Plato's works also contain the origins of the familiar complaint that the arts work by inflaming the passions, and are mere illusions. Their political activities, however, are not seen as laudable ones by historians. Charmides' own uncle, Critias, was the leader of the Thirty.We also are introduced to the ideal of "Platonic love:" Plato saw love as motivated by a longing for the highest Form of beauty—The Beautiful Itself, and love as the motivational power through which the highest of achievements are possible. One of Plato's uncles (Charmides) was a member of the notorious "Thirty Tyrants," who overthrew the Athenian democracy in 404 B. Plato's relatives were not exclusively associated with the oligarchic faction in Athens, however.These works blend ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, epistemology, and metaphysics into an interconnected and systematic philosophy.
Because they tended to distract us into accepting less than our highest potentials, however, Plato mistrusted and generally advised against physical expressions of love. These dates, however, are not entirely certain, for according to Diogenes Laertius (D. If Plato's date of death is correct in Apollodorus' version, Plato would have been born in 430 or 431. His stepfather Pyrilampes was said to have been a close associate of Pericles, when he was the leader of the democratic faction. When Socrates died, Plato left Athens, staying first in Megara, but then going on to several other places, including perhaps Cyrene, Italy, Sicily, and even Egypt.It is widely accepted that Plato, the Athenian philosopher, was born in 428-7 B. E and died at the age of eighty or eighty-one at 348-7 B. L.), following Apollodorus' chronology, Plato was born the year Pericles died, was six years younger than Isocrates, and died at the age of eighty-four (D. Diogenes' claim that Plato was born the year Pericles died would put his birth in 429. Diogenes' report that Plato's birth was the result of Ariston's rape of Perictione (D. 3.1) is a good example of the unconfirmed gossip in which Diogenes so often indulges. Plato's actual given name was apparently Aristocles, after his grandfather. Although the name Aristocles was still given as Plato's name on one of the two epitaphs on his tomb (see D. Strabo (17.29) claims that he was shown where Plato lived when he visited Heliopolis in Egypt. In any event, Plato returned to Athens and founded a school, known as the Academy.Plato is one of the world's best known and most widely read and studied philosophers. There are varying degrees of controversy over which of Plato's works are authentic, and in what order they were written, due to their antiquity and the manner of their preservation through time.He was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, and he wrote in the middle of the fourth century B. Nonetheless, his earliest works are generally regarded as the most reliable of the ancient sources on Socrates, and the character Socrates that we know through these writings is considered to be one of the greatest of the ancient philosophers.Plato, perhaps now completely disgusted with politics, returned to his beloved Academy, where he lived out the last thirteen years of his life. His grave, however, has not yet been discovered by archeological investigations. There can be no doubt that Plato was also strongly influenced by Parmenides and Zeno (both of Elea), in Plato's theory of the Forms, which are plainly intended to satisfy the Parmenidean requirement of metaphysical unity and stability in knowable reality.
According to Diogenes, Plato was buried at the school he founded (D. Aristotle and Diogenes agree that Plato had some early association with either the philosophy of Heraclitus of Ephesus, or with one or more of that philosopher's followers (see Aristotle Metaph. Parmenides and Zeno also appear as characters in his dialogue, the He mixed together in his works the arguments of Heracleitus, the Pythagoreans, and Socrates. 3.8) A little later, Diogenes makes a series of comparisons intended to show how much Plato owed to the comic poet, Epicharmus (3.9-3.17).According to the Plato counted Socrates "the justest man alive" (324e).According to Diogenes Laertius, the respect was mutual (3.5). Whether or not any of these stories is true, there can be no question of Plato's mastery of dialogue, characterization, and dramatic context.Because Aristotle has no reason not to be truthful about this issue, many scholars believe that his testimony provides a solid basis for distinguishing the "Socrates" of the "early" dialogues from the character by that name in Plato's supposedly later works, whose views and arguments Aristotle suggests are Plato's own.One way to approach this issue has been to find some way to arrange the dialogues into at least relative dates.Later (at 3.6), Diogenes says that Plato was twenty-eight when Socrates was put to death (in 399), which would, again, put his year of birth at 427. Both sides of the family claimed to trace their ancestry back to Poseidon (D. We can be confident that Plato also had two older brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, and a sister, Potone, by the same parents (see D. "Plato" seems to have started as a nickname (for or "broad"), perhaps first given to him by his wrestling teacher for his physique, or for the breadth of his style, or even the breadth of his forehead (all given in D. Plato occasionally mentions Egypt in his works, but not in ways that reveal much of any consequence (see, for examples, According to the account given there, Plato first went to Italy and Sicily when he was "about forty" (324a). (This is where we get our word, "academic." The Academy got its name from its location, a grove of trees sacred to the hero Academus—or Hecademus [see D. 3.7]—a mile or so outside the Athenian walls; the site can still be visited in modern Athens, but visitors will find it depressingly void of interesting monuments or features.) Except for two more trips to Sicily, the Academy seems to have been Plato's home base for the remainder of his life.