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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:43 AM   #1
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Plato for Beginners


New to Historum I wondered how I could contribute ( and remember my place Plato can be a difficult subject for beginners; some have to learn Plato and Philosophy, and need to know. Some of us have interests in Plato, Socrates, Aristotle ( "the big three") and surely there are expert folk on here.

Maybe people could post a short paragraph related to Plato and/or ask a few questions, challenge, or discuss the short posts. Maybe even leave a quotation from philosophy. Everybody learns in little steps.

Here's a start: Socrates was a philosopher in ancient Athens and arguably a pedagogue, known for the Socratic Method of Teaching. Plato at one time won prizes as a championship wrestler. Plato's real name was Aristocles, he became an enthusiastic and talented student of Socrates.
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle: The Big Three in Greek Philosophy - For Dummies





I don't know if this will fly. I did search for a pre-existing thread, my apologies if this has been done before and I didn't find it. I'm new, be gentle.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 09:55 AM   #2

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According to a (perhaps apocryphal) tradition, in his youth Plato wanted to be a tragic playwright, but he burned his plays after he met Socrates and became convinced of the shallowness of poetry compared to philosophy. This is interesting given Plato's very censorious and critical attitude to drama in the "Republic".
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:03 AM   #3
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Much of Western philosophy finds its basis in the thoughts and teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Plato's best known student was maybe Aristotle, who went on to become the very well-paid tutor of Alexander the Great
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:05 AM   #4

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Have a look at this link, it may be of interest to you?

http://www.historum.com/philosophy-p...mile-cave.html
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #5
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^ ^ Aha maybe I'll try this without looking. It's to do with form. I read this so I should know. If people stay in a cave and there are shadows in the cave, that's their reality. If one of them goes outside and tells the others what's out there, do they believe him? Thanks and yes that allegorical text is interesting.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:18 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Paul View Post
^ ^ Aha maybe I'll try this without looking. It's to do with form. I read this so I should know. If people stay in a cave and there are shadows in the cave, that's their reality. If one of them goes outside and tells the others what's out there, do they believe him? Thanks and yes that allegorical text is interesting.
It is one of my favourites.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brisieis View Post
It is one of my favourites.
I have to study the Laches and Meno, but it's fine so far. Was I even close to your allegory?
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:30 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brisieis View Post
Have a look at this link, it may be of interest to you?

http://www.historum.com/philosophy-p...mile-cave.html
The simile of the cave has led me to some ideas related to free will and the question of why pain could exist in a world with a God. Basically, as the three-dimensional people accept the two-dimensional shadows as real, there may be a whole range of dimensions of which humans can only discern a limited number. What we think of as free will may be very restricted compared to what may be available in some of the higher dimensions. Similarly, what we consider painful may be only an annoyance compared to what is possible at higher levels.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:35 AM   #9

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As a big fan of the comic playwright Aristophanes, I particularly like his cameo in Plato's "Symposium" (which is a really fun text), and the little story he tells about love. According to Plato's Aristophanes, humans were originally created as strange creatures with two heads, four legs, four arms and two bodies - they were joined back-to-back in a sort of cartwheel formation. However, when these "perfect" humans rebelled against Zeus, he cut them all in two, creating modern style humans. The origin of love is our longing to find our partner, literally our "other half", the person we would have been connected to if Zeus hadn't cut us apart. Some of these funny early humans were made up of two men, some were made up of two women, and some were made up of a man and a woman, which explains why some people look for same-sex partners and other people look for opposite sex partners.

Here's an artist's impression of what one of Aristophanes' proto-humans would have looked like:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek words philein, which means “to love” and soph, which means “wisdom.” So “philosophy” literally means the “love of wisdom.” Plato (427-347 B.C.) wasn't the first Greek philosopher but one of the best known, among the "big three". They gave a lot to science by a rational and objective approach to understanding how the world functioned.
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