Plato: His Biography And Works Essay

2417 words - 10 pages

Plato stands at the center of philosophical thought in the ancient world. He was the first person to approach philosophical issues systematically, but it was the genius with which he treated those issues that made his thought so influential. Virtually every philosopher who came after Plato agreeing or disagreeing with his works. Moreover, Plato's influence was hardly limited to the ancient world. Plato's thought was studied throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and continues to be crucial to an understanding of philosophical issues. Although the correctness of his doctrines has always been the subject of vigorous debate, no one can deny the pervasive influence of Plato's thought on the history of Western philosophy. Plato's thrilling life-story and his multiple theories will influence mankind for all eternity.(Kenny 22)From Plato's birth to his death, he experienced the life of a soldier during war times, the complete exploration of the known world, the many riches of being wealthy, the vast fields of science and mathematics, and the total depth of true philosophy. All of his long 80 years were well spent and put to good use. The life story of Plato is composed of a little bit of everything.Plato was born in Athens in about 427 B.C. and died there in about 347 B.C. The original name of this Athenian aristocrat was Aristotle, but in his school days he received the nickname 'Platon' (meaning 'broad') because of his broad shoulders. He was the youngest son of Ariston and Perictione who both came from famous, wealthy families who had lived in Athens for generations. While Plato was a young man, his father died and his mother remarried. Her second husband was a man named Pyrilampes. It was mostly in Pyrilampes' house that Plato was brought up.In his early life, he served in the Athenian Army and fought in the Peloponnesian War. The Peloponnesian War was fought between Athens and Sparta between 431 BC and 404 BC. Plato was in military service from 409 BC to 404 BC. Although he fought for Athenian cause, he was never really sympathetic to the Athenian democracy. As a result, he could not join wholeheartedly in the government. Instead, he was a devoted follower of his beloved teacher, Socrates. Socrates was executed by the democrats in 399 B.C. "Plato was in the courtroom throughout the trial. The whole sequence of events seems to have come as a traumatic experience to him, for he regarded Socrates as the best and wisest and most just of all human beings."(Magee 69) Feeling the pain of Socrates' death, Plato left Athens, frustrated with the thought that, until 'kings were philosophers or philosophers were kings,' things would never go well with the world. Because of this thought, Plato decided that he would have nothing further to do with politics in Athens.(Mathematicians)For several years he visited the Greek cities of Egypt and Italy. In Egypt, he learned of a water clock and later introduced it into Greece. In Italy, he studied of the work...

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