What Is a Life Worth Living?

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What is a Life Worth Living?
Phil 2010: Introduction to Philosophy

In the number of works that Plato crafted and put together chronicling his teacher’s life, views and opinions, one of the most famous and predominant statements made by Socrates is that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Appearing in Plato’s The Apology, the quote essentially summarizes how Socrates had walked out his entire life and the way he attempted to convince others to walk out theirs’. His pursuit of changing the ways of the people surrounding him was what ultimately prompts Socrates to utter this famous phrase, but what exactly does “the unexamined life is not worth living” mean? Thankfully Plato provides us with an explanation and justification as to why this is the correct way to live. Socrates speaks directly to the meaning of his statement earlier in The Apology stating that life is not something to simply wander through aimlessly but a journey in which constant questioning, debating and thought provoking dialogue should be used to better one’s pschye. In Socrates’ time, people strived to live the absolute best lives they could, and one of the characteristics associated with a good life was wisdom. Socrates goes through the process of defining his craft, philosophy, as the pursuit of wisdom. If wisdom is good and something to be desired and philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom then philosophy is a just pursuit that should be shared by all in Socrates’ eyes.

In Crito, the documentation of the debate between Crito and Socrates regarding whether or not Socrates should flee and live in exile or remain and be executed, Socrates details and explains why he feels that life is not worth living if you live a corrupted soul. Having been sentenced to death for his pursuit of a just and fulfilled life, Socrates chooses that death is the favorable option over fleeing; citing that fleeing is an unjust action and that a life that is unjust is not a life worth living. Socrates views...
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