31 Facts About Plato


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


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


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


The exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown.


Plato gives little biographical information about himself in his works, but refers at various points to some of his relatives with a great degree of precision, including his brothers, Adeimantus, and Glaucon, in the Plato's Republic.


Plato almost faced death, but he was sold into slavery.


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


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.


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.


Leo Strauss notes that Socrates' reputation for irony casts doubt on whether Plato's Socrates is expressing sincere beliefs.


Aristotle and Cicero both claimed that the philosophy of Plato closely followed the teachings of the Pythagoreans.


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


Plato's Forms represent types of things, as well as properties, patterns, and relations, to which we refer as objects.


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


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


Plato uses this idea of reincarnation to introduce the concept that knowledge is a matter of recollection of things acquainted with before one is born, and not of observation or study.


Plato 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.


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.


Plato made abundant use of mythological narratives in his own work; It is generally agreed that the main purpose for Plato in using myths was didactic.


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.


Some scholars take this as an indication that Plato had by this date wearied of the narrated form.


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.


The text of Plato as received today apparently represents the complete written philosophical work of Plato, based on the first century AD arrangement of Thrasyllus of Mendes.


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".


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.


Plato is 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.


Many of the greatest early modern scientists and artists who broke with Scholasticism, with the support of the Plato-inspired Lorenzo, saw Plato's philosophy as the basis for progress in the arts and sciences.


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


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 that Plato's alleged proposal for a utopian political regime in the Republic was prototypically totalitarian.


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.