Socrates' Test of Three - An Example of Great Wisdom

Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher and he is credited as one of the founders of t...

Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher and he is credited as one of the founders of the Western philosophy. The following story has a great moral and can easily be applied in our everyday lives:

In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."


"That's right, Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it." 

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's True or not."

"Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued. "You may still pass though, because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be Useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

This was the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

Source: HumansAreFree.com;

Dear Friends,
HumansAreFree.com is and will always be free to access and use. If you appreciate my work, please help me continue.

Stay updated via Email Newsletter:


Wisdom 1036381276552879052

Post a Comment

  1. I think we could learn a lot from his wisdom, and use this the next some "well meaning" person wants to share some gossip with us.

  2. Wisdom is timeless, wonderful post!

  3. i guess we Greeks lost lot of our wisdom through time

  4. I think if he was so smart, then how he learned his knowledge, by blind faith as a believer or by trial and error. A smarter person will not only learn from his own god and bad experiences, but also from others' good and bad experiences.

    1. Double Huh? And they walk among us.

  5. I love it! Can you direct me to a link/ book with stories and conversations like this ?

    1. I would like to read a book about wisdom myself. Maybe someone would make us a recommendation.

    2. Marcus Aurelius Meditations


In order to counter the increasing amount of spam, phishing (money scam) and aggressive advertising, you are kindly invited to log in to your Google Account before leaving a comment.

Please, be polite and bring arguments to your statements. Trolling, phishing, spamming, strong language and advertising is not allowed. Thank you!



Like & Follow


What's hot?


Thanks for the coffee!