Plato: the influential philosopher - Deepstash
Plato: the influential philosopher

Plato: the influential philosopher

Plato was originally named Aristocles (not to be confused with Aristotle). Plato was born in Athens around May 21 in 428 or 427 B.C.

Plato was a student and follower of Socrates. It is through Plato that we are most familiar with Socrates' philosophy. Plato wrote dialogues in which his teacher took part, usually asking leading questions - known as the Socratic method.

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MORE IDEAS FROM What You Should Know About the Philosopher Plato

In the Middle Ages, Plato was known through Latin translations of Arabic translations. In the Renaissance - when Greek became more familiar - far more scholars studied Plato. Plato had an impact on math, science, morals, and political theory.

Plato may have founded an institution known as the Academy, from which we get the word academic. When Plato died, the leadership of the Academy passed to his nephew Speusippus. The Academy continued for several centuries.

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Many consider Plato as the most important philosopher who ever lived. He is known as the father of idealism. His ideas were elitist, with the philosopher king the ideal ruler.

  • Apology is Plato's version of Socrates trial and Phaedo is his version of the death of Socrates.
  • Plato introduced Atlantis in Timaeus and tells the story of Atlantis in Critias.
  • Plato's Republic contains a treatise on education, with the parable of cave perhaps the best known to college students.

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RELATED IDEA

Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • Ancient Greek philosophy extends from as far as the seventh century B.C. up until the beginning of the Roman Empire, in the first century A.D.
  • It distinguishes itself from other early forms of philosophical and theological theorizing for its emphasis on reason as opposed to the senses or the emotions.
  • During this period five great philosophical traditions originated: the Platonist, the Aristotelian, the Stoic, the Epicurean, and the Skeptic.
  • Favorite themes include the principle of reality, the good; the life worth being lived; the distinction between appearance and reality, etc.

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The Meaning of a Good Life

One of the oldest philosophical questions is the meaning of living well. Philosophers have delved into the hidden complexities of how should one live and what is the concept of the good life.

Being honest, trustworthy, kind, and principled is one way to express one’s goodness, in the moral sense. Being virtuous, righteous and selfless has always been given priority over the other ‘good’ things like pleasure, wealth and power.

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Pursuing happiness

We all say we want to be happy, but happiness is often out of our grasp. Maybe the problem is not so much with us, but with the concept of happiness.

A better concept is eudaimonia, which means 'good soul,' 'good spirit,' or 'good god.'

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