The ancient Greeks were known for their contributions to philosophy and the study of life. One of the most intriguing concepts that emerged during this period was the idea of “what is life?”

Origins of Greek Philosophy

Greek philosophy began in the 6th century BCE with Thales of Miletus, who is considered to be the father of Western philosophy. From there, other Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle emerged, each contributing their own unique perspective on life and its meaning.

The Concept of Life in Greek Philosophy

In ancient Greece, life was seen as a fundamental aspect of existence. Philosophers believed that everything had a soul or essence that made it alive. This essence was often referred to as “psuche” or “soul” in Greek.

Pythagoras’ View on Life

Pythagoras believed that all living things had a soul that was immortal and could be reincarnated into another being after death. He also believed in a universal soul that connected all living things.

Socrates’ View on Life

Socrates believed that the purpose of life was to seek knowledge and wisdom. He famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He believed that through questioning and self-reflection, individuals could achieve a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Plato’s View on Life

Plato built upon Socrates’ ideas by suggesting that there was a realm outside of our physical world where perfect forms existed. He believed that humans could access this realm through reason and contemplation.

Aristotle’s View on Life

Aristotle believed that everything had an inherent purpose or function. For example, he argued that the purpose of an acorn was to grow into an oak tree. He also believed that humans had a unique function, which was to use reason to achieve happiness and fulfillment.


In conclusion, the ancient Greeks had a deep fascination with the concept of life and its meaning. Through their philosophy, they explored various perspectives on what it means to be alive and how we can achieve a fulfilling existence. Their ideas continue to influence modern philosophical thought and our understanding of life today.