Plato was born in Athens in the year 428 b.c. He was from a powerful and honored family of politicians, and was related to the oligarchs who ruled Athens in cooperation with Sparta after the Peloponnesian War. At the time, the political climate was unstable— the Thirty Tyrants (the name by which the rulers of Athens were known) had taken power after the previous, democratic, government fell during the war. Nonetheless, or perhaps because of the instability, Athens was one of the main centers of culture on the planet at the time.
Plato is the most famous student of Socrates, a man who rejected the ideas of the sophists (thrasymachus is an example of a Sophist) and tried to find the truth the world we live in, and the best way of living in it (this should sound familiar by now). Socrates thought that the Sophists manipulated language for their own ends, using confusion and trickery to succeed in argumentation, instead of trying to make things clear and searching for truth. Socrates through that what mattered most was the quest for self-knowledge and cultivation of the soul, and claimed that contemplation is the noblest human activity. As Plato grew older, his dialogues became less about what Socrates thought and said, and more about what Plato himself thought. His ideas are all presented in dialogue format, and they were meant as plays. The republic, which we will focus on for this class, is considered his greatest work. Keep in mind that when you write about the ideas in the book, "Socrates says" and "Plato writes."

Plot and Major Characters

Information about Plato, an old wise guy who wrote tons of really cool stuff. You ladies and gentlemen are reading what is generally considered to be one of his best, if not the best, work he has produced. Like most of his other works, this is in dialogue form.

Plato lived in the year… in ancient greece. His teacher was Socrates, and Aristotle was his most famous student.

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