Plato's Life Essay

969 words - 4 pages

Jennifer RomanApril 2012P.3PlatoPlato was an incredibly influential Greek philosopher. He was born in Athens and he lived from 429-347 B.C.E. Plato was luckily born into a wealthy aristocratic family. His father was allegedly a descent from the early kings of Athens. Unfortunately, Plato's father perished when he was a child, and his mother eventually remarried. Plato's real name was actually Aristocles; he was named after his grandfather. Plato got the name Plato from his wrestling coach. Throughout his entire life, Plato was an intelligent and creative individual. Plato was a pupil of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle He wrote a handful of dialogues and had several theories. Some of his works are the Apology, Republic, Euthyphro, Crito, Phaedo, and many more. He accomplished many things in his lifetime.A highlight in Plato's life was when he became a disciple of Socrates. Plato was around the age of twenty when he met Socrates and became his pupil. Socrates made a tremendous impact on Plato. Socrates was one of some people that greatly influenced Plato. Plato was twenty-nine years old when he witnessed the death of Socrates, who died because he was charged with the crime of impiety. After Socrates' death Plato left Athens for approximately twelve years. Everything Socrates believed in influenced Plato. Socrates was obsessed with the idea of knowledge and human virtue. He believed "virtue is knowledge". He also believed that every thing and every idea had a mysterious inner "essential nature" and that knowledge lay in finding conclusive definitions.Other than Socrates, Plato was greatly influenced by two other philosophers. Plato was influenced by Pythagoras, a pre-socratic, who was a math fanatic. Pythagoras believed that everything around us is mathematics, meaning all things are numbers and all natural phenomena are mathematical. Pythagoras' famous idea is "Numbers are universal, incorruptible, and eternally true, and their truth can only be revealed through reason."Heraclitus is the other philosopher that influenced Plato. Heraclitus believed the world was in a state of constant movement and change, nothing has permanence or reliability, everything changes ("panta rei"), everyone sees the world differently, all our beliefs about the world are observer-relative, and the world is just "process". Overall the three philosophers who most influenced Plato were Socrates, Pythagoras, and Heraclitus.One of Plato's greatest accomplishments was his founding of The Academy. After witnessing Socrates' death and leaving Athens, Plato returned to Athens. Soon after his return, Plato established the first ever European university called "The Academy" in the western suburbs of Athens in the year 387 B.C.E. Plato's school was named after the legendary Greek hero Academus. The Academy was a prominent school with bright students. The Academy's most prominent student was Aristotle. Members of the academy believed that the study of mathematics held key to all understanding. Plato himself was a teacher at The Academy. He gave lectures to students on mathematics, astronomy, and his theory of Forms. When Plato died Aristotle's nephew, Speusippus, became head of The Academy; until it was closed in 529 AD.One of Plato's most popular works is his dialogue, the Republic. Overall, the Republic is Plato's desperate attempt to prove how false and dangerous the idea of the city-state was. Plato believed change and progress are always associated with corruption and decay. In this dialogue Plato describes what he would have considered an ideal state.Another popular literary work by Plato is his Apology. Plato's Apology is his only masterpiece that doesn't take the form of a dialogue. The Apology is Plato's translation of the speech Socrates gave when he was defending himself against the charges of impiety imposed on him by the people of Athens. The Greek word apologi means defense, hence Plato titled his literary work, Apology.Plato had an interesting view of the world. Plato believed that there are two realms of reality. The two realms of reality are the realm of the senses and the realm of the forms. According to Plato, the realm of the forms is the world that is really real; and the realm of the senses is simply an imitation of what is really real. He believed that things in the realm of the senses were imperfect and just simply copies of the perfect things in the realm of the forms. The realm of the senses, the Sensible World, is: ever changing, imperfect, a copy, subjective, and perceived by senses. On the other hand, the realm of the forms, World of the Forms, is: eternal and unchanging, absolute and perfect, known by reason, and objective.Overall, Plato was a brilliant individual that had a tremendous impact on the world. He is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. His ideas and theories helped other philosophers and everyday people shape their own understanding of the world.Bibliography-Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie's World. New York, New York: The Burkley Publishing Group, 1994. Print.-Kraut, Richard. "Plato." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition). Stanford U, 1 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. <>.- Robinson, Dave, and Judy Groves. Introducing Plato. Lanham, Maryland: Totem Books, 2000. Print.


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