Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Installment I

Growing up, Plato came from one of the wealthiest and most politically active families in Athens. His uncle, Charmides, was a member of the notorious “Thirty Tyrants” while his stepfather, Pyrilampes, was said to have been a close associate of Pericle when he was the leader of the democratic faction. Does this make Plato a Democrat? Plato’s actual name, Aristocles, came from his grandfather. “Plato” started as a nickname. It was first given to him by his wrestling teacher after the breadth of his style. Or after the breadth of his forehead. No one can say for sure. Although the name Aristocles was put on his tomb, history knows him as Plato. Today, Plato is now one of the most commonly known read and studied philosophers. Plato gained a lot of knowledge from his teacher, Socrates. He then later shared this knowledge with his student, Aristotle.I wonder if Aristotle admires Plato as much as Plato  admires Socrates considering he probably used the same teaching method on his student. Plato admired Socrates and often included him in many of his writings. While he was mainly influenced by Socrates, he was also influenced by Heraclitus, Parmenides, and the Pythagoreans.  

Due to their antiquity and the way they’ve been so nicely preserved, there are many theories over which of Plato’s works are authentic and in what order they were actually written. Yes, people are this petty when it comes to giving Plato credit. Nonetheless, his earliest works are typically referred to as the most reliable of his work. Socrates is a character in Plato’s writings who is considered to be one of the greatest of the ancient Philosophers. Clearly, he admires Socrates beyond words. Or maybe not beyond works considering there are multiple works where Plato uses words to describe how much he admires him.   

The works in which Plato created in the middle and later time of his career, including his most famous piece, the Republic, the main character acts and speaks for Plato himself. Those particular works incorporate ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, epistemology, ad metaphysics into a philosophy that all ties together. It is from Plato that we’ve obtained the theory of Forms, which is to where the world we know through the senses is only an imitation of the pure, eternal, unchanging world of the Forms. Aside from this, Plato’s work also contains the origins of the familiar complaint that the arts work by inflaming the passions, and are mere illusions. What does this mean? Personally, I think of it as saying that art is an illusion that we’ve created. Aside from this, he also believes in “platonic love.” Plato viewed love as motivated by a longing for the highest form of beauty – the beautiful itself, and love as the motivational power through which the highest of achievements are possible. Who knew Plato was a softy? He thought this because they both often distract us into accepting less than what we actually deserve. Despite all of this, Plato mistrusted and generally advised against physical expressions of love. 




  1. "I wonder if Aristotle admires Plato as much as Plato admires Socrates" - if so, he showed his admiration by arguing with his teacher... but indications are that Aristotle more faithfully represented Plato's views, than Plato represented Socrates'.

    For your next installment why don't you pick one of Plato's views - on love, for instance, or the Forms - and contrast it with Aristotle's. Then try to decide which you find more appealing, and say why.

    1. Also - and this goes for everyone - link to your sources.