Plato2 Essay

This essay has a total of 2544 words and 14 pages.

plato2



Plato

Throughout history there have been many philosophers that have made great impacts on the
students for many years. One philosopher in particular that has made a tremendous impact
on the youth of the world is a man named Plato. Plato is one of the world’s most famous
writers, and is still being taught to this day. People ask why this man is so important
and why he should be still studied today when he is something of the past; well I will
help them see in my paper just why he is so important to this nation. This argument will
be supported by three different categories; one a biography showing how important he was
to “man” and number two is about how something or someone during the time in which he
lived impacted his writing. The third thing is a piece of literature called The Apology,
which has been analyzed.

To start Plato was born in Athens, Greece, in 427 B.C. The eighty- year span of his life
covered one of the most dramatic and commotional periods in Greek history. During his
childhood, his homeland witnessed the last stages of the Peloponnesian War, a struggle for
dominance between the city-state of Athens and it’s arch- rival, Sparta. Plato’s father,
Ariston, and his mother, Perictone, both came from distinguished families, and as a member
of the aristocracy, Plato was reared in the most favorable surroundings and enjoyed the
best education available (Frank Magill, 1503). His Philosophy, which

stresses ethics and reason, is not a distinctly formulated system but a general
representation of his thought, expressed in the form of dialogues which are praised for

their artistic craftsmanship and poetic character (Gale Research, p.1).
Plato was expected to go into politics, and in fact he went in the total opposite

direction. The closer he got to politics the more and more he wanted to

get away from them (Magill, 1503). One event in particular was to have a

lasting effect on him, and that was the trial, condemnation, and execution of Socrates in

399B.C. Socrates had been Plato’s teacher, and Plato had a lot of respect for him. It

was the event that turned him to philosophy (Magill, 1503). After his death, Plato

traveled at least twice to Italy and Sicily, where he had been invited by his friend

Dion to tutor Dion’s nephew Dionysius II, tryant of Syracuse (Gale Research, p.1). He

also resided for a time in the city of Megara, and he may also have traveled to Egypt and

Cyrene. It was during this time that he started to write (Magill, 1503). Some

writers say that Plato was trying to make Dionysius into a philosopher, but these

speculations are based on hypotheses built on hypotheses by generations of

scholars (Bernard).

Around 387 B. C., Plato established an Academy (named after the park it was

located in), a school for the pursuit of philosophical and scientific research as well as the

study of mathematics (Gale Research, p.1). The academy, located outside of Athens,

developed into one the best philosophical schools by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian in

529 A. D. From there on, most of Plato’s life was probably dedicated to teaching and

running his school (Bernard).

All of his known works, including the Apology, thirty-four dialogues of varying

length, and thirteen epistles, all are extant. However, a number the dialogues, such as the

Alicibiades II, Hipparchus, Rivals, Theages, Clitophon, and Minos, and most of the

epistles, are thought to be myths because of the style and content (Gale Research, p.2).

Plato took many of his ideas about Rhetoric form his mentor, Socrates. Therefore, many

of his writing included Socrates as the main character presenting the point of view that

he wanted to convey. Both he and Socrates felt that rhetoric is most often used for selfish

reasons. This is shown through some of his works called Gorgias. Gorgias says that

rhetoric is “the queen of all arts”(Johnson, p.1). Plato wrote many stories that were

in fact, rhetorical though he felt that rhetoric was immoral. They were mostly written

to persuade people of his opinion of the way the world was. People say he was using the

rhetoric to convince people of factual knowledge, so to speak (Johnson, p.1).

When Plato died, in 347 B. C., in Athens, he was justifiably esteemed as one of

the most learned men in the Greek world (Magill, 1505). He was succeeded at the

head of the Academy, not byAristotle, who, by then, had been for about twenty years

student and then teacher at the Academy, but by his nephew, Speusippus. The academy

kept functioning, under different guises, for centuries after Plato’s death (Bernard).

Throughout my research there wasn’t many inconsistent facts about my

Philosopher Plato. The only inconsistency was that some of the journalists were not sure

exactly when he was born or when he died. Plato was a highly respect philosopher,

known for his good literary skills because most philosophers didn’t excel in that

field.

During the time period in which Plato lived The New Renaissance, many historical events
happened, but the biggest thing that impacted Plato’s writing was a man named Socrates.
Socrates was Plato’s mentor; almost everything that Plato did was a direct influence from
Socrates. Plato's early writings show his respect for Socrates.

As a young man, Plato was influenced a lot by Socrates, who was about years older (Hooker,
1996). The most accurate of Plato’s writings on Socrates is probably The Apology. It is
Plato’s account of Socrates’ defense at his trial in 399 BC Interestingly, the word
“apology” comes from the Greek word for “defense-speech” and does not mean what we would
think of as an apology (Hooker, 1996). The Apology was probably written within a few
years after the actual trial of Socrates and was intended to be read by those who admired
Socrates. However, Plato’s most famous philosophical work is The Republic where he
discusses the nature of justice, the theory of innate ideas, and the ideal state (Bennard,
1996).

The life of the Greek philosopher Socrates, marks such a critical point in Western thought
that standard histories divide Greek philosophy into pre-Socratic and post-Socratic
periods (Tennent, 1997). Socrates left no writings of his own, and his work has inspired
almost as many different interpretations as there have been interpreters. He remains one
of the most important and one of the most mysterious figures in Western philosophy (Moss,
Wilson, 1997).

As a young man, Socrates became interested in the new scientific ideas that Anaxagoras and
the latter's associate Archelaus had introduced to Athens. Socrates seems to have been the
leader of an Athenian research circle, which explains why the first appearance of Socrates
in literature is as an evil, disbelieving scientist in The Clouds of Aristophanes
(Tennent, 1997). Young Socrates also knew the Sophists and listened to their debates and
ceremonial orations (Bernard, 1996)

Socrates is generally regarded as one of the wisest people of all time. Socrates himself
left no writings, and most of our knowledge of him and his teachings comes from the
dialogues of Plato (Hooker, 1996). Socrates is known for neglecting his own affairs,
instead spending his time discussing justice, and piety wherever his fellow citizens
gathered, seeking wisdom about right conduct so that he might guide the moral and
intellectual improvement of Athens (Tennent, 1997). Using a method now known as the
Socratic dialogue, or dialectic, he drew forth information from his students by pursuing a
series of questions and examining their answers. Socrates integrity with the knowledge of
one's true self, holding that no one knowingly does wrong (Hooker.1996).

Socrates’ beliefs can not be studied firsthand because Socrates did not keep any written
record of his thoughts. Socrates wrote nothing because he felt that knowledge was a
living, interactive thing (Hooker, 1996). We do know that Plato copied from Socrates the
method of learning through dialogue. Socrates also influenced Plato’s thoughts on the
relationship between ethics and politics. Socrates’s extraordinary impact on Plato is
Continues for 7 more pages >>




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