Plato’s 80 best phrases and philosophy
The philosopher Plato was, in many ways, one of the most important figures in the development of Western culture.
This selection of Plato’s phrases is interesting precisely because, through short reflections, it gives us a glimpse of his rich philosophical thought that left an incomparable legacy.
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Selected Phrases of Plato
In this collection of the best thoughts and reflections you can find the basic elements of Plato’s philosophy .
1. Where love reigns supreme
A reflection on love as a social cohesive.
2. At night, especially, it is beautiful to believe in the light
One of Plato’s phrases about faith during difficult times.
3. The best wealth is to be content living with little
Plato made a constant plea for humility.
4. Thinking is the dialogue of the soul with itself
From its dualistic perspective, mental life belongs to a different plane of reality than matter.
5. Music is to the soul what gymnastics is to the body
One of the most poetic considerations about music.
6. Knowledge is true opinion
Plato here clarifies the relationship between knowledge, linked to truth, and vulgar opinions.
7. The wise will always want to be with whoever is better than he is
One of the characteristics of wise people is that they surround themselves with people from whom they can learn, according to this philosopher.
8. It is not in men but in things that the truth must be sought
According to Plato’s thought, truth is something independent of opinions, it exists beyond what people believe .
9. Better a little that is well done, than a lot that is imperfect
One of the “better quality than quantity” proposals.
10. The goal of education is virtue and the goal of becoming a good citizen
In Plato’s theories, education has a clear social function.
11. Civilization is the triumph of persuasion over force
A way of understanding the origin of the organization of life proper to civilizations.
12. We are doubly armed if we fight with faith
Faith understood as an empowering element
13. Courage is knowing what not to fear
A knowledge-centered definition of courage.
14. Vulgar souls lack destiny
Destiny can be seen as a path that leads to a goal.
15. There are three kinds of men: lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain
An original classification of types of people.
16. Love is feeling the sacred being beating inside the loved one
This phrase of Plato about love reflects his theory of ideas, related to the concept of Platonic love.
17. Philosophy is the highest form that music can take
Another of Plato’s phrases based on a poetic definition.
18. A good decision is based on knowledge, not numbers
Knowledge goes beyond mathematics.
19. Ignorance is the seed of all evil
For Plato, good and evil were equated with wisdom and ignorance, precisely.
20. He who is not a good servant will not be a good teacher
A reflection on the need to accumulate experiences.
21. States are like men, born from their very features
Anthropomorphizing the States is one of the trends that Plato reflects in his ideas.
23. Man cannot successfully practice several arts
A reflection on the limited capacities and scarce resources available to people.
24. Courage is a kind of salvation
The existence of courage can serve in itself to avoid unwanted situations.
25. If we seek the good of our neighbors we will find our own
A simple moral guideline for doing good.
26. Wisdom becomes evil if it does not point to virtue
What wisdom is used for also counts from an ethical perspective.
27. Larger stones cannot sit well without smaller ones
A metaphor about hierarchies.
28. When it is the crowd that exercises its authority, it is more cruel than the tyrants
One of Plato’s phrases about social behavior in crowds.
29. The beginning is the most important part of the tour
Getting started is itself one of the great milestones on the road ahead.
30. Every tear that is shed reveals to mortals a truth
Sadness and negative feelings are often caused by events that shock us and help us to structure ideas better.
31. Good faith is the foundation of any society
One of Plato’s phrases about the affections that hold society together.
32. True philosophers are those who enjoy contemplating the truth
Philosophy consists of rising to the truth, according to Plato.
33. Honesty often yields less profit than lying
A bitter reflection on the consequences of being honest.
34. Poetry is closer to vital truth than history
Poetry can also be close to knowledge.
35. Every man can harm someone, but not everyone can do good
An apparent paradox pointed out by this philosopher.
36. The virtuous are content to dream what sinners do in life
Plato reflects on the need to lead a life of control over desires.
37. Wit is a minor copy of wisdom
Another definition given by Plato, in this case establishes a clear hierarchy between wisdom and wit .
38. Nothing in the affairs of man deserves much anxiety
On the emotional implications of the banal problems of life on the earthly plane.
39. The best achievement of injustice is to appear fair without being so
A reflection on injustice and the way it is masked.
40. If particulars have a meaning, there must be universals
Plato reflects on universal ideas, which are valid at any time and in any place, and their relationship to particular ideas, which are only true in some contexts.
41. In contact with love, everyone becomes a poet
One of Plato’s phrases about love and its effects on people.
42. Learning to die teaches you how to live better
Plato talks here about the philosophy of renunciation.
43. There must always be something that opposes the good
Good and evil are necessary in order to understand both concepts. If there is no evil, there can be no good either.
44. The intelligent man speaks with authority when he directs his own life
Assertiveness was one of the characteristics that this philosopher defended.
45. Freedom means to be masters of our own life
A platonic reflection on freedom.
46. Wisdom is, in itself, the science of all other sciences
The phrase shows the relationship between wisdom and what in Plato’s time could be considered science.
47. If you look, you will find
One of Plato’s most memorable phrases.
48. What I don’t know, I don’t think I know either
This philosopher attached great importance to the need for well-founded opinions.
49. Time is the image of eternity in motion
An original concept about the nature of time.
50. When a man does not sacrifice himself for his ideas, either they are worthless or the man is worthless
An aphorism about the value of people and their principles.
51. There is only one kind of virtue, and many forms of evil
A comparison that highlights this difference between virtue and evil.
52. Tyranny arises naturally from democracy
Plato believed that political participation through Athenian democracy contained the seeds of future tyrannies.
53. Comfort is cold and tasteless if not wrapped in a solution
Words of comfort mean little by themselves.
54. Excessive accumulation of something causes a reaction in the opposite direction
An abstract idea that can be applied to a wide variety of situations.
55. Life has to be lived as a game
Plato speaks about a certain distance that must be maintained with respect to what happens in the material world, since it has little to do with the world of ideas in which, according to the philosopher, the truth rested .
56. Reason and courage will always prevail over tradition and ingratitude
Plato sees with a certain determinism the struggle between reason and good against evil and superstition.
57. Young people should refrain from tasting wine, as it is a mistake to add fire to the fire
A reflection on the passionate and fractious nature of youth.
58. Man bruised by superstition is the most despicable
Superstition, when opposed to reason, is an element deeply despised by Plato.
59. Music gives soul to the universe
Another of Plato’s phrases about music. In this case he relates it to the functioning of the cosmos.
60. Poverty does not come from a decrease in wealth, but from a multiplication of desires
Another reflection on humility and its opposition to banal desires and needs.
61. It is difficult to distinguish the outlines of the shadow of the lie
The danger of falsehood is that it’s easy to pretend to be what you’re not.
62. Our struggle is to find the right way to do things
Plato was a strong moralist, and believed that there is a way of acting that is inherently superior to others.
63. A strong moral conscience is necessary to know the truth
This philosopher related ethics to epistemology .
64. To get to the truth first you have to expel your fears
You can’t get to the truth if there are hidden interests.
65. Once you have started to know, it is impossible not to fall in love with the idea of seeing things as they are
The truth attracts inquiry.
66. There is little truth in the words of someone who only knows how much he has touched
Plato was fundamentally rationalist, and valued introspection more than empiricism.
67. The strongest men are those who have asked themselves what reality is like
Once again, Plato traces a relationship between morality and knowledge.
68. It is necessary to expel the demons of the lie
Another of Plato’s phrases about the deceptions of the false.
69. We must build a society in which everyone does what they are best at
Plato developed a political ideal based on segregation and elitism .
70. To be wise requires time and effort, but above all honesty
Honesty is necessary to start from true and objective foundations, for Plato.
71. Knowledge must be shared
The truth must be shared, as a moral mandate.
72. Being aware of what is really happening causes pain
Since the truth is independent of us, what it contains often causes discomfort.
73. There is nothing that escapes the perfection of ideas
As an idealist, Plato believed that all of reality is fundamentally composed of universals.
74. The object is an imperfect copy of what is really there
The material, for Plato, is a deception.
75. Let us retrace our steps to get to the foundation of reason
According to this philosopher, you have to start from solid theoretical foundations in order to think well.
76. It is good to think about things with a clean mind
You have to start from honesty and humility to do philosophy.
77. In geometry there is more truth than in any promise
In a similar way to the Pythagoreans, Plato extolled the truth of mathematics , because his statements do not depend on the context.
78. The sage is aware that the key is in the questions
A phrase that recalls the way Socrates approached philosophical dialogue.
79. Thinking without gaps is necessary to build sources of knowledge
A metaphorical way of saying that truth has no imperfections, according to Plato.
80. A whole explanation of the world exists beyond ‘us’
The truth exists even if we don’t discover it.