Introduction in life. There are many forms


Philosophy requires one to assess the life he or she is living in a manner to have key fundamental achievement in life. There are many forms of examining ones life. Socrates and Nozick examine life to provide significant information about examined and unexamined life.


Socrates is the founder of western philosophy. He invented the Socratic Method where he investigated the ideas purported by individuals through dialogue. He always asked individuals questions of why they did what they did.

This was annoying to the Athenians. Hence it led to his execution with charges of corrupting young people and causing subversive elements in the State. Socrates interviews Euthyphro and apology in a bid to see if they know what they are doing (Hogan 63). His motive was not to find out what little they know but rather how little they understand about something. He challenges their assumption and teases out how little they know. Socrates conceives examined life as questioning to look at someone’s series of views and how everything individuals who are interviewed fit together. He thinks that one can have a conversation to collaborate with other minds.

Socrates conversations and examining lives of individuals are mutually illuminating since they lead to knowledge. He views the question and answer session as a mode to assess where one good and best lies. Examining life instills practical reasoning. Socrates’ own dictum of unexamined life is not worth living looks at the broader context of life (McCabe). The focus is away from individual piece of practical reasoning. He looks at it as the constant questioning making sure that principle and process of reasoning are honest, consistent and fit together. It brings out things that one is ready to be responsible for making the centre of the live worth living.

He is keen to note that the examined life is the central explanation of what makes it a virtuous life. Friends, love and all other privileges still constitute to the examined life. Socrates defines wisdom as being reflective to ones actions in life (McCabe). Wisdom is a perspective to what one thinks. The perspective is detached and one can look, and reflect on things one thinks as if it was outside.

The only proper way to do so is in a conversation. He looks at the wise man as whether he is happy in life and he introspects that a wise person will engage in a social activity when thinking about one’s life. Conversations provide differences in perspective (McCabe).

One seeks education as a fundamental feature of discussing with people in an open mind open ended that allows them to reflect on their think without insistence and imperative (Wolfsdorf 234). This needs one to be sincere to their beliefs and implies the interviewer to have respect to the person they are interviewing. Socrates does not approve the examination in the contemporary sense since they imply there is a wrong and the right answer. He implies that it is not easy to reason.


Nozick’s views an examined life, as a self portrait. A portrait is a depiction of an individual being who has internal mental state.

It involves self representation or an act in a part of the subject. It captures the person mood character and feelings. Portrait painters put into the picture various aspects of the character manifested with time after the painter has invested time and relationship with the subject (Cynthia). They show characteristics gesture stunts and pose in a short period. In the portrait, Nozick implies that the idea of the past standing as a whole bringing out an fascinating study of oneself in time. Nozick outlines the portrait is trying to capture the essence of an individual in life. It provides the fundamental character of a person.

It gives an insight of the quality of a person. Portraiture can change the awareness of the self, bringing out a whole view of human nature. The portraits are generally expressive. Nozick is keen to note that the portrait is about how the portrait painter examines the character of the subject (Cynthia). Life as a portrait reflects the deeds and action of an individual at different scenarios. A person can reflect on his or her life and decide to transform and change dimension of his or her identity.

However, they are limited with the extent of how they can express the individual. Some of the portraits do not match the face with the soul. Moreover, the physical embodiment of a person should enable to present the whole package of a person so that when one looks at it he or she can perceive and react to it (Cynthia).

Comparison between Socrates and Nozick on examined life

Similarly to the Socrates, Nozick is quick to outlay that the portraits are perfect to describe the inner feelings about an individual (Cynthia). According to Socrates, the outside should describe what is felt inside. Nozicks explains examined life as explaination of possibilities between one rational mind to another. Part of the discrepancies relates to truth about the Socrates. Nozick agrees with Socrates that life that is not life lived fully.

In both Nozick and Socrates examines one life by reflecting on values and best choices and decisions in life. However, Nozick aims his focus on a portrait where as Socrates examines life in a theoretical manner. Nozick take on unexamined life relents that one fails to bring out the intrinsic value of life while unable to express oneself to the public. Both Nozick and Socrates asses same life when they examine life.

The Socrates happened to exhibit different characteristics and proactive views that guarantee engagement in a social conversation. Both Socrates and Nozick posses a challenge to the individual examined and make his or her life bring out the intrinsic value with regard to self reflection (Taylor 20). According to Nozick, reality comes in various aspects and dimension for instance intrinsic value, depth perfection and expressiveness. These dimensions are displayed by Socrates in examining an individual’s life. Both philosophers outlay similar gains when examining lives.

A person gains from an examined life through getting knowledge of making proper decisions and living a quality life. Examined life stipulates that one has to be careful with his or her aims and the way one executes the aims (Kagan). The quality of life matters a lot. It does not matter how long one lives life but how quality the life has been.

An examined life is a life that has an author and follows a set direction towards achieving substantial goals. Living an examined life calls for one to strive for excellence.


An examined life enables one to think critically. It also enables one to make informed decisions about ones life. Examined life assists one to deal with moral problems (Kagan).

With reference to Socrates, life is worth examining by questioning the greater or lesser degree. By assessing ones, life one is able to put up substructure of actions to enable him or her become successful in life. An unexamined life will be an enormous burden to an individual hence one will not be fruitful in all his actions and objectives.

Works Cited

Cynthia, Freeland.

“Portraits”. Interview with David Edmund and Nigel Warburton. Philosophy Bite.

Retrieved from

M._McCabe_on_Socratic_Method.mp3?nvb=20080824155024&nva=20080825155024&t=0b34163a84bf4adeceaaf Web. 15 May 2011.

Hogan, Richard. “The Dialogues of Plato (Book).” Library Journal 110.11 (1985): 63.

Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 15 May 2011. Web.

15 May 2011. Kagan, Shelly. “How to Live Given the Certainty of Death”. Yale University: Open Yale Courses, November 28, 2010. Lecture. Retrieved from

Web. 15 May 2011. McCabe M.M.. “Socratic Method”. Interview with David Edmund and Nigel Warburton. Philosophy Bite.

Wolfsdorf, David. “Socrates’ Pursuit of Definitions.” Phronesis 48.

4 (2003): 271-312. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 15 May 2011.

Taylor, Quentin P. “The Last Day of Socrates: An Invitation to Philosophy.” Midwest Quarterly 42.1 (2000): 20. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO.

Web. 15 May 2011.


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