Feature Post

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Plato (History for Kids)

Plato is known today as one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He was born about 429 BC, about the time when Pericles died, and he died in 347 BC, just after the birth of Alexander the Great. Plato was born in Athens, a very rich and aristocratic family. Many of his relatives were involved in Athenian politics, although Plato was not himself.

When Plato was a young man he went to listen to Socrates, and I learned a lot of Socrates on how you think and what kinds of questions to consider. When Socrates was killed in 399 BC, Plato was very sad (it was 30 years old when Socrates died). Plato began to write some of the conversations he had heard Socrates a. Almost everything we know about Socrates comes from what Plato wrote.

After a while ', however, Plato began to write their own ideas on philosophy, not only to write about Socrates' ideas. One of his early work is a republic, which explains what Plato thought would be a better form of government that the government of Athens. Plato thought that most people were pretty stupid, and so should not vote on what to do. Instead, the best people to be elected Guardians of the rest. (Remember Plato was from a wealthy aristocratic family in a way that probably was considered the best people!).

Plato also thought a lot about nature and how it works. Thought it was all a kind of ideal form, like the idea of ​​a chair and a chair was a real sort bad imitation of the ideal chair that exists only in your mind. One of the ways Plato tried to explain his ideas was the famous metaphor of the cave. He said: Suppose there is a cave, and inside the cave men are chained to a wall so you can not see the back wall of the cave and nothing else. These men can not see anything out of the cave, or even to see clearly, but you can see the shadows of what is happening outside the cave. These prisoners did not come to believe that the shadows were real, and that's what things really look like?

Suppose now that one of the men fled and left the cave, and saw what looked like real people, and live plants and grass. If he went back to the cave and told others what he had seen, would believe in him, or would have thought he was crazy?

Plato says that we are like the men are sitting in the cave, we think we understand the real world, but because we are locked into our body, we can not see the shadows on the wall. One of his goals is to help us understand the real world better by finding ways to predict or understand the real world, even without being able to see it.

Source : http://www.historyforkids.org

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