Plato 101: Philosopher and Academic
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Plato 101: Philosopher and Academic

Plato was a student of Socrates and is considered one of western civilizationÂ’s greatest philosophers.

Plato was a student of Socrates and is considered one of western civilization’s greatest philosophers. Plato wrote a great deal of work as opposed to his teacher. The style in which he writes is a dialogue, the chief philosophical debater being Socrates. There were actually two eyewitnesses of the trial of Socrates, Xenophon and Plato being one of them. Plato and Xenophon both wrote an apology of Socrates (defense), but Plato’s became the most famous. Plato focused on reality and ideal Forms.

According to Plato, “a higher world of eternal, unchanging Ideas or Forms has always existed.” To Know the Forms was to Know truth. The objects we perceive with our senses are simply reflections of ideal Forms. Plato believed that only a handful could acquire wisdom. Once it’s acquired it’s fixed and eternal, permanent. He also believed there was a creator-Demiurge- who crafted the world. This may have been the beginning of monotheism.

There was also a Platonist’s Academy formed. The Academy continued until 429 B.C. when Justinian the Great shut down the last pagan school of philosophy. Although Plato was a philosopher, he also had his own views on government. His views are expressed in his dialogue entitled The Republic. Plato distrusted the workings of democracy and he knew that living an ethical life was almost impossible in Athens. He constructed an ideal state in which the state was divided into three groups: upper class, a ruling class, and philosopher kings . Each state fulfilled its own role, thus creating a society that functioned harmoniously.

Community as opposed to individual was Plato’s focus. He also believed that rulers should separate themselves from ideas of wealth so that each ruler strives for what is best for the community. Plato urged people, specifically rulers, “to rid the guardians of those desires”. Plato also believed that women could be rulers of the Greek state. Not only was Plato a person, philosopher, and agent of government affairs, but also he was an institution. He was a firm believer in doing what you love, because once you find a perfect fit, there's no reason to go elseware.

All things will be produced in superior quantity and quality, and with greater ease, when each man works at a single occupation, in accordance with his natural gifts, and at the right moment, without meddling with anything else. ~PLATO

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Comments (4)

well written, I have no votes left so I facebooked it

Ranked #3 in Philosophy


No worries. I'm getting around to voting myself. Just got done with finals.

Ranked #7 in Philosophy

Very well said Lauren and I agree with Plato about the eternal higher world and about the Truth, well composed.

It is so easy to confirm and recommend your well detailed article. I fully enjoyed reading and learning from it as well.Thank you.