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Name: Plato

Time Period: c. 428BC -- 347BC

Quote: "Thinking: The talking of the soul with itself."

Brief Description: Like his Socrates who was his teacher, Plato was a  Greek philosopher who is thought to have been born in Athens from an aristocratic family. For many years, he promoted his teacher's theories, but in time he developed and voices his own. One of his theories is that "reality is an illusion". The world exists in what he called "forms", and that the world is totally independent of our perceptions of it; we can not fully comprehend this world. He has a scenario to help illustrate this concept. Envision a dark cave where people are bound since birth in a way that they can only see the wall straight ahead of them. On this wall they see shadows of a puppet show that is taking place, but since they have never known anything besides the shadows on the wall they believe that the shadows that they see are real, when in reality there are real puppets behind them. This is Plato's conception of how we perceive reality- we only know the life that we have lived and believe that it is real, when really here is another whole world beyond our comprehension.

Current Relevance: Though this concept was originated thousands of years ago, it still has much relevance today in our modern times, just as it did in Plato's day- if not more so. We often take for granted what we think is real, even if it is only our perception that tells us that. Issues such as racism and other discriminations are examples of this, as is the "Halo effect". We see something and perceive it to be a certain way, but there may be an entire dimension that we are unaware of. This harmonizes well with the cliché that states "Don't judge a book by it's cover" and things are not always as they appear.

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