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  1. 1. Plato of Athens Truth Goodness Beauty
  2. 2. 429-347 B.C., Athens
  3. 3. <ul><li>Plato was Socrates’ disciple </li></ul><ul><li>Founded the Academy in Athens, that lasted until the 6th c. A. D. </li></ul><ul><li>Was Aristotle’s teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Plato’s most important writings are called Dialogues </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates is the protagonist in most Dialogues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How much content in any given Dialogue is Socrate’s point of view or how much is Plato’s? </li></ul></ul>Plato and his disciple Aristotle, from The School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio, painted in 1510.
  4. 5. Myth and Dialogue In his Dialogues , Plato used myths to argue his points of view
  5. 6. Platonic Myths Distribution of talents Love Love Protagoras , 320 -322d Symposium , 189d-193 a Symposium , 203a-204a Prometeo The Androgyne Eros’ birth Human condition The judgement of the souls Punishments and rewards The choosing of a destiny Gorgias , 523a - 524a Phaedo , 113d -114c Republic , X 617d-621b The final sentence Punishments distribution Er, the Armenian The destiny of the souls Knowledge as memory The ascension to the truth The ascension to the beautiful Meno , 81a - e Phaedro , 246a - 249a Republic , VII, 514d - 517a Symposium , 210a - 212c The reminiscence The Cave The mystery of love Liberation and spiritual ascension SUBJECT DIALOGUE MYTH TOPIC
  6. 7. Plato’s Intellectual Background <ul><li>Socrates’ ethical teachings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Know thyself” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wisdom is virtue (aret é) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If one knows what the good is, one will always do it </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Virtue leads to the happy life </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectualistic approach to ethics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Since everyone wants to be happy above everything else, no one who knows what the good is will not chose to do it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It is better to suffer injustice than to do it. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Socrates of Athens, 469-399 B.C.
  7. 8. Socrates’ Death <ul><li>In his Apology , Plato provided a thorough account of Socrates’ trial and death </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates was charged with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impiety: introducing new gods in Athens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corrupting the youth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sophist: making the weakest argument stronger </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other Socratic doctrines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An unexamined (critically) life is not worth living </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To acknowledge one’s own ignorance is to begin to be wise </li></ul></ul>
  8. 9. ‘ The Death of Socrates’ by Jacques Louis David, 1787
  9. 10. Plato’s Intellectual Background <ul><li>Sophists (men of wisdom) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gorgias of Leontini Protagoras </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prodicus of Ceos Democritus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hipias of Elis Lysias </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Antiphon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thrasymachus of Chalcedon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Critias of Athens </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alcidamas of Elaeae </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Itinerant professors of higher education </li></ul><ul><li>Taught rhetoric and composition </li></ul><ul><li>Moral relativists </li></ul><ul><li>Claimed that their science of language could lead to the knowledge of truth and virtue </li></ul>
  10. 11. Plato’s Idealism <ul><li>The doctrine of a permanent realm of eternal Forms that shape our mutable material world. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Plato’s Theory of Forms (Ideas) <ul><li>The Forms actually exist and are the reality (Being) of which the observed and material world (Becoming) is simply a shadowy copy. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Plato’s Metaphysical Dualism <ul><li>Plato divided the universe into two different realms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. The intelligible world of Ideas or Forms (Being) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. The perceptual world we see around us (Becoming) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 14. Platonic Ideas or Forms <ul><li>The perceptual world, and all things in it, are imperfect copies of the intelligible Forms or Ideas that exist in an ideal (spiritual) world. </li></ul><ul><li>The Forms or Ideas are unchangeable and perfect , and are only known by the use of the intellect (not sense-perception or imagination). </li></ul>
  14. 15. The Highest Form The Form of the Good (often interpreted as Plato's God), is the ultimate object of knowledge and it sheds light on all other forms. Plato compares The Form of the Good to the sun, which sheds its light on things in the perceptual world and makes them visible.
  15. 16. Modes of Being Modes of Knowing (metaphysics) (epistemology) Higher Forms Mathematical Forms Understanding Reason Sensible World Intelligible world sensible things images of things (paintings, sculpture) perception imagination Opinion True Knowledge Plato’s Analogy of the Dividing Line
  16. 17. Table, Justice, Beauty, Circle, Woman a table, a just action, a beautiful sunrise, a circle, Britney Spears objective (exists independently of my mind) subjective  (dependent upon my perception) known by intellect/reason perceived by senses one essence (archetype) many instances (copies; imitation) absolute and perfect particular and imperfect being (eternal and unchanging) becoming (ever changing) transcendent (beyond space and time) immanent (within space and time) reality (is real) appearance  (seems real) World of the Forms Sensible World
  17. 18. Allegory of the Cave In the perceptual world, the objects we see around us bear only a dim resemblance to the ultimately real forms of Plato's intelligible world. It is as if we are seeing shadows of cut-out shapes on the walls of a cave—mere representations of the reality outside the cave, illuminated by the sun.
  18. 20. Plato’s Legacy Plato’s metaphysics, particularly the dualism between the intelligible and the perceptual influenced later Neoplatonic thinkers such as Plotinus and religious theologians such as Saint Paul and Saint Augustine. Jewish-Christian-Islamic doctrine agrees with Plato’s metaphysics: Spirit is absolutely distinct and infinitely superior to the physical world of “flesh.”
  19. 21. Plato’s The Republic Dialogue which outlines the ideal society based on justice and reason The Ideal state is authoritarian and aristocratic Divided into three classes: artisans (labor and produce) soldiers (physical power) philosopher-kings (wisdom) Women are educated with men Allegory of the cave (Book 7) Theory of perfect state (Book 10) 1763 Plato Republic This edition was the first to be published in English, and was translated by Harry Spens, DD. (1713-87).
  20. 22. Glossary <ul><li>Forms (or Ideas): The world of Forms is the real world of perfect entities: the world of appearance which most of us occupy most of the time consists of imperfect copies of the Forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Mimesis : imitation. Plato uses this word to describe what the takes to be the essence of artistic endeavour: mirroring nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Oligarchy: a state ruled by a wealthy elite. </li></ul>
  21. 23. Glossary <ul><li>Philosopher-King: the Rulers in Plato’s ideal society. Philosophers were to be given this role because of their ability to perceive the Forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Utopian: presenting a vision of an ideal society. </li></ul><ul><li>Dikaiosune : usually translated as ‘justice’, this has the sense of doing what is morally right. </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy: a state ruled by the people. </li></ul>
  22. 24. Glossary <ul><li>Auxiliaries: Guardians who help the Rulers and provide defense from outside threats. </li></ul><ul><li>Guardians: the class of citizens who protect and rule the state. They consist of Rulers and Auxiliaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Totalitarian state: a state in which everything is controlled and there is little or no scope for individual freedom. </li></ul><ul><li>Tyranny: a state ruled by a powerful leader. </li></ul>