“The safest general characterization of the European tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” - Alfred North Whitehead

The ancient Athenian philosopher Plato is perhaps the greatest philosopher in history. More than one eminent scholar claims that the entire course of Western philosophy has been a development of efforts to understand Plato. What is the reason for Plato's ongoing and profound influence?

Virtually nothing is known of Plato's life; there are many ancient sources of information, but these accounts were composed long after Plato's death. Moreover, there are contradictions between them and other indications of their unreliability. As a result, …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Wood, Kelsey. "Plato". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3580, accessed 27 November 2015.]

Articles on Plato's works

  1. Parmenides
  2. Philebus
  3. Politeia [Republic]
  4. Politikos [The Statesman]
  5. Sophistes [The Sophist]
  6. Theaetetus