Socrates (470–399 BCE) was a classical Greek philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in Western philosophy. He is credited with laying the foundations for much of modern philosophical thought, including his famous Socratic method, which encourages critical thinking and dialogue through questions and answers. His works have inspired generations of philosophers from all eras, such as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Descartes, and Kant.

The essence of Socrates' teachings can be found in his famous quote "The unexamined life is not worth living". This phrase sums up his main goal: to encourage people to think deeply about their beliefs and values so that they can live more meaningful lives. To this end, he used dialectic questioning—answering probing questions designed to challenge accepted ideas or uncover contradictions in logic—as well as engaging in debates with others on topics ranging from ethics to science. Through these activities, he sought to get people to question their own preconceived notions about reality and morality while developing new insights into truth itself. By examining both sides of an argument critically instead of accepting conventional wisdom at face value, Socrates believed individuals could come closer to discovering absolute truths about the world around them.