Plato Quotes 1–30 of 144 Quotes

Plato (Πλάτων Plátōn; c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC) was an immensely influential classical Greek philosopher, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens.

Below are 30 of 144 sourced Plato quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“Let every man remind their descendants that they also are soldiers who must not desert the ranks of their ancestors, or from cowardice fall behind.  Even as I exhort you this day, and in all future time, whenever I meet with any of you, shall continue to remind and exhort you, O ye sons of heroes, that you strive to be the bravest of men.  And I think that I ought now to repeat what your fathers desired to have said to you who are their survivors, when they went out to battle, in case anything happened to them.  I will tell you what I heard them say, and what, if they had only speech, they would fain be saying, judging from what they then said.  And you must imagine that you hear them saying what I now repeat to you:Sons, the event proves that your fathers were brave men; for we might have lived dishonourably, but have preferred to die honourably rather than bring you and your children into disgrace, and rather than dishonour our own fathers and forefathers; considering that life is not life to one who is a dishonour to his race, and that to such a one neither men nor Gods are friendly, either while he is on the earth or after death in the world below.Remember our words, then, and whatever is your aim let virtue be the condition of the attainment of your aim, and know that without this all possessions and pursuits are dishonourable and evil.For neither does wealth bring honour to the owner, if he be a coward; of such a one the wealth belongs to another, and not to himself.  Nor does beauty and strength of body, when dwelling in a base and cowardly man, appear comely, but the reverse of comely, making the possessor more conspicuous, and manifesting forth his cowardice.And all knowledge, when separated from justice and virtue, is seen to be cunning and not wisdom; wherefore make this your first and last and constant and all-absorbing aim, to exceed, if possible, not only us but all your ancestors in virtue; and know that to excel you in virtue only brings us shame, but that to be excelled by you is a source of happiness to us.And we shall most likely be defeated, and you will most likely be victors in the contest, if you learn so to order your lives as not to abuse or waste the reputation of your ancestors, knowing that to a man who has any self-respect, nothing is more dishonourable than to be honoured, not for his own sake, but on account of the reputation of his ancestors.The honour of parents is a fair and noble treasure to their posterity, but to have the use of a treasure of wealth and honour, and to leave none to your successors, because you have neither money nor reputation of your own, is alike base and dishonourable.And if you follow our precepts you will be received by us as friends, when the hour of destiny brings you hither; but if you neglect our words and are disgraced in your lives, no one will welcome or receive you.  This is the message which is to be delivered to our children.”

— Plato

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Quote source: A speech of Aspasia, recounted by Socrates, as portrayed in the dialogue.

“Rhetoric, it seems, is a producer of persuasion for belief, not for instruction in the matter of right and wrong … And so the rhetorician's business is not to instruct a law court or a public meeting in matters of right and wrong, but only to make them believe.”

— Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes:
Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, Gorgias)

“Then the case is the same in all the other arts for the orator and his rhetoric; there is no need to know the truth of the actual matters, but one merely needs to have discovered some device of persuasion which will make one appear to those who do not know to know better than those who know.”

— Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes:
Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, Gorgias)

“The orators — and the despots — have the least power in their cities … since they do nothing that they wish to do, practically speaking, though they do whatever they think to be best.”

— Plato

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Source: • Source: Wikiquote: "Plato" (Quotes:
Quotations from Plato are often cited by Stephanus numbers, which are keyed to the original Greek and therefore independent of the translation used.
, Gorgias)

“It would be better for me … that multitudes of men should disagree with me rather than that I, being one, should be out of harmony with myself.”

— Plato

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Quote source: Words spoken by Socrates, 482c

“Knowledge is the food of the soul; and we must take care, my friend, that the Sophist does not deceive us when he praises what he sells, like the dealers wholesale or retail who sell the food of the body; for they praise indiscriminately all their goods, without knowing what are really beneficial or hurtful.”

— Plato

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Quote source: 313c, Benjamin Jowett, trans.

“Μίμησιν μὲν γὰρ δὴ καὶ ἀπεικασίαν τὰ παρὰ πάντων ἡμῶν ῥηθέντα χρεών που γενέσθαι.”

— Plato

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Quote source:  • 107b

“Περὶ θεῶν γάρ, ὦ Τίμαιε, λέγοντά τι πρὸς ἀνθρώπους δοκεῖν ἱκανῶς λέγειν ῥᾷον ἢ περὶ θνητῶν πρὸς ἡμᾶς. Ἡ γὰρ ἀπειρία καὶ σφόδρα ἄγνοια τῶν ἀκουόντων περὶ ὧν ἂν οὕτως ἔχωσιν πολλὴν εὐπορίαν παρέχεσθον τῷ μέλλοντι λέγειν τι περὶ αὐτῶν: περὶ δὲ δὴ θεῶν ἴσμεν ὡς ἔχομεν.”

— Plato

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Quote source:  • 107b

“ἐπ᾽ εὐτυχίᾳ τῇ μεγίστῃ παρὰ θεῶν ἡ τοιαύτη μανία [sc. ὁ ἔρως] δίδοται”

— Plato

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Quote source:  • 245b–c

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“Neither human wisdom nor divine inspiration can confer upon man any greater blessing than this [live a life of happiness and harmony here on earth].”

— Plato

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Quote source: 256b

“Socrates:  The disgrace begins when a man writes not well, but badly. Phaedrus:  Clearly. Socrates:  And what is well and what is badly—need we ask Lysias, or any other poet or orator, who ever wrote or will write either a political or any other work, in metre or out of metre, poet or prose writer, to teach us this?”

— Plato

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More on this quote: 258d (tr. Benjamin Jowett)
• paraphrased in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig:  "And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good—need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

“τοῖς μὲν οὖν τότε, ἅτε οὐκ οὖσι σοφοῖς ὥσπερ ὑμεῖς οἱ νέοι, ἀπέχρη δρυὸς καὶ πέτρας ἀκούειν ὑπ᾽ εὐηθείας, εἰ μόνον ἀληθῆ λέγοιεν: σοὶ δ᾽ ἴσως διαφέρει τίς ὁ λέγων καὶ ποδαπός.”

— Plato

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Quote source:   • 275c, as translated by Joe Sachs in introduction to Aristotle's Physics: A Guided Study (2011), p. 1

“Oh dear Pan and all the other Gods of this place, grant that I may be beautiful inside.  Let all my external possessions be in friendly harmony with what is within.  May I consider the wise man rich.  As for gold, let me have as much as a moderate man could bear and carry with him.”

— Plato

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Quote source: 279 – a prayer of Socrates, as portrayed in the dialogue.

“Friends have all things in common.”

— Plato

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Quote source: 279

“εὖ ἂν ἔχοι ... εἰ τοιοῦτον εἴη ἡ σοφία ὥστ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ πληρεστέρου εἰς τὸ κενώτερον ῥεῖν ἡμῶν...”

— Plato

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Quote source:  • 175d

“Neither family, nor privilege, nor wealth, nor anything but Love can light that beacon which a man must steer by when he sets out to live the better life.”

— Plato

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Quote source: 178c, M. Joyce, trans, Collected Dialogues of Plato (1961), p. 533

“The vicious lover is the follower of earthly Love who desires the body rather than the soul; his heart is set on what is mutable and must therefore be inconstant. And as soon as the body he loves begins to pass the first flower of its beauty, he "spreads his wings and flies away," giving the lie to all his pretty speeches and dishonoring his vows, whereas the lover whose heart is touched by moral beauties is constant all his life, for he has become one with what will never fade.”

— Plato

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Quote source: 183e, M. Joyce, trans, Collected Dialogues of Plato (1961), p. 537

“For once touched by love, everyone becomes a poet”

— Plato

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Quote source: 196

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“Beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.”

— Plato

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#21

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#21

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#21

Quote source: 212

“There is no one who ever acts honestly in the administration of states, nor any helper who will save any one who maintains the cause of the just.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#22

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#22

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#22

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#22

Quote source: 496d

“Since those who rule in the city do so because they own a lot, I suppose they're unwilling to enact laws to prevent young people who've had no discipline from spending and wasting their wealth, so that by making loans to them, secured by the young people's property, and then calling those loans in, they themselves become even richer and more honored.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#23

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#23

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#23

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#23

Quote source: 555c, G. Grube and C. Reeve, trans., Plato: Complete Works (1997), p. 1166

“The inexperienced in wisdom and virtue, ever occupied with feasting and such, are carried downward, and there, as is fitting, they wander their whole life long, neither ever looking upward to the truth above them nor rising toward it, nor tasting pure and lasting pleasures. Like cattle, always looking downward with their heads bent toward the ground and the banquet tables, they feed, fatten, and fornicate. In order to increase their possessions they kick and butt with horns and hoofs of steel and kill each other, insatiable as they are.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#24

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#24

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#24

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#24

Quote source: 586a–b

“μόγις δὲ τριβόμενα πρὸς ἄλληλα αὐτῶν ἕκαστα, ὀνόματα καὶ λόγοι ὄψεις τε καὶ αἰσθήσεις, ἐν εὐμενέσιν ἐλέγχοις ἐλεγχόμενα καὶ ἄνευ φθόνων ἐρωτήσεσιν καὶ ἀποκρίσεσιν χρωμένων, ἐξέλαμψε φρόνησις περὶ ἕκαστον καὶ νοῦς, συντείνων ὅτι μάλιστ᾽ εἰς δύναμιν ἀνθρωπίνην.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#25

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#25

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#25

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#25

Quote source:  • Online

“It is impossible to conceive of many without one.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#26

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#26

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#26

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#26

Quote source: 166b

“Just as things in a picture, when viewed from a distance, appear to be all in one and the same condition and alike.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#27

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#27

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#27

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#27

Quote source: 165c

“But if with your mind's eye you regard the absolute great and these many great things in the same way, will not another great appear beyond, by which all these must appear to be great?”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#28

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#28

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#28

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#28

Quote source: 132a

“Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This vast power, gathered into one, endeavored to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits, and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind.”

— Plato

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#29

Use APA (American Psychological Association) for education, psychology, and the sciences.

Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#29

Use Chicago style for business, fine arts, and history.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#29

Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html#29

Quote source: Section 25b–c

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Plato (2021, August 5) Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes. Retrieved from https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html

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Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” QuotesCosmos.com, edited by QuotesCosmos, 5 August 2021, https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html

MLA Citation: Use MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the humanities, especially language and literature.

Plato. “Plato Quotes: 1–30 of 144 Quotes.” Last modified August 5, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/Plato-quotes.html

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