Plato: His 3 Greatest Contributions To Education

Born428 BC
Died347 BC
Famous Quote“Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance”
Known ForFounding the first university, creating the modern education system
Region of WorldAthens/Greece, 3rd century BC

Of all the world’s greatest educated minds few are as well known as Plato. Living in 3rd century BC Plato is one of the most cited minds of all time. However it is his impact upon education for which he is most remembered today.

Over the course of his life Plato would have 3 major contributions to education. First, Plato in his book Republic Plato outlines how society should prioritize education. Second, Plato built the world’s first modern university. Third, Plato established the theory of epistemology which all modern education is based around.

Because of Plato the world’s education system would forever be changed. Today many of the worlds most highly educated see Plato as the father of knowledge.

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Without further ado, here are Plato’s 3 greatest contributions to education.

Plato’s Republic Established The Importance Of Education Within Society

One of the greatest contributions of Plato to the world’s education system was his book Republic.

Republic is a book where Plato’s teacher Socrates talks with different types of people in 4th century Athens. Using dialogue between Socrates and various people Plato demonstrates how a proper society should be created.

Plato highlights various types of political and societal theories but his greatest and most impactful is his concept of education. Plato positions education as the most important thing that a state should have.

Within the Republic Plato demonstrates how only the most educated of society are equipped to guide the state as a whole.

This profoundly impacted the development of society in the west. For almost 1,600 years the concept of education has impacted the development of nations and political groups.

It is because of Plato that modern leaders are encouraged to obtain higher levels of education. This concept of merit by education was established with Plato.

Today billions of people worldwide strive everyday to make themselves more educated by reading and attending school. Becoming educated is seen as one of the greatest things a person can accomplish.

Simply put, the place of education within society was established because of Plato.

Plato Built The World’s First University

Another one of Plato’s greatest contributions to education was his establishment of the world’s first university.

In order to guide the state Plato would build the world’s first institute of higher education just north of Athens. Plato called the world’s first university The Academy.

Plato’s Academy was named after the Greek hero Academus who saved the city of Athens by tricking the Spartan’s into pursuing Helen of Troy instead of sacking the city.

Because of this trickery Academus was seen as one of the greatest minds in Athens who saved the city through education alone. A perfect role model for Plato’s institute of higher education.

To Plato the world’s first university of higher education was going to create some of the greatest minds who would save Athens in the future. Some of the greatest academics who ever lived came out of this academy. One such example is Aristotle.

The world’s first university would go on to create a tradition of higher education. All over the world universities, colleges, and places of higher education all stem from this one 3rd century BC school.

Plato Established The Concept of Epistemology Which All Modern Education Is Based Around

One of the greatest contributions of Plato to the modern education system was his concept of epistemology.

Epistemology is the study of how knowledge transfers across cultures, time, and through education systems. For example, Plato teachings in the 3rd century BC can be read today. That concept of the flow of knowledge is epistemology.

Before Plato there was no serious discussion on how knowledge would flow from one generation to the next. This inherently prevented large scale education systems from being created.

Plato’s greatest contribution to the modern education system was the study of how to efficiently generate and distribute knowledge across a society. From this we get the concept of Platonic epistemology.

Plato’s version of epistemology is that nature holds all knowledge and that man must strive to understand it. Those opinions are merely shifting world views of this knowledge. Plato’s version of knowledge is absolute truth.

From this Platonic epistemology we get the greatest thing about our modern education system, the concept of dialogue between educated minds.

All modern academic conferences strive to give great academics the ability to discuss their findings with each other. This epistemological exchange remains one of the greatest contributions of Plato to our modern education system.

Simply put, without Plato’s theories of how to efficiently distribute knowledge it’s doubtful that society would look the same it does today. Educational systems such as schools and universities would simply not exist in their current form.


Those are Plato’s 3 greatest contributions to our modern day education system.

Plato would spend his entire life teaching people across the Mediterranean. Significant modern scholarship has looked at how much Plato has impacted our modern education systems. Any prospective graduate students interested in Plato will find a lot of material on him.

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Until next time,


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