Plato — Shaper of Wester Philosophy…at 50 Plus

Dr. Mark Burgin, professor, philosopher, logician, scientist and Visiting Scholar at UCLA, contributes another 50 plus success story!

Today, he shares a brief on Plato.

Plato (circa 428-c. 347 BC), Greek philosopher, is hailed as one of the most creative and influential thinkers in Western philosophy.

He was born to an aristocratic family in Athens. His father, Ariston, was believed to have descended from the early kings of Athens. Perictione, his mother, was distantly related to the 6th- century BC lawmaker Solon. When Plato was a child, his father died, and his mother married Pyrilampes, who was an associate of the statesman Pericles.

The mature period of Plato’s creativity started when he was around 50 and continued for two decades. [Note: it took a life of living and observation to reflect back such insight into the human condition.]

Plato’s Academy flourished until 529 AD when it was closed down by the Christian Emperor Justinian who claimed it was a pagan establishment. Having survived for 900 years it is the longest surviving university known. Pure Mathematics and Jurisprudence featured as a central elements of the curriculum.

Plato, most famous for his dialogues, commonly argued with Socrates (his teacher), although it is unclear which arguments belong solely to which philosopher! He later became Aristotle’s teacher. Due to the tragic imprisonment and subsequent execution of Socrates, Plato was very drawn to concepts of justice of society vs. justice of the individual. Echoing early Jewish discussions of justice, righteousness and mercy, his philosophies and theories still ring true today and have shaped modern philosophy.

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