By Michael McDaniel Plato was the best known of all the great Greek philosophers. Plato's original name was Aristocles, but in his school days he was nicknamed Platon (meaning "broad") because of his broad shoulders. Born in Athens circa B.C.
427, Plato saught out political status. But during the Athenian democracy, he did not activly embrace it. Plato devoted his life to Socrates, and became his disciple in B.C. 409. Plato was outraged when Socarates was executed by the Athenian democrats in B.C. 399. He later left Athens convinced democracy wouldn't make it.
Years after Plato romed the Greek cities in Africa and Italy absorbing philosphical knowledge and then returning to Athens in B.C. 387. There he later created the first University on the ground of famous Greek Academus, which was later called the Academy. He remained at the Academy for the remainder of his life omitting 2 brief periods.
He visited Syracuse and Greek Sicily to serve as a tutor for the new king, Dionysis II. Which ended out very badly when the King acted like a king, instead of a philospher. Perhaps Plato's worse student.
He later returned to Athens and died in his early 80's, circa B.C. 347.
Plato's work is argueably the most popular and influential of it's kind ever published. His most popular work are transcripts, or dialogues between the great Socrates and himself. These dialogues are the basis of our general knowlege between Socrates' views and Plato's views.
Plato was much like Socrates, in that he was mostly interested in moral philosophy and overlooked science [natural philosophy]. He considered the natural science as an inferior knowledge, not worthy of his time.
Plato loved mathematics mainly because, back then, it idealized abstractions and seperated from the material world. Plato thought mathematics was the purest form of thoughts, and had nothing to do with everyday life. That doesn't nessacarily apply to the matters of today. Plato belived in mathematics so much that he sketched a quote above the doorway of the Academy that stated, "Let no one ignorant of mathematics enter here." Plato believed that mathematics, in ideal form, could be applied to the heavens. He expresses this in his dialogue of Timaeus, his scheme of the universe.
In his dialogue Timaeus Plato creates a fictioinal tale of Atlantis to put a moralistic spin in the dialogue. Atlantis, as we all know, is the fictional city of which everyone and everything was moraly perfect. Needless to say, people today still think that the city of Atlantis exsisted, even though the theory isn't moot.
Today, Plato's work still influences us. The Academy stood teaching until A.D. 529, when the Roman Emperor, Justinian ordered the close of it. Even though he was paganist, Christians [like yourself] were influenced and entertained by the wonderful dialogues of Socrates and Plato.