Lecture on Plato's Meno

Lecture on Plato's Meno - Lecture on Plato Meno I Biography...

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Lecture on Plato : Meno I. Biography of Plato Plato was born 427 b.c. and died 347 b.c.he was the son of Ariston, and a citizen of Athens. His father was Ariston and His mother was Perictione who traced her ancestry to Solon. Solon was the great political reformer of Greece, much like our own Abe Lincoln. Plato was of aristocratic birth, and enjoyed the fruits of wealth and leisure which allowed him to pursue a lifestyle of writing and sholarship. He trained in the gymnasium like other aristocratic Athenian youth and was given the name “plato” because he was broad shouldered and a good wrestler like his grandfather. He had two brothers, Adeimantus and Glaucon who we meet in the Republic. Later he established the Academy. It was stated by Timotheus the Athenian in Diogenes Laertius portrait of Plato, that the affiliation between Plato and the historical Socrates began as such: one night in a dream “Socrates beheld a cygnet on his knees, which all at once put on plumage and flew away after uttering a loud sweet note. And the next day Plato was introduced as a pupil, and thereupon recognized in him the swan of his dream.” He was twenty. He certainly knew Socrates at the time of his execution, and he afterwards used Socrates as a voice for his protagonist in the dialogues which have been ascribed to him. Under Socrates tutelage, Plato learned the rudiments which would be brought to philosophical completion only later in his own life. His dialogues present several periods through which the evolution of Plato’s thought can be traced. Plato was also influenced by the teachings of Heraclitus through Cratylus, and the teachings of Parmenides through Hermogenes. Also the mathematicians of Egypt. These two disparate schools of thought- one saying the world is an ‘ever-moving stream’, the other that the real world is immutable and unchangeable present the fundamental theses which the Platonic philosophy is an attempt to synthesize. Plato’s Epistemology and Metaphysics are positive doctrines intent upon preserving the phenomena of movement, while maintaining the unmoving grounds of intelligibility. There is also a concern for Ethics and the role of ethics in a just society- a mission which the historical Socrates was keen to examine, and it is the subject of most of Plato’s dialogues directly, and all indirectly. This is a very important point since much of Plato’s active philosophical concerns are directed against the Sophists , teachers of rhetoric such as Gorgias and Protagoras who were teaching the Athenian youth how to speak and influence the crowd, but not necessarily what is the Good. Their teachings, broadly speaking, reveal these qualities: 1. No soul. 2. No forms. 3. Sophists are political. 4. Claim to know everything. 5. Happiness as power. 6. Power as persuasion. 7. Philosophy as a way of making
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHIL 50 taught by Professor Hahn during the Spring '08 term at Marquette.

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Lecture on Plato's Meno - Lecture on Plato Meno I Biography...

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