Abstraction in its main sense is a conceptual process where general rules and concepts are derived from the usage and classification of specific examples, literal signifiers, first principles, or other methods. "An abstraction" is the outcome of this process—a concept that acts as a super-categorical noun for all subordinate concepts, connects any related concepts as a group, field, or category. Conceptual abstractions may be formed by filtering the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon, selecting only the aspects which are relevant for a particular subjectively valued purpose. For example, abstracting a leather soccer ball to the more general idea of a ball selects only the information on general ball attributes and behavior, but not eliminating, the other phenomenal and cognitive characteristics of that particular ball. In a type–token distinction, a type is more abstract than its tokens. Abstraction in its secondary use is a material process, discussed in the themes below.
Thinking in abstractions is considered by anthropologists and sociologists to be one of the key traits in modern human behaviour, believed to have developed between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago. Its development is to have been connected with the development of human language, which appears to both involve and facilitate abstract thinking. Abstraction involves induction of ideas or the synthesis of particular facts into one general theory about something, it is the opposite of specification, the analysis or breaking-down of a general idea or abstraction into concrete facts. Abstraction can be illustrated with Francis Bacon's Novum Organum, a book of modern scientific philosophy written in the late Elizabethan era of England to encourage modern thinkers to collect specific facts before making any generalizations. Bacon used and promoted induction as an abstraction tool, it countered the ancient deductive-thinking approach that had dominated the intellectual world since the times of Greek philosophers like Thales and Aristotle.
Thales believed that everything in the universe comes from water. He deduced or specified from a general idea, "everything is water", to the specific forms of water such as ice, snow and rivers. Modern scientists can use the opposite approach of abstraction, or going from particular facts collected into one general idea, such as the motion of the planets; when determining that the sun is the center of our solar system, scientists had to utilize thousands of measurements to conclude that Mars moves in an elliptical orbit about the sun, or to assemble multiple specific facts into the law of falling bodies. An abstraction can be seen as a compression process, mapping multiple different pieces of constituent data to a single piece of abstract data; this conceptual scheme emphasizes the inherent equality of both constituent and abstract data, thus avoiding problems arising from the distinction between "abstract" and "concrete". In this sense the process of abstraction entails the identification of similarities between objects, the process of associating these objects with an abstraction.
For example, picture 1 below illustrates the concrete relationship "Cat sits on Mat". Chains of abstractions can be construed, moving from neural impulses arising from sensory perception to basic abstractions such as color or shape, to experiential abstractions such as a specific cat, to semantic abstractions such as the "idea" of a CAT, to classes of objects such as "mammals" and categories such as "object" as opposed to "action". For example, graph 1 below expresses the abstraction "agent sits on location"; this conceptual scheme entails no specific hierarchical taxonomy, only a progressive exclusion of detail. Non-existent things in any particular place and time are seen as abstract. By contrast, instances, or members, of such an abstract thing might exist in many different places and times; those abstract things are said to be multiply instantiated, in the sense of picture 1, picture 2, etc. shown below. It is not sufficient, however, to define abstract ideas as those that can be instantiated and to define abstraction as the movement in the opposite direction to instantiation.
Doing so would make the concepts "cat" and "telephone" abstract ideas since despite their varying appearances, a particular cat or a particular telephone is an instance of the concept "cat" or the concept "telephone". Although the concepts "cat" and "telephone" are abstractions, they are not abstract in the sense of the objects in graph 1 below. We might look at other graphs, in a progression from cat to mammal to animal, see that animal is more abstract than mammal. Confusingly, some philosophies refer to tropes as abstract particulars—e.g. The particular redness of a particular apple is an abstract particular; this is similar to qualia and sumbebekos. Still retaining the primary meaning of'abstrere' or'to draw away from', the abstraction of money, for example, works by drawing away from the particular value of things allowing incommensurate objects to be compared. Karl Marx's writing on the commodity abstraction recognizes a parallel process; the state
Atlantis is a fictional island mentioned within an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato's works Timaeus and Critias, where it represents the antagonist naval power that besieges "Ancient Athens", the pseudo-historic embodiment of Plato's ideal state in The Republic. In the story, Athens repels the Atlantean attack unlike any other nation of the known world giving testament to the superiority of Plato's concept of a state; the story concludes with Atlantis falling out of favor with the deities and submerging into the Atlantic Ocean. Despite its minor importance in Plato's work, the Atlantis story has had a considerable impact on literature; the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon's New Atlantis and Thomas More's Utopia. On the other hand, nineteenth-century amateur scholars misinterpreted Plato's narrative as historical tradition, most notably in Ignatius L. Donnelly's Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. Plato's vague indications of the time of the events—more than 9,000 years before his time—and the alleged location of Atlantis—"beyond the Pillars of Hercules"—has led to much pseudoscientific speculation.
As a consequence, Atlantis has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations and continues to inspire contemporary fiction, from comic books to films. While present-day philologists and classicists agree on the story's fictional character, there is still debate on what served as its inspiration; as for instance with the story of Gyges, Plato is known to have borrowed some of his allegories and metaphors from older traditions. This led a number of scholars to investigate possible inspiration of Atlantis from Egyptian records of the Thera eruption, the Sea Peoples invasion, or the Trojan War. Others have rejected this chain of tradition as implausible and insist that Plato created an fictional nation as his example, drawing loose inspiration from contemporary events such as the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC or the destruction of Helike in 373 BC; the only primary sources for Atlantis are Plato's dialogues Critias. The dialogues claim to quote Solon, who visited Egypt between 590 and 580 BC.
Written in 360 BC, Plato introduced Atlantis in Timaeus: For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, over many other islands and parts of the continent; the four people appearing in those two dialogues are the politicians Critias and Hermocrates as well as the philosophers Socrates and Timaeus of Locri, although only Critias speaks of Atlantis. In his works Plato makes extensive use of the Socratic method in order to discuss contrary positions within the context of a supposition; the Timaeus begins with an introduction, followed by an account of the creations and structure of the universe and ancient civilizations.
In the introduction, Socrates muses about the perfect society, described in Plato's Republic, wonders if he and his guests might recollect a story which exemplifies such a society. Critias mentions a tale he considered to be historical, that would make the perfect example, he follows by describing Atlantis as is recorded in the Critias. In his account, ancient Athens seems to represent the "perfect society" and Atlantis its opponent, representing the antithesis of the "perfect" traits described in the Republic. According to Critias, the Hellenic deities of old divided the land so that each deity might have their own lot; the island was larger than Ancient Libya and Asia Minor combined, but it was sunk by an earthquake and became an impassable mud shoal, inhibiting travel to any part of the ocean. Plato asserted that the Egyptians described Atlantis as an island consisting of mountains in the northern portions and along the shore and encompassing a great plain in an oblong shape in the south "extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the center inland it was two thousand stadia."
Fifty stadia from the coast was a mountain, low on all sides... broke it off all round about... the central island itself was five stades in diameter. In Plato's metaphorical tale, Poseidon fell in love with Cleito, the daughter of Evenor and Leucippe, who bore him five pairs of male twins; the eldest of these, was made rightful king of the entire island and the ocean, was given the mountain of his birth and the surrounding area as his fiefdom. Atlas's twin Gadeirus, or Eumelus in Greek, was given the extremity of the island to
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 5000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BC, its cultural achievements during the 5th century BC laid the foundations of western civilization. During the early Middle Ages, the city experienced a decline recovered under the Byzantine Empire and was prosperous during the period of the Crusades, benefiting from Italian trade. Following a period of sharp decline under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Athens re-emerged in the 19th century as the capital of the independent and self-governing Greek state; the name of Athens, connected to the name of its patron goddess Athena, originates from an earlier Pre-Greek language. The origin myth explaining how Athens acquired this name through the legendary contest between Poseidon and Athena was described by Herodotus, Ovid, Plutarch and others, it became the theme of the sculpture on the West pediment of the Parthenon.
Both Athena and Poseidon requested to be patrons of the city and to give their name to it, so they competed with one another for the honour, offering the city one gift each. Poseidon produced a spring by striking the ground with his trident. Athena created the olive tree, symbolizing prosperity; the Athenians, under their ruler Cecrops, named the city after Athena. A sacred olive tree said to be the one created by the goddess was still kept on the Acropolis at the time of Pausanias, it was located by the temple of Pandrosus, next to the Parthenon. According to Herodotus, the tree had been burnt down during the Persian Wars, but a shoot sprung from the stump; the Greeks saw this as a symbol. Plato, in his dialogue Cratylus, offers his own etymology of Athena's name connecting it to the phrase ἁ θεονόα or hē theoû nóēsis; the site on which Athens stands was first inhabited in the Neolithic period as a defensible settlement on top of the Acropolis, around the end of the fourth millennium BC or a little later.
The Acropolis is a natural defensive position. The settlement was about 20 km inland from the Saronic Gulf, in the centre of the Cephisian Plain, a fertile valley surrounded by rivers. To the east lies Mount Hymettus, to the north Mount Pentelicus. Ancient Athens, in the first millennium BC, occupied a small area compared to the sprawling metropolis of modern Greece; the ancient walled city encompassed an area measuring about 2 km from east to west and less than that from north to south, although at its peak the ancient city had suburbs extending well beyond these walls. The Acropolis was situated just south of the centre of this walled area; the Agora, the commercial and social centre of the city, lay about 400 m north of the Acropolis, in what is now the Monastiraki district. The hill of the Pnyx, where the Athenian Assembly met, lay at the western end of the city; the Eridanus river flowed through the city. One of the most important religious sites in ancient Athens was the Temple of Athena, known today as the Parthenon, which stood on top of the Acropolis, where its evocative ruins still stand.
Two other major religious sites, the Temple of Hephaestus and the Temple of Olympian Zeus or Olympeion lay within the city walls. According to Thucydides, the Athenian citizens at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War numbered 40,000, making with their families a total of 140,000 people in all; the metics, i.e. those who did not have citizen rights and paid for the right to reside in Athens, numbered a further 70,000, whilst slaves were estimated at between 150,000 and 400,000. Hence a tenth of the population were adult male citizens, eligible to meet and vote in the Assembly and be elected to office. After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC, the city's population began to decrease as Greeks migrated to the Hellenistic empires in the east. Athens has been inhabited from Neolithic times from the end of the 4th millennium BC, or nearly 5,000 years. By 1412 BC, the settlement had become an important center of the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis was the site of a major Mycenaean fortress whose remains can be recognised from sections of the characteristic Cyclopean walls.
On the summit of the Acropolis, below the Erechtheion, cuttings in the rock have been identified as the location of a Mycenaean palace. Between 1250 and 1200 BC, to feed the needs of the Mycenaean settlement, a staircase was built down a cleft in the rock to reach a water supply, protected from enemy incursions, comparable to similar works carried out at Mycenae. Unlike other Mycenaean centers, such as Mycenae and Pylos, it is unclear whether Athens suffered destruction in about 1200 BC, an event traditionally attributed to a Dorian invasion, the Athenians always maintained that they were "pure" Ionians with no Dorian element. However, like many other Bronze Age settlements, went into economic decline for around 150 years following this. Iron Age burials, in the Kerameikos and other locations, are richly provided for and demonstrate that from 900 BC onwards Athens was one of the leading centres of trade and prosperity in the region
In the Platonic, Middle Platonic, Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for fashioning and maintaining the physical universe. The Gnostics adopted the term "demiurge". Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not the same as the creator figure in the monotheistic sense, because the demiurge itself and the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are both considered to be consequences of something else. Depending on the system, they may be considered to be either uncreated and eternal or the product of some other entity; the word "demiurge" is an English word derived from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek δημιουργός or dēmiourgos. It was a common noun meaning "craftsman" or "artisan", but came to mean "producer", "creator"; the philosophical usage and the proper noun derive from Plato's Timaeus, written c. 360 BC, where the demiurge is presented as the creator of the universe. The demiurge is described as a creator in the Platonic and Middle Platonic philosophical traditions.
In the various branches of the Neoplatonic school, the demiurge is the fashioner of the real, perceptible world after the model of the Ideas, but is still not itself "the One". In the arch-dualist ideology of the various Gnostic systems, the material universe is evil, while the non-material world is good. According to some strains of Gnosticism, the demiurge is malevolent, as it is linked to the material world. In others, including the teaching of Valentinus, the demiurge is ignorant or misguided. Plato, as the speaker Timaeus, refers to the Demiurge in the Socratic dialogue Timaeus, c. 360 BC. The main character refers to the Demiurge as the entity who "fashioned and shaped" the material world. Timaeus describes the Demiurge as unreservedly benevolent, so it desires a world as good as possible; the world remains imperfect, because the Demiurge created the world out of a chaotic, indeterminate non-being. Plato's work Timaeus is a philosophical reconciliation of Hesiod's cosmology in his Theogony, syncretically reconciling Hesiod to Homer.
In Numenius's Neo-Pythagorean and Middle Platonist cosmogony, the Demiurge is second God as the nous or thought of intelligibles and sensibles. Plotinus and the Platonists worked to clarify the Demiurge. To Plotinus, the second emanation represents an uncreated second cause. Plotinus sought to reconcile Aristotle's energeia with Plato's Demiurge, which, as Demiurge and mind, is a critical component in the ontological construct of human consciousness used to explain and clarify substance theory within Platonic realism. In order to reconcile Aristotelian with Platonian philosophy, Plotinus metaphorically identified the demiurge within the pantheon of the Greek Gods as Zeus; the first and highest aspect of God is described by Plato as the source, or the Monad. This is the God above the Demiurge, manifests through the actions of the Demiurge; the Monad emanated the demiurge or Nous from its "indeterminate" vitality due to the monad being so abundant that it overflowed back onto itself, causing self-reflection.
This self-reflection of the indeterminate vitality was referred to by Plotinus as the "Demiurge" or creator. The second principle is organization in its reflection of the nonsentient force or dynamis called the one or the Monad; the dyad is energeia emanated by the one, the work, process or activity called nous, mind, consciousness that organizes the indeterminate vitality into the experience called the material world, cosmos. Plotinus elucidates the equation of matter with nothing or non-being in The Enneads which more is to express the concept of idealism or that there is not anything or anywhere outside of the "mind" or nous. Plotinus' form of Platonic idealism is to treat the Demiurge, nous as the contemplative faculty within man which orders the force into conscious reality. In this, he claimed to reveal Plato's true meaning: a doctrine he learned from Platonic tradition that did not appear outside the academy or in Plato's text; this tradition of creator God as nous, can be validated in the works of pre-Plotinus philosophers such as Numenius, as well as a connection between Hebrew and Platonic cosmology.
The Demiurge of Neoplatonism is the Nous, is one of the three ordering principles: Arche – the source of all things, Logos – the underlying order, hidden beneath appearances, Harmonia – numerical ratios in mathematics. Before Numenius of Apamea and Plotinus' Enneads, no Platonic works ontologically clarified the Demiurge from the allegory in Plato's Timaeus; the idea of Demiurge was, addressed before Plotinus in the works of Christian writer Justin Martyr who built his understanding of the Demiurge on the works of Numenius. The Neoplatonist Iamblichus changed the role of the "One" altering the role of the Demiurge as second cause or dyad, one of the reasons that Iamblichus and his teacher Porphyry came into conflict; the figure of the Demiurge emerges in the theoretic of Iamblichus, which conjoins the transcendent, incommunicable “One,” or Source. Here, at the summit of this system, the Source and Demiurge coexist via the process of henosis. Iamblichus describes the One as a monad whose first principle or emanation is intellect, while among "the many" that follow it there is a second, super-existent "One", the
Plato's unwritten doctrines
Plato's so-called unwritten doctrines are metaphysical theories ascribed to him by his students and other ancient philosophers but not formulated in his writings. In recent research, they are sometimes known as Plato's'principle theory' because they involve two fundamental principles from which the rest of the system derives. Plato is thought to have orally expounded these doctrines to Aristotle and the other students in the Academy and they were afterwards transmitted to generations; the credibility of the sources that ascribe these doctrines to Plato is controversial. They indicate that Plato believed certain parts of his teachings were not suitable for open publication. Since these doctrines could not be explained in writing in a way that would be accessible to general readers, their dissemination would lead to misunderstandings. Plato therefore limited himself to teaching the unwritten doctrines to his more advanced students in the Academy; the surviving evidence for the content of the unwritten doctrines is thought to derive from this oral teaching.
In the middle of the twentieth century, historians of philosophy initiated a wide-ranging project aiming at systematically reconstructing the foundations of the unwritten doctrines. The group of researchers who led this investigation, which became well-known among classicists and historians, came to be called the'Tübingen School', because some of its leading members were based at the University of Tübingen in southern Germany. On the other hand, numerous scholars had serious reservations about the project or condemned it altogether. Many critics thought. Others contested the existence of the unwritten doctrines or at least doubted their systematic character and considered them mere tentative proposals; the intense and sometimes polemical disputes between the advocates and critics of the Tübingen School were conducted on both sides with great energy. Advocates suggested; the expression'unwritten doctrines' refers to doctrines of Plato taught inside his school and was first used by his student Aristotle.
In his treatise on physics, he wrote that Plato had used a concept in one dialogue differently than'in the so-called unwritten doctrines.' Modern scholars who defend the authenticity of the unwritten doctrines ascribed to Plato lay stress on this ancient expression. They hold that Aristotle neutrally; the scholarly literature sometimes uses the term'esoteric doctrines.' This has nothing to do with the meanings of'esoteric' common today: it does not indicate a secret doctrine. For scholars,'esoteric' indicates only that the unwritten doctrines were intended for a circle of philosophy students inside Plato's school, they had the necessary preparation and had studied Plato's published doctrines his Theory of Forms, called his'exoteric doctrine'. Modern advocates of the possibility of reconstructing the unwritten doctrines are called in a short and casual way'esotericists' and their skeptical opponents are thus'anti-esotericists.'The Tübingen School is sometimes called the Tübingen School of Plato studies to distinguish it from an earlier'Tübingen School' of theologians based at the same university.
Some refer to the'Tübingen paradigm.' Since Plato's unwritten doctrines were vigorously defended by the Italian scholar Giovanni Reale, who taught in Milan, some refer to the'Tübingen and Milanese School' of Plato interpretation. Reale introduced the term'protology,' i.e.'doctrine of the One,' for the unwritten doctrines, since the highest of the principles ascribed to Plato is known as the'One.' The case for the unwritten doctrines involves two steps. The first step consists in the presentation of the direct and circumstantial evidence for the existence of special philosophical doctrines taught orally by Plato. This, it is claimed, shows that Plato's dialogues, which have all survived, do not contain all of his teaching, but only those doctrines suitable for dissemination by written texts. In the second step, the range of sources for the supposed content of the unwritten doctrines is evaluated and the attempt made to reconstruct a coherent philosophical system; the chief evidence and arguments for the existence of Plato's unwritten doctrines are the following: Passages in Aristotle's Metaphysics and Physics the one in the Physics where Aristotle explicitly refers to the'so-called unwritten doctrines.'
Aristotle was for many years a student of Plato, it is assumed that he was well-acquainted with the teaching activity in the Academy and thus a good informant. The report of Aristoxenus, a student of Aristotle, about Plato's public lecture'On the Good.' According to Aristoxenus, Aristotle told him that the lecture contained mathematical and astronomical illustrations and Plato's theme was the'One,' his highest principle. This together with the title of the lecture implies it dealt with the two principles at the heart of the unwritten doctrines. According to Aristotle's report, the philosophically unprepared audience met the lecture with incomprehension; the criticism of writing in Plato's dialogues. Many dialogues accepted as authentic are skeptical about the written word as a medium for transferring knowledge and express a preference for oral transmission. Plato's Phaedrus explains this position in detail. There the superiority of oral over written teaching for transmitting
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher and his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato has often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality; the so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato appears to have been the founder of Western political philosophy, his most famous contribution bears his name, the doctrine of the Forms known by pure reason to provide a realist solution to the problem of universals.
He is the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids. His own most decisive philosophical influences are thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire oeuvre is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written. Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about education. Plato belonged to an influential family. According to a disputed tradition, reported by doxographer Diogenes Laërtius, Plato's father Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens and the king of Messenia, Melanthus. Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of Draco.
Perictione was sister of Charmides and niece of Critias, both prominent figures of the Thirty Tyrants, known as the Thirty, the brief oligarchic regime, which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. According to some accounts, Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed in his purpose; the exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BC, not long after the start of the Peloponnesian War; the traditional date of Plato's birth during the 87th or 88th Olympiad, 428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius, who says, "When was gone, joined Cratylus the Heracleitean and Hermogenes, who philosophized in the manner of Parmenides. At twenty-eight, Hermodorus says, went to Euclides in Megara." However, as Debra Nails argues, the text does not state that Plato left for Megara after joining Cratylus and Hermogenes.
In his Seventh Letter, Plato notes that his coming of age coincided with the taking of power by the Thirty, remarking, "But a youth under the age of twenty made himself a laughingstock if he attempted to enter the political arena." Thus, Nails dates Plato's birth to 424/423. According to Neanthes, Plato was six years younger than Isocrates, therefore was born the same year the prominent Athenian statesman Pericles died. Jonathan Barnes regards 428 BC as the year of Plato's birth; the grammarian Apollodorus of Athens in his Chronicles argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad. Both the Suda and Sir Thomas Browne claimed he was born during the 88th Olympiad. Another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping: an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Besides Plato himself and Perictione had three other children; the brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the Republic as sons of Ariston, brothers of Plato, though some have argued they were uncles.
In a scenario in the Memorabilia, Xenophon confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato. Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult. Perictione married Pyrilampes, her mother's brother, who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens. Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in Parmenides. In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or referred to them with some precision. In addition to Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Republic, Charmides has a dialogue named after him; these and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Plato's family tree. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the Ch