I know that I know nothing

The phrase, originally fromLatin(ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat2), is a possible paraphrase from aGreektext (see below). It is also quoted asscio me nihil scireorscio me nescire.3It was laterback-translatedtoKatharevousa Greekas[ἓ ἶ ὅ] ὐὲ ἶ, [n oîda ti]oudn oîda).4

He himself thinks he knows one thing, that he knows nothing;Cicero,

This page was last edited on 1 July 2018, at 13:24

vol. 35 (2008), p. 51). C. C. W. Taylor has argued that the paradoxical formulation is a clear misreading of Plato (

, Walter de Gruyter, 1967, p. 312):

It is essentially the question that beginspost-SocraticWestern philosophy. Socrates begins all wisdom with wondering, thus one must begin with admitting ones ignorance. After all, Socrates dialectic method of teaching was based on that he as a teacher knew nothing, so he would derive knowledge from his students by dialogue.

Gail Fine, Does Socrates Claim to Know that He Knows Nothing?,

Articles containing Ancient Greek-language text

This saying is also connected or conflated with theanswerto a question Socrates (according toXenophon) orChaerephon(according to Plato) is said to have posed to thePythia, theoracle of Delphi, in which the Oracle stated something to the effect of Socrates is the wisest.1

. Kaplan Publishing. p.9.ISBN978-1-4277-9953-1.

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Quotations related toSocratesat Wikiquote

I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.

There is also a passage byDiogenes Laertiusin his workLives and Opinions of Eminent Philosopherswhere he lists, among the things that Socrates used to say:10ἰέ ὲ ὲ ὴ ὐὸ ῦ ἰέ, or that he knew nothing except that he knew that very fact (i.e. that he knew nothing).

InApology, Plato relates that Socrates accounts for his seeming wiser than any other person because he does not imagine that he knows what he does not know.7

, Cambridge University Press, 2005,p. 82.

ύ ὲ ῦ ἀώ ἐὼ ώός ἰ ύ ὲ ὰ ἡῶ ὐές ὐὲ ὸ ἀὸ ἰέ, ἀ᾽ ὗς ὲ ἴί ἰέ ὐ ἰώς, ἐὼ έ, ὥ ὖ ὐ ἶ, ὐὲ ἴ ἔ ῦ ύ ῷ ὐῷ ύῳ ώς ἶ, ὅ ἃ ὴ ἶ ὐὲ ἴ ἰέ.

Here, Socrates aims at the change of Menos opinion, who was a firm believer in his own opinion and whose claim to knowledge Socrates had disproved.

On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates

Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle: Divination and Democracy

Socrates also deals with this phrase in Platos dialogueMenowhen he says:9

One ought to remember the context in which this passage occurs, namely Socrates having gone to a wise man, and having discussed with him, withdraws and thinks the above to himself. Socrates, since he denied any kind of knowledge, then tried to find someone wiser than himself among politicians, poets, and craftsmen. It appeared that politicians claimed wisdom without knowledge; poets could touch people with their words, but did not know their meaning; and craftsmen could claim knowledge only in specific and narrow fields. The interpretation of the Oracles answer might be Socrates awareness of his own ignorance.8

[] ἔ ῦ ύ ῷ ὐῷ ύῳ ώς ἶ, ὅ ἃ ὴ ἶ ὐὲ ἴ ἰέ.

, Oxford University Press 1998, p. 46).

The only thing I know is that I know nothingI know one thing; that I know nothingI know that all I know is that I do not know anything, is a well-known saying that is derived fromPlatos account of the. The phrase is not one that Socrates himself is ever recorded as saying.

ὶ ῦ ὶ ἀῆς ὃ ἔ ἐὼ ὲ ὐ ἶ, ὺ έ ἴς ό ὲ ᾔ ὶ ἐῦ ἅ, ῦ έ ὅς ἶ ὐ ἰό.

Theories in ancient Greek philosophy

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

Evidence that Socrates does not actually claim to know nothing can be found atApology29b-c, where he claims twice to know something. See alsoApology29d, where Socrates indicates that he is so confident in his claim to knowledge at 29b-c that he is willing to die for it.

because) I know, that I do not know].

[So now I do not know what virtue is; perhaps you knew before you contacted me, but now you are certainly like one who does not know.] (trans.G. M. A. Grube)

Socratic paradox may also refer to statements of Socrates that seem contrary to common sense, such as that no one desires evil11(seeSocratic paradoxes).

The unexamined life is not worth living

…et hoc scio solum, quia scio me nescire

[] I seem, then, in just this little thing to be wiser than this man at any rate, that what I do not know I do not think I know either.

Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

, vol. 1, Oxford University Press 2007, p. 14; Gerasimos Santas, The Socratic Paradoxes,

Fine argues that it is better not to attribute it to him (Does Socrates Claim to Know that He Knows Nothing?,

The saying, though widely attributed to Platos Socrates in both ancient and modern times, actually occurs nowhere in Platos works in this form.5Two prominent Plato scholars have recently argued that the claim should not be attributed to Platos Socrates.6

Translatum: The Greek Translation Vortal Topic: All I know is that I know nothing

Articles containing Latin-language text

Again, closer to the quote, there is a passage in PlatosApology, where Socrates says that after discussing with someone he started thinking that:7

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