The Most Influential Philosopher In History, Plato

1003 words - 4 pages

The Greek philosopher we all know as Plato wasn't actually named Plato. The birth name given to him by his wealthy Athenian parents was Aristocles. In his school days he received the nickname "Plato" (meaning "broad") for his broad shoulders. Plato was born around 428 B.C. and died around 347 B.C. Plato saw war service between 409 and 404 B.C. during the Peloponnesian War and he won a medal for bravery. After the war he had political ambitions, but he was never really sympathetic to the Athenian democracy so he could not join it wholeheartedly. He became a devoted follower of Socrates at 409 B.C. When Socrates was executed for corrupting the young of Athens and for disbelieving in the gods of the city, Plato withdrew from public life and fled. He left believing that until "Kings were Philosophers and Philosophers were Kings" things would never go well in the world. For several years he traveled around the citied of Greek, Africa, and Italy, finally returning to Athens in 387 B.C. Supposedly when Plato was enroute back to Athens, he was captured by pirates and held for ransom. When he returned he devoted himself to philosophy. Plato then established a school which he named "The Academy" because his school was founded on the grounds of a once legendary Greek called Academus. At his academy he became the mentor of the great Greek Philosopher Aristotles. Plato primarily stayed at the Academy until his death at about 347 B.C.Plato is considered the best known Greek Philosopher. Plato's areas of concentration in philosophy are the metaphysics, epistemology. You could also add ethics to one of his areas of concentration but since ethics concerns how one ought to live and focuses on pleasure, virtue, and happiness. So according to Plato, virtue and happiness require knowledge, for example, knowledge of goods and evils, Plato's ethics is inseparable from his epistemology. Three philosophers heavily influenced Plato's ideas on metaphysics and epistemology, Heraclitus (c. 540 B.C.-480-70), Parmenides (c.515 B.C.-449-40), and Socrates (470 B.C.-399).Epistemology, for Plato, is best thought of as the account of what knowledge is. He assumes that there is knowledge, or at least that it is possible, and he inquires into the conditions that make it possible. These conditions, broadly conceived, concern, on the one hand, the rational capacities of humans, or more accurately souls, and, on the other hand, the objects of knowledge. With respect to objects, Forms certainly are objects of knowledge. However, there is much dispute as to whether anything in the material world is a suitable object. The physical world is an image, an imperfect world of change. Many passages in the Phaedo and the Republic's imply that Plato is a skeptic about knowledge of the physical, sensible world. Humans can have only beliefs about it. But many shy away at the prospect that Plato is such a skeptic. That while all knowledge for Plato must be based, in some sense, on Forms, one...

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