Plato's Influence and Contributions

Topics: Philosophy, Plato, Theory of Forms Pages: 6 (1955 words) Published: May 9, 2013
Plato’s Influence


Shannon Johnson

English 122

24 August 2011
Plato's influence
There are icons that will be referenced for many years to come. They touched on many topics (including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, etc.), which influenced their philosophy. However, as humans start using more and more of their abilities or capabilities to think and having more resources to prove things, their philosophy may take a back seat to current thinking. Plato is one of the world’s well known and widely read Greek philosophers and is often reputed for his philosophical dialogues. He was a student to Socrates, and the founder of the Academy in Athens; the first known high school in the western world. He is respected for his contributions in laying the background of Western Philosophy. His sophisticated writings are evident in the Socratic dialogues with thirteen letters and thirty-six dialogues being associated with him. His dialogues have been used in teaching of logic, philosophy, ethics, mathematics, and have become much more rhetoric (Ambuel 71). Most of Plato’s work is structured in a dialogue influenced by the groups of people who often listened to his long conversations. Some of his dialogues encompassed two characters whose conversations were not audible to any other party. Early dialogue reflected on Socratic philosophy while the later dialogue reflected on Plato’s own views. Plato often implicated analogies in his arguments; for instance, the Socratic analogy of a doctor in which the doctor cures the body while the philosopher cures the mind (Bakalis 200). Metaphors were also employed in Plato’s work; for instance, that human knowledge is seen as a birdcage where the knowledge is seen as the birds flapping, whereby one tries to reach for one thought but lands at the wrong one. Plato is highly renowned for his themes ranging from art, which he advocated as the imitation of the reality as opposed to reality; to justice, where he questions about a just ruler and a just society. The theme of knowledge is given a lot of focus by Plato. He pronounced that knowledge is a matter of remembrance, not a matter of learning, study, or observation. That knowledge is never practical, but comes from divine powers (Fine 111). Other evident themes include reality and perception, custom and nature, and soul and body. Therefore, Plato remains an accepted writer both in classics and for students beginning to read about ancient writers. His conversation involves people asking and answering queries. Sentence structure implicated indirect statements, and the use of conditions and particles to advance a particular philosophical argument. Evident rhetoric elements include irony, sarcasm, and humor (Garvey 124). Plato influenced his audience through his views of metaphysics, the intellectual repercussions of denying the truth of the material world. In his dialogue, “Republic”, he tries to interpret the idea of man’s intuition about what is real and what is knowable. The essence of reality is put into the perspective. For something to be real, Plato suggested that it should be tangible in ones hands as opposed to what people do by taking objects in their senses as actual. Plato wonders why people are literally happy without thinking, and in essence such people lack the divine inspiration that gives equal minded people access to high profile insights of reality (Havelock 302). Plato is the first philosopher to discourage the use of eyes to judge reality, which was emphasized in his allegory of the cave. The cave proposed the invisible world as the most intellectual, and the visible world as the least knowable and most ambiguous. He further says that those who accept the visible world as the sense to be the best and real are pitifully living in a world of evil and negligence. The main idea was to create ideal society that is corrupt...

Cited: Ambuel, David. Image and Paradigm in Plato 's Sophist. Las Vega: Parmenides Publishing, 2006. 50 – 114. Print.
Bakalis, Nikolaos. Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments. Bloomington: Trafford Publishing, 2005.102-301. Print.
Barrow, Robin. Plato: Continuum Library of Educational Thought. London: Continuum, 2007. 79- 185. Print.
Eskritt, Michelle. The influence of symbolic literacy on memory: testing Plato’s hypothesis. Retrieved on August 9, 2011, from
Fine, Gail. Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology. Turkey: Oxford University Press, 2000. 45- 201. Print.
Garvey, James. Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books. London: Continuum, 2006.103- 321.Print.
Havelock, Eric. Preface to Plato (History of the Greek Mind). Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 2005. 47- 401. Print.
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Kochin, Michael. Gender and Rhetoric in Plato’s Political Thought. England: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002. 1- 200. Print.
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