From Plato to Platonism

From Plato to Platonism

Lloyd P. Gerson

Language: English

Pages: 360

ISBN: 0801452414

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Was Plato a Platonist? While ancient disciples of Plato would have answered this question in the affirmative, modern scholars have generally denied that Plato’s own philosophy was in substantial agreement with that of the Platonists of succeeding centuries. In From Plato to Platonism, Lloyd P. Gerson argues that the ancients were correct in their assessment. He arrives at this conclusion in an especially ingenious manner, challenging fundamental assumptions about how Plato’s teachings have come to be understood. Through deft readings of the philosophical principles found in Plato's dialogues and in the Platonic tradition beginning with Aristotle, he shows that Platonism, broadly conceived, is the polar opposite of naturalism and that the history of philosophy from Plato until the seventeenth century was the history of various efforts to find the most consistent and complete version of “anti-naturalism."

Gerson contends that the philosophical position of Plato―Plato’s own Platonism, so to speak―was produced out of a matrix he calls “Ur-Platonism.” According to Gerson, Ur-Platonism is the conjunction of five “antis” that in total arrive at anti-naturalism: anti-nominalism, anti-mechanism, anti-materialism, anti-relativism, and anti-skepticism. Plato’s Platonism is an attempt to construct the most consistent and defensible positive system uniting the five “antis.” It is also the system that all later Platonists throughout Antiquity attributed to Plato when countering attacks from critics including Peripatetics, Stoics, and Sceptics. In conclusion, Gerson shows that Late Antique philosophers such as Proclus were right in regarding Plotinus as “the great exegete of the Platonic revelation."

Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia

A History of Greek Mathematics, Volume 2: From Aristarchus to Diophantus (Dover Books on Mathematics)

Plotinus: On Selfhood, Freedom and Politics (Aarhus Studies in Mediterranean Antiquity, Volume 6)

The Aeneid
















Platonic metaphysics. For example, in Gorgias, the refutation of the claim that doing injustice is better than suffering it, is based on Callicles’ lack of acceptance of the claim that cowards are as good as brave men and that catamites live a happy life.60 But the reason for Callicles’ unwillingness to accept these claims is that he is ashamed to do so. Consequently, the reason for believing that the contradictory claim is true, if it is to be more than a moral intuition—in which case the

latter must be different in kind from the former. Thus, as Aristotle will famously argue, the ultimate explanation for the motion of anything movable will be that which is unqualifiedly immovable.31 But that which is unqualifiedly immovable cannot be a material body because all material bodies are movable, at least in place.32 So that which is the ultimate cause of that which is movable must be without magnitude.33 Whether Aristotle’s commitment to the antimaterialism of UP is the result of his

matter of the composite, and by inference that the form is substance to a higher degree than the composite owing to its including matter.51 But that the form of the composite is the absolutely primary referent of ‘being’ or ‘substance’ is undermined by the fact that unless the form of the composite is an actuality over and above the actuality that is the composite itself, then the form of the composite is not prior in actuality to the composite. If, though, the form of the composite is an

Ν 8, 1083b26–1084a13, 1084a29–32). The corresponding manifestations of the Indefinite Dyad are as follows: (for number) the Many and the Few (Ν 1, 1087b16); (for lines) the Long and the Short; (for planes) the Broad and the Narrow; and (for solids) the Shallow and Deep (Α 9, 992a10–15). Cf. Syrianus, In Meta. 147.29–148.7, who argues that the Decad contains the articulated principles of all the Forms in the cosmos. That is, even if Forms are Numbers, they are not limited to ten. 96. On the use of

Parm. 142D4–5: α˜’ ρα ου’ κ α’ να´ γκη το` με`ν ‛o´λον ‛ε`ν ’ο´ν ει˜’ ναι αυ’ τ´ο, του ´ του δε` γι´γνεσθαι μ´ορια τ´ο τε ‛ε`ν και` το` ει˜’ ναι; —’Ανα´ γκη. (Is it not necessary that the whole be itself one being, and the parts of this be “one” and “to be”? —It is necessary.) 23. See Parm. 142B5–8: ‛ε`ν ει’ ε’´στιν, α˜’ ρα οι‛˜ο´ ν τε αυ’ το` ει˜’ναι με´ν, ου’ σι´ας δε` μη ` μετε´χειν; {—} ’`ν ου’ ταυ’ το`ν ου˜’ σα τω Ου’ χ οι‛˜ο´ ν τε. {—} Ου’ κου ˜ ν και` η‛ ου’ σι´α του ˜ ε‛νο`ς ει’´η α ˜˛

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