A look at plato and why he was a classical writer.

Essay by godzeus101College, UndergraduateB, October 2003

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Plato in a Classical World

In our times, we often look back and compare the present against the past. One of the areas that we tend to do this with is philosophy. We can currently try and generalize the two types of philosophy into two categories: Classical and Romantic. Born on 428 B.C., Plato was one of the most influential Classical writers of all time. Plato can be said to be a classical thinker in its most pure form.

One of the most important questions that Plato was seeking an answer to was "How and why is the human being to be a good human? ". Plato was most concerned with humans in general. He would not have looked at one person, studied that person, and derived his conclusion. He would have instead looked at society, it's interactions and problems, and only then make a conclusion. Plato embraces society as important, which one of the characteristics that defines Classical thinking.

The Classical period has also been many times called the "Age of Reason". One of Plato's strongest weapons in his quest for answers was indeed reasoning. It is known that Plato borrowed many of these ideas from a previous great philosopher named Socrates. It is believed that Socrates, as well as Plato, thought that an universal truth could be reached by thinking alone. All that was needed to reach answers was a systematic way of thinking. Plato would have never studied the human body, or the biology of a plant. Instead, he was interested in using the capacity of this mind in thinking to discover the answers to the universe. He believed that through reason, we could achieve wisdom. Plato and Socrates considered wisdom as the most central virtue. A virtue in which everything worthwhile derives from and depends upon.