Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer

Methods of personal self-development

Every person has his or her own truth. Often views are radically different. Often this presents one with the dilemma of truth or friendship. This serious moral choice has occupied the minds of thinkers since ancient times. Many find the answer in the phrase Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer, sounding in Latin as Amicus Plato, sed magis amica Veritas. It has become a peculiar ideology of decision-making in disputes.

Where did the phrase come from?

The statement is traditionally attributed to Socrates. It is impossible to prove or disprove it. The ancient Greek thinker did not write works. All discussions with his disciples were exclusively oral. This gave rise to the term Socratic conversation.

In the records made by the followers of the thinker, this expression does not exist. This has led to discussions regarding authorship. Some hold the opinion that these words may have been said about himself by Plato. Sentenced to death for rebellious religious and political judgments, he took a lethal dose of poison and spoke to his followers about the truth, but speaking about himself in the third person.

It is impossible to prove or disprove such speculations with certainty. The idea of the primacy of truth over friendship can be traced in many works. Martin Luther used a somewhat modified expression in his writings, but the novel Don Quixote brought him real popularity. In the book, by the way, it is attributed to Aristotle.

What is the meaning of “Plato is my friend, but truth is dearer”?

The phraseology carries the message: choose truth over friends. It has become a real ideology in situations where there is a moral choice. To decide which side to take, it is necessary to weigh the pros and cons, to analyze, and to dispense with subjectivism and sympathy for the opponent.

Truth is the one and supreme value. Authority and personal relationships should not influence judgment. It is these that most often prevail and are prioritized in many decisions. Many prioritize friendship over truth. This is the ideology of a blameless world.

How do you choose the truth and not offend the people closest to you?

The meaning of the phrase “Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer” is clear and close to many, but most people mistakenly believe that following such a principle, deprives valuable relationships. Choosing the truth does not always mean losing friends. Family members must also understand how emotionally and psychologically uncomfortable it is to compromise one’s principles.

A Socratic statement (the authorship, of course, has not been established conclusively, but the scale tips the scales in the direction of Plato’s teacher) provides a direct clue about how not to sacrifice one’s own convictions and maintain good relationships with loved ones. The phrase explicitly says “friend,” since a disagreement of views does not make an opponent a stranger or an enemy.


The main thing is to remember three simple principles:

  1. Don’t be harsh. Always keep a friendly tone even in an argument. Viewpoints of truth may differ, but this has no effect on interaction and communication in everyday life.
  2. Choose truth not on the basis of “I think so,” but on objective and accepted norms. The facts and circumstances cited must be true and verified.
  3. Never put your own opinion above that of your opponent. Everyone has his own point of view and truth.

Of course, it’s easier said than done. In practice, things do not turn out so smoothly, so you should take it as a rule:

  • Evaluate only your opponent’s words and actions regarding the topic of the dispute, not his or her personal qualities. Your views and judgments are not to someone’s liking, so not agreeing on something is not a reason to break off the relationship.
  • Speak directly, not in roundabout ways, choosing words that won’t hurt anyone. The latter offends many people. You shouldn’t get too personal and rude either. Being direct is not synonymous with being insulting.
  • Keep a cool head. Abstract away from the emotional context and look at the dispute as an argument, not a potential reason to break up the relationship, and respect the personality and opinion of your opponent by avoiding rude language and remarks.
  • Analyze the situation with a clear understanding of whether the party’s choice is based on fact or emotion. This will allow consensus to be reached when you choose the truth in a way that doesn’t offend your friend or compromise your principles.
  • Do not insist on being right. The phraseology implies that the ideology is initially guided by the person who knows the truth, but this is no reason to impose it on another. He may simply not see some obvious things, which he realizes later. Even if he never agrees with something like that, that is no reason to quarrel. Everyone can stay with his opinion.

You should only stop communicating with people whose moral and ethical principles completely contradict yours and society’s. For example, a person believes that it is possible to kill for a large sum of money, and so on.

In lieu of a conclusion

“Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer” is an expression not only for arguments, but also for many other situations in life. It calls for abandoning personal attachments and emotions, and for making all decisions in a balanced way, taking into account moral and ethical principles.

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Self Made Man
Have you heard the phrase “Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer”?