Plato (c. 428 BCE – c. 348 BCE) was a Greek philosopher, writer, teacher, public speaker, and Socrates’ most brilliant student. Because there aren’t any biographical sources from his time, we can know more about him from his writings and biographies were written 500 years after his death. Plato‘s philosophy forms much of the foundation of Western civilization. He laid the groundwork for ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, metaphysics, and early forms of science. We’ve crafted this selection of profound Plato quotes to bring you closer to the wisdom of his philosophy.
Born into a family of nobility, Plato probably received some of the finest Athenian education of his time. In his youth he wrote poetry, studied painting and wrested, displaying his impressive physique. However, that all changed when he met Socrates, and Plato was inspired to become a philosopher, and to seek a career in politics. Initially, he received education in metaphysics (the study of reality) and epistemology (the study of knowledge).
He gave up on a potential career politics after Socrates was sentenced to death by the Athenian government. Instead, Plato chose to travel and learn everything he could about philosophy, mathematics, science, and religion. He studied mathematics in Italy, and geometry, geology, astrology, and religion in Egypt during his travels. After 12 years, Plato returned to Athens and founded The Academy, the first organized school in Western Civilization.
His brightest student was Aristotle, who later became a mentor to Alexander the Great, and greatly developed philosophy. Later in his life, Plato wrote extensively, covering almost every discipline of human knowledge, most notably his Dialogues. His legacy remains a testament to human brilliance, and he is an idol among seekers of truth.
Plato’s teachings are a testament to the fact human behavior hasn’t changed much since 2,500 years ago. I present you the 21 profound Plato quotes we’ve selected to improve your philosophy of life.
21 Profound Plato Quotes For Your Life Philosophy
- “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act rightly because we are excellent, in fact, we achieve excellence by acting rightly.” – Plato
- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato
- “Every heart sings a song, incomplete until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” – Plato
- “There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.” – Plato Quotes
- “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato
- “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.” – Plato
- “There are three classes of men: lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.” – Plato
- “For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.” – Plato
- “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” – Plato
- “The excessive increase in anything causes a reaction in the opposite direction.” – Plato
- “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” – Plato
- “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.” – Plato
- “Courage is knowing what not to fear.” – Plato
- “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” – Plato
- “Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.” – Plato
- “Poets utter great and wise things which they themselves do not understand.” – Plato
- “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.” – Plato Quotes
- “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” – Plato
- “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” – Plato
- “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” – Plato
- “If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.” – Plato