On October 2, henry bugbee began an intellectual excursion on Socrates, which continued until October 10, 1952. Bugbee begins by the claim that focusing on Socrates’ contributions on induction could cloud the real force of his thought. According to Bugbee, Socrates was primarily concerned with an “examined life.” In this examination, man was the focus and self-knowledge was the goal. A pursuit of knowledge outside of man should serve the pursuit of understanding oneself. Socrates was never after a system of thought. Bugbee argues that Socrates’ questions and themes led us back to ourselves and our capacity for reflection. His own life was the testimony to all these.

Bugbee then shifts by thinking about one of the themes that Socrates brought up: the examined life and is value. Any man, whether his vocation is intellectual or manual, should claim that a life worth living involves his vocation. A life worth living must include a vocation no matter what it is.

One’s choice of vocation depends on one’s view of what is essential to himself.1 Is the examination of life what is essential to all? For Socrates, it is, because of two reasons. First, man needs knowledge to excel. Second, man consciously avoids the worse course.

Socrates’ conception of the examined life and how much we agree with it, Bugbee claims, are great guiding issues for ethical reflection. This actually reminds me of something I wrote in the past: An unexamined life can still be a good life. We can continue living without answering the deepest questions. And even so, we can say that that life was a good life. But I also remember something rem tanauan mentioned a while back. He argued that we were created with creative abilities, therefore, we need to be capitalizing on these abilities and getting out there. The same thing can be said with our intellectual abilities. We were gifted with these. Making the most of them would mean that we are living a life as full as possible. It also means we are capable of deepening and increasing the meaning of our own lives.



  1. The Inward Morning Commentary 1952-09-29