It is so amazing that we have his complete works given that only about 4% of the Greek corpus. If there had not been Plato there would not have been Aristotle his student whose work is shaped by his reaction to Plato. And without both of them it would have taken a long time for something else to happen that was momentous Philosophy. Because we lot the works of Archimedes that have only recently been found on a palimpsest parchment mathematics was set back a thousand years. This work shows that the Greeks did know about the concept infinity that was doubted until its recent discovery. The same thing would probably have happened to philosophy if Plato had not written his dialogues and not had a school where Aristotle learned and the also taught until he had his own school. We have Aristotle’s lecture notes no his published works. But we have almost all Plato’s published works.
Now what is not normally talked about is that Plato was actually the link to the Egyptian tradition, and is basically teaching what the Egyptians taught in their schools. Plato basically says this, but that is ignored by most scholars. (cf. Black Athena for the cutting off of the Greek tradition from the rest of the middle eastern culture by Western scholars). What I discovered and wrote about in Fragmentation of Being and the Path Beyond the Void is that Plato has coded into his works the understanding of what I call the Special Systems which he clearly inherited from Egyptian sources. Case in point is the speeches in the Symposium representing the Meta-system, Three Special Systems and the System. But also where I first saw it was in the imaginary cities he invented, Republic/Ancient Athens, Magnesia, and Atlantis. They had a strange structure, and I started looking for that structure in mathematics, and found it there, and also in physics. And that set me off looking for precursors, and I found quite a few of them in various cultures. What I discovered was that when ever Plato is being obscure there is probably a reference to the Special Systems involved.
How do we know that what Plato was saying about the Special Systems came from Egypt? We know that because they coded that knowledge in to the structure of their gods and their relations to each other.
Anyway knowledge of the Special Systems became lost in our tradition, except for its survival in certain strands of Alchemy. It is the basis of many traditional sciences like Acupuncture in China.
Why is Plato the philosopher that changed the World the most. He is the philosopher that got us all thinking, and steered philosophy toward humanist values rather than natural philosophy. He is the one who made Geometry the basis of our educational system because his school produced Euclid’s Elements. He is the one that brought the dynamic between Parmenides view and Heraclitus views to the fore as the two fundamental ways to look at existence, i.e. via the lens of persistence or change. We are still discovering nuances in his works, which have been explained by myriad commentaries.
Whitehead said that the whole history of philosophy was just a footnote to Plato, and that is true, he mapped out the philosophical landscape for the rest of us to fill in the details.
But he is also great because he preserved the knowledge of the Special Systems which was Wisdom from Egypt but unfortunately we lost the key to reading his works such that we can see them. It is only when we look at them with the models of the Special Systems Theory from math and physics in mind that it becomes clear how precise his descriptions of Special Systems theory are. But he intentionally obscured it in his works because this was considered sacred knowledge that should not be revealed to the uninitiated.
You can read more about this theory and the process of uncovering it in Reflexive Autopoietic Dissipative Special Systems Theory on my academic page.