Plato

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Bust of Plato

Plato was a very important classical Greek philosopher. He lived from 427 BC to 348 BC. He was a student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. Plato wrote about many ideas in philosophy that are still talked about today. In fact, one modern philosopher (Alfred North Whitehead) said that all philosophy since Plato has just been comments on his works.

Plato wrote his books in the form of dialogues—people talking about ideas, and sometimes disagreeing about them. This makes Plato's books more interesting to read.

Socrates is usually the main person in Plato's dialogues. Usually, Socrates talks with people about their ideas, and tries to see if they believe anything that is illogical. Other people in the stories often become angry with Socrates because of this. People who study Plato argue about whether Socrates really said the same things that Plato makes him say, or whether Plato just used Socrates as a character, to make the ideas he was talking about seem more important.

Plato opposed the rhetorics of sophism and insisted true justice and equality in his work "Gorgias" and immortality of soul in "Phaedo".

One of Plato's most famous works is The Republic (In Greek, Politeia, or 'city'). In that work, he describes Socrates's vision of an "ideal" state. The method of questioning in this dialogue, called the Socratic method, is as important as the content. The Republic contains ideas of Socrates: "Socrates said it, Plato wrote it."

Plato also wrote the Laws.

Works by Plato[change | change source]

There are many dialogues that were supposed to be written by Plato. But because he was such a famous philosopher, some later philosophers said that their works were really written by him, to make their works seem more important.

In the list on this page, a work is marked (1) if scholars are not sure that Plato really wrote it, and it is marked (2) if scholars generally agree that Plato did not really write it.

References[change | change source]

Lavine, T.Z. (August 1989). From Socrates to Sartre: the Philosophic Quest. Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-25161-9.

Related pages[change | change source]