Eagle Times Bulletin

  • 2017-2018 School year begins Monday, August 28, 2017

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

Emily Oxley, Writer

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Born around 428 B.C. in the final years of the Golden Age of Pericles’ Athens, Plato grew up during the Peloponnesian War, 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 Socrates death, 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 except one. 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 diverted from the dialogue form and explored specific topics. In his final dialogue called “the “laws”,  Plato retreated from the Republic’s pure theory of philosophers leading a society, suggesting that experience, 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 during the Renaissance that scholars like Petrarch led a revival of Plato’s general thought and particular exploration of his logic and geometry.

Plato–his philosophy still enlightens readers to this day!

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