Depiction of Greek philosopher Plato.

Plato

(c. 427 BC - c. 347 BC)

Born into a distinguished family—his father’s lineage claimed Poseidon as an ancestor, his mother’s the lawgiver Solon—Plato, a student of Socrates, founded the Academy in Athens, regarded as the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Aristotle, his best student, described Plato as a man “whom it is blasphemy in the base even to praise,” while the mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead reportedly summed up the Greek thinker’s accomplishments with the remark, “All of Western philosophy is but a footnote to Plato.” Among his best-known works are the dialogues the Apology, the Republic, the Symposium, and Phaedo.

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Miscellany

Plato’s uncle Charmides boasted to wealthy aristocrat Callias that poverty granted freedom. “I lose nothing because I have nothing,” he said. Callias was unconvinced. “So, do you also pray never to be rich,” he asked, “and if you have a good dream, do you sacrifice to the averters of disaster?” “Not at all,” Charmides replied, “I accept the outcome like a daredevil.” 

Voices In Time

c. 378 BC | Athens

Plato’s Other Half

“And now ‘love’ is the name for our pursuit of wholeness.”More

Voices In Time

c. 378 BC | Athens

Triage

To the healthy goes the medical treatment.More

Voices In Time

c. 432 BC | Athens

Entourage

Protagoras and his crew.More

Any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich; these are at war with one another.

—Plato, c. 378 BC

Voices In Time

c. 378 BC | Athens

Good Breeding

Socrates outlines a sensible reproduction strategy.More

The more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation.

—Plato, c. 375 BC

Everything that deceives does so by casting a spell.

—Plato, c. 375 BC

An old man is twice a child, and so is a drunken man.

—Plato, c. 360 BC

Man is a troublesome animal and therefore is not very manageable.

—Plato, c. 349 BC

Miscellany

According to Diogenes Laërtius’ third-century Lives and Opinions of the Eminent Philosophers, Plato was applauded for his definition of man as a featherless biped, so Diogenes the Cynic “plucked the feathers from a cock, brought it to Plato’s school, and said, ‘Here is Plato’s man.’” When asked about the origin of his epithet, cynic deriving from the Greek word for dog, Diogenes replied that it was given to him because he “fawns upon those who give him anything and barks at those who give him nothing.”

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