Plato was a philosopher who founded the Academy of Athens, the 1st institution of higher education in the western world.
Plato was taught by Socrates, and became the teacher of Aristotle, his most famous student.
The birth date of Plato is unknown but many believe he was born around 428BC – 423BC. There is little known of his early life but he did belong to an aristocratic and politically active family, therefore he would have received an extensive education covering grammar, music and philosophy.
As a student of Socrates, Plato learnt much and became a devoted follower of Socrates. Much of the knowledge we have of Socrates today comes from Plato’s writings.
Plato’s work was written as dialogues (conversations), it reads as if two people are talking to one another, one always being Socrates.
Following Socrates death, Plato travelled for over 12 years in Sicily, Italy and Egypt.
Following this he returned to Athens. It was at this time that he established his school just outside of Athens, the Academy of Athens. This was to attract students from all over Greece and beyond.
Plato’s most well known and influential work is ‘The Republic’, written around 380BC – 390BC. This was Socrates discussion about an ‘ideal’ state. It was about justice and government. Plato believed that wisdom was important, and you must be wise to rule a continent. He believed that if people who do bad things are given power in society, then that society becomes an unhappy one. As philosophers do good things, they should be given power in society.
Many of Plato’s dialogues contain debates and disagreements and many are still debated today.
Plato died in his sleep in 347BC.