On This Day

Plato

Philosopher Plato

Profession: Philosopher

Nationality:
Greece
Greek

Why Famous: Plato is a central figure in classical Greek philosophy. He was a disciple of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, who in turn tutored Alexander the Great.

The son of an Athenian aristocratic family, Plato studied informally under Socrates before later founding the first school of higher learning, the Academy in Athens. Unlike many of his contemporaries his writings have survived, often written in a form of a dialogue. His most famous works include the Socratic dialogues: the Apology, Crito and Phaedo which deal with Socrates' death. Other famous dialogues include the Symposium, Gorgias and the Republic. In all 35 dialogues and 13 epistles have survived.

Throughout his writings Plato is particularly concerned with questions of political philosophy and the concept of forms, for example beauty, equality and justice. Other central concerns included the problem of how to live a happy and just life.

Much of Plato's writings were lost in the West during the Middle Ages but survived in Arab centers of learning. They were rediscovered in the West after the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

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