Plato was born in 428 BC in the heart of an aristocratic family in Athens . His father, Ariston, was believed to have descended from the early kings of Athens. Perictione , his mother was related to the sixth century BC legislature Solon. His father died when he was a child and his mother remarried Pyrilampes , associate of the statesman Pericles.
A young man Plato had political ambitions but became disillusioned with the rulers of Athens. He
later became a disciple of Socrates , accepting his basic philosophy
and dialectical style of debate: the pursuit of truth through questions,
answers and more questions , maieutics . Although
this is a very controversial episode , which some scholars consider it a
literary metaphor about power, Plato witnessed the death of Socrates
during the Athenian democracy in 399 BC Fearing for his life perhaps , some time left Athens and traveled to Italy, Sicily and Egypt.
In 387 Plato founded the Academy in Athens , the institution often considered the first European university. It
provided a comprehensive curriculum , including subjects such as
astronomy , biology, mathematics , political theory and philosophy. Aristotle was the most outstanding student .
Faced with the possibility of combining philosophy and political practice , Plato went to Sicily in 367 BC to tutor the new ruler of Syracuse, Dionysius the Younger. The experiment failed . Plato returned to Syracuse in 361 BC , but again their participation in Sicilian affairs had little success . He spent the last years of his life lecturing and writing in the Academy . He died nearly 80 years at Athens in 348 or 347 BC
writings took the form of dialogues , which outlined philosophical
ideas were discussed and criticized in the context of a conversation or
debate involving two or more people. The first group of writings of Plato includes 35 dialogues and 13 letters . It has questioned the authenticity of some dialogue and most of the cards.
Dialogs can be divided into three stages of composition. The first represents Plato 's attempt to communicate the philosophy and dialectical style of Socrates. Some of these dialogues have the same argument. Socrates meets someone who claims to know much , to be ignorant and ask for help when he claims to know . However,
as Socrates starts asking questions , it becomes clear that sage who is
said not really know what he claims to know and that Socrates appears
as the wiser of the two characters because , at least , he knows that he
knows nothing . That knowledge , of course , is the beginning of wisdom . Within
this group of dialogues are Charmides ( an attempt to define temperance
) , Lysis ( a discussion about friendship ) , Laches ( a search for the
meaning of the value ) , Protagoras ( a defense of the thesis that
virtue is knowledge and
it is possible to learn it ) , Euthyphro ( a consideration of the
nature of piety ) , and Book I of the Republic ( a discussion of justice
Dialogues intermediate and ultimate
The dialogues of the intermediate and final periods of Plato's life reflect his own philosophical development . The ideas of these works are attributed to Plato himself , although Socrates is still the main character in many dialogues . The
writings cover the interim period of Gorgias ( a reflection on various
ethical issues ) , Meno ( a discussion of the nature of knowledge ) ,
Apology ( Socrates his defense of himself at the trial in which he was
accused of atheism and corrupting
Athenian youth ) , Cratylus ( Socrates' defense of obedience to the
laws of the State) , Phaedrus ( scene of the death of Socrates , in
which he discusses the theory of ideas, the nature of the soul and the
immortality) , The Symposium ( Plato 's outstanding dramatic
achievement that contains several discourses on beauty and love ) and
the Republic ( Plato's supreme philosophical , a detailed discussion of
the nature of justice ) .
the works of the later period include the Theaetetus ( a denial that
knowledge has to be identified with the sense of perception) ,
Parmenides ( a critical evaluation of the theory of ideas) , Sophist (
further reflection on the ideas or anyway)
, Philebus ( discussion of the relationship between pleasure and
goodness ) , Timaeus ( Plato's ideas about science and cosmology ) , and
Law ( a more practical political and social issues ) .
Theory of Ideas
In the center of Plato's philosophy is his theory of forms or ideas . Basically,
his idea of knowledge, his ethical theory , his psychology , his
concept of the state and his perspective of art must be understood from
Theory of Knowledge
The theory of the ideas of Plato and his theory of knowledge are so interrelated that must be addressed together. Influenced by Socrates, Plato was convinced that knowledge can be attained. He was also convinced of two essential features of knowledge. First , knowledge must be certain and infallible. Second , knowledge must have as its object what is real truth in contrast to what is only apparently . Since
Plato what is real has to be fixed , permanent and unchanging ,
identified the real with the ideal sphere of existence as opposed to the
physical world of becoming. One consequence of this approach was Plato's rejection of empiricism , the claim that all knowledge is derived from experience. I thought that the propositions from experience have , at most , a degree of probability . They are not true. Furthermore,
the objects of experience are changing phenomena of the physical world ,
therefore the objects of experience are not proper objects of
theory of knowledge outlined in Plato's Republic , particularly in his
discussion of the image of the divided line and the myth of the cave . In the first, Plato distinguishes between two levels of awareness: opinion and knowledge. Statements
or claims about the physical or visible world , including the
observations and propositions of science are just opinion. Some of these opinions are well founded and some not, but none of them counts as true knowledge. The highest point of knowledge is knowledge, because it concerns the reason rather than experience. The
reason , used in due form, leads to ideas that are certain and the
objects of these rational insights are true universals , the eternal
forms or substances that constitute the real world .
The myth of the cave describes individuals chained in the deepest part of a cave. Tied to the wall face , his vision is limited and therefore can not tell anyone. All you see is the wall of the cave on which models or statues reflect animals and objects passing in front of a glowing fire . One individual flees and leaves to the light of day . With
the help of the sun , this person first sees the real world and back to
the cave saying that the only things I have seen so far are shadows and
appearances and that the real world awaits them outside to break free
of their ties . The shadowy world of the cave symbolizes for Plato the physical world of appearances. The
trip to the sunny world outside the cave symbolizes the transition to
the real world, the world of full and perfect existence , which is the
object of knowledge .
Nature of ideas
The theory of ideas can best be understood in terms of mathematical entities . A circle , for example, is defined as a plane figure composed of a series of points, all equidistant from one place. However, no one has actually seen that figure.
What people are seen drawn figures that are more or less accurate approximations of the ideal circle . In fact , when mathematicians define a circle , the above points are not spatial , but logical . No space. However,
although the shape of a circle not ever seen - and you can not see ever
- mathematicians and others do know what it is. Plato , therefore , exists in the form of circle , but not in the physical space and time. It exists as an immutable object in the field of ideas, which can only be known by reason. The
ideas are more entity objects in the physical world both for its
perfection and stability as being a model , similarities that give
ordinary physical objects which have reality . The circular, square and triangular are excellent examples of what Plato meant by idea. An
object that exists in the physical world can be called circle, square
or triangle because it seems ( " participates " in the words of Plato)
to the idea of a circle , square or triangle.
Plato extended his theory beyond the field of mathematics. Actually, I was more interested in its application in the field of social ethics . The theory was his way of explaining how the same universal term can refer to many things or particular events . The
word justice , for example , can be applied to hundreds of actionable
because such acts have something in common , they seem to , participate
in , the idea of justice . A person is human because he looks like , or participates in , the idea of humanity . If humanity is defined in terms of being a rational animal , then a person is human because it is rational . A particular act may be considered brave or cowardly because part of the idea. An object is beautiful because part of the idea, or form of beauty. Therefore, everything in the world of space and time is what it is by virtue of its resemblance to the universal idea . The ability to define the universal term is the proof that the idea has mastered the universal that referenced.
conceived hierarchically ideas : the idea of God is supreme , that ,
like the sun in the myth of the cave , illuminates all other ideas. The idea of God represents the passage of Plato in the direction of an ultimate principle of explanation. Basically,
the theory of ideas is intended to explain the way by which one attains
the knowledge and also how things have become what they are. In
philosophical language , the theory of Plato's thesis is both an
epistemological ( theory of knowledge) as an ontological thesis ( theory
of being ) .
The Republic , most political works of Plato, is the question of justice and therefore the questions what is a just state ? and an individual who is just offshore.
The ideal state according to Plato, is composed of three classes. The economic structure of the state lies in the merchant class . Security at the military and political leadership is assumed by the philosopher- kings . The
kind of a person is determined by an educational process that begins at
birth and continues until that person has reached the highest level of
education consistent with their interests and abilities. Those who complete the entire educational process become philosopher-kings . They
are those whose minds have evolved so much that they are able to
understand the ideas and , therefore , make the wisest decisions . In fact, Plato's ideal educational system is primarily structured to produce philosopher-kings .
Plato associates the traditional Greek virtues with the class structure of the ideal state . Temperance
is the only virtue of the artisan class , the value is the power of the
military class and wisdom characterizes the rulers. Justice , the fourth virtue , characterizes society as a whole. The just state is one in which each class must perform its own function without going into the activities of other classes .
Plato applied to the analysis of the human soul such a scheme : the rational , the will and appetites . A righteous person is one whose rational element , aided by the will , controls the appetites . There
is an obvious analogy with the previous state structure , in which the
wise philosopher-kings , aided by soldiers , govern the rest of society.
Plato 's ethical theory rests on the assumption that virtue is knowledge and that it can be learned. This doctrine must be understood in the whole of his theory of ideas. As
already said, the ultimate idea for Plato is the idea of God , and
knowledge of that idea is the guide on the verge of adopting a moral
decision. Plato maintained that to know God is to do good . The consequence of this is that anyone who behaves unethically so from ignorance. This
conclusion is derived from Plato's certainty that a virtuous person is
really happy and as individuals always desire their own happiness ,
always eager to do what is moral.
Plato had an idea antagonistic art and the artist even endorsing certain types of religious art and moralistic . Your approach has to do again with his theory of ideas. A pretty flower , for example, is a copy or imitation of universal ideas flower and beauty. The physical flower is a reproduction of reality , ie of ideas. A flower box is therefore a secondary reproduction of reality. This
also means that the artist is a reproduction of a second order of
knowledge and, indeed , the frequent criticism from Plato to the artists
was that they lacked a true knowledge of what they were doing. Artistic creation, Plato observed , seemed to have its roots in an inspired madness.
The influence of Plato through the history of philosophy has been immense . His
Academy existed until the year 529 BC , when it was closed by order of
the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, who opposed the spread of pagan
teachings . Plato 's impact on Jewish thought is obvious in the work of the first century Alexandrian philosopher Philo of Alexandria. Neoplatonism
, founded in the third century by the philosopher Plotinus , was an
important further development of the ideas of Plato. The theologians Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Augustine were early Christian exponents of a Platonic perspective . Platonic ideas played a crucial role in the development of Christianity and in medieval Islamic thought .
the Renaissance , the first center of influence Florentine Platonic
Academy was founded in the fifteenth century near Florence. Under the leadership of Marsilio Ficino , members of the Academy studied Plato in Ancient Greek. In
England , Platonism was recovered in the seventeenth century by Ralph
Cudworth and others who became known as the Cambridge school . Plato's
influence has come to hand twentieth century thinkers such as Alfred
North Whitehead , who once paid tribute describing the philosophy as a
simple ' set of annotations of Plato ' .