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Plato: Still Teaching and Enlightening Readers in the 21st Century!

Emily Oxley, Writer

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Born around 428 B.C., during the final years of the Golden Age of Pericles’ Athens, Plato grew up during the Peloponnesian War, coming of the age of around the time of Athens’ final defeat by Sparta and the political chaos that followed. Although living in a difficult time in Athens, he still received an excellent education in philosophy, poetry, and gymnastics by distinguished Athenian teachers along with philosopher Cratylus.

After the death of Socrates, Plato studied other philosophers and the mystic mathematician Pythagoras. He began a lifelong relationship with Syracuse’s ruling family who would later seek his advice on reforming their city’s politics.

With the exception of a set of letters of dubious provenance, all of Plato’s surviving writings form a structured dialogue with Socrates appearing in all but one of them. The early dialogues offer a deep exploration of Socrates dialectic method of analyzing and evaluating ideas and presumptions. In the middle dialogues, Plato’s individual ideas and beliefs, though never advocated outright, emerged in Socratic form.

Plato’s later dialogues break away from the dialogue form and explore specific topics. In the “laws”, his final dialogue, Plato retreats from the Republic’s pure theory of philosophers leading a society, suggesting that experience and history and wisdom can govern and guide an ideal state.

Plato’s school, The Academy, flourished for nearly three centuries following his death, but the Roman general Sulla in 86 B.C destroyed Athens. Though continually read in the Byzantine Empire and in the Islamic world, Aristotle rose to prominence in the Christian west. Only in the Renaissance that scholars like Petrarch led a revival of Plato’s thought and particular exploration of his logic and geometry.

Plato–his philosophy still enlightens readers to this day!

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The School Bulletin of New Caney High School
Plato: Still Teaching and Enlightening Readers in the 21st Century!