In the beginning, Plato hung around with a group of young Athenian noblemen-to -be who idolized the older Socrates. Socrates hung out in the Agora, downtown. Socrates was Plato's teacher, Aristotle learned at Plato's Academy, and The Student-Teacher Relationship of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and. Greek Thought: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle Samos (c B.C.) did not find that nature of things in material substances but in mathematical relationships.
They tried to reason it through, they tried to talk it through, think about it from a rational point of view. And to get a flavor of that, here is a quote. But he himself was a little bit skeptical of unfettered or pure democracy.
The Big Three of Greek Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. | English Blog
He was worried, well, what if the people voting aren't educated to make the types of decisions? Maybe they can be manipulated by a demagogue, someone who just tells 'em exactly what they want to hear. And so he was a bit of a controversial figure, especially as you get to the end of the Peloponnesian War.
Remember, Athens loses the Peloponnesian War. It went from being this powerful head of this Delian League, something of an empire, this wealthy city, and now it's a subjugated state, it's tired from war. And so you can imagine there's a lot of political infighting, and Socrates ends up being one of the casualties.
Philosophy: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (video) | Khan Academy
He is actually put on trial by his fellow Athenians. This is a depiction of the trial of Socrates, and it shows Socrates defending himself from the accusations brought against him. Refusing to recognize the gods acknowledged by the state, importing strange divinities of his own, corrupting the young.
And his defense, which both Xenophon and Plato write about, called The Apology, he's bewildered, he says, where is all of this coming from? Now, it is true, he did not invoke the gods when he's trying to explain the universe. And, yes, he was trying to teach the young to think.
But by no means, if you look at what he was doing, or at least our modern accounts coming through Plato and Xenophon, does it seem like he was trying to undermine the state in some way.
But, needless to say, it comes to a vote, and maybe he's a victim of his own fears of a pure democratic process, but, amongst the Athenians voting, say that he is guilty, and say that he is not guilty.
He is given a chance to think about what his penalty should be. And the charges, at least in the Athenian's minds, were quite serious. But Socrates famously says, "An unexamined life is not worth living. And this is a painting done much, much later of what that death of Socrates might have looked like. But you see here Socrates about to, or maybe he just drank the hemlock, which is the poison which will kill him.
So, even though he had to die for these pretty spurious allegations, his legacy lives on, and it lives on most famously in his student Plato. Now, Plato is famous for many things. There's this notion of a Platonic ideal form that, whether you're talking about a circle, or a ball, or a dog, or a chair, that there's an ideal form that is independent of what your senses are telling you, or what the chair in front of you might be, that that's an imperfect version of that ideal form.
The word Platonic, in general, you'll hear applied to many different concepts, some of the meanings having changed over time. The other thing that Plato is famous for is the notion of an academy.
The place where he taught his students was a little field outside the walls of Athens, named for the Athenian hero Akademos, and so that area became known as Plato's Academy. And ever since then, places of learning have often been referred to as academies, just like Khan Academy. But Plato was also concerned, like his teacher Socrates, with the nature of how we should be ruled.
And, remember, we're now after the period of the Peloponnesian War.
The Big Three of Greek Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
The city states of Greece, especially Athens, have been dramatically weakened, so a lot of people might be thinking, including Plato, is there a better way to govern ourselves? The world that we perceive through the mind, seems to be permanent and unchanging. Which world perceived is more real?
Why are we seen two different worlds?
To find a solution to these problems, Plato split the world into two: We have access to the realm of forms through the mind, allowing us access to an unchanging world. This particular world is invulnerable to the pains and changes of the material world. By detaching our souls from the material world and our bodies and developing our ability to concern ourselves with the forms, Plato believes this will lead to us finding a value which is not open to change.
This solves the ethical problem. Splitting existence up into two realms also leads us to a solution to the problem of permanence and change. Our mind perceives a different world, with different objects, than our senses do. It is the material world, perceived through the senses, that is changing. It is the realm of forms, perceived through the mind, that is permanent. There, he honed his talents of understanding the world.
In his understanding of the world, he wrote his theory of the universals—which I find to be extremely intriguing. The problem of the universals is the question of whether properties exist, and if so, what exactly are they.
To avoid confusion, a universal is a metaphysical term describing what particular things have in common, focusing strictly characteristics or qualities. His theory states that universals exist only where they are instantiated the concept that it is impossible for a property to exist which is not had by some object. In simpler terms, he believes universals exist only in things, never apart from things—differing from his teacher, Plato, on this.
Aristotle believes that a universal is identical in each of its instances.