chapter  3
Plato
The arts and education
Pages 12

Plato is perhaps the most influential of all ancient philosophers; he founded a significant movement which came to dominate philosophy in later antiquity, and his thought continued to have an impact in medieval and early modern times, as it does even today. As a young man he was a follower of the great philosopher Socrates, who had an immense continuing effect on his thought; he, with other followers of Socrates, wrote dialogues in which Socrates is the central figure, and since Socrates himself never wrote, it is largely through Plato's work that people know him. Plato's philosophy always has a practical slant; he is seeking to recommend philosophy, the love of wisdom, as a way of life. The Laws, Plato's longest work and probably his last, returns to the subject of the arts and their place in education, and it is interesting to compare it with the Republic. Its chief speaker is not Socrates but an Athenian stranger.