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Ancient Greece

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Good morning/afternoon. I'm Jade Dell and welcome to todays' lecture on Plato where we will be discussing the following: "Plato, as influenced by Socrates impacted the Greek world with his influence on education where he hoped to make Greece a better place through critical enquiry." First for some background information: Plato, born 427 B.C. is considered to be one of the greatest philosophers who contributed significantly in influencing western philosophy (Ulrich, 2005). He was born from an aristocratic family with his early interests in life being poetry and politics (Ulrich, 2005). He learned philosophy from Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher where the political strife in Athens led to the execution of his teacher Socrates (Boyer, 1991). Plato's main influences, writings, education ideals, topics he lectured on, and his concept of critical enquiry were all major impacts Plato had on the Greek world.

As a young man, Plato experienced two major events that influenced his ideals. One was meeting the great Greek philosopher Socrates. Socrates's methods of discussion and debate impressed Plato so much that he soon became a close assistant of Socrates and dedicated his life to the question of virtue and the development of a noble personality (Translator, W. H. January 11, 1952).The other significant event was the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, where Plato served for a short time between 409 and 404 B.C. (Lendering, 2005). The defeat of Athens ended its democracy, which the Spartans replaced with an oligarchy (Merzbach, 1989). Two of Plato's relatives, Charmides and Critias, were noticeable figures in the new government and were part of the dishonourable Thirty Tyrants whose brief rule severely condensed the rights of Athenian citizens (Ulrich, 2005). After the oligarchy was put to an end and democracy was restored, Plato briefly considered a career in politics, but with the execution of Socrates in 399 B.C. This turned him towards a life of study and philosophy (Boyer, Carl, 1991, & Merzbach, Uta, 1989). Plato as influenced by Socrates and the Peloponnesian Wars was inspired to practise his writings, ultimately impacting education in the Greek World.

After Socrates's death in 399 B.C, Plato travelled for 12 years throughout the Mediterranean region, studying mathematics with the Pythagoreans in Italy, and geometry, geology, astronomy and religion in Egypt (Strauss, n/d). During this time, he began his extensive writing. There is debate between scholars on the order of these writings, according to Johnson, 2011 who is an expert of Plato's writing's, there are three separate periods. The first period occurred during Plato's travels between the time of 399 B.C. and 387 B.C. (Johnson, 2011) 'The Apology of Socrates' is believed to have been written shortly after Socrates's death (author unknown, 1961). Other texts about this time period include Protagoras, Euthpyro, Hippias Major and Minor and Ion (Plato's Law, 2009). In these dialogues, Plato tries to express Socrates's philosophy and teachings (Cooper, 2008, p.12). In the second period, Plato writes about the central ideals of justice, courage, wisdom and moderation of the individual and society (Charmides. (July 30, 2004). The Republic was written during this time and expressed his view on governments ruled by philosopher kings (Helm, 1997). In the third period, Socrates is transferred to a minor role and Plato takes a closer look at his own early theoretical ideas (Strauss, n.d). He explores the role of art, including dance, music, drama and architecture, as well as beliefs and morality (Saunders, 2005). In his writings on the Theory of Forms, Plato suggests that "the world of ideas is endless and that the apparent world through our senses is misleading and unpredictable" (Plato in Straus, 1997, p.9). Plato's writings and dialogues influenced the Greek world because they take a closer look at his earlier hypothetical speculations. He discusses art, including dance, music, poetry, architecture and drama, and ethics in regards to immortality, the mind, and Realism. Socrates' influence on Plato's dialogues has impacted the Western World for centuries, his dialogues express his critical enquiry towards education and philosophy.

Plato created the first Academy of Athens. This became the first European University, and became the main academic centre in Greece for



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