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Philosophy Of Plato Essay

1698 words - 7 pages

As you may know from the lectures, Plato was a greek philosopher who was born in 427 BC and died in 347 BC. Plato was actually given the name Aristocles, but was called Plato possibly as a reference to his broad shoulders because apparently used to a wrestler. Plato by the way means broad or flat. He was born into a wealthy family and his dad was descended from the last king of Athens Plato's philosophy had a massive impact on western thought which is probably the reason why he is so well known in the western world. Another reason why Plato is so well known and respected is because of his method of enquiry. Plato's method of enquiry was totally different from the past ancient greek philosophers, the method used was a more rigorous and rational method of enquiry which philosophers alike used today. Plato introduced analysis, effective argument and a rational approach which laid the foundations of philosophical thought for all the philosophers who came after him. This is why the British philosopher Alfred North Whitehead famously said that the history of philosophy is "˜but a series of footnotes to Plato' Plato wasn't pre occupied by the big questions in life which related to cosmology, his main concern was with moral philosophy i.e. how to live our lives. His later readings were more directed to other branches of philosophy such as political philosophy, education, metaphysics and epistemology. Plato's was actually the earliest philosopher whose writings have survived so it gives philosophers a look not just into early philosophy but what ancient Greece was like.It's also important to look at the world Plato was living in. At the time Greece wasn't a united country, but was a collection of city-states that were united by language and culture as well as a defence powerful external enemies such as Persia. During his life Plato witnessed the decline and fall of this Greek federation. Basically it was a time of war and political upheaval but also a period of great cultural activity.Plato's life can be classed into three periods The early period was when Plato was concerned with moral issues and was notably influenced by Socrates. An important note to make is that although it cannot be said for sure, much of Plato's work in this period was actually Socrates and doesn't contain much work Plato himself.The middle period shows a greater interest in issues such as politics and metaphysics which demonstrate more of Plato's work but still using Socrates as characters in his works. During this period the Republic was written which contains the Analogy of the cave which is the text for the seminar. The book isn't just about politics but also gives a view on education and a theory of human nature.The final period shows books which are mostly written by Plato which are also less dramatic.Probably the most important man in Plato's life was Socrates who greatly influenced him. Plato had a deep concern for the welfare of Athens and its citizens and so...

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