Plato

Plato

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Hardiwinoto.com-Plato (427-347 BC) is an Athenian philosopher. Plato has been one of the most influential philosophers of all time. Benjamin Jowett, a translator of Plato’s work, once remarked that “the germs of all ideas are to be found in Plato.”

Plato’s father was Ariston. His mother’s family included Critias, one of Thirty Tyrantsseized power in Athens following the Great Peloponnesian War. As a young man Plato was a devoted friend of Socrates’. Later, he taught in a grove called Academus and created the philosophical school known as the academy, which produced such thinkers as Aristotle. Other facts about Plato are less certain. He was said by Diogenes Laertius to have been a good wrestler, a poet, and soldier who fought in three great battles. Diogenes also related that Plato conversed with Egyptian priests. He was said to have traveled to Sicily, where he attempt unsuccessfully to educate Dionysius II in the principles of the philosopher king.

Athens in Plato’s day was a place of philosophical speculation. Athenians discussed problems that still engage the minds of men. Socrates began to seek what knowledge he could regarding the ideas of Athenians on right and wrong. Socrates’ questioning was expressed and amplified by the dialogues of Plato.

Plato’s work is in the form of philosophical dialogues. These are conversations in which questions are discussed as they would have been among Athenians intellectuals. Through all these dialogues, in which Socrates is usually the principal speaker, runs the idea that the intellect has the power to work for human betterment and that truth is good. The subject treated are generally psychology, education, and political reform. Some of the dialogues are clear and logical, like the ‘Threatetus,’ while others are mystical, like ‘Timaues.’ In the Republic Plato explores question of justice, and in so doing he develops an idea of the perfect state.

(High School Encyclopedia, Golden Press, New York, 1961)

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