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Spinning the wheel of history, one could come across many philosophers who are having different perspectives and philosophies about life. It has been seen that different philosophers have given their philosophy depending on their own life experiences. Socrates is one of the most influential philosopher of all times whose philosophy is still followed and practiced. He is the most unique individual of his time and he is known for making a profound impact on an individual’s mind through his wisdom, intelligence, power of the critical thinking and moral strength. Critical evaluation of most of the studies shows that his philosophy is based on discovering the truth. One of the most evident factors of his philosophy is “Socrates quest”. One of his main claims is "All I know is that I know nothing” and this gives a clear insight of his philosophy, the practice of having critical thought about all the things that he found in his surroundings.
Though there are various characters in books and movies that follow Socrates philosophy of exploring everything, Sherlock Holmes is one of the most suitable characters who go hand in hand with Socrates’s philosophy “The unexamined life is not worth living. One commonality that has been found in Socrates philosophy and Sherlock is that both encourage exploring the undiscovered (Marshall & Mason). He is a famous fictional character of the 19th and 20th century. Sherlock became famous among the readers for having powers of using the logics and his keen observation that he used to solve his cases. It has been witnessed that despite being one of the most knowledgeable people of his time, he used to believe that he knows nothing. His quest for knowledge led him to explore more and more and likewise, the character of Sherlock could be seen as one who wanted to know all the secrets of the world. Analysis of character “Sherlock Holmes” shows that the author of this character, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s portrayal of this character shows that his ideology, while sketching this character was based on Socratic ideas.
Analysis of Socratic philosophy shows that one must consider that there is a sea of knowledge and he/she only has a drop out of that knowledge sea. Sherlock’s curiosity of exploring and discovering things by using his logics shows that he was inspired by the Socratic philosophy (Weiss & Roslyn, 165-183). Another interesting factor that could be noticed in Sherlock’s character is that after his fake suicide, he was remembered as the wisest person that people ever knew, as he was master in solving the cases (Fitzpatrick, 153-208). Since then, it has been portrayed in many Sherlock shows that crimes during that time were not all solved by using science and generally superstitions were highlighted and people used to wait for wrongful confessions. At that time, even the investigation methods were very simple and non-scientific. Doyle purposely inculcated in Sherlock an instinct to search for truth by using logic and deductive reasoning which sheds light on the fact that this character was a follower of Socratic philosophy.
Taking a look at the character of Sherlock it could be said that he was quite consistent with the decisions that he made. He was the one who wanted to solve every misery considering that there is much in this world that is hidden from him and his quest for exploring more was the driving force that inspired him to go into the depth of the mysteries. His struggle for knowing the unknown and solving mysteries shows the consistency of his decisions. Sherlock didn’t show lack of overriding philosophy as he was just following his nature and his quest for knowledge could be viewed as part of his nature.
His actions and keen observation skills show that he got into his cases so deeply that he used to remain immune to all the distractions until he solved the mystery. His actions spoke a lot about his nature that for him, this world was a puzzle that he had to explore by using his power of logic (Heifetz & Carl). His extremist nature of digging the bottom of things and truth concealed by mountains of trifles and deception made him a true follower of Socratic philosophy: “All I know is that I know nothing” which pushes him to uncover the hidden facts of life. Socratic philosophy claims that one who once starts believing that this world is full of mysteries and needs to be explored cannot rely on other’s justification, rather they start exploring the other side of the world that remained unknown to others.
Sherlock’s actions depict his belief that matches Socratic philosophy. Sherlock believed that the world around us has hidden meaning and many secrets are there and one who realizes this fact would look for the secret and would not rest unless he/she finds answers. It won’t be wrong to say that people are obsessed with the characters because somewhere in his character, they could see a reflection of their curiosity and anxiety for life. Being more logical, analytical and rational is the only way of gathering all the desired knowledge. So as a whole, it could be concluded that Sherlock Holmes is one of the characters who spends his life on Socratic principles and beliefs. The central idea of Sherlock and Socratic belief are that no one could claim that he knows all, rather it is better to accept that unexamined life is not worth living.
Fitzpatrick, P. J. "The legacy of Socrates." Socratic Questions. Routledge, 2018. 153-208.
Heifetz, Carl. Sherlock Holmes through the Microscope. Andrews UK Limited, 2018.
Marshall, Mason. "Socrates’ defensible devices in Plato’s Meno." Theory and Research in Education (2019): 1477878519862544.
Weiss, Roslyn. "Free to Care: Socrates’ Political Engagement." Socrates in the Cave. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2019. 165-183.
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