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Plato Wrote What Socrates Said + interp. of phrase

Posted by EAH on September 13, 2003

In Reply to: Perchance posted by ESC on September 12, 2003

: : : : : : : Does anyone know where this quote came from and who said it?

: : : : : : Socrates (470-399 BC) said it.

: : : : : I beg to differ. According to "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," seventeenth edition, by John Bartlett and Justin Kaplan, general editor (Little, Brown and Co., Boston, 2002):

: : : : : The life which is unexamined is not worth living. "Apology." Plato (c. 428 - 348 B.C.)

: : : : It is *quoted* in Plato's "Apology [of Socrates]."

: : : : From "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 5th Ed" :

: : : : Socrates 469-399 BC
: : : : The unexamined life is not worth living.
: : : : Plato [tr. Lane Cooper] _Apology_ 42a

: : : Dueling quote books!!

: : and what, perchance doth the ancient tongue intend to convey by said remark?

: It intends to convey annoyance that Bartlett's wasn't more explicit.

Socrates did not write down his thoughts. He preferred to question/examine/"vet"
(that lovely new buzz word)
fellow citizens endlessly about their beliefs in the Athenian marketplace.
(Were Socrates around today, I think he would have been considered to be a troll.)
Plato was a member of his coterie and wrote down his teacher's philosophy after Socrates was executed.
(Incidentally, Plato's star pupil was Aristotle, who tutored Alexander the Great.)

To keep a classic work such as The Apology
(which is NOT an apology as we use the term today)
from becoming dull mumbo-jumbo suitable for insominacs, it must be periodically refreshed. One of the best reinterpretations I've read was written by
Wayne Paquette (aka granpawayne), a philosophy instructor at
John Abbott College, a junior college
in Québec, Canada

His rephrasing of "An Unexamined Life is not worth living" makes it much more understandable for today's audience. If people are not permitted to question/examine/vet beliefs, then life is unbearable.