Plato

Chloe, Jaslynn, Shilpi

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About him:

Born: 428/427 BCE, Athens, Greece

Died: 348/347 BCE, Athens

Ancient Greek philosopher, student of Socrates (c. 470–399 BCE)

Teacher of Aristotle (384–322 BCE)

Siblings: Glaucon, Adeimantus of Collytus, Potone, Antiphon

Background info

He wrote no systematic treatises giving his views, but rather he wrote a number (about 35, although the authenticity of at least some of these remains in doubt) of superb dialogues, written in the form of conversations, a form which permitted him to develop the Socratic method of question and answer.

Notable works

The earliest group of dialogues, called Socratic, include chiefly the Apology, which presents the defense of Socrates; the Meno, which asks whether virtue can be taught; and the Gorgias, which concerns the absolute nature of right and wrong. These early dialogues present Socrates in conversations that illustrate his main ideas—the unity of virtue and knowledge and of virtue and happiness. Each dialogue treats a particular problem without necessarily resolving the issues raised.

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Philosophies

1. Ethics
(with discussion of the nature of virtue),
2. Political Philosophy
(where topics such as censorship and the ideal state are discussed)
,
3. Epistemology
(where he looked at ideas such as a prior knowledge and Rationalism)
4. Metaphysics
(where topics include immortality, man, mind, and Realism)

5. Platonic Realism
6. Essentialism
7. Idealism
8. "Platonic love"
By: Chloe Benton and Shilpi Karan
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Significance in debate

Elenchus is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict themselves in some way, thus weakening the defender's point. This method is introduced by Socrates in Plato's Theaetetus as midwifery (maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding.

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