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Who Was Plato The Greek Philosopher

Updated on October 18, 2009

Who Was Plato The Greek Philosopher

Who Was Plato The Greek Philosopher
Who Was Plato The Greek Philosopher

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Who Was Plato The Greek Philosopher

Who Was Plato The Greek Philosopher

c.428–c.348 BC

Pupil of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, Plato was central in shaping the intellectual tradition of the West.

Born into a distinguished Athenian family, he studied under Socrates with a view to a life in politics. After the forced suicide of Socrates in 399 BC, Plato became disillusioned with the corruption of public life and devoted himself to philosophy. He traveled widely before founding the Academy of Athens – the model for the modern university – where his students studied mathematics, science, philosophy, and rhetoric. Plato The Greek Philosopher  taught there for the rest of his life, and saw the Academy rise to become the most important school of the ancient world.

Plato’s teaching survives in the form of 25 dialogues – philosophical debates on topics such as love, metaphysics, ethics, and politics – written for his students to perform. His early writing is strongly influenced by Socrates, but later dialogues, such as the utopian “Republic” outline his own doctrines. His influence is such that the history of philosophy has been described as “a series of footnotes to Plato.”

C.428 BC

Born in Athens, to Ariston, who claimed descent from the early kings of Athens, and Perictione, related to the sixth-century lawmaker, Solon.

C.420 BC

After Ariston’s death Perictione marries Pyrilampes, a supporter of the statesman, Pericles. Plato develops political ambitions and befriends Socrates.

399 BC

Socrates condemned to drink hemlock by the Athenian democracy. Disillusioned, Plato abandons politics and takes refuge at Megara with philosopher Eucleides.

C.398–386 BC

Travels widely in Greece, Egypt, Italy, and Sicily.

C.386 BC

Returns to Athens and founds the Academy for the pursuit of philosophical and scientific research, aiming to produce experts for the service of the state.

C.367 BC

Dionysus I of Syracuse dies and his brother-in-law, Dion, invites Plato to tutor the new king, Dionysus II, as a philosopher-ruler, but the exercise is a failure.

C.361 BC

Returns to Syracuse, but his attempt to intervene in Sicilian politics and realize his ideal of a philosopher-king is again a failure.

360–348 BC

Continues to write and lecture at the Academy. Later works include the “Laws,” a practical analysis of political and social issues.

C.348 BC

Dies at a wedding feast at age 80.

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