In most of the ancient world, strong fighters won all the glory. But in Athens, great thinkers and wise men were honored. People listened to them and followed their advice. Even today, people admire the ideas of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Their teachings are at the root of modern philosophy and science. Alfred Whitehead is quoted as saying: “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.
” If you really know how to read Plato, the truth behind this statement is easy to see. Nearly every great philosophical idea was discussed by Plato to some extent. The best way to put it is the way the Stanford Encyclopedia puts it: “Few other authors in the history of philosophy approximate him in depth and range. ” A great example would be his theory of justice, the present day definition of justice is “a scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal.
” This definition dates back to Plato, One’s search for the meaning of justice in Platos “Republic” would finally lead to two definitions : -Justice is Harmony. (Plato, Republic, Book 4, section 443b) – Justice is doing one’s own job. ( Plato, Republic, Book 4, section 443b) However finding these definitions is hardly enough to define justice, so Plato went further and offered two analogies to get a clear sense of what justice is, “the division of parts in the soul as well as the parts of the state”, the soul (nature) being personal morals and the state (legal) being societal morals.
Another would be his theory of human nature, he believed we were rational, social animals. Plato tended to identify our nature with reason, and our souls, as opposed to our bodies. He believed that who we are depends on what kind of a soul we have—a philosopher soul, a guardian or warrior soul, or an artisan soul. This is the general role we should play in society (Theory of self). Success or failure at life depends upon what sort of society we live in.
Human life needs to be political for Plato, spent in the discovery of the proper manner in which sociality ought to be organized, and then in the practical implementation of that ideal in our own societies. We are rational and social creatures, but we become who we are in society. In order to become what we truly are, we must live in the true (or ideal) society. Essence is grasped by rational analysis, as it is separate from change. This is yet another theory that according to my view of the world defines human nature, defines who we are as a people and what is required.