Plato

Plato

Philosophy - Advanced



P hilosophy in Greek means the “love of wisdom” and that’s a pretty good place to start talking about this famous man. Plato was born around 420 BC near Athens Greece into a wealthy family and a society full of modern-day luxuries. Plato is often confused with his teacher Socrates because Socrates is mentioned so often in Plato’s writing. In fact, Socrates is the lead character in all of Plato’s 36 books.

In his most famous book, “The Republic”, Plato writes about government, morals and even his thoughts about the origins of the human soul and the universe. The famous “Allegory of the Cave” can be found within the pages of “The Republic” where Socrates argues that the world we live in is an illusion because it is built on cultural rules and expectations. He says we must leave the cave to experience what is true, which means we must try to think about things that are really meaningful in our lives.

Plato was dedicated to the idea of living a fulfilled life and had four main points for how to live such a life. The first idea was to know yourself by examining your thoughts and ideas instead of acting on impulse. He thought that agreeing with popular opinions is dangerous because such ideas are not always correct. He was also against the idea of being led by one’s emotions.

His second idea to reaching fulfillment was to find a lover that has the qualities that you lack. By doing this, Plato believed both individuals would grow and become more fulfilled individuals. Couples should try to improve each other and be committed to educating each other. 

The third idea of fulfillment is to understand the message of beauty. When we see beauty we are reminded of the positive qualities in life. And at a deeper level, we are attracted to what we want but do not have. This means, enjoying art and beauty is a way for us to become happier.

His last idea was to change society. Plato is said to be the first utopian thinker of the west and it seems he really wanted to build a near-perfect society. He believed a utopia could be achieved through deep thought and careful action. One of his ideas was to promote celebrities that were wise, modest people who lived simple lives of charity. He believed such models would help the public towards positive development and behavior. He called such celebrities “Guardians”.  Contrary to popular belief, Plato did not support the idea of democracy as he thought people too often voted on emotion rather than logic.

Besides being known as the founder of Western Philosophy, Plato also founded the first institute of higher learning in the Western world. It was called the Academy and lasted around 300 years. The school’s most influential student was most likely Aristotle, who studied at the Academy for nearly twenty years.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDiyQub6vpw

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