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Plato  

Martha C. Nussbaum

(b ?Athens, c. 429 bc; d 347 bc).

Ancient Greek philosopher. He was the son of a distinguished and wealthy Athenian family and grew up in turbulent times; the Peloponnesian War and the bitter struggles between local oligarchic and democratic factions made life unstable and justice difficult. In 399 bc the restored democracy put to death Plato’s beloved teacher Socrates (469–399 bc), reinforcing his dislike of democratic institutions. During the following years Plato travelled widely, beginning his friendship with Dion of Syracuse (409–353 bc). Around 385 bc he returned to Athens, where he remained for most of the rest of his life. He began teaching in a school that was later the first to be called an ‘Academy’, after the grove in which it stood. Plato made two further visits to Syracuse, attempting at Dion’s request, but without success, to make a philosopher of the young ruler Dionysius II (reg 367–343 bc)....