we must choose a good life for ourselves through self-awareness thus it’s worth living. He also said that ‘Knowledge is a virtue’. It means that to know something is to do something and knowing what is good is to do what is good. We must be aware to do the right or good thing. It also comprehends that no one does bad things intentionally.
Socrates’ philosophies greatly boost my reflection and views in life because they made me realize that I should know myself more and more in silence, and focused ways. Back then, I tried to ask myself, ‘What is my purpose in my life?’ and ‘Why am I here on Earth?’. These are the questions that we ourselves can only answer. This time, I try to examine myself and how I’m capable of doing anything. Through this, I became aware of who I am, and my purpose here on Earth. I discover my bad and good sides, my passion and hobby in life, what I’m good at, and things that can make me happy, contented, and makes me complete. I also find out that I’m timid and shy to strangers but I’m clingy to someone I know dearly. It also teaches me how to think knowledgeably and be formative.
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As Socrates would say, ‘Knowledge is a virtue’. To know something is to do something. From what I have said, I discovered my bad and good sides. I am good when it comes to helping other people, especially my loved ones and I know that helping is a good thing. I am bad when someone tries to harm and disrespect my loved ones and also when someone hates me. It is not intentional that I’m taking sides with my loved ones and I know that I’m fighting for my right. I also believe in the saying, ‘Do unto others, as you would like them to do unto you’.
These philosophies by Socrates greatly boost my reflection, views on life, and experiences. It changed my thoughts and I must learn about myself as much as possible and make a change through self-awareness. It also made me learn that we must know something in order to do something that is good.
By examining ourselves, I am sure that good things will follow and we will be taking the good path and the right way. We can find ourselves meaningfully and we can make the right decisions in our life thus we are aware of ourselves that cannot make ourselves regret it. To recall, Unexamined life is not worth living, examined life is meaningful and worth living. We should also conduct ourselves the right way in order to unharmed others. As Socrates says that ‘Knowledge is a virtue’, we must think carefully before doing anything. We must understand the knowledge we learn through life and we must reflect on it.
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Home — Essay Samples — Philosophy — Socrates — The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living: Analysis
The Unexamined Life is not Worth Living: Analysis
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- Category: Philosophical Concepts , Philosophers
- Essay Topic: Meaning of Life , Philosophy of Life , Socrates
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Good Example Of Essay On The Socratic Wisdom: Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Socrates , Life , Philosophy , Consciousness , Ethics , Morality , Law , Awareness
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The dictum “unexamined life is not worth living”, is a famous dictum uttered by ancient Greek Philosopher, Socrates, during his trial for corrupting the youth and impiety, for which he became subsequently sentenced to death. The quote was reported by Plato in his Apology, which is a recollection of Socrates’s speech with the jury during Socrates trial. It is regarded as a resolution of Socrates to choose death rather than escape to exile in Thessaly or commit to silence, to live. The Socratic attitude in the dictum can be traced back to the statement of the oracle Phythia at the Delphi. His friend by the name Chaerophon went before Phythia to ask if there was any man who was wiser than Socrates at that time in Greece. Phythia answered that although Sophocles was wise, and Euripedes was wiser, it was Socrates who was the wisest of all men. Socrates understood this statement from the oracle as a communication from the god Apollo. The god Apollo was thus to become the prime directive of his reason of being. Socrates believed that a wise man was the one who believed that he knew nothing: this kind of a man has to live by examining himself and others always. In this way, his study and practice of Philosophy was godly destiny. Believing that his study and practice of philosophy was guided by a daimonic voice, disobeying god by committing to silence was worse than death (Plato 2-7). The general interpretation of the Socrates’s dictum is that it represents a noble choice, when faced with many alternatives including daunting ones. Socrates believed that Philosophy, “the love of wisdom”, as defined by him, was the most important pursuit for humans. Specifically, pursuit for wisdom through logical arguments and questioning, by thinking and by examining was the most important of all pursuits. In short Socrates concluded that a life with no philosophy, unexamined life, was not worth living. Unexamined life is hence the life without self- reflection and self-scrutiny. The argument of the dictum in its strongest sense affirms a concern for individual autonomy. A person who is autonomous reflects and scrutinizes upon his own life without merely going through motions ignorantly. In case one does not scrutinize and reflect upon his own life to resolve courses of his actions autonomously, but live by merely “going through motions” by pressures determined by others, then he will be like an animal or a machine at its extreme level. That life will not be his: if one cannot question his or her own drives and action so that he or she can mould them in the right direction he cannot claim to be the author of his own life. Such a life is not worth for the agent to continue living (Plato 7-15). At an individual level, as it is the most part of Socrates defense, certain personal aspects of life such as studying Philosophy and practicing religion should be autonomously decided. In a secular world, individuals’ deliberations to give themselves certain moral religions should not receive any injunctions of others. The same should be the case with studying Philosophy; this should be taken as an individual’s pursuit of self-mastery in knowledge. According to Plato, humans as rational beings, become satisfied or happy when they are self-sufficient. Self-sufficient in knowledge and other facets of life are therefore important ingredients of human happiness. In Apology, Socrates is a religious man who has devoted his life in studying philosophy because he believes that his devotion has a divine calling. It is by this that he has been accused of busying himself in studying matters below the earth and the sky. Further, by his dialectical arguments of Philosophy, he is also accused of making arguments that seem to overturn older bad beliefs and make good beliefs turn bad. The Socrates’ argument to take the noble course of death and prison in defense of personal right of religion and self-mastery through studying Philosophy is right (Plato 2-7). At individual level too, one has to examine himself and maintain or defend what is only good or moral. Socrates saw that going to exile or accepting his “mistake” and committing to silence would mean that everything that he had done in life was illegal. It was thus most wise to continue defending his propositions to the end without caring about threats of imprisonment or execution. Socrates had spent the whole of his life teaching philosophy to anybody who would listen to it. Believing that unexamined life is not worth living, he endeared himself by asking questions to his audience, probing answers to eliminate weaknesses and examining their logic to strengthen arguments before arriving to the truth. In this way, his listeners became granted with epistemological tool of thinking about themselves. As a divine job, he was more interested in making individuals improve their souls and minds rather than thinking about wealth. Therefore, to defend his teaching Socrates was not to fear facing the deaths, for he had been put to death on immoral grounds. It was also his duty to obey the law and make defense in court, because although substantive procedures of the law had been made, it was the ruling that was immoral (Plato 6-11). Examinations of accounts of those people that are likely to affect one directly especially for spousal and parental relationships can be warranted at individual level. This is illustrated in the Apology, when a goddess mother examines and warns the son of Thetis that he should not kill Hector to avenge for his friend Patroclus. He would die immediately if he had done otherwise (Plato 7-12). One has to examine a partner’s character content before marriage. However, Socratic argument can be erroneous or too radical when it means even investigating matters concerned with others. Socrates narrates that it was his systematic investigation of poets, sophists, craftsmen, writers of tragedies and politicians that resulted in his current sorrows. Although he did this while attaching the greatest importance to his god’s oracle, his examination of others quickly made him popular. For instance, when he visited certain poets, he noted that they were bystanders who could explain meanings in their poems clearly: the writers of the poems did not even understand themes in them clearly. He proved that all people interviewed in those categories were not wise, because they believed that they were the wisest in their professions when they were not. Given that he was the only man in the city who believed that a wise man believed that he knew nothing and therefore his life was always subjected to investigations, he was the wisest of them all. He thus, proved this to all Athenians by relating to what oracle Phythia at Delphi had communicated to him through Chaerophon. This newly discovered wisdom made people, especially the youth, to follow him everywhere he went. However, it did not settle down well with people in the aforementioned categories. Despite conspiring that Socrates violates divine rules by studying “everything” below the earth and in the sky, they accuse him of being pestilential by “corrupting” the youths. It should be noted that these people in the categories of professions such as poets and politicians depended very much on the people especially the youths. They saw Socrates teaching as pestilential to their careers: they had therefore to plan for slanders to live. Socrates could avoid such like bad consequences; one has to seek permission, outlining the purpose and likely consequences or benefits of carrying out investigations on others’ account before starting investigations on them (Plato 2-9). At the social or national level, autonomous examination cannot be warranted because it will be promoting pernicious tendency of human individuality. At social or national level, there are laws destined to ensuring individual compatibility and dependency for mutual goodness. In such a case, an individual has to act upon the laid down rules emanating from social wisdom. Socrates himself illustrates this statement by hailing soldiers such as heroes who died at Troy. In such a case he believes that they accomplished their noble course of a soldier, by defending the society of Athens in the danger of death. For the soldiers, as was the son of Thetis, it was no noble course to live cowards than dying at once. In the civil service, Socrates urges that if a person signs to take up a position in the public service, he should do what he is best at regardless of danger or deaths, rather than living in disgrace (Plato 6-11). However, it does not mean that one cannot examine morality of national laws or the society before taking oath. The oath of serving the community should only be taken when the actions to be carried out are themselves legal. For wisdom cannot beget or begotten by illegal laws. During the period when Socrates’ tribe of Antiochis was presiding over Athens, as a member of the Council, he refused to vote for the trial of ten generals that had absconded their duty of picking up survivors of the naval battle. He was the only who voted against it because it was immoral, as there was a very dangerous storm that could not allow it. When the oligarch of Thirty Tyrants was established, he was told to go to Salamis to bring Leo for execution. He refused, because the harsh Thirty Tyrants were completely on a scheme of power consolidation. It should be noted that taking these noble courses earned him grater respects despite threats of being prosecuted (D'Amato 5-10). Precisions in examining life depend on one’s level of consciousness. Infants and toddlers can only focus their awareness on space and time. They are more concerned with biological survival than morality or ethics. Individuals at such stage cannot derive satisfaction because of their rightful doings. Moreover, they cannot be held responsible for their wrong doings since they have no awareness of ethics and morality. For life examinations to be possible, humans have to be mature in their mental events first. They have to espouse sensations, intentions and thoughts, which are properties determined by one’s soul. Thus, while an individual at higher conscious level will find it easy to examine himself critically and choose a noble course from alternatives, the one with little consciousness cannot. A highly conscious individual gains satisfaction when he takes and accomplishes a noble course. In the Socrates’s dialogue, his accusers seem to be more at lower levels of consciousness that guarantee awareness of the body more than that of the mind. Such individuals would want to protect their income sources, or any means that enables their biological survival, without caring about morals and ethics. They just accused Socrates because his students had been interrogating them on more complex matters that require one to be clean in mind and the soul. Being clean in mind and the soul is a higher order consciousness that requires individuals to a choose noble courses that uphold ethics and morality only, even if it means to sacrifice basic needs for biological survival or face death. For others who engage in serial killing, their levels of existential consciousness are still low. They feel left out of the whole group and do not know that they have to depend on others. This limits the motivating factor for daily interaction; at its height one may take a weapon to harm or kill others. Some people especially those with deadly conditions want to live unexamined life. They prefer to live in passivity without caring about self-examination: they can get drunk to forget about it and remain happy. This passivity only guarantees false happiness and unexpectedness. One has to involve in examinations to gain exact remedies and develop his capacities (D'Amato 5-10). In conclusion, self examination depends on the level of consciousness and rational levels. At individual level, self examination involves the individual examining himself to make noble choice. One can also examine those individuals that could have direct effects on him like the family. Individual examinations may bring problems, especially if their aims and benefits are not well communicated. Community life examinations are done by individuals at community level, and individual decision due to his examination cannot be binding to everyone. However, one can refuse to act on illegal rules of the community, and demand re-examination in the right channel. Infants and toddlers cannot examine themselves on moral or ethical grounds because they lack mature moral events. Higher levels of consciousness are supposed to ensure adherence to higher standards of morals and ethics. Adults who compromise noble courses to take daunting ones still have low levels of consciousness. They cannot examine themselves to realize those courses that can produce greater eternal satisfaction, because they are more biologically conscious than they are mentally and spiritually.
D'Amato, Anthony. Obligation to Obey the Law: A Study of the Death of Socrates. Faculty of Working Papers, 111(2010).Print. Plato. Apology, trans. G.M.A. Grube. Pp. 112.130 in Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy:
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- The Unexamined Life Is not Worth Living
The Unexamined Life Is not Worth Living - Essay Example
- Subject: Philosophy
- Type: Essay
- Level: College
- Pages: 1 (250 words)
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The paper "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living" is an outstanding example of an essay on philosophy. The quotation from Socrates means that life to have value should be examined, reviewed, and remunerated. There are diverse issues to be expounded on: firstly, from whose perspective should one’s life be deemed valuable? Secondly, who should do the examination of life that should be taken insignificance? And thirdly, as human beings, should the reason for living to be taken as a universal perspective or that from the point of view of the individual? To address these concerns and to clearly explain the quotation, the point of view that should be taken is the individual’s perspective where one’s life is deemed valuable when activities and endeavors are pursued the improvement of the wellbeing of others – not only of oneself.
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An Unexamined Life is not Worth Living
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Existence , Meaning of Life , Socrates
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Quote Analysis: The unexamined life is not worth living
- Quote Analysis: The unexamined life…
Socrates believed that living a life where you live under the rules of others , in a continuous routine without examining what you actually want out of it is not worth living.
This illustration of a lifestyle is what Socrates would describe an unexamined life. Hence Socrates’ renowned statement “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Declaring that humans must scrutinize their lives in order to live a fulfilled one isn’t agreeable to any extent.
Socrates’ statement does instigate discussion, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone’s way of life and what makes or doesn’t make their life worth living. The theory that all lives that are unexamined don’t have a purpose and should not be lived is unreasonable and simply not true.
There is a lot more that contributes to a person’s happiness and well-being besides “examining their lives”. Factors such as life experiences, being with family, things to be thankful for, memories, and reaching success in life. Everything that makes one happy, and a happy life should most definitely be lived whether its examined or not.
Epicurus’ philosophy on happiness , is composed of three things; good companionship (friends), having freedom (being self-sufficient and free from everyday life and politics) and an analysed life (meaning to have time and space to think things through). Epicurus and Socrates have different approaches to the phrase “analysing life”.
Epicurus would advise not to spend money as temporary relief for a bad day but rather take time out and reflect and contemplate. Socrates on the other hand has a different stance. Epicurus believes that analysing your life is one third of what it takes to have a happy life whereas Socrates believes that if you are not constantly reviewing and examining every aspect of your life just so you can get the best out of it, it’s not worth living in general.
De Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance and is best known for his skepticism. De Montaigne would’ve had an advancing degree of doubt and disagreement on Socrates’ statement that “the unexamined life is not worth living”.
Socrates said that having a mechanical life with an unthinking routine, under the rules of others without ever examining whether or not they truly want to live with those routines or rules is basically not worth living anymore. However, De Montaigne had a contrary belief on what bring our lives happiness and what makes them “not worth living”.
He believed that human have a tendency to over-think things and that’s mainly where our unhappiness comes from. To be happy De Montaigne knew that we didn’t need intelligence and brain facts, we required wisdom and life experience. De Montaigne urged us to live the best lives we possibly can by simply not worry about our appearance, accept our own and everyone else’s culture, and always endeavour to become wiser.
De Montaigne had quite the opposite approach on how to live a happy life to Socrates. Socrates believed over analysing and examining our lives would lead to better ones, whereas De Montaigne would advise us to spend less time over-analysing and overthinking things as it leads to insecurities that we are all far better off without.
Socrates statement “The unexamined life is not worth living”, is an exaggeration and is predominantly false but does have a degree of truth to it. We must occasionally question ourselves and the world, as otherwise we will act without reason, and be unable to distinguish between good or bad actions, and without this way of thinking Socrates might argue we are no better off than animals.
But with this statement, Socrates promotes the idea that people who don’t examine their lives should not live. Socrates seemed to overlook other factors that account to our happiness and give worth to our lives. In disagreement with Socrates; We all must contemplate now and again but only to a certain extent, as it can be disastrous to overthink and reconsider every aspect of our life.
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I think that the examined life is and integral part of existence. Who would not promote self reflection and self examination? These are key in psychotherapy, most if not all religion/practices as well as self help programs.
Let us reflect on our own life – the only one we can truly experience – and not be over (or under) whelmed by the lives of others. Let us all recognize ourselves in the context of our humanity to ourselves and to each other. Let us look within ourselves to find happiness and purpose rather than in the distractions of comparison and acquisition that consume so much of our human time. Let us take the time to reflect on our own being within the framework of all-being and not separate our self from life.
One does not negate the other. Clearly this thesis portrays the authors lack of understanding of Socrates.
So true. Thank you.
Not only does one not negate the other, but is very possible that the examined life takes one on a road away from family and other default unexamined “virtues” that are in fact socio-cultural cliches that do not stand up under scrutiny. Running with the herd is only a virtue if it is in fact a deliberate choice stemming from the examined life. The reality is that it is indeed possible–and highly likely, in fact–that living the examined life (a la psychotherapy, or contemplative hermit, or religious, or just an assertion of personal freedom) will diverge from the herd and … Read more »
It is not an exaggeration; therefore, neither false..
Socrates was arguing that happiness derived from delusion is fleeting, shallow, and worthless. Happiness from an examined life has far more value.
You mention that: “The theory that all lives that are unexamined don’t have a purpose and should not be lived is unreasonable and simply not true. There is a lot more that contributes to a person’s happiness and well-being besides “examining their lives”. Socrates’ argument and yours are fundamentally different in that Socrates was not invoking happiness and well-being. Nay, he was killed for his unconventionality and clearly believed that meaning and purpose superceded happiness and well-being. For some, happiness and well-being are satisfactory drives for living, for others, meaning and purpose are fundamental. And it can be and has … Read more »
I don’t think either of the arguments given go against Socrates’ statement that, “an unexamined life is not worth living”. Epicurus argues that the examination of one’s life is the most important thing after receiving all the essentials; all that is needed for proper survival. If this was translated into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it would take up the final two stages (after physical needs, safety and love). I don’t understand where your argument on wasting money as a temporary relief has its bases on, Socrates never advises that and it goes contrary to much of what he says. De … Read more »
Socrates made this comment in response to a question as to why he could not simply remain quiet. He was talking about his own values, not applying this universally. If I say that life is not worth living without sports, then it doesn’t mean that anyone who doesn’t like sports is worthless or undeserving to live.
Maybe just report what Socrates said and the context in which he said it and let kids make up their own minds?
Didn’t Socrates state that “an unexamined life is not worth living for human beings”. If he was referring to his own values, as you say, wouldn’t he say something like, an unexamined life is not worth living for me.
There are several factors that deserve consideration: what does Socrates (via Plato) mean by “unexamined”, and “Life”, and “worth”. All of these are slippery terms, not helped by the fact that we are dealing with a translation from Ancient Greek language, and a bunch of ideas that may have had VERY different meanings in a small Mediterranean city 2500 years ago. It is illogical to presume that Socrates would want the vast majority of people to not live. If, however, we view his (alleged) statement in terms of a regret, or an exhortation, then we can understand that Socrates would … Read more »
This argument falls apart given the apparent utilitarian perspective on value of life.
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An Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
“ An unexamined life is not worth living ,” said Socrates who questioned everything in his life. He always asked, “Why am I here and what is my purpose.” I would ask myself the same exact thing when I was younger because I always wondered what am I doing on earth and why me, what makes me do the things I do. The saying, “An unexamined life is not worth living” is very true in its words because living life on autopilot or having no purpose in life is having an unworthy life.
As Socrates puts it in order to make one’s life worthy is to first examine him/herself and then others in society to find the meaning of a happy life. Not being able to examine one’s life, beliefs, values, and positions puts us in a predicament of problem-solving and self-satisfaction. Living life on auto-pilot such as waking up, getting ready for school or work, eat, study, go home, eat, and sleep. Doing that on a regular basis is not living life and living like that you’re wasting your life and not examining it as a person should be doing so. One must be able to inspect life and not have a dreary routine.
All in all, Socrates belief is that any human who does not examine their own life, reality, relationships, thoughts, etc. is wasting their life away and is not worth living. To live the examined life, one must become like a child again and question everything. Having good values and morals is also a good thing and should ask yourself, “What do I value in life, What is my purpose and what am I trying to do in this life” does your life serve a purpose and remember to always question everything because we are not animals and we have a brain and are capable of thinking critically.
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The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living: Philosophy Of Plato And Socrates
The expression “philosophy” signifies the affection for insight, and those that study philosophy endeavor to pick up information through sadness and reason. Socrates, the father of ancient philosophy, when expressed, “the unexamined life is not worth living”, this is the most significant piece of life and it has to discover purpose and incentive throughout everyday life. If a person picks to carry on with their existence without examination, their life would need worth and they would be miserable. They would likewise be unmindful with the impacts of their decisions on themselves and the general population around them.
Plato, an understudy of Socrates, in his book “The Republic” composed a moral story known as “Plato’s Cave”. In Plato’s moral story people are caught inside a dull cavern where they can just catch looks at the world above through shadows on the wall. Plato is describing how typical human is. They have little information and what they think they know has next to no premise. He portrays these people as prisoners, in his moral story, and they are possibly free when they gain information about the world over the cavern.
An individual who carries on with an unexamined life may appear to be content and accept they have the responses to what they have to know. Philosophical inquiries are unessential to them since they accept that they have just addressed them. For instance, the offspring of a religious family may follow the theistic view and presume the significance of life is following God’s commands and lessons, in spite of never utilizing motivation to go to their own acknowledgment. On the off chance that an individual doesn’t have a genuine, discerning conviction about the importance of life, they will never be completely fulfilled. Without this, an individual will have no objectives to endeavor towards and their life will be pointless. This described me before taking philosophy.
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So basically, your life is trivial and you should not by any means live, in the event that you simply accept circumstances for what they are with things and simply take everything for what it is, and whatever else it might toss at you. If you never ask questions to help you enable to get information to be wise as opposed to being totally unmindful of your general surroundings, at that point truly what great is your life on the off chance that you couldn’t care less? The following point I need to inspire is the distinction between an unexamined life versus an examined life. An individual who carries on with an unexamined life is emotionless about things and thoroughly ignores everything in life aside from them-selves. It’s as though they’re only here for the ride and there going to accept it to the extent they can without taking any kind of action to better themselves as a person.
A prime a case of an individual who carries on with an unexamined life is somebody who doesn’t go to class to find out about anything so there not working towards being anyone throughout everyday life, they basically have no redeeming qualities to them and they couldn’t care less. They couldn’t care less to investigate the things in life that it brings to the table, even the littlest of things and could mindless make anything out of it. So as I referenced previously, their sole design is simply being here for the ride and they have no intention of better themselves as an individual. Conversely an individual carrying on with an analyzed life, they have an occupation, they’re going to class and attempting to make something out of themselves, they’re driven, and basically attempting to make the most out of each open door they’re given. They are completely mindful of what’s happening on the planet just as to all of their environment. They comprehend what they need throughout everyday life, there curious, proficient and really the uttermost thing from being oblivious, for example, of an individual living of an unexamined life. Those are my contemplations and suppositions on the primary contrasts between an unexamined and examined life.
According to Socrates, “the unexamined life is not worth living”, the most significant piece of life is looking at your decisions and convictions utilizing objectively and deciding whether they are substantial. On the off chance that a person picks not lead an unexamined life, they would find that their life needs worth and they would be miserable. They would likewise lead an indecent life as they would be insensible with impacts their decisions have on themselves and everyone around them.
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Aug 7, 2018
Socrates : The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
Socrates was a teacher in Greece. His most famous quote is — the unexamined life is not worth living. This quote sounds easy because it’s straightforward but it is not. The quote is enigmatic as Socrates himself was. What does this contrarian quote have to do with living a life? The Socrates quote is a bit difficult to understand directly. It may be easier to start with a preliminary: The examined life is worth living.
In school, examinations are conducted to check how much students have learned. They have to answer the questions. Then, the teacher “examines” answers and according to the quality of answers, students get grades which determine how well they have done in the exams.
Similarly, you need to examine life so that you can know how are you going and doing in life.
The unexamined life is not worth living because…
One day we all are going to die. And when you will be looking back at your life on deathbed, what kind of life you will expect from yourself. A life made of happiness, satisfaction, and purpose or a boring ordinary one in which you didn’t do and achieve anything.
You have to question and find the answers about life by yourself. Most people live mediocre living because they are not even aware that they need to examine life. If by chance if they do it, then they don’t know how to do it, so they try to copy the life of others just like they copied homework in school. Their life is based on the opinion of others, not knowing that everyone is unique, so their life and answers to its questions.
The unexamined life is not worth living because here a person doesn’t examine his life. He does not really know and understands himself. And this is what Socrates tried to say. If you don’t examine your life, then you would not question and then miss on the answers to make it worth living.
“Our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” ~ Socrates
What if you don’t examine your life?
If you don’t examine your life, then you are just going passively through life without any goals, dreams, enthusiasm, and purpose. You are not making any effort to make it worthwhile and losing the autonomy on it. You are just getting carried away, looking for fun and entertainment most of the time.
So, there are two choices — to make it worth living or passively live an ordinary life. Both kinds of life have got its own challenges. Worth living life challenges are made by you which makes you strong, alive and happy. In ordinary life, you avoid challenges and passively accept everything which comes to you.
Signs you are living an unexamined life
- You lack a sense of who you are.
- Happiness mostly depends on external factors.
- Not sure of what to do and what not to do.
- Have regrets and hopelessness from the past.
- A lot of time spent on TV, mobile, movies and social media.
- There are more talks about other people and food.
- Competition with others.
- Dependence on opinions and advises of others.
- Don’t have any goals or plan in life.
“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live.” ~ Socrates
Characteristics of an Examined Life
When a person examines, he becomes strategic about his life.
- There is progress in life.
- The focus is on personal development.
- Have clarity, values and internal compass.
- Competition with self.
- Talks are on ideas rather than people.
- Happiness depends on personal decisions and choices.
- Have goals and vision for the future.
- The focus is on finding the unexplored potential, talents, and creativity.
“When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.” ~Thoreau
Why don’t people examine their lives?
Unfortunately, most people do not make conscious efforts to use reason in establishing a set of values that guide their lives. So, if examining life is the most important thing so why not we examine our lives. The reason is very few people know, the unexamined life is not worth living.
Now, who should teach us to examine our lives? Our learning mostly happens at home by parents and at school. If the school teaches to examine lives, our lives would have been much different and better.
Another reason, most people avoid leading an examined life. It’s not that they don’t have the time, they actively avoid examining their lives. Because it is not easy to think. It is hard to look inside. It takes a lot of courage to look inside and accept yourself with all your failures, guilt and disappointments.
The Examined Life
Everybody is unique and so their lives and their idea of examined lives. Our idea of examined life, dreams and happiness differs from others. Our satisfaction, values, priorities, and definition of successful life all are different.
“Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued.” — Socrates
As you begin to know yourself, your answers of examined life and the self-map will become clear. Your happiness depends on how well you are living an examined life.
“Most people, including ourselves, live in a world of relative ignorance. We are even comfortable with that ignorance because it is all we know. When we first start facing the truth, the process may be frightening, and many people run back to their old lives. But if you continue to seek the truth, you will eventually be able to handle it better. In fact, you want more! It’s true that many people around you now may think you are weird or even a danger to society, but you don’t care. Once you’ve tasted the truth, you won’t ever want to go back to being ignorant.” ~ Socrates
Your life may be in lots of confusion. And chances are it will go into more confusion on examining, but after clearing this confusion, your design of life will be infinitely better than it was unexamined. You substantially reduce the probability of mistakes and save valuable time. Your life is not difficult, your ignorance of examining life makes it difficult.
Living life is an art, most important art, difficult and complex, which is not taught in school and like every art, it takes time to learn.
“The really important thing is not to live but to live well. And to live well meant, along with more enjoyable things in life, to live according to your principles.” ~Socrates
How to examine your life?
Examining life means creating a self-map for life. What really matters most to you. What you want to do for yourself, parents, country and for the world. For this, you have to know yourselves, who you are.
“To find yourself, think for yourself” ~ Socrates
If you don’t create a map, no matter how fast you are going or how high is your confidence, without this map, you are directionless and clueless in life. The point is you’d still be lost. The fundamental problem has nothing to do with your behavior or attitude. It has everything to do with not having a map.
The map gives you an understanding of your location and destination. It means to know who you are, where you are now so that you move can ahead in the right direction.
Happiness cannot be pursued directly. It is always a by-product of your choices and decisions. People who examine their lives are happier than those who don’t. No one has all the answers. But those who have some sense of who are they also have a context for understanding how all the elements of their life fit together.
It is only in striving to come to know ourselves and to understand ourselves do our lives have any meaning or value.
If there are two people, one with a map and one without a map, who has the better chance of reaching the destination? The one with the map, of course. When you begin to know yourself, you take control of life. You decide what you want to be and begin a revolution in life.
“Do not go through life like a leaf blown from here to there believing whatever you are told.” ~ Socrates
Now, somebody would say that they have seen people who have not examined their life but still are happy.
About a hundred years back, most of the people were living in the agricultural age, they had very simple lives. Like people in villages, remote areas today who are not aware of the issues and complexities of life. The answer to this question is that maybe they are blessed with their lives. If they don’t have access to modern inventions that doesn’t mean they are unhappy about it, in fact, they are probably more happy and healthy in their simple life. But we are probably not and that’s why we need to strive for it to make it beautiful, meaningful.
Originally published at revolutionarystudent.com on August 7, 2018.
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The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
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Without questioning and wondering, life and philosophy would be worthless. An unexamined life would lead to one that was without question and curiosity, something which Socrates could not fathom. Without the curiosity that comes with examining life, philosophy would fail to exist. According to Socrates, a great philosopher, life would not be worth living without the addition of the philosophical thinking that helped to make our lives more exciting and worthwhile...
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Without the curiosity that comes with examining life, philosophy would fail to exist. According to Socrates, a great philosopher, life would not be worth living without the addition of the philosophical thinking that helped to make our lives more exciting and worthwhile. Socrates lived his life to question and to wonder...
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By ENA • March 4
The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
Excerpted from Character Is Destiny: The Value of Personal Ethics in Everyday Life By Russell W. Gough, Ph.D.
For, the title of this chapter, I quote an immortal sentiment expressed by one of the most well known and revered of all philosophers.
Socrates made provocative remarks like this famous one as part of his daily practice in Athens in the late fourth century B.C. (several years after Heraclitus' death). When he made these statements, he was invariably exhorting his fellow Greeks to avoid falling into the trap of what we might call "ethical complacency," the point at which an individual ceases trying to become a better person.
People can become ethically complacent for varying reasons. They might, for example, have become so consumed in their daily lives with making money or gaining fame or enhancing their physical appearance that they are essentially left with no time and energy to think about improving themselves in any other respect. (Ironically, these particular reasons, all too familiar in the present day, were what concerned Socrates most about his fellow Greeks.) Or, people might have developed an "Oh well, I'm too set in my ways now" attitude. Or their attitude might have become one of "I'm content with the way I am, faults and all-so why bother trying to improve anymore?" Or, worst-case scenario, they may simply have come to believe that their character has no room for improvement.
For Socrates, wise, conscientious, and forthright teacher that he was, these "reasons" are really nothing of the sort and are rather best described as excuses or self-deceiving falsehoods, or both. For him, the first and most important part of examining one's life from an ethical perspective-or of appreciating the importance of personal ethics in one's everyday life-is being honest about and taking responsibility for where and what one is as a free, moral, and adult human being.
With his marked emphasis on honest, ethical self-examination, Socrates was also echoing a sacred two-word principle known to virtually every person in the ancient Greek world: "Know yourself." He was not, however, merely echoing this sacred principle; he was deeply transforming its meaning. And herein lies not only the brilliance of Socrates' teaching and example but also an essential starting point for our looking-in-the-mirror discussion.
"Know yourself" was one of two sacred mottoes inscribed over the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi-regarded by the ancient Greeks as the holiest of sites. (The second motto, by the way, was "Nothing in excess," emphasizing the importance of moderation and balance in one's life.)
Prior to Socrates, the conventional interpretation of "Know yourself" was something along these lines: "Know your place, your status, and your duties in society, and be true to them. Do not try to usurp a position in society not yours by right of birth or divine command." Undoubtedly, the greatest impact of such an interpretation was felt by those in possession of neither political power nor wealth-that is, the "underclass," which in ancient Athens meant everyone except a relatively small group of aristocratic families. Thus, if you were, for example, a blacksmith or a farmer, much less a slave, you were expected to be the best blacksmith, farmer, or slave that you could be-but no more.
One of Socrates' greatest and most enduring legacies, one for which he ultimately gave his life, was to fundamentally transform the meaning of "Know yourself" by turning it inward . In other words, when Socrates advised his fellow Athenians-the aristocrats, more often than not-to examine their lives, to "know themselves," he was exhorting them to give far less time and attention to external circumstances like social status and wealth and to give much more time and attention to the things that matter most: internal goals, like wisdom, truth, and ethical character.
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Socrates' claim that the unexamined life is not worth living intends to cultivate the thinking capability of humankind. This claim means that the ability of human beings to conceptualize, question various issues as well as reflect thoughtfully determines the success of their lives.
" The unexamined life is not worth living " is a famous dictum supposedly uttered by Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth, for which he was subsequently sentenced to death. The dictum is recorded in Plato's Apology (38a5-6) as ho dè anexétastos bíos ou biōtòs anthrṓpōi ( ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ ). Rationale [ edit]
An unexamined life might be worth living under certain conditions. 'Ought' presupposes 'can'. The life of those with little or no capacity for self- reflection may be worth living. The life of a little child is worth living though usually unexamined.
Socrates is a greek philosopher and he once said that 'An unexamined life is not worth living'. It means that we must examine our lives and we must choose a good life for ourselves through self-awareness thus it's worth living. He also said that 'Knowledge is a virtue'.
To conclude the essay, Socrates' quote "The unexamined life is not worth living" has helped me to understand my purpose in life. Socrates changed not only my perception but countless others and realizing all of it now, I am confident that I can make a change in this world and so others.
Unexamined life is hence the life without self- reflection and self-scrutiny. The argument of the dictum in its strongest sense affirms a concern for individual autonomy. A person who is autonomous reflects and scrutinizes upon his own life without merely going through motions ignorantly.
The argument that everybody's non-examined lives do not have any meaning and can not be lived is irrational, and not valid. Besides 'examining their lives,' there are indeed lots more that finally ends up in an exceedingly personality's satisfaction and well-being.
The paper "The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living" is an outstanding example of an essay on philosophy. The quotation from Socrates means that life to have value should be examined, reviewed, and remunerated. There are diverse issues to be expounded on: firstly, from whose perspective should one's life be deemed valuable?
Thus, the importance of living an examined life is crucial to see a purpose to your existence, as without purpose the pursuit of wisdom and truth which were seen as essential to being human and living from Socrates perspective is not accomplished.
The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living Essay. In Philosophy this far, we've covered many topics. In highlighting Philosophy, Wisdom, and the quote, " The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living", I will express the knowledge and insight I've taken away from Unit 1. This embodies one of the many examples of the concepts I will explain ...
An Unexamined Life is not Worth Living Essay details Category: Philosophy Subcategory: Philosophical Concept, Philosophers Topic: Existence, Meaning of Life, Socrates Words: 1463 (3 pages) Download Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The Examined or Unexamined Life Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher who lived from 470 BC to 399 BC. Today he is credited with many influential philosophical ideas and quotes, but one in particular "An unexamined life is not worth living". What Socrates means by this quote is that a life without the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge is ...
The quote: "The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates didn't mean that people have no value, or should be executed if they lived unexamined lives. Humans are unique in the animal kingdom; we have the ability to reason and reflect about everything.
"The unexamined life is not worth living" (Socrates). The inquiry performed by those endowed with a rational element, consists of attaining an end towards which this inquiry directs itself towards.
Quote Analysis: The unexamined life… Socrates believed that living a life where you live under the rules of others, in a continuous routine without examining what you actually want out of it is not worth living. This illustration of a lifestyle is what Socrates would describe an unexamined life.
The saying, "An unexamined life is not worth living" is very true in its words because living life on autopilot or having no purpose in life is having an unworthy life. As Socrates puts it in order to make one's life worthy is to first examine him/herself and then others in society to find the meaning of a happy life.
Socrates, the father of ancient philosophy, when expressed, "the unexamined life is not worth living", this is the most significant piece of life and it has to discover purpose and incentive throughout everyday life. If a person picks to carry on with their existence without examination, their life would need worth and they would be miserable.
The unexamined life is not worth living because… One day we all are going to die. And when you will be looking back at your life on deathbed, what kind of life you will expect from yourself.
"An unexamined life is not worth living." (Plato, trans. 1871, pa.68) As Socrates stands against the court, on his final moments, he stands against his firm beliefs, and his insubordinate teachings.
An unexamined life would lead to one that was without question and curiosity, something which Socrates could not fathom. Without the curiosity that comes with examining life, philosophy would fail to exist. According to Socrates, a great philosopher, life would not be worth living without the addition of the philosophical thinking that helped ...
The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living. For, the title of this chapter, I quote an immortal sentiment expressed by one of the most well known and revered of all philosophers. Socrates made provocative remarks like this famous one as part of his daily practice in Athens in the late fourth century B.C. (several years after Heraclitus' death).
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720 Likes, 4 Comments - Jacob Bauer (Philosopher Games) (@philosophergames) on Instagram: ""The unexamined life is not worth living" How are you supposed to examine yourself without selfies?…"
-1 Likes, 5 Comments - Star ∆ Meet (@meet__the__star) on Instagram: ""The unexamined life is not worth living." . . . #meet_artist_ #nsbfam #nsbpictures # ...