c. 427 B.C.
c. 347 B.C.

Classical Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Writer of Philosophical Dialogues, Founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, Student of Socrates

Author Quotes

You should not honor men more than truth.

You know that the beginning is the most important part of any work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken... Shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish them to have when they are grown up?

You cannot conceive the many without the one.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

You are young, my son, and, as the years go by, time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain therefore awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters.

Writing is the geometry of the soul.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.

Who looks at Beauty in the only way that Beauty can be seen - only then will it become possible for him to give birth not to images of virtue (because he's in touch with no images), but to true virtue [arete] (because he is in touch with true Beauty). The love of the gods belongs to anyone who has given to true virtue and nourished it, and if any human being could become immortal, it would be he.

Wherefore also these Kinds [elements] occupied different places even before the universe was organized and generated out of them. Before that time, in truth, all these were in a state devoid of reason or measure, but when the work of setting in order this Universe was being undertaken, fire and water and earth and air, although possessing some traces of their known nature, were yet disposed as everything is likely to be in the absence of God; and inasmuch as this was then their natural condition, God began by first marking them out into shapes by means of forms and numbers.

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.

When the mind's eye rests on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and comprehends them, and functions intelligently; but when it turns to the twilight world of change and decay, it can only form opinions, its vision is confused and its beliefs shifting, and it seems to lack intelligence.

When men speak ill of thee, live so that nobody will believe them.

When it rests on the place lit by truth and what is, it perceives it and knows it and seems to have intelligence. But in the place mingled with darkness, the region of becoming and passing away it darkens and conjectures, changes its opinions up and down and now appears to have no intelligence.

What sort of thing is justice compared with injustice?

What shall we say about those spectators, then, who can see a plurality of beautiful things, but not beauty itself, and who are incapable of following if someone else tries to lead them to it, and who can see many moral actions, but not morality itself, and so on? That they only ever entertain beliefs, and do not know any of the things they believe?

What if the man could see Beauty Itself, pure, unalloyed, stripped of mortality, and all its pollution, stains, and vanities, unchanging, divine... the man becoming in that communion, the friend of God, himself immortal... would that be a life to disregard?

What a strange thing that which men call pleasure seems to be, and how astonishing the relation it has with what is thought to be its opposite, namely pain! A man cannot have both at the same time. Yet if he pursues and catches the one, he is almost always bound to catch the other also, like two creatures with one head.

Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.

We do not learn, and that what we call learning is only a process of recollection.

Anything received into the mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.

We can call the reflective element in the mind the reason, and the element with which it feels hunger and thirst, and the agitations of sex and other desires, the irrational appetite - an element closely connected with pleasure and satisfaction.

We are like people looking for something they have in their hands all the time; we're looking in all directions except at the thing we want, which is probably why we haven't found it.

Virtue is the desire of things honorable and the power of attaining them.

Virtue does not spring from riches, but riches and all other human blessings, both private and public, from virtue.

Variety in poetry breeds self-indulgence; in gymnastics, disease: simplicity there puts temperance in the soul; here it puts health in the body.

Author Picture
First Name
Birth Date
c. 427 B.C.
Death Date
c. 347 B.C.

Classical Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Writer of Philosophical Dialogues, Founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world, Student of Socrates