Plato is famous for being one of the most influential figures in Western philosophy, and his student Aristotle went on to have a similarly large impact on the world. According to Alfred North Whitehead, a mathematician and philosopher, "The safest general characterisation of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Continue Reading
Plato's most famous work is "The Republic," a treatise that reflects on what it means to be a good person, how to live a good life, and what the best form of government is. The Epistles, a collection of 35 dialogues and 13 letters, have also served as a basis for everything from Western ideas about love to mathematics (particularly arithmetic and number theory) and logic.
While Plato's works were lost to the West after the fall of the Roman Empire, they were preserved in the Muslim world by scholars who translated them from Ancient Greek to Arabic. Western European scholars in turn translated the Arabic works into Latin, and later when Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire fell, many other texts by Plato were taken to Western Europe by Greek refugees. This influx of knowledge is one of the factors that led to the Renaissance, and Plato's texts directly influenced the surge in scientific and philosophical development that followed.Learn more about Philosophy