Plato (428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BCE) was a philosopher, as well as mathematician, in Classical Greece. He is considered an essential figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition, and he founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with Socrates and his most famous student, Aristotle, Plato laid the foundations of Western philosophy and science. Plato's dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion and mathematics. His lasting themes include Platonic love, the theory of forms, the five regimes, innate knowledge, among others. His theory of forms launched a unique perspective on abstract objects, and led to a school of thought called Platonism.
Plato and Pythagoras
Although Socrates influenced Plato directly as related in the dialogues, the influence of Pythagoras upon Plato also appears to have significant discussion in the philosophical literature. Pythagoras, or in a broader sense, the Pythagoreans, allegedly exercised an important influence on the work of Plato. According to R. M. Hare, this influence consists of three points: (1) The platonic Republic might be related to the idea of "a tightly organized community of like-minded thinkers", like the one established by Pythagoras in Croton. (2) There is evidence that Plato possibly took from Pythagoras the idea that mathematics and, generally speaking, abstract thinking is a secure basis for philosophical thinking as well as "for substantial theses in science and morals". (3) Plato and Pythagoras shared a "mystical approach to the soul and its place in the material world". It is probable that both were influenced by Orphism. Aristotle claimed that the philosophy of Plato closely followed the teachings of the Pythagoreans.