Plato was one of the world’s most influential Greek philosophers and a pioneer of Western thought. He was a descendant of Athenian nobility, but he lost his father at an early age. After his mother remarried, Plato was provided private tutoring from the best philosophers and poets.
Plato was a student of Socrates, who bravely promoted open-ended dialogues to introduce new ways of thinking. However, Socrates was executed by the Democratic Athenian state, and Plato related his teacher’s ideas throughout his life.
Following his teacher’s forced suicide, Plato traveled widely and studied the philosophy of each country he visited. Upon returning to Athens after 12 years, he founded his Academy when he was about 40 years old. It is famous for being the world’s first university and for training Aristotle, another influential philosopher and the founder of the Lyceum. The Academy continued teaching philosophy for the next three centuries before being attacked by the Romans.
Plato’s thoughts are preserved in his 36 dialogues which offer the dialectic method used by Socrates. Plato’s most famous work, The Republic, is still greatly valued today to explore governance, ethics, logic, sentiments, and desires. Plato was also profoundly interested in geometry, cosmology and law. He used his teachings to guide Athenian rulers to lead through wisdom and sympathy.
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge.”
“When the mind is thinking, it is talking to itself.”
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.”