It is believed that the earliest systematic concept of mind and body stems from the philosophy of the Greek philosopher Plato (429-347 BC).
Plato (427 BC – 347 BC) is considered one the greatest thinkers of all time. He is also one of the most widely studied and read philosophers in the world.
Plato was Socrates’ most outstanding student; his works dates to the middle of the fourth century BC in ancient Greece.
Plato, saw the mind as identical with the soul. However, unlike Descartes, Plato argued that the soul both pre-existed and survived the body, going through a continual process of reincarnation or “transmigration”.
Plato recognized the duality of the world: the world of ideas – inaccessible to the senses and the material world. Plato believed that that our most basic knowledge comes, when we bring back to mind our contact with eternal realities during a previous existence of the soul.
The world of ideas is, according to Plato, the only real world; everything else is only brief and passing. Before birth ‘soul’ is present in the world of ideas, and there, it acquires knowledge of what is good.
Therefore, this great thinker was particularly interested in human soul. Some people believed that this spiritual part of a person that some people believe continues to exist in some form.
He began to ponder the concept of ‘soul’, as a factor ideal, unbreakable, that lasts beyond death.
So, the role of a teacher is not to instruct or/and teach but to help in the extraction of knowledge using questions reflection.
The philosophy of Plato, especially the science of the soul and the invisible world of ideas strongly influenced Christianity.
Plato is also the author of the concept of an ideal state, in which he proposes such state will be governed by a person who is highly educated, has passion for truth and has achieved the greatest wisdom of knowledge of the good. The ruler of this ideal state is called the Philosopher king, a person guided by the ideas of goodness, truth and beauty.
According to Plato, philosophers stood at the top of the social ladder, because they possessed wisdom. Other citizens in the country occupy the position, depending on the achieved perfection. The state should decide on every area of life. His idea of ideal state, however, was never implemented.
Plato – the son of wealthy and influential Athenian parents – is described by historians as a young man, who was always present among people surrounding Socrates. We know that Socrates wrote nothing himself; it was Plato who kept recording the theories of his master.When Socrates died, Plato began to travel to various places for many years and returned back to establish in Athens, the so-called Platonic Academy in 387 BC.
His prestigious academy became the first higher learning in the Western world and survived almost 1000 years.
Plato wrote extensively and most of his writings survived, including the most famous work, the ‘Republic’. It contains Plato’s own philosophy, and a major source of information of his teacher, Socrates.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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