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These works blend ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, epistemology, and metaphysics into an interconnected and systematic philosophy.It is most of all from Plato that we get the theory of Forms, according to which the world we know through the senses is only an imitation of the pure, eternal, and unchanging world of the Forms. Plato came from one of the wealthiest and most politically active families in Athens.Nonetheless, it is plain that no influence on Plato was greater than that of Socrates.
Because they tended to distract us into accepting less than our highest potentials, however, Plato mistrusted and generally advised against physical expressions of love. These dates, however, are not entirely certain, for according to Diogenes Laertius (D. If Plato's date of death is correct in Apollodorus' version, Plato would have been born in 430 or 431. His stepfather Pyrilampes was said to have been a close associate of Pericles, when he was the leader of the democratic faction. When Socrates died, Plato left Athens, staying first in Megara, but then going on to several other places, including perhaps Cyrene, Italy, Sicily, and even Egypt.
It is widely accepted that Plato, the Athenian philosopher, was born in 428-7 B. E and died at the age of eighty or eighty-one at 348-7 B. L.), following Apollodorus' chronology, Plato was born the year Pericles died, was six years younger than Isocrates, and died at the age of eighty-four (D. Diogenes' claim that Plato was born the year Pericles died would put his birth in 429. Diogenes' report that Plato's birth was the result of Ariston's rape of Perictione (D. 3.1) is a good example of the unconfirmed gossip in which Diogenes so often indulges. Plato's actual given name was apparently Aristocles, after his grandfather. Although the name Aristocles was still given as Plato's name on one of the two epitaphs on his tomb (see D. Strabo (17.29) claims that he was shown where Plato lived when he visited Heliopolis in Egypt. In any event, Plato returned to Athens and founded a school, known as the Academy.
Others, including Alexamenos of Teos (Aristotle passim), Simon (D. Such a claim, at any rate, is hardly established simply by the existence of these other writers and their writings.
We may still wish to ask whether Plato's own use of Socrates as his main character has anything at all to do with the historical Socrates.
Dion subsequently gathered an army of mercenaries and invaded his own homeland.
But his success was short-lived: he was assassinated and Sicily was reduced to chaos. The effects of this influence can perhaps be seen in the mature Plato's conception of the sensible world as ceaselessly changing.Later (at 3.6), Diogenes says that Plato was twenty-eight when Socrates was put to death (in 399), which would, again, put his year of birth at 427. Both sides of the family claimed to trace their ancestry back to Poseidon (D. We can be confident that Plato also had two older brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, and a sister, Potone, by the same parents (see D. "Plato" seems to have started as a nickname (for or "broad"), perhaps first given to him by his wrestling teacher for his physique, or for the breadth of his style, or even the breadth of his forehead (all given in D. Plato occasionally mentions Egypt in his works, but not in ways that reveal much of any consequence (see, for examples, According to the account given there, Plato first went to Italy and Sicily when he was "about forty" (324a). (This is where we get our word, "academic." The Academy got its name from its location, a grove of trees sacred to the hero Academus—or Hecademus [see D. 3.7]—a mile or so outside the Athenian walls; the site can still be visited in modern Athens, but visitors will find it depressingly void of interesting monuments or features.) Except for two more trips to Sicily, the Academy seems to have been Plato's home base for the remainder of his life.In spite of the confusion, the dates of Plato's life we gave above, which are based upon Eratosthenes' calculations, have traditionally been accepted as accurate. According to Diogenes, whose testimony is notoriously unreliable, Plato's parents were Ariston and Perictione (or Potone—see D. While he stayed in Syracuse, he became the instructor to Dion, brother-in-law of the tyrant Dionysius I. The first of Plato's remaining two Sicilian adventures came after Dionysius I died and his young son, Dionysius II, ascended to the throne. Dionysius then summoned Plato, but wished for Dion to wait a while longer.It has frequently been assumed that if we can establish a relative chronology for when Plato wrote each of the dialogues, we can provide some objective test for the claim that Plato represented Socrates more accurately in the earlier dialogues, and less accurately in the later dialogues.In antiquity, the ordering of Plato's dialogues was given entirely along thematic lines.The best reports of these orderings (see Diogenes Laertius' discussion at 3.56-62) included many works whose authenticity is now either disputed or unanimously rejected.