There is no reliable evidence to point to the work written by Confucius himself. Readers could consult the following to learn more about Confucius' thoughts in general and his educational idea and practice in particular.
The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.
These words are spoken by Socrates in Plato's Apology,1 a largely fictional account of his speeches at the trial that led to his conviction and execution. We have no guarantee that Socrates actually uttered these words, or any others-or indeed that he thought anything in particular, since he wrote nothing himself, and we are forced to rely on numerous and often conflicting reports about him by those who did write: people like Plato, or Xenophon (to name what are probably our two most voluminous contemporary 'authorities'). But the eleven words quoted-six in Plato's original Greek-form an essential part of one highly plausible account of Socrates' thinking which we can put together, mainly from Plato's works. 2 Since this is an account that makes Socrates a particularly interesting figure from the point of view of educational theory-since, that is, it would give him a theory of outstanding interest for educationalists-there would be good reason for considering it in the context of the present volume even if it turned out that the real Socrates had no such theory at all (why prefer to discuss a duller person than a more brilliant theory)? In any case, since there is hardly any chance of a definitive solution to 'the problem of Socrates', as it is sometimes called, short of his returning from the dead, what will be presented here may as well represent what he stood for (and I believe that there are good, if less than conclusive, arguments for supposing that it was). 3
Here are the main things we appear to know about the historical Socrates. Born in Athens, son of Sophroniscus-probably a stonemason-and Phaenaretê-a midwife-he served with great distinction as a heavy-armed infantryman on several campaigns, but never held any command; he generally avoided ordinary political involvement, but did serve on the executive committee of the democratic Council, a committee which also