Because they tended to distract us into accepting less than our highest potentials, however, Plato mistrusted and generally advised against physical expressions of love. These dates, however, are not entirely certain, for according to Diogenes Laertius (D. If Plato's date of death is correct in Apollodorus' version, Plato would have been born in 430 or 431. His stepfather Pyrilampes was said to have been a close associate of Pericles, when he was the leader of the democratic faction. When Socrates died, Plato left Athens, staying first in Megara, but then going on to several other places, including perhaps Cyrene, Italy, Sicily, and even Egypt.
These works blend ethics, political philosophy, moral psychology, epistemology, and metaphysics into an interconnected and systematic philosophy.
It is most of all from Plato that we get the theory of Forms, according to which the world we know through the senses is only an imitation of the pure, eternal, and unchanging world of the Forms. Plato came from one of the wealthiest and most politically active families in Athens.
Plato's works also contain the origins of the familiar complaint that the arts work by inflaming the passions, and are mere illusions. Their political activities, however, are not seen as laudable ones by historians. Charmides' own uncle, Critias, was the leader of the Thirty.
We also are introduced to the ideal of "Platonic love:" Plato saw love as motivated by a longing for the highest Form of beauty—The Beautiful Itself, and love as the motivational power through which the highest of achievements are possible. One of Plato's uncles (Charmides) was a member of the notorious "Thirty Tyrants," who overthrew the Athenian democracy in 404 B. Plato's relatives were not exclusively associated with the oligarchic faction in Athens, however.
According to doubtful stories from later antiquity, Dionysius became annoyed with Plato at some point during this visit, and arranged to have the philosopher sold into slavery (Diod. His uncle/brother-in-law Dion persuaded the young tyrant to invite Plato to come to help him become a philosopher-ruler of the sort described in the 338a-b). Dion accepted the condition and encouraged Plato to go immediately anyway ( 339a-b and next section) on board begging Plato to return to Syracuse.
Dion and Plato stayed in Athens for the next four years (c. Partly because of his friend Dion's enthusiasm for the plan, Plato departed one more time to Syracuse.
Once again, however, things in Syracuse were not at all to Plato's liking.
Plato is one of the world's best known and most widely read and studied philosophers. There are varying degrees of controversy over which of Plato's works are authentic, and in what order they were written, due to their antiquity and the manner of their preservation through time.
He was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, and he wrote in the middle of the fourth century B. Nonetheless, his earliest works are generally regarded as the most reliable of the ancient sources on Socrates, and the character Socrates that we know through these writings is considered to be one of the greatest of the ancient philosophers.
Though influenced primarily by Socrates, to the extent that Socrates is usually the main character in many of Plato's writings, he was also influenced by Heraclitus, Parmenides, and the Pythagoreans.
Plato's middle to later works, including his most famous work, the , are generally regarded as providing Plato's own philosophy, where the main character in effect speaks for Plato himself.