S: Plato's Perception by Annemarie Beran
BC: Annemarie Beran February 6, 2012 Second Period
FC: PLATO | "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."
1: Plato was born to a wealthy family. Originally, he was named "Aristocles" after his grandfather. His wrestling coach, Ariston of Argos, nick-named him "Platon", meaning "broad," on account of his robust figure.
2: Plato initially studied with philosopher Cratylus, a disciple of the philosopher Heraclitus. This school of thought viewed the great majority of human beings as lacking understanding. This is likely where Plato determined that it was important for people to think and not just memorize. And in thinking, Plato learned it was okay to disagree or criticize. Later in his life, Plato criticized Cratylus and Heraclitus for radical theories that led to a denial of the Law of Non-Contradiction
3: Plato was primarily a follower of Socrates. He was exposed to Socrates as a young child and became his student at about age 20 in search of a political career. Plato's thinking and teaching is reflective of Socrates. He carried on the "Socratic Method," which is the basis of legal education in law schools across the United States.
4: Plato became disillusioned with politicians and abandoned his political aspirations. Had he continued on in politics, world history may have been different. However, society benefited from his political thought and philosophical teachings in numerous ways.
5: After the oligarchy put Socrates to death, Plato went underground for about 12 years, traveling and writing. He was able to experience different cultures and explore diverse perspectives. | During Plato’s travels to Sicily, Plato impressed Dion, the brother-in-law of the tyrant Dionysius. Dion, enthused by Plato’s philosophy, enlisted Plato’s assistance in trying to reform the ruler and establish a state led by philosophers. This failed as did his attempts to train Dionysius II. Yet, this experience provided Plato with additional insight into the human behavior.
6: Plato came to believe that the only hope for politics was to establish a school and foster a new kind of political character. Accordingly, he founded one of the earliest known organized schools in Western Civilization on a plot of land in the Grove of Hecademus or Academus. This became known as the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. It had been a model for American colleges and universities. Understanding (as opposed to pure memorization) was the primary learning focus, a style incorporated by incredible modern day teachers.
7: Plato’s writings involved speeches utilizing a main character. It is believed that this was done to reach a wider audience and allow the use of pedagogical questions which forced people to think. Through his writings, Plato permanently influenced philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, and mathematics.
8: One of Plato’s most famous writings is the Republic, where he expounded on his ideal society and correct form of government. Plato described humans as one of three categories (with some overlap). The philosopher is devoted to attaining wisdom, the hedonist seeks only pleasure and self-gratification, and the man of action desires recognition for his practical abilities.
9: In addition to a significant impact on philosophy and politics, Plato’s search for truth helped the evolution of mathematics.
10: Plato died at the age of 80, having never married and never having any children of his own. His bride was learning, and his students were his children.
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