Socrates states that the only thing he knows is that he knows nothing. I feel that Socrates is saying that he recognizes the fact that he does not know much. Socrates does not try to pretend that he is this almighty person who pretends that they know things they don t know. On page 44 from the Apology Socrates says:
“I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know.”(Plato 44)
When Socrates says this man in the above quote he is referring to Melutus. All Socrates is saying in this quote is, he is wiser than Melutes, although neither of them knows anything worth knowing. Socrates also says in this quote that the reason that he is smarter than Melutes is because Socrates knows that he knows nothing, where Melutes thinks that he knows all, when he really knows nothing. The fact that Socrates knows when he knows nothing is a knowledge all its own. Socrates admits to not having all knowledge, yet he is looked upon as a wise man. This quote is very vital to the Apology because it puts Socrates outlook upon his self out in the open, so we can see how Socrates perceives his self.
The fact that Socrates says he does not know anything does not mean that he is not intelligent. Socrates was one of the wisest men on the planet because he didn t try to appear as wise, he just tried to appear as himself. Socrates questioned many men to see how wise they really were. As he questioned them, he started to realize that these supposedly wise men were not that wise at all. However, many of these men thought that they were wise and tried to pretend to know answers to questions that they did not know.
Although Socrates says the only thing he knows is that he knows nothing, he really does know something. He knows that he does not know everything, where as some people think they do know everything. Most people do not realize that they know nothing. The difference between Socrates and these people is that Socrates is Honest, honest in the sense that he doesn t lie to himself or others.
Many people in Socrates time did not understand Socrates philosophy. The people of Socrates time knew what they believed in, however, they did not know why they believed this way. Socrates continually questioned their certainties causing the people to dislike him. On page 44, Socrates explains:
“I realized, to my sorrow and alarm, that I was getting unpopular, but I thought that I must attach the greatest importance to the God s oracle, so I must go to all those who had any reputation for knowledge to examine its meaning. “(Plato 44)
Socrates justifies the fact that many different people have different knowledge s, by excepting that these people have certain knowledge in certain skills. Such as an auto mechanic has knowledge of cars and who s skills are working with cars. However, just because a certain person has knowledge about one thing, that doesn t mean they have any other talents. Socrates searched far and wide for men with knowledge, all he found were people who had specific skills in one area, not knowledgeable men. Socrates describes these people as ignorant.
Although Socrates was found guilty of corrupting the minds of the youth, what he was really doing was examining the true meaning of life. Socrates was trying to define exactly what was the best life. He attempted to find out what the purpose of life really was. Socrates wanted to know why we were put here.
Socrates was a wise man because he knew his faults and did not hide them. He was an honest man that was true to himself. Through his experiences, Socrates found that people on the whole really had no true knowledge. He observed that people were merely obsessed with the knowledge that they thought they had. This obsession led them to believe that they were knowledgeable in every field. When in fact, the most knowledge that some one had was usually only in one thing (skill), not many things, or not any true knowledge about the self, and of the true meaning of life.