Philosophers do not take Plato (428–347) merely to have been Socrates’ Boswell. Although many of the dialogues take the form of disputes between Socrates and another in which the master demonstrates some truth or principle by the dialectical method, this is generally agreed to be more Platonic philosophy than reportage. We find in Plato (or Socrates-Plato) the distinguishing feature of the philosophical enterprise: the tireless worrying away at a problem by argument and counter argument—in contrast to the Pre-Socratic philosophers who generally presented world views ex cathedra. Plato has had more influence than any other single philosopher, with the bromide being that ‘all philosophy is footnotes to Plato’.
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