Plato Quotes

Who the Heck 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 since he did not say or write it.

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

Books by Plato


Best 140 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

“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

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”

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

“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

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

Plato

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

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

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

Plato

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

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

“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

“Man is a being in search of meaning.”

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 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

“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

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

Plato

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

Plato

“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

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

Plato

“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 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

“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

“Writing is the geometry of the soul.”

Plato

Products by Plato

“You should not honor men more than truth.”

Plato

“Your silence gives consent.”

Plato

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

Plato

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

Plato

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

Plato

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

Plato

“No human thing is of serious importance.”

Plato

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

Plato

“The wisest have the most authority.”

Plato

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

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

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

Plato

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

Plato

Apology Quotes

“A man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time.”

Plato
Apology

“For to fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise without really being wise, for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For no one knows whether death may not be the greatest good that can happen to man.”

Plato
Apology

“I thought to myself: I am wiser than this man; neither of us probably knows anything that is really good, but he thinks he has knowledge, when he has not, while I, having no knowledge, do not think I have.”

Plato
Apology

“My plainness of speech makes them hate me, and what is their hatred but a proof that I am speaking the truth.”

Plato
Apology

“No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew it was the greatest of evils.”

Plato
Apology

“The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death.”

Plato
Apology

“The true champion of justice, if he intends to survive even for a short time, must necessarily confine himself to private life and leave politics alone.”

Plato
Apology

“Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men, both individually and collectively.”

Plato
Apology

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Misattributed to Plato Quotes

“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

Phaedrus Quotes

“Love is a serious mental disease.”

Plato
Phaedrus

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

Plato
Phaedrus

The Allegory of the Cave Quotes

“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

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

Plato
The Allegory of the Cave

“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

“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

“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

The Republic Quotes

“Appearance tyrannizes over truth.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

“Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes.”

Plato
The Republic

“Do you mean that the tyrant will dare to use violence against the people who fathered him, and raise his hand against them if they oppose him? So the tyrant is a parricide, and little comfort to his old parent.”

Plato
The Republic

“Each individual can only do one thing well. He can't do lots of things. If he tries, he will be jack of all trades, and master of none.”

Plato
The Republic

“Educators should devise the simplest and most effective methods of turning minds around. It shouldn't be the art of implanting sight in the organ, but should proceed on the understanding that the organ already has the capacity, but is improperly aligned and isn't facing the right way.”

Plato
The Republic

“Either we shall find what it is we are seeking or at least we shall free ourselves from the persuasion that we know what we do not know.”

Plato
The Republic

“Every dictator comes up with the notorious and typical demand: he asks the people for bodyguards to protect him, the people's champion.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

“Haven't you noticed that opinion without knowledge is always a poor thing? At the best it is blind – isn't anyone who holds a true opinion without understanding like a blind man on the right road?”

Plato
The Republic

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age. But to him who is of an opposite disposition, youth and age are equally a burden.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

Products by Plato

“I say that justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

“In practice people who study philosophy too long become very odd birds, not to say thoroughly vicious; while even those who are the best of them are reduced by philosophy to complete uselessness as members of society.”

Plato
The Republic

“It is only just that anything that grows up on its own should feel it has nothing to repay for an upbringing which it owes no one.”

Plato
The Republic

“Money-makers are tiresome company, as they have no standard but cash value.”

Plato
The Republic

“Musical innovation is full of danger to the State, for when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.”

Plato
The Republic

“Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”

Plato
The Republic

“No man should be angry at what is true. But those who love the truth in each thing are to be called lovers of wisdom and not lovers of opinion.”

Plato
The Republic

“Nothing beautiful without struggle.”

Plato
The Republic

“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”

Plato
The Republic

“Physical excellence does not of itself produce a good mind and character: on the other hand, excellence of mind and character will make the best of the physique it is given.”

Plato
The Republic

“That's what education should be, the art of orientation.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

“The comprehensive mind is always dialectical.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

“The society we have described can never grow into a reality or see the light of day, and there will be no end to the troubles of states, or indeed, my dear Glaucon, of humanity itself, till philosophers become rulers in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.”

Plato
The Republic

“The soul takes nothing with her to the next world but her education and her culture. At the beginning of the journey to the next world, one's education and culture can either provide the greatest assistance, or else act as the greatest burden, to the person who has just died.”

Plato
The Republic

“The worst type of man behaves as badly in his waking life as some men do in their dreams.”

Plato
The Republic

“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

“Those who don't know must learn from those who do.”

Plato
The Republic

Products by Plato

“Those who govern ought not to be lovers of the task? For, if they are, there will be rival lovers, and they will fight.”

Plato
The Republic

“Those who reproach injustice do so because they are afraid not of doing it but of suffering it.”

Plato
The Republic

“We've heard many people say and have often said ourselves that justice is doing one's own work and not meddling with what isn't one's own. Then, it turns out that this doing one's own work – provided that it comes to be in a certain way – is justice.”

Plato
The Republic

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

Plato
The Republic

The Symposium Quotes

“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
The Symposium

“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
The Symposium

“For harmony is a symphony, and symphony is an agreement; but an agreement of disagreements while they disagree there cannot be; you cannot harmonize that which disagrees.”

Plato
The Symposium

“He whom loves touches not walks in darkness.”

Plato
The Symposium

“It is no good for rulers if the people they rule cherish ambitions for themselves or form strong bonds of friendship with one another.”

Plato
The Symposium

“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
The Symposium

“Love is of something, and that which love desires is not that which love is or has; for no man desires that which he is or has. And love is of the beautiful, and therefore has not the beautiful. And the beautiful is the good, and therefore, in wanting and desiring the beautiful, love also wants and desires the good.”

Plato
The Symposium

“Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.”

Plato
The Symposium

“The creative soul creates not children, but conceptions of wisdom and virtue.”

Plato
The Symposium

“The vulgar love of the body which takes wing and flies away when the bloom of youth is over, is disgraceful, and so is the interested love of power or wealth; but the love of the noble mind is lasting.”

Plato
The Symposium