The 20th century English/American philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once famously said “All of philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato.” Though a highly contested claim, no matter where you land on it, the quote does at least cause one to consider the inescapable presence of Plato. Who was this follower of Socrates who founded a school after which schools across the globe are still named today - the academy? And why is it that he is considered amongst the trinity of foundational philosophers in the western world? Did he simply ride the coattails of his great teacher Socrates, pulling from him most of the theories he is well known for today? Or is Plato truly a giant among philosophers? Unquestionably, Plato’s influence lives on today. His great work The Republic is a master class in philosophical thinking and methodology, and one of the most widely read works of philosophy. His account of the death of Socrates preserved for us the story of the man who would be ultimately seen as the founder of western philosophy. Yet despite the acknowledgement of his influence on philosophy, some dismiss his theories as antiquated and out of touch for what our current context calls for. Join us today as we explore the question, who was Plato?
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