Plato Quotes

Who is Plato?

Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens. He was a student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle.

Plato is best known for his allegory of the cave and for quoting Socrates since the latter didn't leave us any books or letters. Another well known contribution by Plato is the theory of Forms.

The quote "Opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self." has been wrongly attributed to Plato but he did not say or write it.

It was actually Bill Bullard who said this in his own words, based on a quote by George Eliot.

Books by Plato

Best Quotes by Plato

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.”

Plato

“A house that has a library in it has a soul.”

Plato

“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.”

Plato

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”

Plato

“All I really know is the extent of my own ignorance.”

Plato

“All men are by nature equal, made all of the same earth by one workman.”

Plato

“An empty vessel makes the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest babblers.”

Plato

“And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.”

Plato

“Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind’s eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye.”

Plato
The Allegory of the Cave

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Plato

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

Plato

“Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.”

Plato

“Books are immortal sons defying their sires.”

Plato

“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

Plato

“Character is simply habit long continued.”

Plato

“Courage is knowing what not to fear.”

Plato

“Death is not the worst that can happen to men.”

Plato

“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.”

Plato

“Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.”

Plato

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.”

Plato

“Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act rightly because we are excellent, in fact we achieve excellence by acting rightly.”

Plato

“Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only to pass into excess of slavery.”

Plato

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”

Plato

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”

Plato

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”

Plato

“Have you ever sensed that our soul is immortal and never dies?”

Plato

“He was a wise man who invented God.”

Plato

“How can you prove whether at this moment we are sleeping, and all our thoughts are a dream; or whether we are awake, and talking to one another in the waking state?”

Plato

“How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?”

Plato
The Allegory of the Cave

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”

Plato

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”

Plato

“Ideas are the source of all things.”

Plato

“If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.”

Plato

“If I am right, certain professors of education must be wrong when they say that they can put a knowledge into the soul which was not there before, like sight into blind eyes.”

Plato

“If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.”

Plato

“If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.”

Plato

“Ignorance is the root and stem of all evil.”

Plato

“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill, we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.”

Plato

“It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not. And this they must do, even with the prospect of death.”

Plato
The Allegory of the Cave

“Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous.”

Plato

“Knowledge is the food of the soul.”

Plato

“Knowledge without justice ought to be called cunning rather than wisdom.”

Plato

“Love is a serious mental disease.”

Plato
Phaedrus

“Love is born into every human being; it calls back the halves of our original nature together; it tries to make one out of two and heal the wound of human nature.”

Plato

“Man is a being in search of meaning.”

Plato

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Plato

“Neither the uneducated and uninformed of the truth, nor yet those who never make an end of their education, will be able ministers of State; not the former, because they have no single aim of duty which is the rule of all their actions, private as well as public; nor the latter, because they will not act at all except upon compulsion, fancying that they are already dwelling apart in the islands of the blest.”

Plato

“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.”

Plato

“No human thing is of serious importance.”

Plato

“No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.”

Plato

“No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”

Plato

“No wealth can ever make a bad man at peace with himself.”

Plato

“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

Plato

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

Plato

“Opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self. ”

Plato
Misattributed to Plato

“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”

Plato

“People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.”

Plato

“Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.”

Plato

“Poverty doesn’t come because of the decrease of wealth but because of the increase of desires.”

Plato

“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.”

Plato

“That man is wisest who, like Socrates, realizes that his wisdom is worthless.”

Plato

“The beginning is the most important part of any work.”

Plato

“The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.”

Plato

“The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.”

Plato

“The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”

Plato

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.”

Plato

“The madness of love is the greatest of heaven’s blessings.”

Plato

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.”

Plato

“The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.”

Plato
The Republic

“The one who learns and learns and doesn’t practice is like the one who plows and plows and never plants.”

Plato

“The power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already.”

Plato

“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

Plato

“The right question is usually more important than the right answer.”

Plato

“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.”

Plato

“The wisest have the most authority.”

Plato

“There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain.”

Plato

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

Plato

“There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.”

Plato
The Republic

“There is no harm in repeating a good thing.”

Plato

“There is truth in wine and children.”

Plato

“Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.”

Plato

“Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture will never be understood, let alone believed, by the masses.”

Plato
The Allegory of the Cave

“Those who tell the stories rule society.”

Plato

“To love rightly is to love what is orderly and beautiful in an educated and disciplined way.”

Plato

“True friendship can exist only between equals.”

Plato

“Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man.”

Plato

“We are twice armed if we fight with faith.”

Plato

“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.”

Plato

“Wealth, and poverty; one is the parent of luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.”

Plato

“When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.”

Plato

“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.”

Plato

“When you feel grateful, you become great, and eventually attract great things.”

Plato

“Whereas the truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst.”

Plato
The Allegory of the Cave

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

Plato

“Writing is the geometry of the soul.”

Plato

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Plato

“You should not honor men more than truth.”

Plato

“Your silence gives consent.”

Plato