Plato is Born

Plato (pronounced /ˈpleɪtoʊ/, Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, "broad"; 428/427 BC[a] – 348/347 BC), was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of natural philosophy, science, and Western philosophy. Plato was originally a student of Socrates, and was as much influenced by his thinking as by what he saw as his teacher's unjust death.

Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-five dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts.

Although there is little question that Plato lectured at the Academy that he founded, the pedagogical function of his dialogues, if any, is not known with certainty. The dialogues since Plato's time have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, and other subjects about which he wrote.

Early dialogues

Socrates figures in all of these, and they are considered the most faithful representations of the historical Socrates; hence they are also called the "Socratic dialogues." Most of them consist of Socrates discussing a subject, often an ethical one (friendship, piety) with a friend or with someone presumed to be an expert on it. Through a series of questions he will show that apparently they do not understand it at all. It is left to the reader to figure out if "he" really understands "it". This makes these dialogues "indirect" teachings.

* Apology
* Charmides
* Crito
* Euthyphro
* Ion
* Laches
* Lesser Hippias
* Lysis
* Menexenus
* Protagoras is often considered one of the last of these "earlier" dialogues.

The following are often considered "transitional" or "pre-middle" dialogues:

* Euthydemus
* Gorgias
* Meno