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Political Theory and the History of Ideas Journal

If is obvious, as Barr points out, that the Platonic view is not the only Greek view.

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The Greek Versus the Hebrew View of Man

If what we have recalled by now is common knowledge accepted by everyone, Plato's position in favor of the reality of mathematical entities is, on the contrary, under a great debate. In the pages of Metaphysics dedicated to the Platonic doctrine of causes, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) —after recalling that it is at the same time similar and dissimilar from the Pythagorean theory— says that for Plato, "besides sensible things and forms, there are the objects of mathematics, which occupy an intermediate position, differing from sensible things in being eternal and unchangeable, and from forms in that there are many mathematical objects alike, while the form itself is in each case unique" (Metaphysics, I, 6, 987b). For Aristotle, therefore, Plato admits the existence of "archetypal ideas" of numbers from which, similarly to other ideas, mathematical numbers are derived. In effect, in several works of Plato, such as Philebus, Republic, the VIIth Letter, we find a reference to the existence of ideal numbers that are archetypes of the numbers used by mathematicians. In Plato one can therefore suppose the existence of numbers, but with the shrewdness to remember that he speaks about them only as archetypal ideas, a concept of the number very different to the mathematical reality that he derives.

The Platonic thesis is that, indeed, everyone has, in a sense, absolute knowledge; ..

Taking a different position to Kant, J.G. Fichte (1762-1814) attempts the union between phenomenon and noumenon, theoretical and practical, subject and object. If for Kant the "Self," the subject, creates the knowing, for the subsequent German idealism the subject creates being. All reality is thus reduced to thought. If Plato, alongside the "world of ideas" puts the "world of things," caused by as many objects as there are ideas, in German idealism nothing exists outside of the unique Idea (with capital I). The individual beings of things are only modifications of the unique substance, temporary and phenomenal manifestations of the Absolute. However, for German idealists, the identification between object and subject, being and thought, Self and non-Self, is not immediate. This takes place though an intrinsic "dialectic opposition" of the spirit. The spirit moves in a triadic process of "thesis", in which the subject poses itself, "antithesis", in which the object is placed, and finally the "synthesis", in which the subject, in its self-awareness, acknowledges having placed the object in being. In this framework, the idealism of Fichte is called "subjective idealism", because the Self is the fundamental principle of all knowledge, and "ethical idealism", because the first activity of the Self imposes on every individual the fulfilment of an obligation, that is, conquering one's own freedom (cf. in particular the Foundation of the Entire Science of Knowledge, 1794). In the homonymous "objective idealism" of F.W. Schelling (1775-1854), the object (Nature) is not -as it was for Fichte- an obstacle to be removed, but an autonomous reality, certainly inferior to the spirit, but only by "degree". The idealism of Schelling is also called "aesthetic," because in his opinion, the identity-unity of the Absolute can only be understood by aesthetic intuition. It is interesting to note how, unlike Galileo and Newton, for whom nature is materially conceived and dominated by the inflexible laws of mechanics, Schelling understands as a spiritual entity endowed with an inexhaustible free activity.

Realism - By Branch / Doctrine - The Basics of Philosophy

Platonic Realism is the view, articulated by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, that universals exist

A different gnoseological formulation was that of John Locke (1632-1704). Remembering the admirable synthesis performed by Newton (1642-1727), who was also a friend of his, he does not start from mere sensation, but rather from the "sensible perception," which is itself an act of knowledge. Locke defines the "idea" as: "whatsoever the mind perceives in itself, or is the immediate object of perpection, thought, or understanding" (An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, II, 8). A true admirer of the physics of Newton, Locke never thought of denying the existence of the truth outside of us (cf. ibidem, IV, 11), but indeed he placed the foundation of knowledge in sensible experience. It is from the critique to the concept of substance begun by Locke that subsequently, thanks to George Berkeley (1685-1753), the best-known form of modern idealism would be born. In his critique to Locke, Berkeley was lead to deny the existence of bodies as substances and to say that they are only ideas. All substance would be constituted by "ideas," whose truth consists in the fact that they are perceived by the subject. The esse est percipi would become, from that moment onwards, the typical formula of modern idealism. Only spirits and ideas exist, the spirit is the active substance, the idea is the inert and passive object of knowledge, for which the ideas depend in a certain sense from the spirit (cf. The Principles of Human Knowledge, 25). But, as Berkeley still emphasizes, not all ideas depend on "our" spirit, in fact some of them depend on God. He takes ideas as objects of sense experience: his theory of ideas is a theory that refers not to all being, but only to the sensible world. The jump performed here, with respect to Platonic idealism, is evident. From his gnoseological theory, Berkeley draws as a consequence the rehabilitation of final causes and the critique of Newton's absolute time and space, considered by the Irish bishop as pure abstractions.

I think this is a problem with a lot of relationships, platonic or romantic, and that it's especially bad in nerd circles. "I don't like you that much," or, "I don't really approve of the way you're acting," aren't good reasons to stop talking to someone in certain circles. If there's not some egregious incident to complain about, someone who wants to break ties is at least expected to provide a plausible excuse.

The Problem With "Nice Guys" - Paging Dr. NerdLove

Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about Plato's early life and education

Plato considers the Pvthagorean concept soma-sema (see also Gorgias 493A), and while he does not accept sema (tomb) as an explanation for soma (body), he does liken the body to a prison.
28 Phaedo 66.
29 In precision, we ought not speak of a "spiritual" world, for Plato does not use the word of the noumenal world; it is the world of forms or ideas that are beheld by the mind, the highest part of the soul.
30 Greene, Moira, p.302.
31 Theatetus 176A (Greene's trans.); See Moira, p.302.
32 Phaedo 65B.
33 Ibid..

Plutarch does attribute to Plato the view that matter is evil (Obsolescence of Oracles 414F).
60 "Nature must have in herself the source and origin of evil.

Platonism and Theism | Internet Encyclopedia of …
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Sophists | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

He examines the closely related themes of Platonism, the Dionysian mysteries, and the Hermetic sciences in Rabelais’s work and concludes that Rabelais shared with the Platonic-Hermetic tradition both its dialectic and perception of man’s position in the universe.

In the perspective of Platonic dialectic, Professor Masters analyzes Rabelaisian allegory, symbolism, and imagery as a play on appearance and reality.

Concise article on the historical context of this movement.


The influence and prevalence of the Platonic dualism may be realized by the fact that it is found in widely different quarters in New Testament times.


Those who achieve purification and gain a firm foothold on the moon are converted into daemons — a race of disembodied souls who serve as intermediaries between God and men.52

Here we have the same elements we have found in Plato's dualism: two worlds, the phenomenal or material, and the conceptual; 53 a complex soul with the mind as its highest and most divine faculty:54 the body as a source of evil and pollution to the mind;55 this world as an alien place from which the soul must escape to find its true destiny;56 salvation consisting of purification from the pollution incurred in bodily life and the freeing of the mind from bodily and worldly evil.57 The disembodied souls that have become daemons are not yet perfected; they can fall back and be reborn on earth.

Socrates | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

conjures up a sense of that inert, negative, imperfect kind of being which is opposed to mind or soul, to purpose or good, and which as such is a source of evil, or is indeed evil itself."30 There is some kind of necessity () in matter which makes it intractable to goodness, reason, and mind.

In a real sense of the word, salvation for Plato is by knowledge.

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