The fundamentals aspects that shaped the great mind of Plato
The importance of understanding concepts and analyzing the true meaning of words capture the human mind to develop philosophical thinking, so men can determine what they know about the world. A particularly exciting aspect of the human mind has always been intrigued in understanding reality, and Plato was fascinated with the abstract and theoretical principles of what constitutes reality. To Plato, ideas or conceptual forms were essential realities; when we refer to justice or beauty, it is essential to analyze the real meaning of the words to understand the form. Plato developed a whole philosophy in trying to examine how the human mind arrives to knowledge. Plato was a remarkable thinker and writer, and his system of thought and metaphysics have strongly impacted many societies. A great mind like Plato’s is the result of a sequence of experiences and historical events, the impact of certain figures in society and the combination of a great intellect. The aspects that shaped Plato’s ideas were: first the society of Sparta and the deceitfulness of the Athenian democracy, and second the influence of philosophers like Socrates, Phytagoras, Parmenides and others; the synthesis of these aspects is revealed thought out his beliefs and works.
One of the most crucial aspects in Plato’s philosophy is his Utopia. There are central elements that shaped Plato’s perception of what a perfect state should constitute of; therefore, it is vital to analyze the historical context of Plato’s life. Plato was born in 428-7 B.C., in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. After Athens’s defeat in the war, antidemocratic sympathizers brought the rule of the Thirty Tyrants, and Plato was related to various people who were concerned about the new rule. At a young age, it is possible that Plato could have blame Athens’ defeat to democracy1 (Russell,105). Plato came from one of the “wealthiest and most politically active families in Athens” (Annas, 18). He was a student of Socrates, for whom he felt a tremendous affection; Socrates was found guilty in corrupting the youth and believing in other gods and was put to death by the Athenian democracy. Plato showed in many of his early Dialogues the figure of Socrates as the philosopher who gave enlightenment to the citizens of Athens because his knowledge relied on logic and reason; for example, in the dialectic development of the idea of piety in the Euthyphro, Socrates emphasized the exercise of reason in analyzing the fallacies of his opponent’s arguments. The irony of this dialogue is that Socrates is charged of impiety, and he proved to know more about piety than his opponent. It is not surprising that Plato will favor Sparta in his Utopia because the Athenian democracy is responsible for Socrates’ death. In Plato’s works, Socrates is in the highest level of intellect and ethics, and in the dialogue Crito Socrates is the perfect example of what an ethical position should be: “The view that the citizen who has agreed to live in a state must always obey the laws of the state, or else persuade the state to change its laws, or leave the state” (Crito 51bc-52a-d); then Socrates affirmed: "one must not even do wrong when one is wronged, which most people regard as the natural course." Socrates represents the great martyr and philosopher who is willing to act in name of justice besides of the circumstances. He would prefer to die rather than to act unjustly. Plato established most of his highest ethical values through Socrates’ voice in the Dialogues. It is possible to assume that Plato could have felt a great loss after Socrates’ death, and his resentment towards Athens influenced him to see Sparta as a better society. Plato will also favor Sparta’s educational and social reforms in his works. In Plato’s Utopia, the Republic, the first dialogues near to the end of Book V, consists of the elements necessary to construct an ideal...
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