Plato's Influence On Western Civilization

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Plato is considered one of the pivotal figures in the development of philosophy. Plato is known by many people as one of the greatest scholars in history, but he also was one of the main influences of Western religion, and politics. Plato’s writings present the idea that the human race is not the source of all wisdom, and that there are two different realities: the visible world and the intelligible world. Plato argued that abstract thought is more important than the visible world, because there was more to learn from thinking than the concrete world. Plato’s dialogues are a difficult reading, but are essential to understanding western civilization roots. The dialogues are written in a unique style that present Plato’s theories regarding …show more content…
He gives a deeper meaning of the word beauty, and how the human race should view it. He describes beauty as if it is a separate idea that can’t be changed, only distorted by the human mind. “The beauty of people’s souls is more valuable than the beauty of their bodies.” (Symposium 210b) Socrates gives the men of Athens his idea of what true beauty and love should actually be. Love makes it through all circumstances and true beauty never changes. For Socrates, knowledge is the ultimate form of beauty. Beauty should not be measured by material items, beauty should be pure and not contaminated by human nature. Everyone has beauty with in them and it is culture that distorts this idea, because people define beauty to what they want it to be. Love and beauty are to be praised, because it is a gift that is in existence, even though it is not fully …show more content…
The people living in the cave have only seen darkness and the shadows of a fire, this is all they know. Looking into the fire they see where the shadows came from and they have a new reality. A similar thing happens when they come outside for the first time and realize the concrete objects. They eventually begin to wonder about the sky, the heavens, and unexplainable ideas. In life education is designed to get us as far “out of the cave” as possible. Knowledge should not be the only desire though, but how humans can use this knowledge to do good. A wicked man could learn the same as amount as a good man, but it is how one uses this knowledge that is how they define good. Goodness being another idea like wisdom and beauty is something that humanity should pursue. (Republic 514a-

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