A Primer on Plato: His Life, Works, and Philosphy
Every conversation has a person who breaks the ice and starts the discussion, and the Great Conversation in the West is no different.
Its initiator was Plato: Ancient Greek. Student of Socrates. Founder of the Academy of Athens. Primogenitor of Western culture.
As Alfred Whitehead put it so succinctly, all philosophy -- all Western thought -- is just “a footnote to Plato.”
Many of the big questions that we’re still grappling with today originated with Plato. And these lines of inquiry concern not just the ethical and political, but even questions cosmologists and physicists are still trying to figure out, like the nature of reality. Over 2,000 years ago, Plato was plumbing those very same issues.
Thus, to understand the world today, every modern citizen needs to have a basic understanding of this man who lived a couple millennia back. For that reason, we offer this relatively short, accessible primer on Plato and his philosophy. While it is not exhaustive by design, it will allow those not familiar with him to gain a basic grasp of his big ideas, and enable them to better engage in the Great Conversation as it continues to unfold.