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Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an
Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens The Acropoli ...
philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mi ...

philosopher
during the
Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical antiquity, in the Greco-Roman world *Classical India, an historic period of India (c. 322 BC - c. 550 CE) *Classical period (music), in music ...
in
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
, founder of the
Platonist Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of ...
school of thought and the
Academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
, the first institution of higher learning in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
. He is widely considered a pivotal figure in the
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
of
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
and
Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality ...
, along with his teacher,
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
, and his most famous student,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
. Plato has also often been cited as one of the founders of
Western religion The Western religions are the religions Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exch ...
and
spirituality The meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other. Traditionally, spirituality referred to a Religion, religious process of re-formation which "aims to recover the origin ...

spirituality
. The so-called
neoplatonism Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...
of philosophers such as
Plotinus Plotinus (; grc-gre, Πλωτῖνος, ''Plōtînos'';  – 270 CE) was a major Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surround ...

Plotinus
and Porphyry greatly influenced
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...
through
Church Fathers The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians Christian theology is the theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, di ...
such as Augustine.
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of ...
once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of
footnotes A note is a string of text placed at the bottom of a page (paper), page in a book or document or at the end of a chapter, volume or the whole text. The note can provide an author's comments on the main text or citations of a reference work in s ...
to Plato." Plato was an innovator of the written
dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. ...
and
dialectic Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States Engli ...
forms in philosophy. Plato is also considered the founder of Western
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or menta ...

political philosophy
. His most famous contribution is the
theory of Forms#REDIRECT Theory of forms {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{Redirect from other capitalisation {{Redirect unprintworthy ...
known by
pure reason Speculative reason, sometimes called theoretical reason or pure reason, is theoretical (or logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argument ...
, in which Plato presents a solution to the
problem of universals The problem of universals is an ancient question from metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epi ...
known as
Platonism Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy o ...
(also ambiguously called either
Platonic realism Platonic realism is the philosophy, philosophical position that universals (metaphysics), universals or abstract objects exist objectively and outside of human minds. It is named after the Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher Plato who applied Phi ...
or
Platonic idealism Platonic realism is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or ...
). He is also the namesake of
Platonic love Platonic love (often lowercased as platonic love) is a type of love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpe ...

Platonic love
and the
Platonic solids A Platonic solid is a Convex set, convex regular polyhedron in three-dimensional space, three-dimensional Euclidean space. Being a regular polyhedron means that the face (geometry), faces are congruence (geometry), congruent (identical in shape and ...

Platonic solids
. His own most decisive philosophical influences are usually thought to have been, along with Socrates, the
pre-Socratics Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued t ...
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...

Pythagoras
,
Heraclitus Heraclitus of Ephesus (; grc-gre, Ἡράκλειτος ; , ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ...

Heraclitus
and
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Parmenides
, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire body of work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated, Plato's works have consistently been read and studied.


Biography


Early life


Birth and family

Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about Plato's early life and education. Plato belonged to an
aristocratic Aristocracy ( grc-gre, ἀριστοκρατία , from 'excellent', and , 'rule') is a form of government that places strength in the hands of a small, privileged ruling class, the aristocrats. The term derives from the Greek ''aristokrat ...
and influential family. According to a disputed tradition, reported by
doxographerDoxography ( el, δόξα – "an opinion", "a point of view" +  – "to write", "to describe") is a term used especially for the works of classical historians, describing the points of view of past philosopher A philosopher is someone ...
Diogenes Laërtius Diogenes Laërtius ( ; grc-gre, Διογένης Λαέρτιος, Dīogénēs Lāértios; ) was a biographer of the Ancient Greece, Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving ''Lives and Opinions of Em ...
, Plato's father Ariston traced his descent from the
king of Athens Before the Athenian democracy, the tyrants, and the Archons, the city-state of Athens was ruled by monarch, kings. Most of these are probably mythology, mythical or only semi-historical. Earliest kings These three kings were supposed to have ruled ...
,
Codrus Codrus (: , ''Kódros'') was the last of the semi-mythical (r. ca –). He was an ancient exemplar of and self-. He was succeeded by his son , who it is claimed ruled not as king but as the first . He was said to have traced his descent to the se ...
, and the king of
Messenia Messenia or Messinia ( ; el, Μεσσηνία ) is a regional units of Greece, regional unit (''perifereiaki enotita'') in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese (region), Peloponnese Administrative regions of Greece, region, in Greece. Un ...

Messenia
,
MelanthusIn Greek mythology, Melanthus ( grc, Μέλανθος) was a king of Messenia and son of Andropompus and Henioche. He was among the descendants of Neleus (the Neleidae) expelled from Messenia, by the descendants of Heracles, as part of the legendary ...
.Diogenes Laërtius, ''Life of Plato'', III

According to the ancient Hellenic tradition, Codrus was said to have been descended from the mythological deity
Poseidon Poseidon (; grc-gre, Ποσειδῶν, ) was one of the Twelve Olympians upright=1.8, Fragment of a relief Relief is a sculptural technique where the sculpted elements remain attached to a solid background of the same material. The t ...

Poseidon
. Plato's mother was
PerictionePerictione ( grc-gre, Περικτιόνη ''Periktiónē''; fl. 5th century BC) was the mother of the Greek philosopher Plato. She was a descendant of Solon, the Athenian lawgiver. Her illustrious family goes back to Dropides, archon of the year 6 ...
, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian
lawmaker A legislator (or lawmaker) is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are often elected by the people of the state. Legislatures may be supra-national (for example, the European Pa ...
and
lyric poet Lyric poetry is a formal type of poetry which expresses personal emotions or feelings, typically spoken in the first person. It is not equivalent to Song Lyrics, song lyrics, though they are often in the lyric mode. The term derives from a form o ...
Solon Solon ( grc-gre, Σόλων Solon ( grc-gre, wikt:Σόλων, Σόλων ''Sólōn'' ;  BC) was an Archaic Greece#Athens, Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, e ...

Solon
, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of
Draco DRACO (double-stranded RNA Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polymer A polymer (; Greek '' poly-'', "many" + '' -mer'', "part") is a substance or material consisting of very large molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning t ...
(except for the death penalty for
homicide Homicide is an act of a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structu ...

homicide
).Diogenes Laërtius, ''Life of Plato'', I Perictione was sister of
Charmides Charmides (; grc-gre, Χαρμίδης), son of Glaucon, was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the ...
and niece of
Critias Critias (; grc-gre, Κριτίας, ''Kritias''; c. 460 – 403 BC) was an Classical Athens, ancient Athenian political figure and author. Born in Athens, Critias was the son of Callaeschrus and a first cousin of Plato's mother Perictione. He ...
, both prominent figures of the
Thirty Tyrants The Thirty Tyrants ( grc, οἱ τριάκοντα τύραννοι, ''hoi triákonta týrannoi'') were a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Classical Athens, Athens after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BCE. Upon Lysander's request, the ...
, known as the Thirty, the brief
oligarchic Oligarchy (; ) is a form of power structure A power structure is an overall system of influence between any individual and every other individual within any selected group of people. A description of a power structure would capture the way in w ...
regime In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social sc ...

regime
(404–403 BC), which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the
Peloponnesian War The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to ...

Peloponnesian War
(431–404 BC).

According to some accounts, Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed in his purpose; then the
god In monotheism, monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, creator, and principal object of Faith#Religious views, faith.Richard Swinburne, Swinburne, R.G. "God" in Ted Honderich, Honderich, Ted. (ed)''The Oxfo ...
Apollo Apollo, grc, Ἀπόλλωνος, ''Apóllōnos'', label=genitive , ; , grc-dor, Ἀπέλλων, ''Apéllōn'', ; grc, Ἀπείλων, ''Apeílōn'', label=Arcadocypriot Greek, ; grc-aeo, Ἄπλουν, ''Áploun'', la, Apollō, ...

Apollo
appeared to him in a vision, and as a result, Ariston left Perictione unmolested.Apuleius, ''De Dogmate Platonis'', 1
• Diogenes Laërtius, ''Life of Plato'', I
The exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or
Aegina Aegina (; el, Αίγινα, ''Aígina'' ; grc, Αἴγῑνα) is one of the of in the , from . Tradition derives the name from , the mother of the hero , who was born on the island and became its king. Administration Municipality The mu ...

Aegina
between 429 and 423 BC, not long after the start of the Peloponnesian War. The traditional date of Plato's birth during the 87th or 88th
Olympiad An Olympiad ( el, Ὀλυμπιάς, ''Olympiás'') is a period of four years associated with the Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: Jeux olympiques) are leading international sporting events featuring summer and ...

Olympiad
, 428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius, who says, "When ocrateswas gone,
lato Lato ( grc, Λατώ, Latṓ) was an ancient city of Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, : , : '','' ) is the largest and most populous of the , the largest island in the world and the largest island in the , after , , , and . Crete ...

lato
joined
Cratylus Cratylus ( ; grc, Κρατύλος, ''Kratylos'') was an History of Athens, ancient Athenian philosopher from the mid-late 5th century BCE, known mostly through his portrayal in Plato's Dialogues of Plato, dialogue ''Cratylus (dialogue), Cratylus'' ...
the Heracleitean and Hermogenes, who philosophized in the manner of Parmenides. Then, at twenty-eight, Hermodorus says,
lato Lato ( grc, Λατώ, Latṓ) was an ancient city of Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, : , : '','' ) is the largest and most populous of the , the largest island in the world and the largest island in the , after , , , and . Crete ...

lato
went to ." However, as
Debra Nails Debra Nails (born November 15, 1950) is an American philosophy professor who taught at Michigan State University Michigan State University (MSU) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individua ...
argues, the text does not state that Plato left for Megara immediately after joining Cratylus and Hermogenes. In his '' Seventh Letter'', Plato notes that his coming of age coincided with the taking of power by the Thirty, remarking, "But a youth under the age of twenty made himself a laughingstock if he attempted to enter the political arena." Thus, Nails dates Plato's birth to 424/423. According to Neanthes, Plato was six years younger than
Isocrates Isocrates (; grc, Ἰσοκράτης ; 436–338 BC) was an ancient Greek rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Tri ...
, and therefore was born the same year the prominent Athenian statesman
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
died (429 BC).
Jonathan Barnes Jonathan Barnes, FBA (born 26 December 1942 in Wenlock, Shropshire) is an English scholar of Aristotelian and ancient philosophy. Education and career He was educated at the City of London School , established = , closed = , type = Pub ...
regards 428 BC as the year of Plato's birth. The
grammarian Grammarian may refer to: * Alexandrine grammarians, philologists and textual scholars in Hellenistic Alexandria in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE * Biblical grammarians, scholars who study the Bible and the Hebrew language * Grammarian (Greco-Roman ...
Apollodorus of Athens Apollodorus of Athens ( el, Ἀπολλόδωρος ὁ Ἀθηναῖος, ''Apollodoros o Athineos''; c. 180 BC – after 120 BC) son of Asclepiades, was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Gree ...
in his ''Chronicles'' argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad. Both the ''
Suda The ''Suda'' or ''Souda'' (; grc-x-medieval, Σοῦδα, Soûda; la, Suidae Lexicon) is a large 10th-century Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman ...

Suda
'' and
Sir Thomas Browne Sir Thomas Browne (; 19 October 1605 – 19 October 1682) was an English polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
also claimed he was born during the 88th Olympiad. Another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping: an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Besides Plato himself, Ariston and Perictione had three other children; two sons, Adeimantus and
Glaucon Glaucon (; el, Γλαύκων; c. 445 BC – 4th century BC), son of Ariston (Athenian), Ariston, was an Classical Athens, ancient Athenian and Plato's older brother. He is primarily known as a major conversant with Socrates in the ''Republic (P ...
, and a daughter
PotonePotone (; el, Πωτώνη ''Pōtōnē''; born before 427 BC) daughter of Ariston and PerictionePerictione ( grc-gre, Περικτιόνη ''Periktiónē''; fl. 5th century BC) was the mother of the Greek philosopher Plato. She was a descendant o ...
, the mother of
Speusippus Speusippus (; el, Σπεύσιππος; c. 408 – 339/8 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
(the nephew and successor of Plato as head of the ). The brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the ''
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
'' as sons of Ariston,Plato, ''Republic'
368a
br />•
and presumably brothers of Plato, though some have argued they were uncles. In a scenario in the ''
Memorabilia A souvenir (from French, meaning "a remembrance or memory"), memento, keepsake, or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. A souvenir can be any object that can be collected or purchas ...
'',
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens mont ...

Xenophon
confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato. Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult.
Perictione then married
PyrilampesPyrilampes ( grc-gre, wikt:Πυριλάμπης, Πυριλάμπης) was an Ancient Athens, ancient Athenian politician and stepfather of the philosopher Plato. His dates of birth and death are unknown, but according to estimations of Debra Nails, ...
, her mother's brother,Plato, ''Charmides'
158a
br />•
who had served many times as an ambassador to the and was a friend of
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens.Plato, ''Charmides'
158a
br />• Plutarch, ''Pericles'',
Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, Demus, who was famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, Antiphon, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in ''
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...
''.Plato, ''Parmenides'
126c
/ref> In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato often introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues or referred to them with some precision. In addition to Adeimantus and Glaucon in the ''Republic'', Charmides has a dialogue named after him; and Critias speaks in both ''
Charmides Charmides (; grc-gre, Χαρμίδης), son of Glaucon, was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the ...
'' and ''
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
''. These and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Plato's
family tree A family tree, also called a genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of , family history, and the tracing of their lineages. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic a ...

family tree
. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the ''Charmides'' is a glorification of the whole amilyconnection ... Plato's dialogues are not only a memorial to Socrates but also the happier days of his own family."


Name

The fact that the philosopher in his maturity called himself ''Platon'' is indisputable, but the origin of this name remains mysterious. ''Platon'' is a
nickname A nickname (also moniker) is a substitute for the proper name of a familiar person, place or thing. Commonly used to express affection, a form of endearment, and sometimes amusement, it can also be used to express defamation of character De ...
from the adjective ''platýs'' () 'broad'. Although ''Platon'' was a fairly common name (31 instances are known from Athens alone), the name does not occur in Plato's known family line. Sedley, David, ''Plato's Cratylus'', Cambridge University Press 2003
pp. 21–22
.
The sources of Diogenes Laërtius account for this by claiming that his
wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport A combat sport, or fighting sport, is a competitive contact sport that usually involves one-on-one combat. In many combat sports, a contestant wins by scoring more points than the opponent or by disabling the oppon ...
coach, Ariston of Argos, dubbed him "broad" on account of his chest and shoulders, or that Plato derived his name from the breadth of his eloquence, or his wide forehead.Diogenes Laërtius, ''Life of Plato'', IV While recalling a moral lesson about frugal living
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
mentions the meaning of Plato's name: "His very name was given him because of his broad chest." His true name was supposedly Aristocles (), meaning 'best reputation'. According to Diogenes Laërtius, he was named after his grandfather, as was common in Athenian society. But there is only one inscription of an Aristocles, an early archon of Athens in 605/4 BC. There is no record of a line from Aristocles to Plato's father, Ariston. Recently a scholar has argued that even the name Aristocles for Plato was a much later invention. However, another scholar claims that "there is good reason for not dismissing he idea that Aristocles was Plato's given nameas a mere invention of his biographers", noting how prevalent that account is in our sources.


Education

Ancient sources describe him as a bright though modest boy who excelled in his studies.
Apuleius Apuleius (; also called Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis; c. 124 – c. 170 AD) was a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

Apuleius
informs us that Speusippus praised Plato's quickness of mind and modesty as a boy, and the "first fruits of his youth infused with hard work and love of study".Apuleius, ''De Dogmate Platonis'', 2 His father contributed all which was necessary to give to his son a good education, and, therefore, Plato must have been instructed in
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
,
music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated concepts , , and ...

music
, and
gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit bet ...

gymnastics
by the most distinguished teachers of his time.Diogenes Laërtius, ''Life of Plato'', IV
Plato invokes Damon many times in the ''Republic''. Plato was a wrestler, and
Dicaearchus Dicaearchus of Messana (; grc-gre, Δικαίαρχος ''Dikaiarkhos''; ), also written Dicearchus or Dicearch (), was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially t ...
went so far as to say that Plato wrestled at the
Isthmian gamesIsthmian Games or Isthmia (Ancient Greek: Ἴσθμια) were one of the Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece, and were named after the Isthmus of Corinth, where they were held. As with the Nemean Games, the Isthmian Games were held both the year befo ...
.Diogenes Laërtius, ''Life of Plato'', V Plato had also attended courses of philosophy; before meeting Socrates, he first became acquainted with Cratylus and the Heraclitean doctrines.Aristotle, ''Metaphysics'',
987a
Ambrose Ambrose of Milan (born Aurelius Ambrosius; c. 340 – 397), venerated as Saint Ambrose, ; lmo, Sant Ambroeus . was the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milan, Bishop of Milan, a theologian, and one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures o ...

Ambrose
believed that Plato met
Jeremiah Jeremiah, Modern Modern may refer to: History *Modern history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human acti ...

Jeremiah
in Egypt and was influenced by his ideas. Augustine initially accepted this claim, but later rejected it, arguing in ''
The City of God ''On the city of God against the pagans'' ( la, De civitate Dei contra paganos), often called ''The City of God'', is a book of Christian philosophy written in Latin language, Latin by Augustine of Hippo in the early 5th century AD. The book ...
'' that "Plato was born a hundred years after Jeremiah prophesied."


Later life and death

Plato may have travelled in Italy,
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
, Egypt, and
Cyrene Cyrene may refer to: Antiquity * Cyrene (mythology), an ancient Greek mythological figure * Cyrene, Libya, an ancient Greek colony in North Africa (modern Libya) ** Crete and Cyrenaica, a province of the Roman Empire ** Cyrenaica, the region aroun ...

Cyrene
. Plato's own statement was that he visited Italy and Sicily at the age of forty and was disgusted by the sensuality of life there. Said to have returned to Athens at the age of forty, Plato founded one of the earliest known organized schools in Western Civilization on a plot of land in the Grove of Hecademus or Academus. This land was named after Academus, an
Attic An attic (sometimes referred to as a ''loft 's Near West Side A loft is a building's upper storey or elevated area in a room directly under the roof (American usage), or just an attic: a storage space under the roof usually accessed by a lad ...

Attic
hero in
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
. In historic Greek times it was adorned with oriental plane and olive plantations The
Academy An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
was a large enclosure of ground about six stadia (a total of between a kilometer and a half mile) outside of Athens proper. One story is that the name of the comes from the ancient hero, Academus; still another story is that the name came from a supposed former owner of the plot of land, an Athenian citizen whose name was (also) Academus; while yet another account is that it was named after a member of the army of
Castor and Pollux Castor; grc, Κάστωρ, Kástōr, beaver. and Pollux. (or Polydeukes). are twin half-brothers in Greek mythology, Greek and Roman mythology, known together as the Dioscuri.; grc, Διόσκουροι, Dióskouroi, sons of Zeus, links=no, f ...

Castor and Pollux
, an named Echedemus. The operated until it was destroyed by
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Ancient Romans, Roman List of Roman generals, general and Politician, statesman. He won the first large-scale civil war in Roman history, and became the first man of Rom ...
in 84 BC. Many intellectuals were schooled in the , the most prominent one being Aristotle. Throughout his later life, Plato became entangled with the politics of the city of
Syracuse Syracuse may refer to: Places Italy *Syracuse, Sicily Syracuse ( ; it, Siracusa , or scn, Seragusa, label=none ; lat, Syrācūsae ; grc-att, wikt:Συράκουσαι, Συράκουσαι, Syrákousai ; grc-dor, wikt:Συράκοσ ...

Syracuse
. According to Diogenes Laërtius, Plato initially visited Syracuse while it was under the rule of
Dionysius The name Dionysius (; el, Διονύσιος ''Dionysios'', "of Dionysus Dionysus (; grc-gre, Διόνυσος) is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, r ...

Dionysius
. During this first trip Dionysius's brother-in-law,
Dion of SyracuseDion (; el, Δίων ὁ Συρακόσιος; 408–354 BC), tyrant A tyrant (from Ancient Greek , ''tyrannos''), in the modern English language, English usage of the word, is an absolute ruler who is unrestrained by law, or one who has u ...
, became one of Plato's disciples, but the tyrant himself turned against Plato. Plato almost faced death, but he was sold into slavery.
AnnicerisAnniceris ( grc-gre, Ἀννίκερις; fl. 300 BC) was a Cyrenaic The Cyrenaics or Kyrenaics ( grc, Κυρηναϊκοί; ''Kyrēnaïkoí'') were a sensual hedonist Greek school of philosophy founded in the 4th century Common Era, BCE, supposedl ...
, a
Cyrenaic The Cyrenaics or Kyrenaics ( grc, Κυρηναϊκοί; ''Kyrēnaïkoí'') were a sensual hedonist Hedonism refers to a family of theories, all of which have in common that ''pleasure'' plays a central role in them. ''Psychological'' or ''moti ...
philosopher, subsequently bought Plato's freedom for twenty minas, and sent him home. After Dionysius's death, according to Plato's ''Seventh Letter'', Dion requested Plato return to Syracuse to tutor Dionysius II and guide him to become a philosopher king. Dionysius II seemed to accept Plato's teachings, but he became suspicious of Dion, his uncle. Dionysius expelled Dion and kept Plato against his will. Eventually Plato left Syracuse. Dion would return to overthrow Dionysius and ruled Syracuse for a short time before being usurped by Calippus, a fellow disciple of Plato. According to Seneca, Plato died at the age of 81 on the same day he was born. The Suda indicates that he lived to 82 years, while Neanthes claims an age of 84. A variety of sources have given accounts of his death. One story, based on a mutilated manuscript, suggests Plato died in his bed, whilst a young
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. "The Thracians were an Indo-European people who occupied ...
girl played the flute to him. Another tradition suggests Plato died at a wedding feast. The account is based on Diogenes Laërtius's reference to an account by Hermippus, a third-century Alexandrian. According to
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religio ...

Tertullian
, Plato simply died in his sleep. Plato owned an estate at Iphistiadae, which by will he left to a certain youth named Adeimantus, presumably a younger relative, as Plato had an elder brother or uncle by this name.


Influences


Pythagoras

Although Socrates influenced Plato directly as related in the dialogues, the influence of
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in Ionian Greek () was an ancient Ionians, Ionian Ancient Greek philosophy, Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graec ...

Pythagoras
upon Plato, or in a broader sense, the
Pythagoreans Pythagoreanism originated in the 6th century BC, based on the teachings and beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans. Pythagoras established the first Pythagorean community in Crotone, Italy. Early Pythagorean communities spr ...
, such as
Archytas Archytas (; el, Ἀρχύτας; 435/410–360/350 BC) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is oft ...

Archytas
also appears to have been significant. Aristotle claimed that the philosophy of Plato closely followed the teachings of the Pythagoreans, and
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
repeats this claim: "They say Plato learned all things Pythagorean." It is probable that both were influenced by Orphism, and both believed in
metempsychosis Metempsychosis ( grc-gre, μετεμψύχωσις), in philosophy, refers to transmigration of the soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a socie ...
, transmigration of the
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
. Pythagoras held that all things are number, and the cosmos comes from numerical principles. He introduced the concept of form as distinct from matter, and that the physical world is an imitation of an eternal mathematical world. These ideas were very influential on Heraclitus, Parmenides and Plato. George Karamanolis notes that
Numenius accepted both Pythagoras and Plato as the two authorities one should follow in philosophy, but he regarded Plato's authority as subordinate to that of Pythagoras, whom he considered to be the source of all true philosophy—including Plato's own. For Numenius it is just that Plato wrote so many philosophical works, whereas Pythagoras' views were originally passed on only orally.
According to R. M. Hare, this influence consists of three points: #The platonic Republic might be related to the idea of "a tightly organized community of like-minded thinkers", like the one established by Pythagoras in Croton. #The idea that mathematics and, generally speaking, abstract thinking is a secure basis for philosophical thinking as well as "for substantial theses in
science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...

science
and
morals Morality (from ) is the differentiation of intention Intention is a mind, mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought. Def ...
". #They shared a "mystical approach to the soul and its place in the material world".


Plato and mathematics

Plato may have studied under the mathematician
Theodorus of Cyrene Theodorus of Cyrene Cyrene may refer to: Antiquity * Cyrene (mythology), an ancient Greek mythological figure * Cyrene, Libya, an ancient Greek colony in North Africa (modern Libya) ** Crete and Cyrenaica, a province of the Roman Empire ** Cyrena ...
, and has a
dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. ...
named for and whose central character is the mathematician Theaetetus. While not a mathematician, Plato was considered an accomplished teacher of mathematics.
Eudoxus of Cnidus Eudoxus of Cnidus (; grc, Εὔδοξος ὁ Κνίδιος, ''Eúdoxos ho Knídios''; ) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from ...
, the greatest mathematician in Classical Greece, who contributed much of what is found in
Euclid Euclid (; grc-gre, Εὐκλείδης Euclid (; grc, Εὐκλείδης – ''Eukleídēs'', ; fl. 300 BC), sometimes called Euclid of Alexandria to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referre ...

Euclid
's '' Elements'', was taught by Archytas and Plato. Plato helped to distinguish between
pure Pure may refer to: Computing * A pure function * A virtual function, pure virtual function * PureSystems, a family of computer systems introduced by IBM in 2012 * Pure Software, a company founded in 1991 by Reed Hastings to support the Purify too ...
and
applied mathematics Applied mathematics is the application of mathematical methods by different fields such as physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and be ...
by widening the gap between "arithmetic", now called
number theory Number theory (or arithmetic or higher arithmetic in older usage) is a branch of devoted primarily to the study of the s and . German mathematician (1777–1855) said, "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences—and number theory is the queen ...

number theory
and "logistic", now called
arithmetic Arithmetic (from the Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:en:ἀριθμός#Ancient Greek, ἀριθμός ''arithmos'', 'number' and wikt:en:τική#Ancient Greek, τική wikt:en:τέχνη#Ancient Greek, έχνη ''tiké échne', 'art' or 'cr ...
. In the dialogue '' Timaeus'' Plato associated each of the four
classical element Classical elements typically refer to Water (classical element), water, Earth (classical element), earth, Fire (classical element), fire, Air (classical element), air, and (later) Aether (classical element), aether, which were proposed to expla ...
s (
earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...
,
air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at April 2019 concentration ). Number ...
,
water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main constituent of Earth's hydrosphere and the fluids of all known li ...
, and
fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction Product (chemistry), products. Fire is hot because the conversion of the weak double bond in molecula ...
) with a regular solid (
cube In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position ...

cube
,
octahedron In geometry, an octahedron (plural: octahedra, octahedrons) is a polyhedron with eight faces, twelve edges, and six vertices. The term is most commonly used to refer to the regular octahedron, a Platonic solid composed of eight equilateral tri ...

octahedron
,
icosahedron In geometry, an icosahedron ( or ) is a polyhedron with 20 faces. The name comes and . The plural can be either "icosahedra" () or "icosahedrons". There are infinitely many non-similarity (geometry), similar shapes of icosahedra, some of them ...

icosahedron
, and
tetrahedron In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position ...

tetrahedron
respectively) due to their shape, the so-called Platonic solids. The fifth regular solid, the
dodecahedron In geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position o ...

dodecahedron
, was supposed to be the element which made up the heavens.


Heraclitus and Parmenides

The two philosophers
Heraclitus Heraclitus of Ephesus (; grc-gre, Ἡράκλειτος ; , ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ...

Heraclitus
and
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Parmenides
, following the way initiated by pre-Socratic Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras, depart from
mythology Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the ca ...

mythology
and begin the
metaphysical Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysical
tradition that strongly influenced Plato and continues today. The surviving fragments written by Heraclitus suggest the view that all things are , or becoming. His image of the river, with ever-changing waters, is well known. According to some ancient traditions such as that of
Diogenes Laërtius Diogenes Laërtius ( ; grc-gre, Διογένης Λαέρτιος, Dīogénēs Lāértios; ) was a biographer of the Ancient Greece, Greek philosophers. Nothing is definitively known about his life, but his surviving ''Lives and Opinions of Em ...
, Plato received these ideas through Heraclitus' disciple
Cratylus Cratylus ( ; grc, Κρατύλος, ''Kratylos'') was an History of Athens, ancient Athenian philosopher from the mid-late 5th century BCE, known mostly through his portrayal in Plato's Dialogues of Plato, dialogue ''Cratylus (dialogue), Cratylus'' ...
, who held the more radical view that continuous change warrants
scepticism Skepticism (American English, American and Canadian English) or scepticism (British English, British, Hiberno-English, Irish, Australian English, Australian, and New Zealand English) is generally a questioning attitude or doubt towards one or m ...
because we cannot define a thing that does not have a permanent nature. Parmenides adopted an altogether contrary vision, arguing for the idea of changeless
Being In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, la ...

Being
and the view that change is an illusion. John Palmer notes "Parmenides' distinction among the principal modes of being and his derivation of the attributes that must belong to what must be, simply as such, qualify him to be seen as the founder of metaphysics or
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as existence, being, Becoming (philosophy), becoming, and reality. It includes the questions of how entities are grouped into Category of being, basic categories and which of these ...

ontology
as a domain of inquiry distinct from
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
." These ideas about change and permanence, or becoming and Being, influenced Plato in formulating his theory of Forms. Plato's most self-critical dialogue is the ''Parmenides'', which features Parmenides and his student
Zeno Zeno or Zenon ( grc, Ζήνων) may refer to: People * Zeno (name), including a list of people and characters with the name Philosophers * Zeno of Elea (), philosopher, follower of Parmenides, known for his paradoxes * Zeno of Citium (333 – 2 ...

Zeno
, who, following Parmenides' denial of change, argued forcefully through his
paradoxes A paradox, also known as an antinomy, is a logically self-contradictory statement or a statement that runs contrary to one's expectation. It is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to a seemingly self-con ...
to deny the existence of
motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), position over time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of Displacem ...

motion
. Plato's ''
Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or more subject areas, such as philosophy, rhetoric, music, athletics, and mathematics. They taught ...
'' dialogue includes an
Eleatic The Eleatics were a Pre-Socratic philosophy, pre-Socratic school of philosophy founded by Parmenides in the early fifth century BC in the ancient town of Velia, Elea. Other members of the school included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos. Xen ...
stranger, a follower of Parmenides, as a foil for his arguments against Parmenides. In the dialogue, Plato distinguishes
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
s and
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
s, providing some of the earliest treatment of subject and
predicate Predicate or predication may refer to: Computer science *Syntactic predicate (in parser technology) guidelines the parser process Linguistics *Predicate (grammar), a grammatical component of a sentence Philosophy and logic * Predication (philo ...
. He also argues that motion and
rest Rest or REST may refer to: Human resting positions * Kneeling Kneeling is a basic human position where one or both knees touch the ground. Kneeling is defined as “to position the body so that one or both knees rest on the floor,” according to ...
both "are", against followers of Parmenides who say rest is but motion is not.


Socrates

Plato was one of the devoted young followers of
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
. The precise relationship between Plato and Socrates remains an area of contention among scholars. Plato never speaks in his own voice in his dialogues, and speaks as Socrates in all but the ''Laws''. In the ''Second Letter'', it says, "no writing of Plato exists or ever will exist, but those now said to be his are those of a Socrates become beautiful and new"; if the Letter is Plato's, the final qualification seems to call into question the dialogues' historical fidelity. In any case,
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens mont ...

Xenophon
's ''
Memorabilia A souvenir (from French, meaning "a remembrance or memory"), memento, keepsake, or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. A souvenir can be any object that can be collected or purchas ...
'' and
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
's ''
The Clouds ''The Clouds'' ( grc, Νεφέλαι ''Nephelai'') is a Greek comedy Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal drama Drama is the specific Mode (literature), mode of fiction Mimesis, represented in performance: a Play (the ...

The Clouds
'' seem to present a somewhat different portrait of Socrates from the one Plato paints. The Socratic problem asks how to reconcile these various accounts.
Leo Strauss Leo Strauss (; ; September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Born in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 25 ...
notes that Socrates' reputation for
irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device In rhetoric Rhetoric () is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emoti ...

irony
casts doubt on whether Plato's Socrates is expressing sincere beliefs. Aristotle attributes a different doctrine with respect to Forms to Plato and Socrates. Aristotle suggests that Socrates' idea of forms can be discovered through investigation of the natural world, unlike Plato's Forms that exist beyond and outside the ordinary range of human understanding. In the dialogues of Plato though, Socrates sometimes seems to support a
mystical Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to any kind of ecstasy Ecstasy may refer to: * Ecstasy (emotion), a trance or trance-like state in which a person transcends normal consciousness * Religious e ...

mystical
side, discussing
reincarnation Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with p ...
and the
mystery religions Mystery religions, mystery cults, sacred mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious schools of the Greco-Roman world Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in ...
, this is generally attributed to Plato. Regardless, this view of Socrates cannot be dismissed out of hand, as we cannot be sure of the differences between the views of Plato and Socrates. In the ''
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determine whether virt ...

Meno
'' Plato refers to the
Eleusinian Mysteries The Eleusinian Mysteries ( el, Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια, Eleusínia Mystḗria) were initiations held every year for the Cult (religious practice), cult of Demeter and Persephone based at the Panhellenic Sanctuary of Eleusis in ancien ...
, telling Meno he would understand Socrates's answers better if he could stay for the initiations next week. It is possible that Plato and Socrates took part in the Eleusinian Mysteries.


Philosophy


Metaphysics

In Plato's dialogues, Socrates and his company of disputants had something to say on many subjects, including several aspects of
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
. These include religion and science, human nature, love, and sexuality. More than one dialogue contrasts perception and
reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only imaginary Imaginary may refer to: * Imaginary (sociology), a concept in sociology * The Imaginary (psychoanalysis), a concept by ...

reality
,
nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...

nature
and custom, and body and soul.


The Forms

"Platonism" and its theory of Forms (or theory of Ideas) denies the reality of the material world, considering it only an image or copy of the real world. The theory of Forms is first introduced in the ''
Phaedo ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, Φαίδων ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, wikt:Φαίδων, Φαίδων, ''Phaidōn'' ), also known to ancient readers as ''On The Soul'', is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, al ...

Phaedo
'' dialogue (also known as ''On the Soul''), wherein Socrates refutes the pluralism of the likes of
Anaxagoras Anaxagoras (; grc-gre, Ἀναξαγόρας, ''Anaxagoras'', "lord of the assembly";  BC) was a Pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the i ...

Anaxagoras
, then the most popular response to Heraclitus and Parmenides, while giving the "Opposites Argument" in support of the Forms. According to this theory of Forms, there are at least two worlds: the apparent world of
concrete Concrete is a composite material A composite material (also called a composition material or shortened to composite, which is the common name) is a material Material is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a ter ...
objects, grasped by the
sense A sense is a biological system used by an organism for sensation, the process of gathering information about the world and responding to Stimulus (physiology), stimuli. (For example, in the human body, the brain receives signals from the senses ...

sense
s, which constantly changes, and an unchanging and unseen world of Forms or
abstract objects In metaphysics, the distinction between abstract and concrete refers to a divide between two types of entities. Many philosophers hold that this difference has fundamental metaphysical significance. Examples of concrete objects include Plant, plant ...
, grasped by
pure reason Speculative reason, sometimes called theoretical reason or pure reason, is theoretical (or logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argument ...
(), which ground what is apparent. It can also be said there are three worlds, with the apparent world consisting of both the world of material objects and of mental images, with the "third realm" consisting of the Forms. Thus, though there is the term "Platonic idealism", this refers to Platonic Ideas or the Forms, and not to some platonic kind of
idealism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...

idealism
, an 18th-century view which sees
matter In classical physics Classical physics is a group of physics theories that predate modern, more complete, or more widely applicable theories. If a currently accepted theory is considered to be modern, and its introduction represented a major ...
as unreal in favour of
mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fun ...

mind
. For Plato, though grasped by the mind, only the Forms are truly real. Plato's Forms thus represent
types Type may refer to: Science and technology Computing * Typing Typing is the process of writing or inputting text by pressing keys on a typewriter, computer keyboard, cell phone, or calculator. It can be distinguished from other means of text inpu ...
of things, as well as
properties Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether phys ...
, patterns, and
relations Relation or relations may refer to: General uses *International relations, the study of interconnection of politics, economics, and law on a global level *Interpersonal relationship, association or acquaintance between two or more people *Public ...
, to which we refer as objects. Just as individual tables, chairs, and cars refer to objects in this world, 'tableness', 'chairness', and 'carness', as well as e. g.
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
,
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
, and
beauty Beauty is commonly described as a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive. Such objects include landscapes, sunsets, humans and works of art. Beauty, together with art and taste, is the main subject of aesthetics ...

beauty
refer to objects in another world. One of Plato's most cited examples for the Forms were the truths of
geometry Geometry (from the grc, γεωμετρία; ' "earth", ' "measurement") is, with , one of the oldest branches of . It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures. A mat ...

geometry
, such as the
Pythagorean theorem In mathematics, the Pythagorean theorem, or Pythagoras' theorem, is a fundamental relation in Euclidean geometry among the three sides of a right triangle. It states that the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side opposite ...

Pythagorean theorem
. In other words, the Forms are
universals In metaphysics, a universal is what particular things have in common, namely characteristics or qualities. In other words, universals are repeatable or recurrent entities that can be instantiated or exemplified by many particular things. For example ...
given as a solution to the problem of universals, or the problem of "the One and the Many", e. g. how one predicate "red" can apply to many red objects. For Plato, this is because there is one abstract object or Form of red, redness itself, in which the several red things "participate". As Plato's solution is that universals are Forms and that Forms are real if anything is, Plato's philosophy is unambiguously called Platonic realism. According to Aristotle, Plato's best-known argument in support of the Forms was the "one over many" argument. Aside from being immutable, timeless, changeless, and one over many, the Forms also provide definitions and the standard against which all instances are measured. In the dialogues Socrates regularly asks for the meaning – in the sense of
intension In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...

intension
al
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...

definition
s – of a general term (e. g. justice, truth, beauty), and criticizes those who instead give him particular,
extensionalIn philosophy of language In analytic philosophy, philosophy of language investigates the nature of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, ...
examples, rather than the quality shared by all examples. There is thus a world of perfect, eternal, and changeless meanings of predicates, the Forms, existing in the
realm A realm is a community or territory over which a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin ...
of Being outside of
space and time In physics, spacetime is any mathematical model which fuses the three-dimensional space, three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time into a single four-dimensional manifold. The fabric of space-time is a conceptual model combining the ...
; and the imperfect sensible world of becoming, subjects somehow in a state between being and nothing, that partakes of the qualities of the Forms, and is its instantiation.


The soul

Plato advocates a belief in the immortality of the soul, and several dialogues end with long speeches imagining the
afterlife The afterlife (also referred to as life after death or the world to come) is an existence in which the essential part of an individual's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group ...

afterlife
. In the ''Timaeus'', Socrates locates the parts of the soul within the human body: Reason is located in the head, spirit in the top third of the
torso The torso or trunk is an anatomical terminology, anatomical term for the central part, or the core (anatomy), core, of the body (biology), body of many animals (including humans), from which the head, neck, limb (anatomy), limbs, tail and other a ...

torso
, and the appetite in the middle third of the torso, down to the
navel The navel (clinically known as the umbilicus, commonly known as the belly button) is a protruding, flat, or hollowed area on the abdomen The abdomen (colloquially called the belly, tummy, midriff or stomach) is the part of the body between th ...

navel
.


Epistemology

Socrates also discusses several aspects of
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the Outline of philosophy, branch of philosophy concerned with knowledge. Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic Justification (epistemology), justification, the Reason, rationality o ...

epistemology
. More than one dialogue contrasts knowledge (''
episteme Episteme (Ancient Greek: ; French: ''épistémè'') is a philosophical term that refers to a principled system of understanding; scientific knowledge. The term comes from the Ancient Greek verbs, Ancient-Greek verb ''epístamai'' (ἐπῐ́στ ...
'') and opinion (''
doxa Doxa (; from verb )Henry Liddell, Liddell, Henry George, and Robert Scott (philologist), Robert Scott. 1940.δοκέω" In ''A Greek–English Lexicon, A Greek-English Lexicon'', edited by Henry Stuart Jones, H. S. Jones and R. McKenzie. Oxford. ...

doxa
''). Plato's epistemology involves Socrates arguing that knowledge is not
empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition In logic and linguistics, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence (linguistics), sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguistic entity which is s ...
, and that it comes from divine insight. The Forms are also responsible for both knowledge or certainty, and are grasped by pure reason. In several dialogues, Socrates inverts the common man's intuition about what is knowable and what is real. Reality is unavailable to those who use their senses. Socrates says that he who sees with his eyes is blind. While most people take the objects of their senses to be real if anything is, Socrates is contemptuous of people who think that something has to be graspable in the hands to be real. In the ''Theaetetus'', he says such people are ''eu amousoi'' (εὖ ἄμουσοι), an expression that means literally, "happily without the muses". In other words, such people are willingly ignorant, living without divine inspiration and access to higher insights about reality. In Plato's dialogues, Socrates always insists on his ignorance and humility, that he knows nothing, so-called "
Socratic irony Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what on the surface appears to be the case or to be expected differs radically from what is actually the case. Irony can be categorized into differe ...
." Several dialogues refute a series of viewpoints, but offer no positive position, thus ending in
aporia In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that ...
.


Recollection

In several of Plato's dialogues, Socrates promulgates the idea that knowledge is a matter of
recollection Recall in memory refers to the mental process of retrieval of information from the past. Along with encoding (memory), encoding and storage (memory), storage, it is one of the three core processes of memory. There are three main types of recall: f ...
of the state before one is born, and not of observation or study. Keeping with the theme of admitting his own ignorance, Socrates regularly complains of his forgetfulness. In the ''Meno'', Socrates uses a geometrical example to expound Plato's view that knowledge in this latter sense is acquired by recollection. Socrates elicits a fact concerning a geometrical construction from a slave boy, who could not have otherwise known the fact (due to the slave boy's lack of education). The knowledge must be present, Socrates concludes, in an eternal, non-experiential form. In other dialogues, the ''Sophist'', ''
Statesman A statesman or stateswoman typically is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or ...
'', ''Republic'', and the ''Parmenides'', Plato himself associates knowledge with the apprehension of unchanging Forms and their relationships to one another (which he calls "expertise" in Dialectic), including through the processes of ''collection'' and ''division''. More explicitly, Plato himself argues in the ''Timaeus'' that knowledge is always proportionate to the realm from which it is gained. In other words, if one derives one's account of something experientially, because the world of sense is in flux, the views therein attained will be mere opinions. And opinions are characterized by a lack of necessity and stability. On the other hand, if one derives one's account of something by way of the non-sensible forms, because these forms are unchanging, so too is the account derived from them. That apprehension of forms is required for knowledge may be taken to cohere with Plato's theory in the ''Theaetetus'' and ''Meno''. Indeed, the apprehension of Forms may be at the base of the "account" required for justification, in that it offers foundational knowledge which itself needs no account, thereby avoiding an .


Justified true belief

Many have interpreted Plato as stating — even having been the first to write — that
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
is
justified true belief A belief is an attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition In linguistics and logic, a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence. In philosophy, "Meaning (philosophy), meaning" is understood to be a non-linguist ...
, an influential view that informed future developments in epistemology. This interpretation is partly based on a reading of the ''Theaetetus'' wherein Plato argues that knowledge is distinguished from mere true belief by the knower having an "account" of the object of their true belief. And this theory may again be seen in the ''Meno'', where it is suggested that true belief can be raised to the level of knowledge if it is bound with an account as to the question of "why" the object of the true belief is so. Many years later,
Edmund Gettier Edmund Lee Gettier III (; October 31, 1927 – March 23, 2021) was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of ...
famously demonstrated the
problems Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods in an orderly manner to find solutions to problems. Some of the problem-solving techniques developed and used in philosophy, artificial intelligence, computer science, engineering, ma ...
of the justified true belief account of knowledge. That the modern theory of justified true belief as knowledge, which Gettier addresses, is equivalent to Plato's is accepted by some scholars but rejected by others. Plato himself also identified problems with the ''justified true belief'' definition in the ''Theaetetus'', concluding that justification (or an "account") would require knowledge of ''difference'', meaning that the definition of knowledge is
circular Circular may refer to: * The shape of a circle A circle is a shape consisting of all point (geometry), points in a plane (mathematics), plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the Centre (geometry), centre; equivalently it is ...

circular
.


Ethics

Several dialogues discuss
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...

ethics
including virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, crime and punishment, and justice and medicine. Plato views "The Good" as the supreme Form, somehow existing even "beyond being". Socrates propounded a
moral intellectualism Moral intellectualism or ethical intellectualism is a view in meta-ethics according to which genuine moral knowledge must take the form of arriving at discursive moral judgements about what one should do. One way of understanding this is that doin ...
which claimed nobody does bad on purpose, and to know what is good results in doing what is good; that knowledge is virtue. In the ''Protagoras'' dialogue it is argued that virtue is innate and cannot be learned. Socrates presents the famous
Euthyphro dilemma The Euthyphro dilemma is found in Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clic ...
in the
dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. ...
of the same name: "Is the
pious In spiritual terminology, piety is a virtue Virtue ( la, virtus) is a morality, moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is Value (ethics), valued as a foundation of principle and good moral ...
( τὸ ὅσιον) loved by the deity, gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" (Stephanus pagination, 10a)


Justice

As above, in the ''Republic'', Plato asks the question, “What is justice?” By means of the Greek term ''dikaiosune'' – a term for “justice” that captures both individual justice and the justice that informs societies, Plato is able not only to inform metaphysics, but also ethics and politics with the question: “What is the basis of moral and social obligation?” Plato's well-known answer rests upon the fundamental responsibility to seek wisdom, wisdom which leads to an understanding of the Form of the Good. Plato further argues that such understanding of Forms produces and ensures the good communal life when ideally structured under a philosopher king in a society with three classes (philosopher kings, guardians, and workers) that neatly mirror his triadic view of the individual soul (reason, spirit, and appetite). In this manner, justice is obtained when knowledge of how to fulfill one's moral and political function in society is put into practice.


Politics

The dialogues also discuss politics. Some of Plato's most famous doctrines are contained in the ''Republic'' as well as in the ''Laws (dialogue), Laws'' and the ''Statesman''. Because these opinions are not spoken directly by Plato and vary between dialogues, they cannot be straightforwardly assumed as representing Plato's own views. Socrates asserts that societies have a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite/spirit/reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite/spirit/reason are analogous to the castes of society. * ''Productive'' (Workers) – the labourers, carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc. These correspond to the "appetite" part of the soul. * ''Protective'' (Warriors or Guardians) – those who are adventurous, strong and brave; in the armed forces. These correspond to the "spirit" part of the soul. * ''Governing'' (Rulers or Philosopher Kings) – those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community. These correspond to the "reason" part of the soul and are very few. According to this model, the principles of Athenian democracy (as it existed in his day) are rejected as only a few are fit to rule. Instead of rhetoric and persuasion, Socrates says reason and wisdom should govern. As Socrates puts it: : "Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,... nor, I think, will the human race." Socrates describes these "philosopher kings" as "those who love the sight of truth" and supports the idea with the analogy of a captain and his ship or a doctor and his medicine. According to him, sailing and health are not things that everyone is qualified to practice by nature. A large part of the ''Republic'' then addresses how the educational system should be set up to produce these philosopher kings. In addition, the ideal city is used as an image to illuminate the state of one's soul, or the Free will, will, reason, and Interpersonal attraction, desires combined in the human body. Socrates is attempting to make an image of a rightly ordered human, and then later goes on to describe the different kinds of humans that can be observed, from tyrants to lovers of money in various kinds of cities. The ideal city is not promoted, but only used to magnify the different kinds of individual humans and the state of their soul. However, the philosopher king image was used by many after Plato to justify their personal political beliefs. The philosophic soul according to Socrates has reason, will, and desires united in virtuous harmony. A philosopher has the moderate love for wisdom and the courage to act according to wisdom. Wisdom is
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
about the Goodness and value theory, Good or the right relations between all that Existence, exists. Wherein it concerns states and rulers, Socrates asks which is better—a bad democracy or a country reigned by a tyrant. He argues that it is better to be ruled by a bad tyrant, than by a bad democracy (since here all the people are now responsible for such actions, rather than one individual committing many bad deeds.) This is emphasised within the ''Republic'' as Socrates describes the event of mutiny on board a ship. Socrates suggests the ship's crew to be in line with the democratic rule of many and the captain, although inhibited through ailments, the tyrant. Socrates' description of this event is parallel to that of democracy within the state and the inherent problems that arise. According to Socrates, a state made up of different kinds of souls will, overall, decline from an aristocracy (rule by the best) to a timocracy (rule by the honourable), then to an oligarchy (rule by the few), then to a democracy (rule by the people), and finally to tyranny (rule by one person, rule by a tyrant). Aristocracy in the sense of government (politeia) is advocated in Plato's Republic. This regime is ruled by a philosopher king, and thus is grounded on wisdom and reason. The aristocratic state, and the man whose nature corresponds to it, are the objects of Plato's analyses throughout much of the ''Republic'', as opposed to the other four types of states/men, who are discussed later in his work. In Book VIII, Socrates states in order the other four imperfect societies with a description of the state's structure and individual character. In timocracy, the ruling class is made up primarily of those with a warrior-like character. Oligarchy is made up of a society in which wealth is the criterion of merit and the wealthy are in control. In democracy, the state bears resemblance to ancient Athens with traits such as equality of political opportunity and freedom for the individual to do as he likes. Democracy then degenerates into tyranny from the conflict of rich and poor. It is characterized by an undisciplined society existing in chaos, where the tyrant rises as a popular champion leading to the formation of his private army and the growth of oppression.


Art and poetry

Several dialogues tackle questions about art, including rhetoric and rhapsody. Socrates says that poetry is inspired by the muses, and is not rational. He speaks approvingly of this, and other forms of divine madness (drunkenness, eroticism, and dreaming) in the ''Phaedrus'', and yet in the ''Republic'' wants to outlaw Homer's great poetry, and laughter as well. In ''Ion (dialogue), Ion'', Socrates gives no hint of the disapproval of Homer that he expresses in the ''Republic''. The dialogue ''Ion'' suggests that Homer's ''Iliad'' functioned in the ancient Greek world as the Bible does today in the modern Christian world: as divinely inspired literature that can provide moral guidance, if only it can be properly interpreted.


Rhetoric

Scholars often view Plato's philosophy as at odds with rhetoric due to his criticisms of rhetoric in the Gorgias and his ambivalence toward rhetoric expressed in the Phaedrus. But other contemporary researchers contest the idea that Plato despised rhetoric and instead view his dialogues as a dramatization of complex rhetorical principles.


Unwritten doctrines

For a long time, Plato's unwritten doctrines had been controversial. Many modern books on Plato seem to diminish its importance; nevertheless, the first important witness who mentions its existence is Aristotle, who in his ''Physics (Aristotle), Physics'' writes: "It is true, indeed, that the account he gives there [i.e. in ''Timaeus''] of the participant is different from what he says in his so-called ''unwritten teachings'' ()." The term "" literally means ''unwritten doctrines'' or ''unwritten dogmas'' and it stands for the most fundamental metaphysical teaching of Plato, which he disclosed only orally, and some say only to his most trusted fellows, and which he may have kept secret from the public. The importance of the unwritten doctrines does not seem to have been seriously questioned before the 19th century. A reason for not revealing it to everyone is partially discussed in ''Phaedrus'' where Plato criticizes the written transmission of knowledge as faulty, favouring instead the spoken ''logos'': "he who has knowledge of the just and the good and beautiful ... will not, when in earnest, write them in ink, sowing them through a pen with words, which cannot defend themselves by argument and cannot teach the truth effectually." The same argument is repeated in Plato's ''Seventh Letter'': "every serious man in dealing with really serious subjects carefully avoids writing." In the same letter he writes: "I can certainly declare concerning all these writers who claim to know the subjects that I seriously study ... there does not exist, nor will there ever exist, any treatise of mine dealing therewith." Such secrecy is necessary in order not "to expose them to unseemly and degrading treatment". It is, however, said that Plato once disclosed this knowledge to the public in his lecture ''On the Good'' (), in which the Good () is identified with the One (the Unity, ), the fundamental ontological principle. The content of this lecture has been transmitted by several witnesses. Aristoxenus describes the event in the following words: "Each came expecting to learn something about the things that are generally considered good for men, such as wealth, good health, physical strength, and altogether a kind of wonderful happiness. But when the mathematical demonstrations came, including numbers, geometrical figures and astronomy, and finally the statement Good is One seemed to them, I imagine, utterly unexpected and strange; hence some belittled the matter, while others rejected it." Simplicius of Cilicia, Simplicius quotes Alexander of Aphrodisias, who states that "according to Plato, the first principles of everything, including the Forms themselves are One and Indefinite Duality (), which he called Large and Small ()", and Simplicius reports as well that "one might also learn this from Speusippus and Xenocrates and the others who were present at Plato's lecture on the Good".see . Their account is in full agreement with Aristotle's description of Plato's metaphysical doctrine. In ''Metaphysics (Aristotle), Metaphysics'' he writes: "Now since the Forms are the causes of everything else, he [i.e. Plato] supposed that their elements are the elements of all things. Accordingly, the material principle is the Great and Small [i.e. the Dyad], and the essence is the One (), since the numbers are derived from the Great and Small by participation in the One".''Metaphysics'' 987b "From this account it is clear that he only employed two causes: that of the essence, and the material cause; for the Forms are the cause of the essence in everything else, and the One is the cause of it in the Forms. He also tells us what the material substrate is of which the Forms are predicated in the case of sensible things, and the One in that of the Forms—that it is this the duality (the Dyad, ), the Great and Small (). Further, he assigned to these two elements respectively the causation of good and of evil". The most important aspect of this interpretation of Plato's metaphysics is the continuity between his teaching and the Neoplatonic interpretation of
Plotinus Plotinus (; grc-gre, Πλωτῖνος, ''Plōtînos'';  – 270 CE) was a major Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surround ...

Plotinus
or Ficino which has been considered erroneous by many but may in fact have been directly influenced by oral transmission of Plato's doctrine. A modern scholar who recognized the importance of the unwritten doctrine of Plato was Heinrich Gomperz who described it in his speech during the 7th International Congress of Philosophy in 1930. All the sources related to the have been collected by Konrad Gaiser and published as ''Testimonia Platonica''. These sources have subsequently been interpreted by scholars from the German ''Tübingen School of interpretation'' such as Hans Joachim Krämer or Thomas A. Szlezák.


Themes of Plato's dialogues


Trial of Socrates

The trial of Socrates and his death sentence is the central, unifying event of Plato's dialogues. It is relayed in the dialogues Apology (Plato), ''Apology'', ''Crito'', and ''
Phaedo ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, Φαίδων ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, wikt:Φαίδων, Φαίδων, ''Phaidōn'' ), also known to ancient readers as ''On The Soul'', is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, al ...

Phaedo
''. ''Apology'' is Socrates' defence speech, and ''Crito'' and ''Phaedo'' take place in prison after the conviction. ''Apology'' is among the most frequently read of Plato's works. In the ''Apology'', Socrates tries to dismiss rumours that he is a sophism, sophist and defends himself against charges of disbelief in the gods and corruption of the young. Socrates insists that long-standing slander will be the real cause of his demise, and says the legal charges are essentially false. Socrates famously denies being wise, and explains how his life as a philosopher was launched by the Oracle at Delphi. He says that his quest to resolve the riddle of the oracle put him at odds with his fellow man, and that this is the reason he has been mistaken for a menace to the city-state of Athens. In ''Apology'', Socrates is presented as mentioning Plato by name as one of those youths close enough to him to have been corrupted, if he were in fact guilty of corrupting the youth, and questioning why their fathers and brothers did not step forward to testify against him if he was indeed guilty of such a crime. Later, Plato is mentioned along with Crito, Critobolus, and Apollodorus as offering to pay a fine of 30 minas on Socrates' behalf, in lieu of the death penalty proposed by Meletus. In the ''Phaedo'', the title character lists those who were in attendance at the prison on Socrates' last day, explaining Plato's absence by saying, "Plato was ill".


The trial in other dialogues

If Plato's important dialogues do not refer to Socrates' execution explicitly, they allude to it, or use characters or themes that play a part in it. Five dialogues foreshadow the trial: In the ''Theaetetus'' and the ''Euthyphro'' Socrates tells people that he is about to face corruption charges. In the ''
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determine whether virt ...

Meno
'', one of the men who brings legal charges against Socrates, Anytus, warns him about the trouble he may get into if he does not stop criticizing important people. In the ''Gorgias'', Socrates says that his trial will be like a doctor prosecuted by a cook who asks a jury of children to choose between the doctor's bitter medicine and the cook's tasty treats. In the ''Republic'', Socrates explains why an enlightened man (presumably himself) will stumble in a courtroom situation. Plato's support of aristocracy and distrust of democracy is also taken to be partly rooted in a democracy having killed Socrates. In the ''Protagoras'', Socrates is a guest at the home of Callias III, Callias, son of Hipponicus, a man whom Socrates disparages in the ''Apology'' as having wasted a great amount of money on sophists' fees. Two other important dialogues, the ''Symposium (Plato), Symposium'' and the ''Phaedrus (Plato), Phaedrus'', are linked to the main storyline by characters. In the ''Apology'', Socrates says Aristophanes slandered him in a comic play, and blames him for causing his bad reputation, and ultimately, his death. In the ''Symposium'', the two of them are drinking together with other friends. The character Phaedrus is linked to the main story line by character (Phaedrus is also a participant in the ''Symposium'' and the ''Protagoras'') and by theme (the philosopher as divine emissary, etc.) The ''Protagoras'' is also strongly linked to the ''Symposium'' by characters: all of the formal speakers at the ''Symposium'' (with the exception of Aristophanes) are present at the home of Callias in that dialogue. Charmides and his guardian Critias are present for the discussion in the ''Protagoras''. Examples of characters crossing between dialogues can be further multiplied. The ''Protagoras'' contains the largest gathering of Socratic associates. In the dialogues Plato is most celebrated and admired for, Socrates is concerned with human and political virtue, has a distinctive personality, and friends and enemies who "travel" with him from dialogue to dialogue. This is not to say that Socrates is consistent: a man who is his friend in one dialogue may be an adversary or subject of his mockery in another. For example, Socrates praises the wisdom of Euthyphro (prophet), Euthyphro many times in the ''Cratylus (dialogue), Cratylus'', but makes him look like a fool in the ''Euthyphro''. He disparages sophists generally, and Prodicus specifically in the ''Apology'', whom he also slyly jabs in the ''Cratylus'' for charging the hefty fee of fifty drachmas for a course on language and grammar. However, Socrates tells Theaetetus in his namesake dialogue that he admires Prodicus and has directed many pupils to him. Socrates' ideas are also not consistent within or between or among dialogues.


Allegories

''Mythos'' and ''logos'' are terms that evolved throughout classical Greek history. In the times of Homer and Hesiod (8th century BC) they were essentially synonyms, and contained the meaning of 'tale' or 'history'. Later came historians like Herodotus and Thucydides, as well as philosophers like Heraclitus and Parmenides and other Presocratics who introduced a distinction between both terms; mythos became more a ''nonverifiable account'', and logos a ''rational account''. It may seem that Plato, being a disciple of Socrates and a strong partisan of philosophy based on ''logos'', should have avoided the use of myth-telling. Instead, he made abundant use of it. This fact has produced analytical and interpretative work, in order to clarify the reasons and purposes for that use. Plato, in general, distinguished between three types of myth. First, there were the false myths, like those based on stories of gods subject to passions and sufferings, because reason teaches that God is perfect. Then came the myths based on true reasoning, and therefore also true. Finally, there were those non-verifiable because beyond of human reason, but containing some truth in them. Regarding the subjects of Plato's myths, they are of two types, those dealing with the origin of the universe, and those about morals and the origin and fate of the soul. It is generally agreed that the main purpose for Plato in using myths was didactic. He considered that only a few people were capable or interested in following a reasoned philosophical discourse, but men in general are attracted by stories and tales. Consequently, then, he used the myth to convey the conclusions of the philosophical reasoning. Some of Plato's myths were based in traditional ones, others were modifications of them, and finally, he also invented altogether new myths. Notable examples include the story of Atlantis, the Myth of Er, and the Allegory of the Cave.


The Cave

The theory of Forms is most famously captured in his Allegory of the Cave, and more explicitly in his analogy of the sun and Analogy of the divided line, the divided line. The Allegory of the Cave is a paradoxical analogy wherein Socrates argues that the invisible world is the most intelligible (''noeton'') and that the visible world (''(h)oraton'') is the least knowable, and the most obscure. Socrates says in the ''Republic'' that people who take the sun-lit world of the senses to be good and real are living pitifully in a den of evil and ignorance. Socrates admits that few climb out of the den, or cave of ignorance, and those who do, not only have a terrible struggle to attain the heights, but when they go back down for a visit or to help other people up, they find themselves objects of scorn and ridicule. According to Socrates, physical objects and physical events are "shadows" of their ideal or perfect forms, and exist only to the extent that they instantiate the perfect versions of themselves. Just as shadows are temporary, inconsequential epiphenomena produced by physical objects, physical objects are themselves fleeting phenomena caused by more substantial causes, the ideals of which they are mere instances. For example, Socrates thinks that perfect justice exists (although it is not clear where) and his own trial would be a cheap copy of it. The Allegory of the Cave is intimately connected to his political ideology, that only people who have climbed out of the cave and cast their eyes on a vision of goodness are fit to rule. Socrates claims that the enlightened men of society must be forced from their divine contemplation and be compelled to run the city according to their lofty insights. Thus is born the idea of the "philosopher king, philosopher-king", the wise person who accepts the power thrust upon him by the people who are wise enough to choose a good master. This is the main thesis of Socrates in the ''Republic'', that the most wisdom the masses can muster is the wise choice of a ruler.


Ring of Gyges

A ring which could make one invisible, the Ring of Gyges is proposed in the ''Republic'' by the character of Glaucon, and considered by the rest of the characters for its ethical consequences, whether an individual possessing it would be most happy abstaining or doing injustice.


Chariot

He also compares the soul (psyche (psychology), ''psyche'') to a Chariot Allegory, chariot. In this allegory he introduces a Plato's tripartite theory of soul, triple soul composed of a charioteer and two horses. The charioteer is a symbol of the intellectual and logical part of the soul (Logos, ''logistikon''), and the two horses represent the moral virtues (Thymos, ''thymoeides'') and passionate instincts (''epithymetikon''), respectively, to illustrate the conflict between them.


Dialectic

Socrates employs a Socratic method, dialectic method which proceeds by Socratic questioning, questioning. The role of dialectic in Plato's thought is contested but there are two main interpretations: a type of reasoning and a method of intuition. Simon Blackburn adopts the first, saying that Plato's dialectic is "the process of eliciting the truth by means of questions aimed at opening out what is already implicitly known, or at exposing the contradictions and muddles of an opponent's position." A similar interpretation has been put forth by Louis Hartz, who compares Plato's dialectic to that of Hegel. According to this view, opposing arguments improve upon each other, and prevailing opinion is shaped by the synthesis of many conflicting ideas over time. Each new idea exposes a flaw in the accepted model, and the epistemological substance of the debate continually approaches the truth. Hartz's is a teleological interpretation at the core, in which philosophers will ultimately exhaust the available body of knowledge and thus reach "the end of history." Karl Popper, on the other hand, claims that dialectic is the art of intuition for "visualising the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man's everyday world of appearances."


Family

Plato often discusses the father-son relationship and the question of whether a father's interest in his sons has much to do with how well his sons turn out. In ancient Athens, a boy was socially located by his family identity, and Plato often refers to his characters in terms of their paternal and fraternal relationships. Socrates was not a family man, and saw himself as the son of his mother, who was apparently a midwife. A divine Fatalism, fatalist, Socrates mocks men who spent exorbitant fees on tutors and trainers for their sons, and repeatedly ventures the idea that good character is a gift from the gods. Plato's dialogue ''Crito'' reminds Socrates that orphans are at the mercy of chance, but Socrates is unconcerned. In the ''Theaetetus'', he is found recruiting as a disciple a young man whose inheritance has been squandered. Socrates twice compares the relationship of the older man and his Athenian pederasty, boy lover to the father-son relationship, and in the ''Phaedo'', Socrates' disciples, towards whom he displays more concern than his biological sons, say they will feel "fatherless" when he is gone. Though Plato Plato's views on women, agreed with Aristotle that women were inferior to men, in the fourth book of the ''Republic'' the character of Socrates says this was only because of ''nomos'' or custom and not because of nature, and thus women needed ''paidia'', rearing or education to be equal to men. In the "merely probable tale" of the eponymous character in the ''Timaeus'', unjust men who live corrupted lives would be reincarnated as women or various animal kinds.


Narration

Plato never presents himself as a participant in any of the dialogues, and with the exception of the ''Apology'', there is no suggestion that he heard any of the dialogues firsthand. Some dialogues have no narrator but have a pure "dramatic" form (examples: ''Meno'', ''Gorgias'', ''Phaedrus'', ''Crito'', ''Euthyphro''), some dialogues are narrated by Socrates, wherein he speaks in first person (examples: ''Lysis (dialogue), Lysis'', ''Charmides'', ''Republic''). One dialogue, ''Protagoras'', begins in dramatic form but quickly proceeds to Socrates' narration of a conversation he had previously with the sophist for whom the dialogue is named; this narration continues uninterrupted till the dialogue's end. Two dialogues ''Phaedo'' and ''Symposium'' also begin in dramatic form but then proceed to virtually uninterrupted narration by followers of Socrates. ''Phaedo'', an account of Socrates' final conversation and hemlock drinking, is narrated by Phaedo to Echecrates in a foreign city not long after the execution took place. The ''Symposium'' is narrated by Apollodorus, a Socratic disciple, apparently to Glaucon. Apollodorus assures his listener that he is recounting the story, which took place when he himself was an infant, not from his own memory, but as remembered by Aristodemus, who told him the story years ago. The ''Theaetetus'' is a peculiar case: a dialogue in dramatic form embedded within another dialogue in dramatic form. In the beginning of the ''Theaetetus'', Euclid of Megara, Euclides says that he compiled the conversation from notes he took based on what Socrates told him of his conversation with the title character. The rest of the ''Theaetetus'' is presented as a "book" written in dramatic form and read by one of Euclides' slaves. Some scholars take this as an indication that Plato had by this date wearied of the narrated form. With the exception of the ''Theaetetus'', Plato gives no explicit indication as to how these orally transmitted conversations came to be written down.


History of Plato's dialogues

Thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters (the Epistles (Plato), ''Epistles'') have traditionally been ascribed to Plato, though modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts. The usual system for making unique references to sections of the text by Plato derives from a 16th-century edition of Plato's works by Henri Estienne, Henricus Stephanus known as Stephanus pagination. One tradition regarding the arrangement of Plato's texts is according to tetralogy, tetralogies. This scheme is ascribed by Diogenes Laërtius to an ancient scholar and court astrologer to Tiberius named Thrasyllus of Mendes, Thrasyllus. The list includes works of doubtful authenticity (written in italic), and includes the Letters. *1st tetralogy **Euthyphro, Apology (Plato), Apology, Crito,
Phaedo ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, Φαίδων ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, wikt:Φαίδων, Φαίδων, ''Phaidōn'' ), also known to ancient readers as ''On The Soul'', is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, al ...

Phaedo
*2nd tetralogy **Cratylus (dialogue), Cratylus, Theaetetus (dialogue), Theatetus,
Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or more subject areas, such as philosophy, rhetoric, music, athletics, and mathematics. They taught ...
,
Statesman A statesman or stateswoman typically is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or ...
*3nd tetralogy **Parmenides (dialogue), Parmenides, Philebus, Symposium (Plato), Symposium, Phaedrus (dialogue), Phaedrus *4th tetralogy **First Alcibiades, Alcibiades I, ''Second Alcibiades, Alcibiades II'', ''Hipparchus (dialogue), Hipparchus'', ''Rival Lovers, Lovers'' *5th tetralogy **''Theages'',
Charmides Charmides (; grc-gre, Χαρμίδης), son of Glaucon, was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the ...
, Laches (dialogue), Laches, Lysis (dialogue), Lysis *6th tetralogy **Euthydemus (dialogue), Euthydemus,
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
, Gorgias (dialogue), Gorgias,
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determine whether virt ...

Meno
*7th tetralogy **Hippias Major, Hippias Minor, Ion (dialogue), Ion, Menexenus (dialogue), Menexenus *8th tetralogy **Clitophon (dialogue), Clitophon,
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
, Timaeus, Critias (dialogue), Critias *9th tetralogy **''Minos (dialogue), Minos'', Laws (dialogue), Laws, ''Epinomis'', ''Epistles (Plato), Letters''


Chronology

No one knows the exact order Plato's dialogues were written in, nor the extent to which some might have been later revised and rewritten. The works are usually grouped into ''Early'' (sometimes by some into ''Transitional''), ''Middle'', and ''Late'' period. This choice to group chronologically is thought worthy of criticism by some (Cooper ''et al''), given that it is recognized that there is no absolute agreement as to the true chronology, since the facts of the temporal order of writing are not confidently ascertained. Chronology was not a consideration in ancient times, in that groupings of this nature are ''virtually absent'' (Tarrant) in the extant writings of ancient Platonists. Whereas those classified as "early dialogues" often conclude in aporia, the so-called "middle dialogues" provide more clearly stated positive teachings that are often ascribed to Plato such as the theory of Forms. The remaining dialogues are classified as "late" and are generally agreed to be difficult and challenging pieces of philosophy. This grouping is the only one proven by stylometric analysis. Among those who classify the dialogues into periods of composition, Socrates figures in all of the "early dialogues" and they are considered the most faithful representations of the historical Socrates. The following represents one relatively common division. It should, however, be kept in mind that many of the positions in the ordering are still highly disputed, and also that the very notion that Plato's dialogues can or should be "ordered" is by no means universally accepted. Increasingly in the most recent Plato scholarship, writers are sceptical of the notion that the order of Plato's writings can be established with any precision, though Plato's works are still often characterized as falling at least roughly into three groups. Early: ''Apology (Plato), Apology'', ''
Charmides Charmides (; grc-gre, Χαρμίδης), son of Glaucon, was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the ...
'', ''Crito'', ''Euthyphro'', ''Gorgias (dialogue), Gorgias'', ''Hippias Minor'', ''Hippias Major'', ''Ion (dialogue), Ion'', ''Laches (dialogue), Laches'', ''Lysis (dialogue), Lysis'', ''
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
'' Middle: ''Cratylus (dialogue), Cratylus'', ''Euthydemus (dialogue), Euthydemus'', ''
Meno ''Meno'' (; grc-gre, wikt:Μένων, Μένων, ''Ménōn'') is a Socratic dialogue by Plato. Meno begins the dialogue by asking Socrates whether virtue is taught, acquired by practice, or comes by nature. In order to determine whether virt ...

Meno
'', ''Parmenides (dialogue), Parmenides'', ''
Phaedo ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, Φαίδων ''Phædo'' or ''Phaedo'' (; el, wikt:Φαίδων, Φαίδων, ''Phaidōn'' ), also known to ancient readers as ''On The Soul'', is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, al ...

Phaedo
'', ''Phaedrus (dialogue), Phaedrus'', ''
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
'', ''Symposium (Plato), Symposium'', ''Theaetetus (dialogue), Theatetus'' Late: ''Critias (dialogue), Critias'', ''
Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or more subject areas, such as philosophy, rhetoric, music, athletics, and mathematics. They taught ...
'', ''
Statesman A statesman or stateswoman typically is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or ...
'', '' Timaeus'', ''Philebus'', ''Laws (dialogue), Laws.'' A significant distinction of the early Plato and the later Plato has been offered by scholars such as E.R. Dodds and has been summarized by Harold Bloom in his book titled ''Agon'': "E.R. Dodds is the classical scholar whose writings most illuminated the Hellenic descent (in) ''The Greeks and the Irrational'' ... In his chapter on Plato and the Irrational Soul ... Dodds traces Plato's spiritual evolution from the pure rationalist of the ''Protagoras'' to the transcendental psychologist, influenced by the Pythagoreans and Orphics, of the later works culminating in the ''Laws''." Lewis Campbell (classicist), Lewis Campbell was the first to make exhaustive use of stylometry to prove the great probability that the ''Critias'', ''Timaeus'', ''Laws'', ''Philebus'', ''Sophist'', and ''Statesman'' were all clustered together as a group, while the ''Parmenides'', ''Phaedrus'', ''Republic'', and ''Theaetetus'' belong to a separate group, which must be earlier (given Aristotle's statement in his ''Politics'' that the ''Laws'' was written after the ''Republic''; cf. Diogenes Laërtius ''Lives'' 3.37). What is remarkable about Campbell's conclusions is that, in spite of all the stylometric studies that have been conducted since his time, perhaps the only chronological fact about Plato's works that can now be said to be ''proven'' by stylometry is the fact that ''Critias'', ''Timaeus'', ''Laws'', ''Philebus'', ''Sophist'', and ''Statesman'' are the latest of Plato's dialogues, the others earlier. ''Protagoras'' is often considered one of the last of the "early dialogues". Three dialogues are often considered "transitional" or "pre-middle": ''Euthydemus'', ''Gorgias'', and ''Meno''. Proponents of dividing the dialogues into periods often consider the ''Parmenides'' and ''Theaetetus'' to come late in the middle period and be transitional to the next, as they seem to treat the theory of Forms critically (''Parmenides'') or only indirectly (''Theaetetus''). Ritter's stylometric analysis places ''Phaedrus'' as probably after ''Theaetetus'' and ''Parmenides'', although it does not relate to the theory of Forms in the same way. The first book of the ''Republic'' is often thought to have been written significantly earlier than the rest of the work, although possibly having undergone revisions when the later books were attached to it. While looked to for Plato's "mature" answers to the questions posed by his earlier works, those answers are difficult to discern. Some scholars indicate that the theory of Forms is absent from the late dialogues, its having been refuted in the ''Parmenides'', but there is not total consensus that the ''Parmenides'' actually refutes the theory of Forms.


Writings of doubted authenticity

Jowett mentions in his Appendix to Menexenus, that works which bore the character of a writer were attributed to that writer even when the actual author was unknown. For below: (*) if there is no consensus among scholars as to whether Plato is the author, and (‡) if most scholars agree that Plato is ''not'' the author of the work. ''First Alcibiades, Alcibiades I'' (*), ''Second Alcibiades, Alcibiades II'' (‡), ''Clitophon (dialogue), Clitophon'' (*), ''Epinomis'' (‡), ''Epistles (Plato), Letters'' (*), ''Hipparchus (dialogue), Hipparchus'' (‡), ''Menexenus (dialogue), Menexenus'' (*), ''Minos (dialogue), Minos'' (‡), ''Rival Lovers, Lovers'' (‡), ''Theages'' (‡)


Spurious writings

The following works were transmitted under Plato's name, most of them already considered spurious in antiquity, and so were not included by Thrasyllus in his tetralogical arrangement. These works are labelled as ''Notheuomenoi'' ("spurious") or ''Apocrypha''. ''Axiochus (dialogue), Axiochus'', ''Definitions (Plato), Definitions'', ''Demodocus (dialogue), Demodocus'', ''Epigrams (Plato), Epigrams'', ''Eryxias (dialogue), Eryxias'', ''Halcyon (dialogue), Halcyon'', ''On Justice'', ''On Virtue'', ''Sisyphus (dialogue), Sisyphus''.


Textual sources and history

Some 250 known manuscripts of Plato survive. The texts of Plato as received today apparently represent the complete written philosophical work of Plato and are generally good by the standards of textual criticism. No modern edition of Plato in the original Greek represents a single source, but rather it is reconstructed from multiple sources which are compared with each other. These sources are medieval manuscripts written on vellum (mainly from 9th to 13th century AD Byzantium), papyri (mainly from late antiquity in Egypt), and from the independent ''testimonia'' of other authors who quote various segments of the works (which come from a variety of sources). The text as presented is usually not much different from what appears in the Byzantine manuscripts, and papyri and testimonia just confirm the manuscript tradition. In some editions, however, the readings in the papyri or testimonia are favoured in some places by the editing critic of the text. Reviewing editions of papyri for the ''Republic'' in 1987, Slings suggests that the use of papyri is hampered due to some poor editing practices. In the first century AD, Thrasyllus of Mendes had compiled and published the works of Plato in the original Greek, both genuine and spurious. While it has not survived to the present day, all the extant medieval Greek manuscripts are based on his edition. The oldest surviving complete manuscript for many of the dialogues is the Clarke Plato (Codex Oxoniensis Clarkianus 39, or Codex Boleianus MS E.D. Clarke 39), which was written in Constantinople in 895 and acquired by Oxford University in 1809. The Clarke is given the sigla, siglum ''B'' in modern editions. ''B'' contains the first six tetralogies and is described internally as being written by "John the Calligrapher" on behalf of Arethas of Caesarea. It appears to have undergone corrections by Arethas himself. For the last two tetralogies and the apocrypha, the oldest surviving complete manuscript is Codex Parisinus graecus 1807, designated ''A'', which was written nearly contemporaneously to ''B'', circa 900 AD. ''A'' must be a copy of the edition edited by the patriarch, Photios I of Constantinople, Photios, teacher of Arethas.''A'' probably had an initial volume containing the first 7 tetralogies which is now lost, but of which a copy was made, Codex Venetus append. class. 4, 1, which has the siglum ''T''. The oldest manuscript for the seventh tetralogy is Codex Vindobonensis 54. suppl. phil. Gr. 7, with siglum ''W'', with a supposed date in the twelfth century. In total there are fifty-one such Byzantine manuscripts known, while others may yet be found. To help establish the text, the older evidence of papyri and the independent evidence of the testimony of commentators and other authors (i.e., those who quote and refer to an old text of Plato which is no longer extant) are also used. Many papyri which contain fragments of Plato's texts are among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The 2003 Oxford Classical Texts edition by Slings even cites the Coptic translation of a fragment of the ''Republic'' in the Nag Hammadi library as evidence. Important authors for testimony include Olympiodorus the Younger, Plutarch, Proclus, Iamblichus, Eusebius, and Stobaeus. During the early Renaissance, the Greek language and, along with it, Plato's texts were reintroduced to Western Europe by Byzantine scholars. In September or October 1484 Filippo Valori and Francesco Berlinghieri printed 1025 copies of Marsilio Ficino, Ficino's translation, using the printing press at the Dominican convent S.Jacopo di Ripoli. Cosimo had been influenced toward studying Plato by the many Byzantine Platonists in Florence during his day, including George Gemistus Plethon. The 1578 edition of Plato's complete works published by Henricus Stephanus (Henri Estienne) in Geneva also included parallel Latin translation and running commentary by Joannes Serranus (Jean de Serres). It was this edition which established standard Stephanus pagination, still in use today.


Modern editions

The Oxford Classical Texts offers the current standard complete Greek text of Plato's complete works. In five volumes edited by John Burnet (classicist), John Burnet, its first edition was published 1900–1907, and it is still available from the publisher, having last been printed in 1993. The second edition is still in progress with only the first volume, printed in 1995, and the ''Republic'', printed in 2003, available. The ''Cambridge Greek and Latin Texts'' and ''Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries'' series includes Greek editions of the ''Protagoras'', ''Symposium'', ''Phaedrus'', ''Alcibiades'', and ''Clitophon'', with English philological, literary, and, to an extent, philosophical commentary. One distinguished edition of the Greek text is E. R. Dodds' of the ''Gorgias'', which includes extensive English commentary. The modern standard complete English edition is the 1997 Hackett Publishing Company, Hackett ''Plato, Complete Works'', edited by John M. Cooper. For many of these translations Hackett offers separate volumes which include more by way of commentary, notes, and introductory material. There is also the ''Clarendon Plato Series'' by Oxford University Press which offers English translations and thorough philosophical commentary by leading scholars on a few of Plato's works, including John McDowell's version of the ''Theaetetus''. Cornell University Press has also begun the ''Agora'' series of English translations of classical and medieval philosophical texts, including a few of Plato's.


Criticism

The most famous criticism of the Theory of Forms is the Third Man Argument by Aristotle in the ''Metaphysics''. Plato had actually already considered this objection with the idea of "large" rather than "man" in the dialogue ''Parmenides'', using the elderly Elean philosophers
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Parmenides
and
Zeno Zeno or Zenon ( grc, Ζήνων) may refer to: People * Zeno (name), including a list of people and characters with the name Philosophers * Zeno of Elea (), philosopher, follower of Parmenides, known for his paradoxes * Zeno of Citium (333 – 2 ...

Zeno
characters anachronistically to criticize the character of the younger Socrates who proposed the idea. The dialogue ends in ''aporia''. Many recent philosophers have diverged from what some would describe as the Ontology, ontological models and moral ideals characteristic of traditional Platonism. A number of these postmodern philosophers have thus appeared to disparage Platonism from more or less informed perspectives. Friedrich Nietzsche notoriously attacked Plato's "idea of the good itself" along with many fundamentals of Christian morality, which he interpreted as "Platonism for the masses" in one of his most important works, ''Beyond Good and Evil'' (1886). Martin Heidegger argued against Plato's alleged obfuscation of ''
Being In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, la ...

Being
'' in his incomplete tome, ''Being and Time'' (1927), and the philosopher of science Karl Popper argued in ''The Open Society and Its Enemies'' (1945) that Plato's alleged proposal for a utopian political regime in the ''The Republic (Plato), Republic'' was prototypically Totalitarianism, totalitarian.


Legacy


In the arts

Plato's Academy mosaic was created in the villa of T. Siminius Stephanus in Pompeii, around 100 BC to 100 CE. ''The School of Athens'' fresco by Raphael features Plato also as a central figure. The Nuremberg Chronicle depicts Plato and others as anachronistic schoolmen.


In philosophy

Plato's thought is often compared with that of his most famous student,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
, whose reputation during the Western Middle Ages so completely eclipsed that of Plato that the Scholasticism, Scholastic philosophers referred to Aristotle as "the Philosopher". However, the study of Plato continued in the Byzantine Empire, Islamic Golden Age, the Caliphates during the Islamic Golden Age, and Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, Spain during Golden age of Jewish culture. The only Platonic work known to western scholarship was '' Timaeus'', until translations were made after the fall of Constantinople, which occurred during 1453. George Gemistos Plethon brought Plato's original writings from Constantinople in the century of its fall. It is believed that Plethon passed a copy of the ''Dialogues'' to Cosimo de' Medici when in 1438 the Council of Ferrara, called to unify the Greek and Latin Churches, was adjourned to Florence, where Plethon then lectured on the relation and differences of Plato and Aristotle, and fired Cosimo with his enthusiasm; Cosimo would supply Marsilio Ficino with Plato's text for translation to Latin. During the early Islamic era, Iran, Persian, Arab, and Jewish scholars translated much of Plato into Arabic and wrote Close reading, commentaries and interpretations on Plato's, Aristotle's and other Platonist philosophers' works (see Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes, Hunayn ibn Ishaq). Plato is also referenced by Jewish philosopher and Talmudic scholar Maimonides in his ''The Guide for the Perplexed''. Many of these commentaries on Plato were translated from Arabic into Latin and as such influenced Medieval scholastic philosophers. During the Renaissance, with the general resurgence of interest in classical civilization, knowledge of Plato's philosophy would become widespread again in the West. Many of the greatest early modern scientists and artists who broke with Scholasticism and fostered the flowering of the Renaissance, with the support of the Plato-inspired Lorenzo de' Medici, Lorenzo (grandson of Cosimo), saw Plato's philosophy as the basis for progress in the arts and sciences. More problematic was Plato's belief in metempsychosis as well as his ethical views (on polyamory and euthanasia in particular), which did not match those of Christianity. It was Plethon's student Basilios Bessarion, Bessarion who reconciled Plato with Christian theology, arguing that Plato's views were only ideals, unattainable due to the fall of man. The Cambridge Platonists were an influential group active in the 17th century. By the 19th century, Plato's reputation was restored, and at least on par with Aristotle's. Notable Western philosophers have continued to draw upon Plato's work since that time. Plato's influence has been especially strong in mathematics and the sciences. Plato's resurgence further inspired some of the greatest advances in logic since Aristotle, primarily through Gottlob Frege and his followers Kurt Gödel, Alonzo Church, and Alfred Tarski. Albert Einstein suggested that the scientist who takes philosophy seriously would have to avoid systematization and take on many different roles, and possibly appear as a Platonist or Pythagorean, in that such a one would have "the viewpoint of logical simplicity as an indispensable and effective tool of his research." Werner Heisenberg stated that “My mind was formed by studying philosophy, Plato and that sort of thing". and that "Modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language" Samuel Taylor Coleridge said: Everybody is born either a Platonist or an Aristotelian. The political philosopher and professor
Leo Strauss Leo Strauss (; ; September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Born in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 25 ...
is considered by some as the prime thinker involved in the recovery of Platonic thought in its more political, and less metaphysical, form. Strauss' political approach was in part inspired by the appropriation of Plato and Aristotle by medieval Jewish philosophy, Jewish and Islamic philosophy, Islamic Political philosophy, political philosophers, especially Maimonides and Al-Farabi, as opposed to the Christian metaphysical tradition that developed from Neoplatonism. Deeply influenced by Nietzsche and Heidegger, Strauss nonetheless rejects their condemnation of Plato and looks to the dialogues for a solution to what all three latter-day thinkers acknowledge as 'the crisis of the West. W. V. O. Quine dubbed the problem of negative existentials "Plato's beard". Noam Chomsky dubbed the problem of knowledge Plato's problem. One author calls the definist fallacy the Socratic fallacy. More broadly, platonism (sometimes distinguished from Plato's particular view by the lowercase) refers to the view that there are many abstract objects. Still to this day, platonists take number and the truths of mathematics as the best support in favour of this view. Most mathematicians think, like platonists, that numbers and the truths of mathematics are perceived by reason rather than the senses yet exist independently of minds and people, that is to say, they are discovered rather than invented. Contemporary platonism is also more open to the idea of there being infinitely many abstract objects, as numbers or propositions might qualify as abstract objects, while ancient Platonism seemed to resist this view, possibly because of the need to overcome the problem of "the One and the Many". Thus e. g. in the Parmenides dialogue, Plato denies there are Forms for more mundane things like hair and mud. However, he repeatedly does support the idea that there are Forms of artifacts, e. g. the Form of Bed. Contemporary platonism also tends to view abstract objects as unable to cause anything, but it is unclear whether the ancient Platonists felt this way.


See also


Philosophy

* Socratic Problem * Platonic Academy * Plato's unwritten doctrines * List of speakers in Plato's dialogues * Commentaries on Plato * Neoplatonism * Academic Skepticism


Ancient scholarship

* Philip of Opus, Plato's amanuensis *
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
* Aristonymus, Plato's friend and student whom he sent in his stead as lawgiver of Megalopolis, Greece, Megalopolis in Arcadia * Python of Aenus, Python and Heraclides of Aenus, students of Plato who assassinated the tyrannical ruler of Thrace, Cotys I (Odrysian), Cotys I *
Speusippus Speusippus (; el, Σπεύσιππος; c. 408 – 339/8 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), ge ...
, Plato's nephew and the second scholarch of the * Menedemus of Pyrrha * Xenocrates * Crantor * Polemon (scholarch), Polemon * Crates of Athens * Arcesilaus * Carneades *
Plotinus Plotinus (; grc-gre, Πλωτῖνος, ''Plōtînos'';  – 270 CE) was a major Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surround ...

Plotinus
, founder of Neoplatonism, although he had no connection to the previous Academy of Plato * Proclus * Ammonius Saccas * Thrasyllus of Mendes, editor of Plato's works


Medieval scholarship

* Yahya Ibn al-Batriq, Syrian scholar and associate of Al-Kindi who translated ''Timaeus'' into Arabic * Hunayn ibn Ishaq, Arab scholar who either amended or surpassed the ''Timaeus'' of al-Batriq and translated Plato's ''Republic'' and ''Laws'' into Arabic * Ishaq ibn Hunayn, translated Plato's ''Sophist'' with the commentary of Olympiodorus the Younger * Yahya ibn Adi, translated ''Laws'' into Arabic * Al-Farabi, author of a commentary on Plato's political philosophy * Averroes, author of a commentary on the ''Republic''


Modern scholarship

* Marsilio Ficino, Italian scholar and first translator of Plato's complete works into Latin * Stephanus pagination, the standard reference numbering in Platonic scholarship, based on the 1578 complete Latin translation by Jean de Serres, and published by Henri Estienne * Johann Gottfried Stallbaum, major Plato scholar and commentator in Latin * Eduard Zeller, scholar and classicist * Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato scholar and classicist * John Alexander Stewart (philosopher), John Alexander Stewart, major Plato scholar and classicist * Victor Cousin, scholar and the first translator Plato's complete works into French language, French * Émile Saisset, scholar and a translator Plato's complete works into French language, French * Émile Chambry, scholar and a translator Plato's complete works into French language, French * Pentti Saarikoski, translator into Finnish language, Finnish * Friedrich Schleiermacher, philologist and the first to translate Plato's complete works into German language, German * Otto Apelt, scholar and translator Plato's complete works into German language, German * Benjamin Jowett, scholar and the first translated Plato's complete works into English * Lewis Campbell (classicist), Lewis Campbell, scholar and author of commentaries * Martin Heidegger, philosopher and author of a commentary on Plato's ''Sophist'' * James Adam (classicist), James Adam, major Plato scholar and author of the authoritative critical edition of the Republic (Plato), ''Republic'' * John Burnet (classicist), John Burnet, major Plato scholar and translator * F. M. Cornford, Francis Macdonald Cornford, translator of ''Republic'' and author of commentaries * Reginald Hackforth, classical scholar and translator of ''Phaedrus'' * W. K. C. Guthrie, William Keith Chambers Guthrie, classical scholar and historian * E. R. Dodds, classical scholar and author of commentaries on Plato * Thomas Taylor (neoplatonist), Thomas Taylor, classical scholar and translator * Édouard des Places, classical philologist, and translator of Plato's ''Laws'' in French language, French * Allan Bloom, major Plato scholar and translator of Republic (Plato), ''Republic'' in English * Myles Burnyeat, major Plato scholar * Harold F. Cherniss, major Plato scholar * G. C. Field, Guy Cromwell Field, Plato scholar * Paul Friedländer (philologist), Paul Friedländer, Plato scholar * Terence Irwin, major Plato scholar * Richard Kraut, major Plato scholar * Ellen Francis Mason, translator of Plato * Eric Havelock, Plato scholar *
Debra Nails Debra Nails (born November 15, 1950) is an American philosophy professor who taught at Michigan State University Michigan State University (MSU) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individua ...
, Plato scholar * Alexander Nehamas, major Plato scholar * Thomas Pangle, major Plato scholar and translator of Laws (dialogue), ''Laws'' in English * E. N. Tigerstedt, Eugène Napoleon Tigerstedt, major Plato scholar * Paul Shorey, major Plato scholar and translator of Republic (Plato), ''Republic'' * John M. Cooper (philosopher), John Madison Cooper, major Plato scholar and translator of several works of Plato, and editor of the Hackett Publishing Company, Hackett edition of the complete works of Plato in English *
Leo Strauss Leo Strauss (; ; September 20, 1899 – October 18, 1973) was a German-American political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. Born in Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 25 ...
, major Plato scholar and author of commentaries of Platonic political philosophy * Jacob Klein (philosopher), Jacob Klein, Plato scholar and author of commentaries on ''Meno'' * Seth Benardete, major Plato scholar * Gregory Vlastos, major Plato scholar * Hans-Georg Gadamer, major Plato scholar * Paul Woodruff, major Plato scholar * Gisela Striker, Plato scholar * Heinrich Gomperz, Plato scholar * David Sedley, Plato scholar * Gábor Betegh, Plato scholar * Karl Albert, Plato scholar * Herwig Görgemanns, Plato scholar * John M. Dillon, Plato scholar * Catherine Zuckert, Plato scholar and political philosopher * Julia Annas, Plato scholar and moral philosopher * John McDowell, translated ''Theaetetus'' in English * Robin Waterfield, Plato scholar and translator in English * Léon Robin, scholar of Ancient Greek philosophy, translator of the complete works of Plato in French language, French * Alain Badiou, French philosopher, loosely translated Republic (Plato), ''Republic'' in French language, French * Chen Chung-hwan, scholar and commentator, translated ''Parmenides'' in Chinese * Liu Xiaofeng (academic), Liu Xiaofeng, scholar and commentator, translated ''Symposium'' in Chinese * Michitaro Tanaka and Norio Fujisawa, translators of the complete works of Plato in Japanese language, Japanese * Joseph Gerhard Liebes, major scholar and commentator, the first to translate Plato's complete works in Hebrew language, Hebrew * Margalit Finkelberg, scholar and commentator, translated ''Symposium'' in Hebrew language, Hebrew * Virgilio S. Almario, translated ''Republic'' to Filipino language, Filipino * Roque Ferriols, translated ''Apology'' to Filipino * Mahatma Gandhi, translated ''Apology'' in Gujarati language, Gujarati * Zakir Husain (politician), Zakir Husain, Indian politician and academic, translated ''Republic'' in Urdu * Pierre Hadot, scholar and author of commentaries of Plato in French * Luc Brisson, translator and author of commentaries on several works of Plato, and editor of the complete French language, French translations; widely considered to be the most important contemporary scholar of Plato“Le plus grand spécialiste de Platon”


Other

* Oxyrhynchus Papyri, including the Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 228, containing the oldest fragment of the Laches (dialogue), ''Laches'', and Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 24, that of the Book X of the Republic (Plato), ''Republic'' * Plato's Dream, a story written in the 18th century by the French philosopher and satirist Voltaire * Plato (crater), Plato, a lunar impact crater on the Moon aged 3.8 billion years, named after the Greek philosopher * PLATO (spacecraft), a proposed space telescope under development by the European Space Agency for launch in 2026, named after the Greek philosopher


Notes


References


Works cited

Primary sources (Greek and Roman) *
Apuleius Apuleius (; also called Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis; c. 124 – c. 170 AD) was a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

Apuleius
, ''De Dogmate Platonis'', I. See original text i
Latin Library
*
Aristophanes Aristophanes (; grc, Ἀριστοφάνης, ; c. 446 – c. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme 250px, Pinakia, identification tablets (name, father's name, deme) used for tasks like jury selection, Museum at the Ancient Agora of Athe ...

Aristophanes
, ''The Wasps''. See original text i
Perseus program
*
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
, ''Metaphysics (Aristotle), Metaphysics''. See original text i
Perseus program
*
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
, ''De Divinatione'', I. See original text i
Latin library
* * See original text i
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* See original text i
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* republished by: * See original text i
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* See original text i
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* , V, VIII. See original text i
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*
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Xenophon
, ''
Memorabilia A souvenir (from French, meaning "a remembrance or memory"), memento, keepsake, or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. A souvenir can be any object that can be collected or purchas ...
''. See original text i
Perseus program
Secondary sources * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Reprinted in . * * * * * * * First published as "Testimonia Platonica. Quellentexte zur Schule und mündlichen Lehre Platons" as an appendix to Gaiser's ''Platons Ungeschriebene Lehre'', Stuttgart, 1963. * Reprinted in Gomperz, H. (1953). ''Philosophical Studies''. Boston: Christopher Publishing House 1953, pp. 119–124. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* * R. E. Allen, Allen, R.E. (1965). ''Studies in Plato's Metaphysics II''. Taylor & Francis. * Ambuel, David (2007). ''Image and Paradigm in Plato's Sophist''. Parmenides Publishing. * * Arieti, James A. ''Interpreting Plato: The Dialogues as Drama'', Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. * Bakalis, Nikolaos (2005). ''Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments'', Trafford Publishing * * Cadame, Claude (1999). ''Indigenous and Modern Perspectives on Tribal Initiation Rites: Education According to Plato'', pp. 278–312, in Padilla, Mark William (editor)
"Rites of Passage in Ancient Greece: Literature, Religion, Society"
Bucknell University Press, 1999. * * Corlett, J. Angelo (2005). ''Interpreting Plato's Dialogues''. Parmenides Publishing. * * Jacques Derrida, Derrida, Jacques (1972). ''La dissémination'', Paris: Seuil. (esp. cap.: ''La Pharmacie de Platon'', 69–199) * * Fine, Gail (2000). ''Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology'' Oxford University Press, US, * Finley, M.I. (1969). ''Aspects of antiquity: Discoveries and Controversies'' The Viking Press, Inc., US * * W. K. C. Guthrie, Guthrie, W.K.C. (1986). ''A History of Greek Philosophy (Plato – The Man & His Dialogues – Earlier Period)'', Cambridge University Press, * W. K. C. Guthrie, Guthrie, W.K.C. (1986). ''A History of Greek Philosophy (Later Plato & the Academy)'' Cambridge University Press, * Havelock, Eric (2005). ''Preface to Plato (History of the Greek Mind)'', Belknap Press, * * Harvard University Press publishes the hardbound series ''Loeb Classical Library#Plato, Loeb Classical Library'', containing Plato's works in Greek language, Greek, with English translations on facing pages. * * Hermann, Arnold (2010). ''Plato's Parmenides: Text, Translation & Introductory Essay'', Parmenides Publishing, * Irwin, Terence (1995). ''Plato's Ethics'', Oxford University Press, US, * * Jowett, Benjamin (1892). ''[The Dialogues of Plato. Translated into English with analyses and introductions by B. Jowett.]'', Oxford Clarendon Press, UK, UIN:BLL01002931898 * * * * Suzanne Lilar, Lilar, Suzanne (1954), Journal de l'analogiste, Paris, Éditions Julliard; Reedited 1979, Paris, Grasset. Foreword by Julien Gracq * Suzanne Lilar, Lilar, Suzanne (1963), ''Le couple'', Paris, Grasset. Translated as ''Aspects of Love in Western Society'' in 1965, with a foreword by Jonathan Griffin London, Thames and Hudson. * Suzanne Lilar, Lilar, Suzanne (1967) ''A propos de Sartre et de l'amour '', Paris, Grasset. * * Márquez, Xavier (2012) ''A Stranger's Knowledge: Statesmanship, Philosophy & Law in Plato's Statesman'', Parmenides Publishing. * * Miller, Mitchell (2004). ''The Philosopher in Plato's Statesman''. Parmenides Publishing. * Mohr, Richard D. (2006). ''God and Forms in Plato – and other Essays in Plato's Metaphysics''. Parmenides Publishing. * Mohr, Richard D. (Ed.), Sattler, Barbara M. (Ed.) (2010) ''One Book, The Whole Universe: Plato's Timaeus Today'', Parmenides Publishing. * Moore, Edward (2007). ''Plato''. Philosophy Insights Series. Tirril, Humanities-Ebooks. * Nightingale, Andrea Wilson. (1995)
"Genres in Dialogue: Plato and the Construct of Philosophy"
Cambridge University Press. * Oxford University Press publishes scholarly editions of Plato's Greek texts in the ''Oxford Classical Texts'' series, and some translations in the ''Clarendon Plato Series''. * Patterson, Richard (Ed.), Karasmanis, Vassilis (Ed.), Hermann, Arnold (Ed.) (2013) ''Presocratics & Plato: Festschrift at Delphi in Honor of Charles Kahn'', Parmenides Publishing. * * * * Sayre, Kenneth M. (2005). ''Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved''. Parmenides Publishing. * T. K. Seung, Seung, T.K. (1996). ''Plato Rediscovered: Human Value and Social Order''. Rowman and Littlefield. * * Stewart, John. (2010). ''Kierkegaard and the Greek World – Socrates and Plato''. Ashgate. * Thesleff, Holger (2009). ''Platonic Patterns: A Collection of Studies by Holger Thesleff'', Parmenides Publishing, * Thomas Taylor (neoplatonist), Thomas Taylor has translated Plato's complete works.
Thomas Taylor (1804). ''The Works of Plato, viz. His Fifty-Five Dialogues and Twelve Epistles''
5 vols * Gregory Vlastos, Vlastos, Gregory (1981). ''Platonic Studies'', Princeton University Press, * Gregory Vlastos, Vlastos, Gregory (2006). ''Plato's Universe – with a new Introduction by Luc Brisson'', Parmenides Publishing. * Zuckert, Catherine (2009). ''Plato's Philosophers: The Coherence of the Dialogues'', The University of Chicago Press,


External links

* Works available online: **  – Greek & English hyperlinked text ** ** ** *
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
' *
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
' * Other resources: ** ** ** {{Authority control Plato, Platonism, * 420s BC births 340s BC deaths 5th-century BC Greek people 5th-century BC philosophers 5th-century BC writers 4th-century BC Greek people 4th-century BC philosophers 4th-century BC writers Academic philosophers Ancient Athenian philosophers Ancient Greek epistemologists Ancient Greek ethicists Ancient Greek logicians Ancient Greek metaphilosophers Ancient Greek metaphysicians Ancient Greek philosophers Ancient Greek philosophers of mind Ancient Greek physicists Ancient Greek political philosophers Ancient Greek philosophers of art Ancient Greek philosophers of language Ancient Greek slaves and freedmen Ancient Syracuse Aphorists Attic Greek writers Critical thinking Cultural critics Epigrammatists Epigrammatists of the Greek Anthology Founders of philosophical traditions Greek speculative fiction writers Idealists Intellectualism Logicians Moral philosophers Moral realists Natural philosophers Ontologists Philosophers of culture Philosophers of education Philosophers of ethics and morality Philosophers of history Philosophers of law Philosophers of literature Philosophers of logic Philosophers of love Philosophers of science Philosophy academics Philosophy writers Pupils of Socrates Rationalists Greek social commentators Social critics Social philosophers Theorists on Western civilization Western culture Western philosophy