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Plato (427-347 BC)

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Plato (428/427 BC - 348/347 BC) is a Greek philosopher, known for his Dialogues and regarded as the first university in the Western world in the traditional sense, and founded the Academy in the north of Athens, regarded as a pioneer. Plato, whose birth name is Aristocles, is the son of Ariston from the town of Kolitus (Colytus). Plato had two older brothers (Adimentes and Glaukon), known for their roles in the Republic, and a sister, Potone. According to Diogenes Laertius, he was given the nickname "Plato" by his wrestling trainer because of his broad shoulders ("Plato" means broad in Greek). His family was aristocratic and well-connected politically, and Plato was apparently expected to pursue a career in politics as well. His interests were mostly in the field of art, and he wrote plays, maybe even poetry, in his youth. In his late teens or early twenties, he heard Socrates teaching in the market and gave up on a literary career as a playwright; He burned his early works and devoted himself to philosophy.

It is probable that Plato had known Socrates since his youth, at least given the fame he spread. The Athenian politician Critias was a cousin of Plato's mother and studied with Socrates as a young man. It is therefore suggested that Socrates was a regular visitor of Plato's family. In addition, it is assumed by the ancient writers that Socrates had no influence on Plato until his twenties. Diogenes Laertius (200 AD) was about to compete for an award on tragedies in Plato's theater of Bacchus: “Hearing Socrates' speech, he said, 'Vulcan, come here; He writes that he burned his poems saying 'Plato asks for your help' and from now on, now that he is twenty years old, he is a student of Socrates”. While nothing is clearly known about Plato's actions for the next eight years, he worked in the retinue of the elderly philosopher until his trial and execution for impiety in 399 BC.

The execution of Socrates was a major blow to the 28-year-old Plato, after which he left Athens for travel. He visited Egypt and Italy, among other places, before returning to his hometown to establish the Academy and write his Dialogues. His Dialogues almost entirely present Socrates as the main character, but whether he accurately portrayed Socrates' actions and beliefs in this section has long been disputed. Plato's contemporary, the Phaedo (Phaedo) - one of Socrates' students - (also known for naming Plato's dialogue) argued that Plato placed his own ideas in Socrates' mouth and created the dramatic situations of his dialogues.

Plato's Dialogues is about the search for truth in the universal sense and the understanding of what is good. Plato stated that there is only one universal truth that human beings need to know and strive to live accordingly. This truth he asserted was embodied in the Realm of Forms. Plato's Theory of Forms, in simple terms, reveals that there is a higher realm of truth and that the perceived world of the senses is only a reflection of the supreme. When someone sees a horse, then he considers the horse beautiful. That one expresses how similar the certain horse on earth is to the "Form of Beauty" in the realm of forms. To realize the "Form of Beauty", one must understand that the perceived world is only an illusion or reflection; other than that, what he calls "beautiful" on earth is not beautiful in itself, but to the extent that it participates in the "Form of Beauty" (an even more concept is explored in the famous "Cave Description" in Plato's Republic, Book VII). Therefore, the ancient saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is completely unacceptable to Plato.

While Aristotle disagreed with other aspects of Plato's theory of forms and philosophy, he was deeply influenced by his teaching; in particular, he was also impressed by his insistence on a right way of life and the appropriate method he put forward for following one's way of life (as Aristotle makes clear in his Ethics to the Nicomachus). Aristotle had tutored Alexander the Great, and by doing so he helped spread the philosophy that Plato created in the world. Plato died in 348/7 BC at the age of eighty, and the administration of the Academy passed to his nephew Speusippus. Tradition, Academy; It shows that pagan thought continued as a guide in higher education for about a thousand years until it was shut down by the Christian Emperor Justinian in 529 to suppress heresy. Ancient sources, however, determined that in 88 BC the Academy was severely damaged in the First Mithridatic War and was almost completely destroyed in 86 BC when the Roman Emperor Sulla captured Athens.

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