Friday, November 23, 2007

Biography of Plato

The great Greek philosopher Plato was born in Athens Greece in 428 B.C. Plato's mother was Pericitone and his father was a named Ariston. Both of his parents came from important families. When Ariston died his mother married again and his step father was very interested in politics.source

Many family members tried to get Plato to join the Athens oligarchy. Plato choose to be a student of Socrates along with his two brothers instead. Socrates, being the type of man that he was, challenged Plato to examine his life. Socrates is all the education that Plato got, and all that he truly needed. source

Plato had many accomplishments including being the founder of the Academy in Athens, he wrote 26 dialogues, one of them being The Republic. When Socrates was executed Plato created the Academy to join other leaders of philosophy He founded his Academy in Athens in 387 B.C. The Academy was devoted to researching science and philosophy. Plato ran the academy for forty years.source (Grant, 93)(Nardo 14)

Plato had great significance. Plato recorded most of what Socrates did and thought and Socrates' discussions. Plato was also the founder of most of the thoughts of today in the areas of politics,logic,psychology, and philosophy. He came up with the theory of forms which some say was one of the most influential ideas of the philosophy of today. Not only did he record Socrates and have great influence on us he also influenced and taught Aristotle. source

In conclusion Plato led an extraordinary life. He was taught by Socrates and influenced the thinkers of today plus he was the teacher of Aristotle. Plato founded an Academy in Athens and researched philosophy and science. Plato died in 347 B.C. and was buried right on the grounds of his Academy.source

Grant, Michael. The Founders of the Western World: A history of Greece and Rome. New York: Macmillan Publishing company, 1991

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Plato's Meno

Plato was born in the 5th century B.C. and was executed in 399 B.C. He was born in what is known as the golden age of Greece. "Socrates wrote nothing because he felt that knowledge was a living, interactive thing." The only writings about Socrates were written by the man that he mentored, Plato, and Xenophon. Socrates was the mentor of Plato and Plato was the mentor of Aristotle, it is kind of interesting how that all plays out. (Class Podcast)(Nardo, 55)

Socrates has many methods that he is known for. He is known for his method of Know Thyself. He also believes that a bad man could never really harm or hurt a good man. He also believes that if you remove ignorance you remove evil. According to Socrates the difference between man and animals is that we have a concious and animals do not. Socrates is always trying to find out more and question more things. He always asks why and this is known as the Socratic method. (Class Podcast)

One of Plato's works is called "Meno". Meno is a diolouge between Meno and Socrates and a few other characters including one of Meno's servants and Anytus. Plato used a diolouge between characters most frequently to format his writings. Meno is about defining virtue. In this diolouge virtue is a result of trial but these men are trying to define it. (Nardo 35) (Class Podcast)

Meno starts off with Meno asking if virtue can be taught and what virtue is. In the first phase of "Meno" Socrates keeps asking for a general definition of virtue. Socrates says that you can't find out if virtue can be taught unless you known the definition. Socrates wants to know the definition and not just examples of virtue.

The second phase of the dialogue starts with the challenge of Meno to Socrates saying that if you dont know what virtue is already then even if you were to look you would not know when you have found it. The second phase of this diologue is where Socrates says that knowing is a kind of remembering. During this phase of Meno we have"reached a new understanding of the nature of knowledge." (source)

The third phase of Meno starts when Socrates agrees to look further into whether virtue can be taught. Socrates explains the way he wants to examine the idea. First they are to determine if virtue is a kind of knowledge. If it is a kind of knowledge we can conclude to say that it can be taught. If it is not a type of knowledge than we can conclude that it can not be taught. (Source)

At the end of "Meno" we can see that none of the questions asked earlier were answered. We never get the answer to whether virtue is knowledge or what virtue is. We do reach the conclusion that knowledge is important. Also that knowledge is explained and supported by true belief. (source)

Nardo, Don. Lost Civilizations:The Ancient Greeks. San Diego Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004

Kreeft, Peter. What Would Socrates Do?: The History of Moral Thought and Ethics (CD 2, Lecture 3-Being Good and Being Wise:Can Virtue Be Taught). New York, NY: Barnes and Noble, 2004.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Architectural Advances of the Greeks

There were many different aspects of Greek architecture that set it apart from many others. Take the different types of marvelous columns that illuminate Greece into consideration. Also think of the magnificent building in Greece known as the Parthenon. These aspects advanced the Greek architecture far ahead of its time.

The Archaic Greeks were the people who launched the development of monumental architecture. This was around 550-500 B.C. Different types of architecture were created during this magnificent time period. There were the Greek temples, which truly are the only architecture of Greece that stand in numbers, amphitheatres, and homes.(Nardo, 28)

One major aspect that set apart Greek architecture from all the others is the styles of their columns. There are three major styles of Greek columns, Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric is the most plain out of the three styles. It is more sturdy and is used throughout mainland Greece and colonies in Italy. The Ionic style is thinner and more elegant and the top has a scroll like design and is used throughout eastern Greece and the islands. The Corinthian is used the least in the Greek architecture and is usually seen on Roman temples. It is very elaborate and decorated with leaves. An example from the Ionic style is the Erechtheum. An example of the Doric is the Parthenon.

Many of the Greek architectures are still intact. One of them being the Parthenon. The Parthenon was an Athenian temple devoted to the Greek god Athena. It is located on the acropolis in Athens. This temple served as a treasury for Athens along with spiritual aspects. Around 430 B.C. the statue of Athena was taken out of the Parthenon because it was being put to use for Christian purposes. An explosion destroyed the Parthenon's roof on September 26, 1687. (Nardo, 10)

The Parthenon is a great explanation of Greece's architectural achievements. So are the three different types of columns. These advances catapulted Greek architecture ahead of it's time and showed what could be accomplished with stone.

Nardo, Don. Lost Civilizations:The Ancient Greeks. San Diego Ca: Lucent Books, 2001.

Nardo, Don. Living in Ancient Greece. Farmington Hills MI: Green Haven Press, 2004