Plato's Life & Influence


Joshua J. Mark
published on 08 May 2024

The Greek philosopher Plato (l. 424/423 to 348/347 BCE) is recognized as the founder of Western philosophy, following his mentor, Socrates. He founded the Academy in Athens, traditionally considered the first university in the Western world, and established the tradition of philosophical dialogue, which formed the basis of Western philosophy and influenced later thinkers.

The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead has famously referred to all philosophical thought after Plato’s time as "footnotes to Plato." This collection presents a brief survey of the development of Western philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic philosophers through the Neo-Platonist philosopher Plotinus, whose work influenced the development of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.



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Questions & Answers

Did Plato invent the character of Socrates?

Socrates is understood as a historical figure, but it is unclear whether the historical Socrates is accurately represented in Plato's work. This question continues to be debated.

What is Plato's true lie?

Plato's true lie, or the Lie in the Soul, is to believe wrongly about the most important aspects or concepts in one's life. It is discussed in Book II of Plato's Republic.

Who was the greatest influence on Plato's work?

Socrates was the greatest influence on Plato's work, but other important influences were Protagoras and Pythagoras.

Did Plato's philosophy originate in ancient Egypt?

Plato is known to have traveled in ancient Egypt, and Egyptian philosophy may have influenced his thought.
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About the Author

Joshua J. Mark
Joshua J. Mark is World History Encyclopedia's co-founder and Content Director. He was previously a professor at Marist College (NY) where he taught history, philosophy, literature, and writing. He has traveled extensively and lived in Greece and Germany.

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