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PLATO and the Western WORLDVIEW

September 10, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

The students will be looking at Plato and Aristotle this week.

The Athenian philosopher Plato was a deep influence on the Worldview of Western civilization, both through his own writings, which featured his teacher Socrates, and those of his much later followers, the Neoplatonists. Plato’s greatest student, Aristotle, was also his strongest critic and rival.

Plato lived during and after the defeat of Athens in the terrible Peloponnesian War with Sparta and saw some of his relatives try to win power as part of a group known as ” The Thirty Tyrants” but they were executed by Athenian democrats.  Plato may have admired Sparta, the enemy of Athens, for it’s unity and regimented society.

As a result, Plato became very skeptical about the value of both political activity and democracy and devoted his time to education. In his book, The Republic, the perfect society is ruled by the only unselfish and trustworthy group,  highly educated, “philosopher-kings” while the people are organized into their proper place. Plato’s philosophy and arguments have been used throughout history to justify strong governments, intellectual elites, economic equality, tradition and the value of education.

Students are to compose a short list of what things Plato placed a High Value and a Low Value on.

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