Famous Bipolar People


Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. He was the founder of the Academy in Athens and a writer of philosophical dialogue. He helped lay the foundation for science, western philosophy and natural philosophy. He was a very sophisticated writer, proved in his Socratic dialogues. Many styles have been adopted in publishing his texts, this led to the conventions for the referencing and naming of Plato’s texts. His dialogues have been used to teach mathematics, rhetoric, logic and philosophy.

Plato is said to have been intelligent and was praised by Speusippus as “having quickness of mind and a modest boy”. Speusippus also wrote that Plato was hardworking and loved to study. Plato is believed to have been taught music, gymnastics and grammar by the best teachers of the time. Dicaearchus added that Plato wrestled at the Isthmian games and also attended philosophy courses.


Plato traveled extensively to Sicily, Egypt, Cyrene and Italy and is said to have returned to Athens at age 40. Plato built the first known organized academic institution on a vast piece of land belonging to Academus, a citizen of Athens. The school called Academy, operated for a while before its closure. It was however not known if Plato administrated it or not. Plato was always involved in the politics of Syracuse. He was said to have visited Syracuse when Dionysus was ruler. During his visit, Dion of Syracuse became his disciple but later sold him to slavery, but an admirer set him free.

Plato was believed to have suffered from bipolar disorder, which may not have been known at the time. Plato was said to be a reserved person, speaking very little. He was also aggressive while learning wrestling. He was also reportedly depressed when one of his disciples sold him to slavery and when he was imprisoned. He felt betrayed and outraged. Plato spoke passionately about father-son relationships, which he seemed to have lacked during his childhood.


Plato’s philosophies may have influenced philosophies of today. He question on whether the interest of a father in his son impacts on what the son becomes is the most well known. Plato is also of the view that the material world we see is not real, but an image of the real world. He came up with the forms, which he said are the abstract representations of the types of properties we see. Platonism as a word came up after Plato, referring to denying the real world. Plato, though he believed that there is another world devoid of material things, acknowledged the reality of the material world. People like Socrates who denied the reality of the material world are said to be platonic.


Plato had some doctrine that has not been written and has been considered not deserving attention. Most books on Plato do not include them as his works. Aristotle however mentions their existence in his Physics book. Plato himself has criticized the writing process, saying it is faulty and favors the logos.


One problem current philosophers have with Plato is that, his earlier philosophy on a particular issue changes as time goes on, sometimes contradicting the earlier one.