Minor Figures

John Dillon

in The Heirs of Plato

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780198237662
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597336 | DOI:
 Minor Figures

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In this chapter, Dillon considers four minor figures of the Academy: Philippus of Opus, Hermodorus of Syracuse, Heraclides of Pontus, who were all students of Plato; and Crantor of Soli, a contemporary of Polemo. Philippus is best known for editing Plato's Laws for publication, and he was the real author of the Epinomis: as a philosopher, he is distinguished for elevating the rational World‐Soul to the status of the supreme principle, and for identifying astronomy as the true path to the knowledge of God. Hermodorus composed a book on Plato's life and works; philosophically he is interesting for his interpretation of Plato's first principles, and in particular, his denial that matter, or the Unlimited, is a principle. Heraclides, who supervised the Academy during Plato's third trip to Sicily, was nevertheless remarkably free from academic orthodoxy: his most distinctive philosophical position is that the soul is light, or aether, and therefore a quasi‐material substance. Cantor's major contribution to the development of Platonism is the idea of the commentary; Proclus identifies him as the first commentator, because he wrote an exposition, as distinct from an exegesis, of Plato's Timaeus.

Keywords: astronomy; commentary; Epinomis; Laws; matter; Proclus; Soul; Timaeus; World‐Soul

Chapter.  23926 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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