Plato – Biography, philosophy, Works, Contribution

Plato was said to be an ancient Greek philosopher. he studied Socrates also he was a teacher of Aristotle and he found the academy. He authored philosophical works of unparalleled influences. He influenced many of the writers or researchers such as Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Pythagoreans.

There have been many controversies for Plato’s work as it does not show the authenticity of his work and how was his work preserved because of their antiquity. Most of his earlier work I said to be reliable as the source of ancient Socrate and we come to about the characteristics of the Socrate through his writings. He is said to be the greatest of the ancient philosopher. In later times when one of his famous work would be the Republic. it is generally evolved around Plato own philosophy.His work contains political philosophy, moral psychology, ethics, epistemology as an interlinked with systematic philosophy. It is from Plato that we come to know the theory of forms. Plato believed that Forms are pure and unchanging world and the world we know through our sense is just an imitation of forms. Plato says that artworks are merely illusions.

plato life


It is usually known that philosopher Plato was born around 428-7 B.C.E and took his last breath when he was eighty in 348-7 B.C.E. These dates aren’t accurate according to Diogenes Laertius. These dates are mentioned according to the Eratosthenes calculations which have become accurate traditionally.


According to Diogenes Plato’s guardian’s name were Ariston (father) and Perictione (mother). It was said that Plato came from a wealthy family and politically active families. Plato’s uncles Charmides overthrew the Athenian democracy and were the member of the notorious “Thirty Tyrants”. Aristotle was the actual name of Plato after his grandfather.

 Plato Contribution to Sociology

  • First of his writing was an apology which he wrote after the death of Socrates.
  • Crito: it is said to be a dialogue by an ancient philosopher Plato. Crito contains a conversation between Socrates and his rich friend Crito regarding justice and injustice.
  • Phaedo one of the work done by Plato. It contains the description of Socrates last few days in the cell alone. It was a mixture of drama and philosophy linked with the immortality of the human soul.
  • Platonic love: We also became familiar with the Platonic love:  Spiritual and emotional companionship or relationship between two people of the opposite sex that doesn’t require sexual desire. This type of relationship is rare in today’s world. He believed that this type of relationship help us reach our highest potential. Plato also disliked the physical expression of love.
  • The Book: Republic If you haven’t got the chance to grab a copy of Republic written more than 2,400 years ago then this article will help you a lot. The author is none other than Plato himself. The book contains how to deal with the nature and conditions of a just republic and with the misuse of justice by man and society. It largely talks about the division of labor.

In his book, Republic II Plato uses macro approach to analyze justice. He has talked about social organizations because he believes here he see a larger image of the problem that is justice which also exists at a micro-level as well. This is why he used mental experiments, with the emergence of the political city. Firstly, he talked about simple cities then magnificent cities.

Plato began with an identified satisfaction of human need as the fundamental cause of the association. He said that people live together and provide each other with support associate as everyone believes it to be in one’s self-interest. To organize productive efforts of these associated Plato explained three main reasons for the division of labor.

  • he believed that every individual has different natural productive differences and therefore one might be good in one occupation and others might be good in something else. For example, one might be a good tailor and others might be better as a chef.
  • Specialization in the different field improves one’s workmanship.
  • Many things need to be done at the same time which requires the availability of some people fixed for some tasks.

In simple words according to Plato division of labour increases the physical productivity of people and facilitate their efforts and get to full potential.

He says us not to engage in the materialistic conception of the significance of these associations. He goes on explaining that division of labor is not only about consumers good but also about producers goods. From the production of tools used by consumers is also related to producers goods. Hence, as the labor of division increases so does the number of citizens also increases.

Also, he states the importance of not only citizens cooperating among themselves but also with those who come from other cities. This happens when the city is built in an imperfect place. To get merchandise from others one needs to pay them which is in short of supply at their place. So it is essential for citizens to produce in a large amount as their own needs.

Aristotle and another social thinker till the 18th century had the view that exchange concerns the “surplus” of production and not as a driving force but Plato argued that exchange is a driving force of the production. Plato just like a classical economist look into the underlying forces that are employed at work. Plato also avoids the monetary aspect of the exchange. He believes that market and money are the disturbing agents of products of the citizens. He shared that hanging out in market distracts citizens from obtaining their main task.

Concluding he asked a question where in this scenario is the government, charged with enforcing justice?

His Answer “probably in the dealings of these citizens with one another. I can’t imagine that they are more likely to be found anywhere else.” – Plato

Plato does not discuss the opulent city, this city comes into action when the temptation of pleasure overtakes life. Here people deviate from simple lifestyle and get into news need that lead to new products. This increases a luxurious lifestyle sitting on cushions, wearing fancy clothing, hanging paintings, attending music concerts, utensils of gold and ivory. This increases the division of labor. Now there are more professions that earlier times.

Later Plato came to a critical argument that cities can extend to certain limits it should not expand where it will be covering the neighboring cities land. For Plato, it was out of the question the possibility of buying land or having a market for land. If there was no land before there should not be more land for any. He closed by saying the land could only be taken forcibly which was a driving force of war.

Plato further explains the division of labor is now extended to look after the legal issues. Those can be armed forces act as a new profession. Well, then the question arises who guard these armed forces. To be good at their job they need to have militant thinking. But then the questions come who are eligible for this job so Plato has a solution that is to be conscious and select special people. Plato says these people should be like a dog obedient and kind to their master and harsh on strangers. Plato believed dogs have philosophical thinking. According to Plato dogs love knowledge and hate ignorance.

In simple words, Plato has stressed a lot on the division of labor and was an outstanding analyst of it. He contributed his understanding of society and how the division of labor is important for modern-day society at that period.