55 Facts About Plato


Plato was a Greek philosopher born in Athens during the Classical period in Ancient Greece.

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Plato was an innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy.

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Plato raised problems for what later became all the major areas of both theoretical philosophy and practical philosophy.

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Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of Draco.

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The grammarian Apollodorus of Athens in his Chronicles argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad.

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In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato often introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues or referred to them with some precision.

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Plato's dialogues are not only a memorial to Socrates but the happier days of his own family.

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The sources of Diogenes Laertius account for this by claiming that his wrestling 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.

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However, another scholar claims that "there is good reason for not dismissing [the idea that Aristocles was Plato's given name] as a mere invention of his biographers", noting how prevalent that account is in our sources.

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Plato's father contributed all which was necessary to give to his son a good education, and, therefore, Plato must have been instructed in grammar, music, and gymnastics by the most distinguished teachers of his time.

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Plato was a wrestler, and Dicaearchus went so far as to say that Plato wrestled at the Isthmian games.

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Plato had attended courses of philosophy; before meeting Socrates, he first became acquainted with Cratylus and the Heraclitean doctrines.

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Ambrose believed that Plato met Jeremiah in Egypt and was influenced by his ideas.

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One story, based on a mutilated manuscript, suggests Plato died in his bed, whilst a young Thracian girl played the flute to him.

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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.

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Aristotle claimed that the philosophy of Plato closely followed the teachings of the Pythagoreans, and Cicero repeats this claim: "They say Plato learned all things Pythagorean.

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Plato introduced the concept of form as distinct from matter, and that the physical world is an imitation of an eternal mathematical world.

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For Numenius it is just that Plato wrote so many philosophical works, whereas Pythagoras' views were originally passed on only orally.

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Plato helped to distinguish between pure and applied mathematics by widening the gap between "arithmetic", now called number theory and "logistic", now called arithmetic.

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Plato argues that motion and rest both "are", against followers of Parmenides who say rest is but motion is not.

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Plato was one of the devoted young followers of Socrates.

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Plato never speaks in his own voice in his dialogues; every dialogue except the Laws features Socrates, although many dialogues, including the Timaeus and Statesman, feature him speaking only rarely.

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For Plato, though grasped by the mind, only the Forms are truly real.

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One of Plato's most cited examples for the Forms were the truths of geometry, such as the Pythagorean theorem.

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For Plato, this is because there is one abstract object or Form of red, redness itself, in which the several red things "participate".

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Plato, as was characteristic of ancient Greek philosophy, the soul was that which gave life.

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Plato uses this observation in the Alcibiades as evidence that people are their souls.

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Plato's epistemology involves Socrates arguing that knowledge is not empirical, and that it comes from divine insight.

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Many have interpreted Plato as stating — even having been the first to write — that knowledge is justified true belief, an influential view that informed future developments in epistemology.

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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.

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Plato himself identified problems with the justified true belief definition in the Theaetetus, concluding that justification would require knowledge of difference, meaning that the definition of knowledge is circular.

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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 that neatly mirror his triadic view of the individual soul (reason, spirit, and appetite).

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Plato speaks approvingly of this, and other forms of divine madness in the Phaedrus, and yet in the Republic wants to outlaw Homer's great poetry, and laughter as well.

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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.

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Plato 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 Great and Small ().

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Plato 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.

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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.

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Plato 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.

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Some of Plato's myths were based in traditional ones, others were modifications of them, and finally, he invented altogether new myths.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts.

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Usual system for making unique references to sections of the text by Plato derives from a 16th-century edition of Plato's works by Henricus Stephanus known as Stephanus pagination.

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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.

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Oldest surviving complete manuscript for many of the dialogues is the Clarke Plato, which was written in Constantinople in 895 and acquired by Oxford University in 1809.

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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 and Zeno characters anachronistically to criticize the character of the younger Socrates who proposed it.

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

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Plato's thought is often compared with that of his most famous student, Aristotle, whose reputation during the Western Middle Ages so completely eclipsed that of Plato that the Scholastic philosophers referred to Aristotle as "the Philosopher".

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However, the study of Plato continued in the Byzantine Empire, the Caliphates during the Islamic Golden Age, and Spain during Golden age of Jewish culture.

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Plato is referenced by Jewish philosopher and Talmudic scholar Maimonides in his The Guide for the Perplexed.

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Many of these commentaries on Plato were translated from Arabic into Latin and as such influenced Medieval scholastic philosophers.

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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, saw Plato's philosophy as the basis for progress in the arts and sciences.

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Plato's influence has been especially strong in mathematics and the sciences.

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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.

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