Sunday, 7 April 2013

Philosophical Perspectives on the Individual - Part 2 - The beginning of Western Philosophy

Dear All,

Among the most famous thinkers of Western Philosophy are Socrates and Plato. Unfortunately, Socrates didn't write any books. What has survived of his philosophy has been written down by others, in particular by Plato, who was Socrates's most famous student as well as the most influential Greek philosopher of all times.

Please find below some introductory information to Socrates, Plato, and their Time.

The Background: Ancient Greece

Greek Mythology

The Greek Gods - Part 1:
The Greek Gods - Part 2:
The Greek Gods - Part 3:
The Greek Gods - Part 4:

Historical & Cultural Background

Athens - Part 1:
Athens - Part 2:
Athens - Part 3:


Introduction to Plato - Part 1:
Introduction to Plato - Part 2:
Introduction to Plato - Part 3:
Introduction to Plato - Part 4:

Plato's Cave Allegory (from Book 7 of his Republic) - Animated Version:

Conversation about Plato:


Play about his "Apology":

Alain de Botton - Happiness Series: Socrates on Self Confidence

Interesting Student Project about Socrates:

Movie about Socrates (in Spanish):

The Texts for this Class

Plato - "Euthyphro":

Plato - "Apology":

Plato - "Crito":

Also really interesting:

Plato - The Republic: about his Vision of the Ideal State:

Plato - Symposium: about Love:
Written Text:
Audio Book:

Making Connections:
Please compare Plato's Cave Allegory (from Book 7 of his Republic) <>
with Michael Talbot's ideas about "The Universe as Hologram" <>
Do you think there are connections? Explore them!




  1. I really liked reading the republic, although the first time reading Plato can be very difficult, It is achievable!

    1. The Symposium is really interesting as well - if you have time in the summer or so....

  2. To be honest, i do not understand so much about Plato's thinking...
    I want some example to explain to me.

    1. Hi Suchada,
      Start with some of the youtube clips - in particular the animated version of the cave analogy. I think that will give you a first idea.

  3. It seems interesting; because either western philosophy or eastern philosophy begins with idealism. And they share some similarities. For instance, both Socrates and Lao Tzu emphasize the logic. But the eastern idealism still has many differences with the western idealism.

  4. A skill gained from a university degree having command over language and use rhetoric.
    Rhetoric came from these ancient philosophers.

  5. From what I understand, Plato’s Republic was never implemented. No state or principality ever endorsed it. What, then, can explain the primary place of the book in today’s philosophy, politics and history courses? It is its value as a primary document from a time or a place that western values originates from? Or is it something else, like the value of learning Latin?

  6. "The Universe as Holograms" ideas suggest that all we experience is nothing but a holographic projection of processes taking place on some distant surface that surrounds us.

    Plato likened our view of the world to that of an ancient forebear watching shadows meander across a dimly lit cave wall. Reality—not its mere shadow—may take place on a distant boundary surface, while everything we witness in the three common spatial dimensions is a projection of that faraway unfolding

  7. I really enjoy this part of the course because I related so much to Plato. When reading his works and all his questionings I felt so identify. My mind is like that too. From one question I generate three and from those three more start coming. The difference is that for Plato all of his questions had a reasonable answer and mine sometimes remain unanswered. This is why I admire him a lot; he had a response for everything.

  8. Plato is one of the few philosophers who also writes good literature. I've read his dialogues and to be honest, they've been a bit tedious. Socrates will pay with his life his wisdom. I believe that Plato in certain way attempts to present laws for real life.