Plato at the Googleplex | Rebecca Goldstein

Summary of: Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
By: Rebecca Goldstein


Ever wondered what relevance the ancient Athenian philosopher Plato holds in our 21st-century lives? ‘Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away’ by Rebecca Goldstein explores the relevance of Plato’s philosophical insights in our modern era. Despite some antiquated views, his dialogues raise fundamental questions about who we are and how we should live – issues we continue to grapple with today. Through this book summary, you’ll gain an understanding of how the core themes from Plato’s works can be applied to contemporary life, delving into topics such as love, education, and the essence of our identities.

Plato’s Philosophy for Modern Life

Plato’s ancient philosophical insights, found in his dialogues, raise relevant and fundamental questions about who we are and how we should live even in our times. Despite the apparent irrelevant and barbaric facts surrounding his life, Plato’s writings provide timeless inquiries and lay the foundation for exploring the meaning of life. Studying Plato’s dialogues offers a way to question norms and strive for new experiences that can lead to the best way to live, even in our contemporary times.

Why Plato Could Be the Best Teacher You Never Had

Plato’s Socratic method of questioning helps others arrive at answers on their own by questioning the arguments used. He also questioned those who claimed to have knowledge in a certain subject. People still use this method in law schools today. Plato helps us learn about the world by helping others to develop their own conclusions rather than just providing answers.

Plato’s Transformation of Athenian Values

Plato questioned and transformed Athenian values, challenging their definition of extraordinariness. He believed an extraordinary life was based on continuous dialogue and improvement of reasoning. Plato emphasized truth, beauty, and goodness as important values for becoming a well-rounded person. Today, these values can be seen in various institutions such as mathematics, science, courts, and art. This summary provides an understanding of why Plato’s philosophy remains relevant today.

Google’s Limitations on Knowledge Acquisition

In today’s world, Google is often the first place we go to for answers. However, when it comes to deeper moral or ethical questions, can we rely on Google’s search engine to provide us with accurate and reliable information? The author argues that Plato would be skeptical of this notion, as he believed that expert knowledge was paramount in acquiring accurate information. While Google provides us with vast amounts of information, it may not necessarily be the best or most valuable. The search engine’s results are based on the number of references a website has, rather than the quality of the information provided. Therefore, while googling can be helpful for certain situations, it may not address the personal and specific aspects of complicated issues such as the death penalty or abortion. In essence, Google may have its limitations in providing us with accurate knowledge acquisition.

Education According to Plato

Plato’s philosophy on education advocates for disciplined education that accommodates individual interest and strengths after providing necessary skills.

In his book, The Republic, Plato advocates for strict and disciplined education that highlights mathematics, music, athletics, and philosophy. However, he emphasizes that such a discipline should take individual needs into consideration and, therefore, cannot be universally applied.

Plato’s philosophy of education implies that while certain disciplines are essential, subjects that don’t interest students should not be forced upon them. Instead, developing a good education relies on early identification of the talents and interests of the student. Education must cater to individual strengths while providing everyone with the same educational foundation, necessary for success in the community.

According to Plato, every child is unique, and education cannot be the same for everyone. It is crucial to recognize the diversity in individual faculties and interests, and, after providing everyone necessary skills, education must correspond to individual interests to allow each individual to benefit and succeed.

As a result, Plato’s philosophy suggests that education must be flexible enough to accommodate everyone’s needs and strengths while maintaining a foundation of shared knowledge essential for success in society.

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