100 Years Carnegie

Men of Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie


Carnegie Building

(469-399 B.C.)

Did you know?

The name of Socrates, like McKinley, was originally on the outside of the Carnegie Building. It was enclosed in the stairwell when stairs were added to the sides of the building.

Socrates was an Athenian who lived during the 5th century B.C. Through his use of critical reasoning and his unwavering commitment to truth, Socrates set the standard for all following Western philosophy. As a young man, Socrates showed a great deal of interest in scientific studies, but he later abandoned inquiries into the physical world for a dedicated investigation of the development of moral character. After serving as a soldier in the Peloponnesian War, Socrates engaged himself briefly with the political life of Athens, but then retired to work as a stonemason and raise his children. After inheriting a small sum from his father, Socrates used his financial independence to give full-time attention to philosophy. inventing the practice of philosophical dialogue.

Socrates earned a place in history through his approach to philosophical dialogue, challenging the aristocratic young citizens of Athens to question known truths. Socrates pointedly declined any payment for his work with students, but although he disdained material success, many students were fanatically loyal to him. Their parents, however, were often displeased with Socrates’s influence. An Athenian jury convicted Socrates of corrupting the youth and interfering with the religion of the city, and they sentenced him to death in 399 B.C. Accepting this outcome with remarkable grace, Socrates drank hemlock and died in the company of his friends and disciples.

Since he left no literary legacy of his own, we are dependent upon writers like Aristophanes and Xenophon for our information about Socrates. Our best source of information are the early dialogues of his student Plato. Plato recorded extended conversations between Socrates and students, statesmen, and friends (the Socratic dialogues), which employ a dialectical method to encourage critical inquiry and challenge widely-held doctrines. Socrates sought to understand virtue, morality, and piety as philosophical concepts rather than reactions to any external authority, including that which is divine.


Philosophy Pages.
"Socrates," available from
Internet; accessed 26 January 2005.

Bust of Socrates


"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance."

"The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways - I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows. "

- Plato's Apology
Last words of his speech to the court following his sentence of death


  1. The Last Days of Socrates from Clarke College
  2. History of Greek Philosophy from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  3. Socrates - Philosophical Life, an outline of Socrates's thought and his place in philosophy

This page is part of the 100 Years Carnegie project
commemorating the 100 year anniversary
of the Carnegie Building at Bucknell University.

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