digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Platonism (with a capital "P") is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. With a lower case "p", "platonism" refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, and is the opposite of nominalism (with a lower case "n").[1] Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato.[1]

In a narrower sense, the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism. The central concept of Platonism, a distinction essential to the Theory of Forms, is the distinction between the reality which is perceptible but unintelligible, and the reality which is imperceptible but intelligible. The forms are typically described in dialogues such as the Phaedo, Symposium and Republic as transcendent, perfect archetypes, of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. In the Republic the highest form is identified as the Form of the Good, the source of all other forms, which could be known by reason. In the Sophist, a later work, the forms being, sameness and difference are listed among the primordial "Great Kinds". In the 3rd century BC, Arcesilaus adopted skepticism, which became a central tenet of the school until 90 BC when Antiochus added Stoic elements, rejected skepticism, and began a period known as Middle Platonism. In the 3rd century AD, Plotinus added mystical elements, establishing Neoplatonism, in which the summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things; in virtue and meditation the soul had the power to elevate itself to attain union with the One. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, and many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Platonic forms as God's thoughts, whilst Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were heavily influenced by Plotinus' Enneads,[2] and in turn were foundations for the whole of Western Christian thought.[3]

Philosophy[edit]

The primary concept is the Theory of Forms. The only true being is founded upon the forms, the eternal, unchangeable, perfect types, of which particular objects of sense are imperfect copies. The multitude of objects of sense, being involved in perpetual change, are thereby deprived of all genuine existence.[4] The number of the forms is defined by the number of universal concepts which can be derived from the particular objects of sense.[4] The following excerpt may be representative of Plato's middle period metaphysics and epistemology:

[Socrates:]"Since the beautiful is opposite of the ugly, they are two."

[Glaucon:]"Of course."
"And since they are two, each is one?"
"I grant that also."
"And the same account is true of the just and unjust, the good and the bad, and all the forms. Each of them is itself one, but because they manifest themselves everywhere in association with actions, bodies, and one another, each of them appears to be many."
"That's right."
"So, I draw this distinction: On one side are those you just now called lovers of sights, lovers of crafts, and practical people; on the other side are those we are now arguing about and whom one would alone call philosophers."
"How do you mean?"
"The lovers of sights and sounds like beautiful sounds, colors, shapes, and everything fashioned out of them, but their thought is unable to see and embrace the nature of the beautiful itself."
"That's for sure."
"In fact, there are very few people who would be able to reach the beautiful itself and see it by itself. Isn't that so?"
"Certainly."
"What about someone who believes in beautiful things, but doesn't believe in the beautiful itself and isn't able to follow anyone who could lead him to the knowledge of it? Don't you think he is living in a dream rather than a wakened state? Isn't this dreaming: whether asleep or awake, to think that a likeness is not a likeness but rather the thing itself that it is like?"
"I certainly think that someone who does that is dreaming."
"But someone who, to take the opposite case, believes in the beautiful itself, can see both it and the things that participate in it and doesn't believe that the participants are it or that it itself is the participants--is he living in a dream or is he awake?
"He's very much awake."

(Republic Bk. V, 475e-476d, translation G.M.A Grube)

Book VI of the Republic identifies the highest form as the Form of the Good, the cause of all other Ideas, and that on which the being and knowing of all other Forms is contingent. Conceptions derived from the impressions of sense can never give us the knowledge of true being; i.e. of the forms.[4] It can only be obtained by the soul's activity within itself, apart from the troubles and disturbances of sense; that is to say, by the exercise of reason.[4] Dialectic, as the instrument in this process, leading us to knowledge of the forms, and finally to the highest form of the Good, is the first of sciences.[4] Later Neoplatonism, beginning with Plotinus, identified the Good of the Republic with the so-called transcendent, absolute One of the first hypothesis of the Parmenides (137c-142a).

Platonist ethics is based on the Form of the Good. Virtue is knowledge, the recognition of the supreme form of the Good.[4] And, since in this cognition, the three parts of the soul, which are reason, spirit, and appetite, all have their share, we get the three virtues, Wisdom, Courage, and Moderation.[4] The bond which unites the other virtues is the virtue of Justice, by which each part of the soul is confined to the performance of its proper function.[4]

Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought. In many interpretations of the Timaeus Platonism,[5] like Aristotelianism, poses an eternal universe, as opposed to the nearby Judaic tradition that the universe had been created in historical time, with its continuous history recorded. Unlike Aristotelianism, Platonism describes idea as prior to matter and identifies the person with the soul. Many Platonic notions secured a permanent place in Christianity.[6]

History[edit]

The Academy[edit]

Main article: Platonic Academy
Site of Plato's Academy in Athens

Platonism was originally expressed in the dialogues of Plato, in which the figure of Socrates is used to expound certain doctrines, that may or may not be similar to the thought of the historical Socrates, Plato's master. Plato delivered his lectures at the Academy, a precinct containing a sacred grove outside the walls of Athens. The school continued there long after Plato's death. There were three periods: the Old, Middle, and New Academy. The chief figures in the Old Academy were Speusippus (Plato's nephew), who succeeded him as the head of the school (until 339 BC), and Xenocrates (till 313 BC). Both of them sought to fuse Pythagorean speculations on number with Plato's theory of forms.

Around 266 BC, Arcesilaus became head of the Academy. This phase, known as the Middle Academy, strongly emphasized Academic skepticism. It was characterized by its attacks on the Stoics and their assertion of the certainty of truth and our knowledge of it. The New Academy began with Carneades in 155 BC, the fourth head in succession from Arcesilaus. It was still largely skeptical, denying the possibility of knowing an absolute truth; both Arcesilaus and Carneades believed that they were maintaining a genuine tenet of Plato.

Middle Platonism[edit]

Main article: Middle Platonism

Around 90 BC, Antiochus of Ascalon rejected skepticism, making way for the period known as Middle Platonism, in which Platonism was fused with certain Peripatetic and many Stoic dogmas. In Middle Platonism, the Platonic Forms were not transcendent but immanent to rational minds, and the physical world was a living, ensouled being, the World-Soul. Pre-eminence in this period belongs to Plutarch. The eclectic nature of Platonism during this time is shown by its incorporation into Pythagoreanism (Numenius of Apamea) and into Jewish philosophy (Philo of Alexandria).

Neoplatonism[edit]

Main article: Neoplatonism

In the third century, Plotinus recast Plato's system, establishing Neoplatonism, in which Middle Platonism was fused with mysticism. At the summit of existence stands the One or the Good, as the source of all things.[7] It generates from itself, as if from the reflection of its own being, reason, the nous, - wherein is contained the infinite store of ideas.[7] The world-soul, the copy of the nous, is generated by and contained in it, as the nous is in the One, and, by informing matter in itself nonexistent, constitutes bodies whose existence is contained in the world-soul.[7] Nature therefore is a whole, endowed with life and soul. Soul, being chained to matter, longs to escape from the bondage of the body and return to its original source.[7] In virtue and philosophical thought it has the power to elevate itself above the reason into a state of ecstasy, where it can behold, or ascend to, that one good primary Being whom reason cannot know.[7] To attain this union with the Good, or God, is the true function of human beings.[7]

Plotinus' disciple, Porphyry, followed by Iamblichus, developed the system in conscious opposition to Christianity. The Platonic Academy was re-established during this time period; its most renowned head was Proclus (died 485), a celebrated commentator on Plato's writings. The Academy persisted until Roman emperor Justinian closed it in 529.

Christianity and Platonism[edit]

Many Western churchmen, including Augustine of Hippo, have been influenced by Platonism

Platonism influenced Christianity through Clement of Alexandria and Origen,[6] and the Cappadocian Fathers.[8] St. Augustine was heavily influenced by Platonism as well, which he encountered through the Latin translations of Marius Victorinus of the works of Porphyry and/or Plotinus.[6]

Platonism was considered authoritative in the Middle Ages, and many Platonic notions are now permanent elements of Christianity.[6] Platonism also influenced both Eastern and Western mysticism.[6][9] Meanwhile, Platonism influenced various philosophers.[6] While Aristotle became more influential than Plato in the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas's philosophy was still in certain respects fundamentally Platonic.[6]

With the Renaissance, scholars became more interested in Plato himself.[6] In 16th, 17th century, and 19th century England, Plato's ideas influenced many religious thinkers.[6] Orthodox Protestantism in continental Europe, however, distrusts natural reason and has often been critical of Platonism.[6]

Christoplatonism is a term used to refer to a dualism opined by Plato, which influenced the Church, which holds spirit is good but matter is evil.[10] According to the Methodist Church, Christoplatonism directly "contradicts the Biblical record of God calling everything He created good."[10]

Modern Platonism[edit]

Apart from historical Platonism originating from thinkers such as Plato himself, Numenius, Plotinus, Augustine and Proclus, we may wish to consider the theory of abstract objects in the modern sense.

Platonism is the view that there exist such things as abstract objects — where an abstract object is an object that does not exist in space or time and which is therefore entirely non-physical and non-mental. Platonism in this sense is a contemporary view.[11]

This modern Platonism (sometimes rendered "platonism," with a lower-case p, to distinguish it from the ancient schools) has been endorsed in one way or another at one time or another by numerous philosophers (most of whom taking a particular interest in the philosophy and foundations of logic and mathematics), including Bernard Bolzano, Gottlob Frege, Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, Alonzo Church, Kurt Gödel, W.V. Quine, Hilary Putnam, George Bealer and Edward Zalta. Modern Platonism recognizes a range of objects, including numbers, sets, truth values, properties, types, propositions and meanings.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Philosophers who affirm the existence of abstract objects are sometimes called platonists; those who deny their existence are sometimes called nominalists. This terminology is lamentable, since these words have established senses in the history of philosophy, where they denote positions that have little to do with the modern notion of an abstract object. However, the contemporary senses of these terms are now established, and so the reader should be aware of them... In this connection, it is essential to bear in mind that modern platonists (with a small 'p') need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato, just as modern nominalists need not accept the doctrines of the medieval Nominalists." - "Abstract Objects", Gideon Rosen, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), [1]
  2. ^ O'Connell SJ, RJ, The Enneads and St Augustine's Vision of Happiness. Vigiliae Christianae 17 (1963) 129-164 (JSTOR)
  3. ^ Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol 1, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition 100-600; Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol 3, The Growth of Mediaeval Theology 600-1300, section, "The Augustinian Synthesis"
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Oskar Seyffert, (1894), Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, page 481
  5. ^ cf. Proclus' commentary on the Timaeus; Cornford 1937
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Platonism." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  7. ^ a b c d e f Oskar Seyffert, (1894), Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, page 484
  8. ^ Armstrong, A. H., ed., The Cambridge History of Later Greek and Early Medieval Philosophy, Cambridge, 1970.
  9. ^ Louth, Andrew. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983.
  10. ^ a b Robin Russell (6 April 2009). "Heavenly minded: It's time to get our eschatology right, say scholars, authors". UM Portal. Retrieved 10 March 2011. "Greek philosophers—who believed that spirit is good but matter is evil—also influenced the church, says Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven (Tyndale, 2004). He coined the term "Christoplatonism" to describe that kind of dualism, which directly contradicts the biblical record of God calling everything he created "good."" 
  11. ^ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/platonism/

Further reading[edit]

  • Ackermann, C. The Christian Element in Plato and the Platonic philosophy. Translated by Asbury Samuel Ralph. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1861.
  • Cassirer, Ernst. The Platonic Renaissance in England. Translated by James P. Pettegrove. Edinburgh: Nelson, 1953.
  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar, "Renaissance Platonism." In Renaissance Thought: the Classic, Scholastic, and Humanistic Strains. New York: Harper, 1961.
  • Walker, Daniel Pickering. The Ancient Theology: Studies in Christian Platonism from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century. London: Duckworth, 1972.

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonism — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
2826 videos foundNext > 

Philosophy of Mathematics: Platonism

A non-technical introduction to platonism in the philosophy of mathematics. Philosophy of mathematics is important, especially for philosophers interested in...

Responding to Objections 1: Platonism

Laying mathematical Platonism to rest. Anyone who thinks numbers "exist" in a real, literal sense has no idea how math works. Mathematical Platonism defined:...

Philosophy Series Lecture: "Platonism versus Naturalism."

Lloyd Gerson, Professor of Philosophy at University of Toronto is the featured lecturer in this Philosophy Series Lecture.

Platonism, Gnosticism, and the Theory of Forms

Is Atheistic Moral Platonism More Plausible Than Theism?

For more resources visit: http://www.reasonablefaith.org In 2011 Dr William Lane Craig spoke at the Forum of Christian Leaders (FOCL) in Hungary. While they ...

Platonism & Alchemy Part 1

Here is the full DVD focusing on Carl Jung's work, discussing Alchemy, the Republic, and Carl Jung's book Psychology and Alchemy. This video discusses the id...

Neal Stephenson on Mathematical Platonism

Full video available at: http://fora.tv/2008/09/09/Sci-Fi_Novelist_Neal_Stephenson_Anathem_Launch_Event Author Neal Stephenson discusses the philosophical co...

Manly P. Hall -- What is Neo-platonism?

Excerpt from "Doctrines of Hermes Trismegistus"

Refuting Idealism - Part 2: Platonism

My blog post about this video - http://omenknow.blogspot.com/2014/09/clarifying-some-things-about-part-2.html ABOUT CRAIG IN THIS VIDEO: I am well aware of t...

Platonism Destroys Materialism

In this discussion, I detail what I argued in my recent article: Platonism as an esoteric tradition provides the complete refutation of rank materialism. Fro...

2826 videos foundNext > 

16 news items

 
Practical Ethics (blog)
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:01:44 -0700

The most interesting thing about all this is that she ditched, wholesale, the Theory of Forms which, for many, is Platonism. What, I asked her, would Plato have thought of Neo-Platonism. He wouldn't have liked it at all, was the answer. It's perhaps ...
 
Seton Hall University News & Events
Sun, 26 Oct 2014 20:56:15 -0700

Professor Mercer works in the areas of modern philosophy, Leibniz, and the history of Platonism. She is past chair of Literature Humanities at Columbia, and a member of the Executive Committee of the American Philosophical Association. Her most recent ...

First Things (blog)

First Things (blog)
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 04:37:30 -0700

One of the interesting findings of Patrick Fletcher's Resurrection Realism, a study of Ratzinger's Augustinian views on the resurrection, has to do with Ratzinger's changing views of Platonism. Early on, Ratzinger saw Platonism as an enemy of Christian ...
 
Patheos (blog)
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 05:00:00 -0700

Archaic Ancient Near Eastern thought in Torah (at least in the earlier stages), Persian dualism in some of the Prophets as well as later pseudepigraphal writings, Platonism in some Wisdom literature, Egyptian influence, as well as combinations of the ...

The New York Review of Books (blog)

The New York Review of Books (blog)
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:55:11 -0700

This post is about word processors, but I got the idea for it from something W. H. Auden once said about political philosophers. In 1947, talking with his learned young secretary about an anthology he was compiling, The Portable Greek Reader, he ...
 
Foreign Affairs
Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Even if the Jews could not be blamed for the introduction of Platonism or for its hold over Western society, they were the chief carriers of its “task.” By asserting liberal rights to demand inclusion in such nations as Germany, the Jews were ...
 
Newswise (press release)
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:51:00 -0700

Footage newly released by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) allows viewers to see and hear the late puzzler, magician, and mathematics popularizer speak on topics as diverse as mathematical Platonism and how to use an optical illusion to ...

Baylor University

Baylor University
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:22:30 -0700

WACO, Texas (Sept. 30, 2014) – The Baylor University Department of Classics presents Stanley P. Rosenburg, Ph.D., on the topic of “Besides books: the Bible, Augustine's preaching, pedagogy, and oral culture in Late Antiquity.” Rosenburg will present ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight