Plato On God As Nous


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This book is the first sustained modern investigation of Plato's theology. A central thesis of the book is that Plato had a theology--not just a mythology for the ideal city, not just the theory of forms or the theory of cosmic souls, but also, irreducible to any of these, an account of God as Nous (Reason), the source of rational order both to souls and the world of bodies. The understanding of God as Reason, and of the world as governed directly or indirectly by Reason, is worked out in the dialogues of Plato's last period, the Statesman, Philebus, Timaeus, and Laws. These dialogues offer a strategy for explaining the physical world that goes beyond anything in the middle dialogues, and gives the best starting point for understanding the cosmologies and theologies of Aristotle, the Stoics, and later ancient thinkers. Menn focuses on the Timaeus as Plato's most sustained effort to provide what (according to the Phaedo) Anaxagoras had failed to deliver: an explanation of the world through Reason, showing that things are as they are because it is best, or because it best serves the order of the world as a whole. Anaxagoras was disappointed because he explained things through their material constituents, without explaining why the constituents are ordered as they are; but the theory of forms has the same defect, since itcannot explain why different parts of the universe participate in different forms according to a particular order. The Timaeus and other late dialogues attempt to supply the missing explanation of the ordering of the physical world. These dialogues do not retreat from the middle dialogue theory of forms, nor do they escape into an esoteric theory of numbers; but they add to the middle dialogues an analysis of the principles necessary to account for the existence and partial intelligibility of the sensible world--not only forms and a material substance but also Nous and souls. Although the demiurge of the Timaeus (and his counterpart the Nous of Philebus) is represented as a cause both to souls and bodies, most scholars have been reluctant to identify the demiurge as a being separate from and superior to souls, because they think that both the meaning of the Greek word nous and Plato's own statements require that Nous iseither a kind of soul (mind or rational soul) or something inseparable from souls (rational mental activity). Reexamining the linguistic evidence and the Platonic texts, Menn argues that nous can mean something separate from souls, namely the virtue of rationality or intelligence that souls participate in. Menn argues that Anaxagoras' Nous should be construed as such a virtue; then he examines what status this virtue has in the context of the Platonic theory of forms, and how itis a cause both to souls and to bodies. Soul plays a crucial role in mediating the causality of Nous and introducing rational order into the world of bodies, but neither soul in general nor the world-soul in particular can be identified with Nous. Menn stresses the pre-Socratic context for the cosmology and theology of Plato's late dialogues; he argues for the importance of Diogenes of Appolonia in particular, and he reconstructs a possible new fragment of Diogenes from the Timaeus and from the Hippocratic treatise On Breaths. In the Timaeus and other late dialogues Plato attempts to do better than his predecessors by standards implicit in Socrates' critique of Anaxagoras in the Phaedo, but what Plato offers remains consciously provisional. Aristotle argues that the Timaeus remains liable to some of the same criticisms that Socrates had leveled against Anaxagoras, and Aristotle's own cosmology and theology take up Plato's challenge to carry out Anaxagoras' promise of an explanation of the world through Nous, and attempt to improve on the Timaeus asPlato had improved on Anaxagoras. In this way the Timaeus serves as an essential starting point, not onlyfor those later ancient philosophers who took it as an authoritative statement on the world and on God but also for those who took it as a challenge to do better.

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Author by Stephen Menn
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 86
ISBN Number STANFORD:36105016290095

Timaeus


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OF all the writings of Plato the Timaeus is the most obscure and repulsive to the modern reader, and has nevertheless had the greatest influence over the ancient and mediaeval world. The obscurity arises in the infancy of physical science, out of the confusion of theological, mathematical, and physiological notions, out of the desire to conceive the whole of nature without any adequate knowledge of the parts, and from a greater perception of similarities which lie on the surface than of differences which are hidden from view. Aeterna Press

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Author by Plato
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 96
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Plato S Gods


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This book presents a comprehensive study into Plato's theological doctrines, offering an important re-valuation of the status of Plato's gods and the relation between metaphysics and theology according to Plato. Starting from an examination of Plato's views of religion and the relation between religion and morality, Gerd Van Riel investigates Plato's innovative ways of speaking about the gods. This theology displays a number of diverging tendencies - viewing the gods as perfect moral actors, as cosmological principles or as celestial bodies whilst remaining true to traditional anthropomorphic representations. Plato's views are shown to be unified by the emphasis on the goodness of the gods in both their cosmological and their moral functions. Van Riel shows that recent interpretations of Plato's theology are thoroughly metaphysical, starting from aristotelian patterns. A new reading of the basic texts leads to the conclusion that in Plato the gods aren't metaphysical principles but souls who transmit the metaphysical order to sensible reality. The metaphysical principles play the role of a fated order to which the gods have to comply. This book will be invaluable to readers interested in philosophical theology and intellectual history.

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Author by Gerd Van Riel
Genre eBook Religion
Read Book 146
ISBN Number 9781317079927

Plato Laws 10


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The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. Although it has been neglected (compared to such works as the Republic and Symposium), it is beginning to receive a great deal of scholarly attention. Book 10 of the Laws contains Plato's fullest defence of the existence of the gods, and his last word on their nature, as well as a presentation and defence of laws against impiety (e.g. atheism). Plato's primary aim is to defend the idea that the gods exist and that they are good - this latter meaning that they do not neglect human beings and cannot be swayed by prayers and sacrifices to overlook injustice. As such, the Laws is an important text for anyone interested in ancient Greek religion, philosophy, and politics generally, and the later thought of Plato in particular. Robert Mayhew presents a new translation, with commentary, of Book 10 of the Laws . His primary aim in the translation is fidelity to the Greek. His commentary focuses on philosophical issues (broadly understood to include religion and politics), and deals with philological matters only when doing so serves to better explain those issues. Knowledge of Greek is not assumed, and the Greek that does appear has been transliterated. It is the first commentary in English of any kind on Laws 10 for nearly 140 years.

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Author by
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 248
ISBN Number 9780191527562

Thinking Knowing Acting Epistemology And Ethics In Plato And Ancient Platonism


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Thinking, Knowing, Acting: Epistemology and Ethics in Plato and Ancient Platonism aims to offer a fresh perspective on the correlation between epistemology and ethics in Plato and the Platonic tradition from Aristotle to Plotinus, by investigating the social, juridical and theoretical premises of their philosophy.

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Author by Mauro Bonazzi
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 340
ISBN Number 9789004398993

The Demiurge In Ancient Thought


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Examines religious and 'scientific'/philosophical accounts of world-generation as represented by the figure of the Demiurge (Craftsman-god).

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Author by Carl Séan O'Brien
Genre eBook Literary Criticism
Read Book 346
ISBN Number 9781107075368

Plato S Theology


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Friedrich Solmsen’s book is a thorough exploration of Plato's ideas about God and religion. Solmsen focuses on Plato’s theology primarily as it is presented in Book 10 of the Laws, a work previously neglected as a source of Plato's conception of religion because of its problematic place within fifth-century discussions of new legal provisions concerning offences against the gods. The author, by way of introduction, outlines the role religion had played in the old Greek city-states, emphasizing the fact that there had been no religion of a nonpolitical character, and describes the way the old religion had been destroyed by the "Enlightenment" of the fifth century. Solmsen then traces the development of Plato's religious ideas, addressing such topics as Plato as the expurgator and reformer; his theological approach; the philosophy of movement; and the role of the Soul as the source of all movement. Plato's later religious philosophy, Solmsen shows, is marked by a more lenient attitude towards popular and poetic religion. He characterizes Plato's later thinking on religion, as disclosed in Book 10 of the Laws, as a revival of the old idea of a city religion. The content of this new Civic Religion, however, would be remodeled in accordance with Plato's own theological conceptions. Solmsen calls this attitude both archaic and Hellenistic. As to the Hellenistic element, the author points to the influence of the mystery cults and of Persian religion, the latter revealing itself most clearly in Plato's conception of the two antagonistic World-Souls. He also discusses at length such issues as Plato's ideas of a divine justice, his tendency towards monotheism, and the influence of his theology on later Greek philosophy and on Christian thought, especially Origen.

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Author by Friedrich Solmsen
Genre eBook God
Read Book 210
ISBN Number 0801466695

Classical Philosophy


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Classical Philosophy is the first of a series of books in which Peter Adamson aims ultimately to present a complete history of philosophy, more thoroughly but also more enjoyably than ever before. In short, lively chapters, based on the popular History of Philosophy podcast, he offers an accessible, humorous, and detailed look at the emergence of philosophy with the Presocratics, the probing questions of Socrates, and the first full flowering of philosophy with the dialogues of Plato and the treatises of Aristotle. The story is told 'without any gaps', discussing not only such major figures but also less commonly discussed topics like the Hippocratic Corpus, the Platonic Academy, and the role of women in ancient philosophy. Within the thought of Plato and Aristotle, the reader will find in-depth introductions to major works, such as the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, which are treated in detail that is unusual in an introduction to ancient philosophy. Adamson looks at fascinating but less frequently read Platonic dialogues like the Charmides and Cratylus, and Aristotle's ideas in zoology and poetics. This full coverage allows him to tackle ancient discussions in all areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, ethics and politics. Attention is also given to the historical and literary context of classical philosophy, with exploration of how early Greek cosmology responded to the poets Homer and Hesiod, how Socrates was presented by the comic playwright Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon, and how events in Greek history may have influenced Plato's thought. This is a new kind of history which will bring philosophy to life for all readers, including those coming to the subject for the first time.

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Author by Peter Adamson
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 400
ISBN Number 9780191662041

Plato S Phaedo


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Der Tagungsband enthält eine Auswahl von 41 Vorträgen, welche von den Wissenschaftlern der IPS am 11. Symposium Platonicum in Brasilien unter der Schirmherrschaft der University of Brasília gehalten wurden. Der Band behandelt alle wichtigen Fragen im Zusammenhang mit der Interpretation von Platons Phaidon und der Rezeption dieses zentralen Dialogs in der gesamten Antike.

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Author by Gabriele Cornelli
Genre eBook Philosophy
Read Book 407
ISBN Number 9783896657466

Philosophical Religions From Plato To Spinoza


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"For many thinkers from Antiquity until the Enlightenment, no meaningful distinction between philosophy and religion was possible. Instead, the concept of a philosophical religion was strongly influential on pagan, Jewish, Christian and Muslim philosophers alike. Carlos Fraenkel provides the first account of this concept and traces its history back to Plato, the Jewish Philo of Alexandria and the Christians Clement of Alexandria and Origen. He then follows it through the medieval period in both Islamic and Jewish forms; he closely analyses its appearance in the work of Spinoza in the early modern period; and he shows how it largely disappeared after the Enlightenment, when religion began to be increasingly regarded as a promoter of ignorance and superstition from which philosophy needed to be liberated. His rich and wide-ranging book will appeal to anyone interested in how philosophy has interacted with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious traditions over the centuries"--

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Author by Carlos Fraenkel
Genre eBook History
Read Book 328
ISBN Number 9780521194570