Plato Essay

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Plato

Plato was born in Athens to a wealthy family and lived from 429-347 B.C.E. He was Socrates' greatest student and held his teacher in such high regard that in most of his works Socrates plays the main character. Some people doubt the existance of Socrates but, "like nearly everyone else who appears in Plato's works, he is not an invention of Plato: there really was a Socrates" (Kraut). Plato wrote many works asking questions about terms such as justice, piety, and immortality to name a few. His works include but are not limited to, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Euthyphro, and his most famous work The Republic which was a work about justice. In 387 B.C.E. Plato founded the first great school of antiquity called "The Academy". This
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Eventually, one of the prisoners escape to the outside world and returns to tell the others the truth about what they have been shown and what is really out there.

"The shadowy environment of the cave symbolizes for Plato the physical world of appearances. Escape into the sun-filled setting outside the cave symbolizes the transition to the real world, the world of full and perfect being, the world of Forms, which is the proper object of knowledge" (Encarta). In other words, a person who has intellectual insights is often misunderstood by those who will not accept the fact that things may not be as they appear. Also, those things that the unenlightened person is apt to believe, may only be what the person wants to believe and not what is actually the case. Plato indicates that we must be willing to accept that there may be an underlying meaning to things which only the enlightened may see.

Plato's "Theory of Forms or Ideas" states that if something has a particular form, such as that of a cat, then that resemblance is the essence of that animals catness. If all the attributes are the same or similar, then the animal has the correct form for that particular label. Also, according to Plato, these forms or ideas "can only be known through reason" (Encarta).

"An individual is human to the extent that he or she resembles or participates in the Form "humanness." If "humanness" is defined in terms of being a rational

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