Philosophy – Plato

Plato (428/427 BCE—348/347 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, and founder of the Academy, best known as the author of  philosophical works of unparalleled influence. He is arguably among the greatest philosophers who ever lived.

More about Plato and his philosophy:

How to read Plato:

  1. Plato wrote a number of books, most of which are written in dialogue format, where he or other philosophers are having conversations. One must get used to this format in order to understand better. Plato employed different tools in dialogue-writing through which he explained how human mind works and how through a rational conversation we can grow our knowledge.
  2. You can begin with Charmides which is quite short and relatively easier to read. In this dialogue, Socrates engages a handsome and popular boy in a conversation about the meaning of sophrosyne, a Greek word usually translated into English as “temperance”, “self-control”, or “restraint”. You will quickly realise how a simple concept raises a wide range of interesting questions.
  3. Phædo or Phaedo, also known to ancient readers as On The Soul, is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato’s middle period.
  4. Symposium is a book on love. It depicts a friendly contest of extemporaneous speeches given by a group of notable men attending a banquet. In these speeches (which are in praise of Eros), Eros is recognised both as erotic love, and as a phenomenon that is capable of inspiring courage, valour, great deeds and works, and vanquishing man’s natural fear of death. It is seen as transcending its earthly origins, and attaining spiritual heights.
  5. And then we come to Republic, perhaps Plato’s greatest work. In the book’s dialogue, Socrates discusses with various Athenians and foreigners about the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man. They consider the natures of existing regimes and then propose a series of different, hypothetical cities in comparison, culminating in Kallipolis , a hypothetical city-state ruled by a philosopher king. They also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher and of poetry in society.

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