Plato: The Importance of Knowledge

Length: 3 Pages 834 Words

Plato: The Importance of Knowledge Plato, in his work The Republic, deals with the issue of living a good life. He presents his argument through two questions: what is justice in the state and what is a just individual? These two provoking inquiries naturally bring about many others. One of these questions is: how should the citizens of a state be educated? “Plato was the first who conceived the method of knowledge…He was the greatest metaphysical genius whom the world has seen; and in him, more than in any other ancient thinker, the germs of future knowledge are contained.” Plato was passionate about the importance of knowledge. He saw two worlds, the sensible and the intelligible, each having its own type of knowledge. These two worlds could be divided by a line: the upper part was the intelligible world and the lower part consisted of the visible world. In the visible world men only have opinions, illusions, and beliefs, but only see reflections of reality. Their beliefs in the lower world may guide them in life but do not require reaching conclusions with certainty. The intelligible world, however, contains two sub-regions. One is reason. This includes knowledge of things that can be accepted without quest Continue...


The ideal State could not be attained without knowledge which leads to virtue and reformation. Plato was influenced by many philosophers that came before him and lived during his time. Pythagoras had influenced Plato during his stay in Italy, leading Plato to believe that mathematics was the primary tool to understanding. Plato wanted a state that provided 3 the ultimate good and happiness above anything else. There are not many people who have the time, mental capacity, or opportunity to be educated as Plato was. After the Peloponnesian War, he questioned the nature of human society and considered how their polis had deteriorated to what he now saw. Plato's utopia was never realized but he was able to present the idea that the ideal society can be reached. Other major influences were: his social status, the Peloponnesian War and its effects, Athenian politics, and Socrates teaching to search for truth. Plato's desire for an ideal society was an admirable one. This passionate statement is more than Plato's 2 philosophy, it is his reality. The soul would become immortal once citizens could grasp essential concepts through mathematics. Plato believed that the concept of good was equal to a god and through this divinity virtue was achieved. The second sub-region, the highest a man can reach, is intelligence. Plato's emphasis on the importance of knowledge led him to write in 360 BCE, in The Republic, "It is better to be unborn than untaught: for ignorance is the root of misfortune.