Plato -- Life And Works Plato Was Research Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 4 Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy Type: Research Paper Paper: #12593436 Related Topics: End Of Life, Metaphysics, Life, Humorous
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Plato -- Life and Works

Plato was born in Athens circa 425 BC, just after the onset of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. He lost his father at an early age, but through his mother's marriage to a friend of the leading statesman and general of Athens at the time, Plato became affiliated with some of the most influential circles of a city enjoying a Golden Age. The early historian, Diogenes Laertius states that Plato's birth name was Aristocles and that he was nicknamed Platon, which was the Greek term for "broad," which could have both referred to Plato's intellectual capacity or his forehead/stature (Diogenes Laertius). Plato was reared in the house of his step-father, learning first the works of Cratylus, Parmenides and Pythagoras, and then learning under Socrates, who was friends with Plato's uncle Charmides. Thus, the meeting between Plato and Socrates is not surprising as they ran in concentric circles. Socrates immensely shaped the thinking and style of Plato, focusing his attention on the "examined life," or life of virtue.

Plato served in the military at the end of the Peloponnesian War, but his love stemmed towards politics rather than the military. He meant to serve in politics, too, but as he matured, he detested the oligarchic and tyrannical method of the 30 Tyrants. Even with the return of democracy following the brief rule of the 30 Tyrants, Athenian politics proved too corrupted for Plato and he left off this ambition. Socrates' conviction and execution pushed Plato towards a life of


It is from Plato's dialogues that the popular image of Socrates emerges. But Xenophon also provides an image of Socrates. Both portrayed him defending himself during his trial. Plato's Apology depicts a Socrates who is witty, humorous, rational, spiritual, convinced of the higher truths, the life of virtue, and of his own wisdom -- or, rather, that his wisdom is in knowing that he is a fool. Xenophon's Apology depicts a Socrates whose Oracle pronounces him the freest, most just, and soundest of mind -- but makes no mention of wisdom (Xenophon). Another difference is that in Plato's Apology, Socrates faces death because he believes it is his duty to do so, recognizing the State's authority. It is an act in full accordance with his philosophy. But in Xenophon's Apology, Socrates suggests that it is better to die now than to continue to bear up under the pains of old age.

Plato went on to establish the Academy in the grove of Academus, from whom the name Academy has come. At the school, Plato lectured and taught his students, who learned the various sciences.

It is difficult to say whether Plato's writings transformed the original ideas of Socrates. Plato's dialogues were dramatic structures which did themselves…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Diogenes Laertius. Life of Plato (trans R.D. Hicks). 26 Oct 2013. Web.

O'Connor, J.J., Robertson, E.F. "Plato." University of St. Andrews. 26 Oct 2013.


"Plato Biography." The European Graduate School. 26 Oct 2013. Web.

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