Biography of Plato. Who was he and what did he do?

Biography of Plato. Who was he and what did he do?

Who was Plato?

One of the greek philosophers best known throughout the centuries is undoubtedly Plato, whose texts and theories are still being studied today. He is considered the father of academic philosophy.

He was born in Athens in the year 427 BC within a family of aristocrats. Since he was little he had an interest in politics, but finally he opted for philosophy thanks to the influence of the philosopher Socrates, whom he followed for years, even facing sophists like Protagoras.

When Socrates died in 399 BC, he decided walk away from politics completely although subjects related to the subject were always on his mind, which allowed him to theorize about the ideal model of organization of a state.

He began to travel to the East and to the south of Italy. During his trip some remarkable events took place, such as that he met the disciples of Pythagoras and was taken prisoner by pirates until they rescued him, after which returned to his hometown, Athens.

In 387 BC he founded a school where philosophy would be taught just outside the city. The chosen place was next to the garden of a classic hero, Academo, where it comes from the term of Academy.

In this center wise men met; one of the best known would be Aristotle years later. It also acted as a student residence, library, organized specialized seminars to develop knowledge and it laid the foundations for today's university institutions.

Within this center it was not only studied, but also it was investigated on the most diverse subjects, since in those times the philosophy covered almost the totality of the knowledge.

There, specific areas were created that would give rise to the different branches of knowledge, such as ethics, logic or even physics. Its doors were open for centuries until Justinian commanded close it in 529 AD.

Plato's works

Plato left all his written works, unlike his teacher Socrates, so his works have been preserved almost complete. Some of his best known works are «The Republic "or" The Banquet. " His philosophy is based on the differentiation between the world of ideas and the world of being against the world of appearances.

Thus, man is made up of body and soul, the body related to the sensible world and the immortal soul with the world of ideas. The ideal man would be the one who link ideas through knowledge. But this can only be done in the social life of the political community.

For Plato the ideal state would be the Republic formed by three social classes, the people, the warriors and the philosophers, each with a specific mission. Philosophers would have the characteristic of wisdom, so they would be the in charge of governing.

The warriors would be in charge of ensuring safety due to your strength. And the people would cultivate temperance in productive activities. Each one had to be clear about their mission and be subordinate to the interests of the state.

He went along with his disciple Dion to present his ideas to the King Dionysius II of Syracuse. He tried to have his ideas instituted twice, but both times they were rejected, since his idealistic thought collided with the true political situation.

He returned to Athens and was there until the end of his days studying and researching. He died in the year 347 BC.

Plato Image: Public domain
Cover image: Stock Photos - By vangelis aragiannis on Shutterstock

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