Plato is famous for being one of the most influential figures in Western philosophy, and his student Aristotle went on to have a similarly large impact on the world. According to Alfred North Whitehead, a mathematician and philosopher, "The safest general characterisation of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Know More
Plato's most famous work is "The Republic," a treatise that reflects on what it means to be a good person, how to live a good life, and what the best form of government is. The Epistles, a collection of 35 dialogues and 13 letters, have also served as a basis for everything from Western ideas about love to mathematics (particularly arithmetic and number theory) and logic.
While Plato's works were lost to the West after the fall of the Roman Empire, they were preserved in the Muslim world by scholars who translated them from Ancient Greek to Arabic. Western European scholars in turn translated the Arabic works into Latin, and later when Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire fell, many other texts by Plato were taken to Western Europe by Greek refugees. This influx of knowledge is one of the factors that led to the Renaissance, and Plato's texts directly influenced the surge in scientific and philosophical development that followed.Learn more about Philosophy
In addition to being considered one of the founders of Western philosophy, Socrates is remembered for his iconic trial and execution for irreverence by the Athenian democracy, his development of what came to be known as the Socratic Method and for the almost religious admiration accorded him. Socrates also led a lifestyle that was somewhat contrary to what represented the norm for citizens of Athens during the 5th century B.C. and he gained a reputation as an often irritating social and moral critic of Athenian collective notions. Rigorous self-examination was strongly advocated by Socrates, and one of his most well-known quotes is "the unexamined life is not worth living," which he famously stated at his trial.Full Answer >
Plato believed that the world we see around us is only a shadow of reality, which he referred to as the world of the forms. From this belief, he developed the Parable of the Cave, the philosophical theory for which he is best known, according to a website hosted by St. Anselm College.Full Answer >
Socrates contributed to philosophy by creating what is known as the fundamentals of Western philosophy. He invented the teaching practice of pedagogy, the Socratic method and contributed to the fields of ethics, epistemology and logic.Full Answer >
Plato is celebrated as one of the most significant early Greek philosophers. His theories of form, ethics and politics, in particular, have proven enormously influential in both Western and Islamic traditions. Some, such as Alfred North Whitehead, have even considered all subsequent Western thought as simply a "footnote" to Plato.Full Answer >