Questions tagged [plato]

Plato (424/423 BC – 348/347 BC) was a Classical Greek philosopher, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Plato is considered to be the founder of Western philosophy.

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Was Socrates a fictional character invented by Plato?

I have read a lot of websites that suggest Socrates was a fictional character created by Plato (albeit without the citation of any corroborating evidence), but I have also read the opposite (and by "...
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Are the unexamined lives of others worth examining?

Socrates continually admonished his interlocutors to become more introspective, arguing passionately for self-examination: The unexamined life is not worth living. But an examined life is painful, ...
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Was Plato using strawmen in his dialogues?

In Plato's Dialogues, he often would put words into the mouths of two opposing points-of-view, while inserting a third voice, often initially presented as taking a position between the two viewpoints, ...
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Are mathematical suppositions of physical theories determined uniquely according to Aristotle and Plato?

Does mathematics apply to physics in one way or multiple ways? What do Aristotle and Plato think? It would seem that Aristotle thinks mathematics can be applied to physics in one way only because, ...
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Is there a correct or better order to read Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates?

I would like to read the text written by Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and so on. Is there any reference of the best order to read them? Is the chronological order the best or correct one? Or is there a ...
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Why did Epicureanism become “the main opponent” of Stoicism?

I was reading about Epicureanism on Wikipedia, and there I saw that, apparently, Epicureanism was in conflict with Stoicism and Platonism. I then read up on those two philosophies, and well, they do ...
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How does Søren Kierkegaard use the word “dialectic” and how does his use of it differ from G.W.F. Hegel's?

According, to my understanding, the meaning of dialectic is... In Plato: a back-and-forth conversational style of reasoning from his later dialogues In the Middle Ages: the scholastic style of ...
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What function do myths serve in the Platonic dialogues?

There is a consistent pattern throughout the corpus of Plato's dialogues: first, Socrates proposes a philosophical problem, like "what is justice?" or "is there an immortal soul?". Then he goes on to ...
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Was the Republic a meritocracy?

One direct way of stating the heart of the question might be: is there sufficient textual evidence and support for the assertion that Plato's Republic contains meritocratic elements? A second and ...
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What were Plato's view on slavery, in particular with respect to his proposed Utopia?

In the Dialogues(specifically The Republic), when he is discussing his Utopia, At one point, he does say that children should not be treated differently based on their parent's status in life. However,...
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Does Plato see tyranny as final?

Plato's Republic famously describes the decay of the regimes, a process by which a society decays from the best regime, that of aristocracy, to the lowest, that of tyranny. However, the purpose of ...
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How did Kant define knowledge?

A recent question about the Plato's formula K=JTB (knowledge is justified true belief) made me curious as to what Kant thought on the matter. In the prefaces and the Introduction to the first Critique ...
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What are the major differences between Nietzsche and Plato?

What are the philosophical and hermeneutic implications of the various ways of writing a philosophical text, in particular Plato's didactical and dialogical style versus Nietzsche's emphatic and "...
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How do Neoplatonic interpretations differ from original Platonic ideas?

The Wikipedia entry on Neoplatonism says: Neoplatonists would have considered themselves simply Platonists, and the modern distinction is due to the perception that their philosophy contained ...
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Plato and the knowledge of the forms

Suppose Plato finally has knowledge of the "forms"* he set out to find after some time (remember knowledge). One day his soul departs to for the soul realm. When he reaches, the "forms" welcome his ...
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Did Plato believe in reincarnation?

I have read in some philosophy forums that Plato believed that death was not the end and he most likely believed in reincarnation. Are there any texts that confirm that Plato actually believed in ...
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Who is Plato and Socrates' God?

I'm reading the Phaedo, as translated by Benjamin Jowett. The characters alternately mention "God" (As a monotheist would spell it with a capital "G"), for example, at one point, Socrates says: ...
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Plato books for a philosophy newcomer

I watched a funny philosophy crash course on youtube, and I'm very curious about Plato. As a beginner, where should I start? Original work? Other author's books about his philosophy?
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When did Plato's Republic (re-)emerge as his most popular work?

Today, the Republic is often considered to be Plato's best known and most influential work. Some even consider it as one of the best known and most influential works of all of philosophy; at least it ...
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Why was Socratic epistemology diminished?

My question is a follow-up from reading this answer; "Roughly speaking, Socrates believed truth could not be discovered with certainty, Plato believed that truth could only be known via ...
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What were the government ideals for the Socrates and Aristotle?

Winston Churchill famously quipped, "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." Plato also seems to have held such a view, where he wrote in The ...
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Did Plato record actual conversations in his dialogues?

For example, Did Socrates really meet Zeno in Parmenides as a young man and the conversation that took place between them was recorded by Plato? Are ANY of Plato's dialogues recordings of actual ...
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Was Socrates a monotheist?

I know my question seems weird, but in Plato's books Apology, Crito, and Phaedo (and probably in other books since I read only these 3 and I am in the middle of the third one) when Socrates want to ...
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Does Nietzsche's rejection of Socrates mean that he is a relativist about ethics?

In Twilight of Idols (passage 10 in Problem of Socrates section) Nietzsche asserts that Socrates's equating Reason, Virtue and Happiness is a sign of decadence. Does it follow from this that ...
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What is the purpose of Plato's concept of Form?

Concerning this passage from Phaedo: I mean, for instance, the number three, and there are many other examples. Take the case of three; do you not think it may always be called by its own name and ...
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What is the symbolism of Piraeus in The Republic?

Plato's Republic opens with this famous sentence: I went down yesterday to the Piraeus [...] According to Professor David Roochnik, in his lectures about The Republic, the choice of Piraeus as the ...
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How much is known about Plato's “unwritten doctrines”?

It is often claimed in the historical literature that Plato's teachings were divided into the written documents (his famous books, like The Republic, The Laws etc) and oral teachings (what Aristotle ...
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What basic metaphysics should every philosophy student know?

Put another way, what background knowledge do you suggest that I brush up on to make me more sensitive to the lurking philosophical issues when I read philosophical texts and papers? Particularly ...
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Did a lot of Greek philosophers believe lying is impossible?

As I understand it, Parmenides and Heraclitus were two pre-Socratic Greek philosophers whose views could not be farther apart. Parmenides believed that all change is illusory, and that there is just ...
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Where can I find a rigorous and complete exposition of Plato's theory of Forms?

I've already consulted four different textbooks on the history of (ancient) philisophy (the ones by Russell, Giovanni Reale/Dario Antiseri, Sir Anthony Kenny and the one I use in high school), as well ...
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Plato's Socrates contradicts himself…or does he? [closed]

In his Apology Plato's Socrates clearly indicates he would continue to philosophize even if the court ordered him not to--clearly he does not believe one must obey the laws of the state. In his Crito,...
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Dynamic concept of “truth”

I've recently read a book in which a certain sentence sparked a question in my mind: "the Platonic philosophy is a search for truth, the certain truth. Such truth... is necessarily static" (...
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Is Heraclitus really a Mobilist?

I learned that Heraclitus stressed the importance of change and the ephemeral nature of things in the cosmos. However, it seems that Heraclitus refers to a "logos": The opening of Heraclitus' book ...
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Is mathematical platonism compatible with Platonism?

When calling themselves "Platonists" mathematicians usually mean that they feel they discover ideal facts that eternally exist in some way. My question is if this sentiment is consistent with Plato's ...
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Is democracy scalable?

In a small tribe, where pretty much everyone knows everyone else (and their ancestors) one could elect one person to rule over all; he is in a simple sense, first amongst equals, for all the members ...
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What is the motivation for Plato's forms?

I read up on the theory of forms and I understand it like this: When I see a cat I am seeing the particular of the true form a of a cat. All of the cats I see are just imperfect copies of the ...
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Observable and non-observable entities in explanation

So I've been reading through the Phaedo and have been thinking about Plato and have come up with a question, before I ask the question, I will give some background. Plato's theory of the forms (as I ...
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How does plato distinguish between knowledge and belief?

How does plato distinguish between knowledge and belief? How is it based in his metaphysics?
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Did the early greek philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle make use of the Jewish scriptures just as much as writings from India and Egypt?

I'm a student of philosophy carefully reading through the Britannica Great Books series. In our homeschool discussions, occurring each Wednesday afternoon, I'm finding most of the questions ...
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Is Socrates mocking Ion in Plato's dialogue?

In "Ion", Socrates argues that Ion's poetic talents are a gift of the gods, but not the product of any knowledge/skills. Ion naturally takes that as a compliment, being called "divine", but is ...
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Was Plato an idealist or a realist?

I'm a bit confused. As far as I know realism is opposed to idealism. But we can say that Plato was an idealist when speaking about Plato's forms. We also talk about Plato's realism in the philosophy ...
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If the Platonic world exists how would we know?

If we assume existence of a non-material world of ideas that mathematics describes there are some questions that a Platonist has to address. 1) How is the ideal world related to the real one, where ...
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Buddhism in Phaedo

At the end of Phaedo, Socrates proves, in his own manner, that the soul is immortal and goes through an endless cycle of metempsychosis and, "if deemed to have lived an extremely pious life are freed ...
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What was ancient Philosophy written on/with?

What did ancient philosophers, like Plato, use to write their works on/with, physically? (Tree bark, animal skin, types of writing utensils, etc)
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Does the Euthyphro dilemma apply to secular ethics?

The original statement of the dilemma is found in Plato's Euthyphro: Just consider this question:—Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved ...
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Did Plato's and Aristotle's backgrounds strongly influence their philosophies?

Plato usually tried to solve philosophical problems using a schematic approach. Probably one of the best examples of this is the tripartite system, which he applies both to the human soul (psyché) and ...
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Can a beginner in Philosophy understand the following books?

I know that Pythagoras is the basis for all the Philosophy (and probably mathematics). I ordered The Pythagorean Sourcebook and Library but I already have the following Philosophical books: ...
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Why was music such a fascination for philosophers and mathematicians alike?

Why were ancient philosophers and mathematicians so intrigued by music? Why did philosophers like Plato, Arthur Schopenhaur, Neitsche and etc perceive it differently than other forms of art? P. S it ...
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Is there an example of an innate idea?

I don't see any justification to argue a person has an idea or knowledge that is not derived from its environment. How come Plato raised this question at all: How is it that we have certain ideas ...
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If Parmenides denied the reality of void, would he then have affirmed the reality of space?

Lucretious, in his poem de rerum natura had atoms moving through the void. It seems at least from a modern perspective that his void is what we would call space. The interesting question, which I ...