1. Education



Plato's Allegory of the cave

Plato's Allegory of the cave, Engraving of Jan Saenredam (1565-1607) after a painting of Cornelis Corneliszoon van Haarlem (1562-1638)

Definition: Platonic is an adjective based on the name of Plato (Platon). Plato was a famous Greek philosopher in his own right and, as a student of the philosopher Socrates, was able to reveal his teacher's wisdom in his philosophical dialogues. These dialogues include the Symposium, which is the source of our term Platonic love.

The word Platonic is used to describe ideas Plato wrote about, like love and forms, so you will often see "Platonic love" or "Platonic forms." Platonic on its own may refer to "Platonic love," as a synonym for non-sexual love, or to Plato. Platonic may also be used geometrically, as in Platonic solid/Platonic body, referring to a tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.