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29 quotes from Plato, the Father of Western philosophy

Sharika S Nair
2nd Mar 2017
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Plato was an Athenian philosopher who was a student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. With a plethora of interests and ideas from mathematics to political theory, his effect on philosophy and the nature of human beings has spread far and wide over millennia.

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That said, here are 29 quotes on knowledge and learning from the Father of Western philosophy:

  1. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
  2. “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”
  3. “Thinking – the talking of the soul with itself.”
  4. “There is no harm in repeating a good thing.”
  5. “Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man.”
  6. “Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.”
  7. “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.”
  8. “Wealth, and poverty; one is the parent of luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.”
  9. “An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”
  10. Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”
  11. “If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”
  12. “All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one workman.”
  13. “Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
  14. “The measure of a man is what he does with power.”
  15. “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life”.
  16. “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”
  17. “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
  18. “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”
  19. “Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.”
  20. “Ideas are the source of all things.”
  21. “When two friends, like you and me, are in the mood to chat, we have to go about it in a gentler and more dialectical way. By ‘more dialectical’, I mean not only that we give real responses, but that we base our responses solely on what the interlocutor admits that he himself knows.”
  22. “Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous.”
  23. “A library of wisdom, is more precious than all wealth, and all things that are desirable cannot be compared to it. Whoever therefore claims to be zealous of truth, of happiness, of wisdom or knowledge, must become a lover of books.”
  24. “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”
  25. “And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.”
  26. “The untrained mind keeps up a running commentary, labelling everything, judging everything. Best to ignore that commentary. Don’t argue or resist, just ignore. Deprived of attention and interest, this voice gets quieter and quieter and eventually just shuts up.”
  27. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
  28. Writing is the geometry of the soul.”
  29. Necessity is the mother of invention.”
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