Plato / c. 428–c. 348 BC / city-state of Athens / Philosopher
And the true order of going, or being led by another, to the things of love, is to begin from the beauties of earth and mount upwards for the sake of that other beauty, using these steps only, and from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is.Symposium.
The beginning is the most important part of the work.Republic, Book I.
Crime and Punishment
Mankind censure injustice fearing that they may be the victims of it, and not because they shrink from committing it.Republic, Book I.
The greatest penalty of evildoing—namely, to grow into the likeness of bad men.Laws.
The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways—I to die, and you to live. Which is better God only knows.Apology.
Man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away. . . . A man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him.Phaedrus.
Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?Phaedo.
The soul takes nothing with her to the other world but her education and culture.Phaedo.
Democracy passes into despotism.Republic, Book VIII.
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.Republic, Book VII.
Let early education be a sort of amusement; you will then be better able to find out the natural bent.Republic, Book VII.
The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.Republic, Book IV.
And this which you deem of no moment is the very highest of all: that is whether you have a right idea of the gods, whereby you may live your life well or ill.Laws.
Not one of them who took up in his youth with this opinion that there are no gods ever continued until old age faithful to his conviction.Laws.
The soul of man is immortal and imperishable.Republic, Book X.
He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.Republic, Book I.
One and Many
If a man, fixing his attention on these and the like difficulties, does away with ideas of things and will not admit that every individual thing has its own determinate idea which is always one and the same, he will have nothing on which his mind can rest; and so he will utterly destroy the power of reasoning.Parmenides.
You cannot conceive the many without the one.Parmenides.
Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils—no, nor the human race, as I believe—and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.Republic, Book V.
Well, my art of midwifery is in most respects like theirs; but differs, in that I attend men and not women, and I look after their souls when they are in labor, and not after their bodies: and the triumph of my art is in thoroughly examining whether the thought which the mind of the young man brings forth is a false idol or a noble and true birth.Theaetetus.
Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but cannot you hold your tongue, and then you may go into aApology.
foreign city, and no one will interfere with you? Now I have great difficulty in making you [men of Athens] understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that to do as you say would be a disobedience to the God, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say again that daily to discourse about virtue, and of those other things about which you hear me examining myself and others, is the greatest good of man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you are still less likely to believe me. Yet I say what is true, although a thing of which it is hard for me to persuade you.
Crito made a sign to the servant, who was standing by; and he went out, and having been absent for some time, returned with the jailer carrying the cup of poison. Socrates said: You, my good friend, who are experienced in these matters, shall give me directions how I am to proceed. . . . . Then raising the cup to his lips, quite readily and cheerfully he drank off the poison. And hitherto most of us had been able to control our sorrow; but now when we saw him drinking, and saw too that he had finished the draught, we could no longer forbear, and in spite of myself my own tears were flowing fast; so that I covered my face and wept, not for him, but at the thought of my own calamity in having to part from such a friend. . . . He was beginning to grow cold about the groin, when he uncovered his face, for he had covered himself up, and said—they were his last words—he said: Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt? The debt shall be paid, said Crito; is there anything else? There was no answer to this question; but in a minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him; his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth.
Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend; concerning whom I may truly say, that of all the men of his time whom I have known, he was the wisest and justest and best.Phaedo.
Truth and Falsehood
False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.Phaedo.
Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.Republic, Book III.
The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness. . . . This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.Republic, Book VIII.
When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.Republic, Book VIII.
No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death.Apology.
Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.Republic, Book IV.