Plato and Platonism

Charles Brittain

in The Oxford Handbook of Plato

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780195182903
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Plato and Platonism

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As the title suggests, the article focuses on the development of Plato and his philosophy, which is better known as Platonism. The advent of the Hellenestic schools advocated a more empirical approach to the study of philosophy as well as Platonism. And it was probably not until toward the beginning of the second century ad that a disparate set of philosophers who identified themselves as “Platonists” conceived the project of advocating and defending a specifically Platonic philosophy of interpreting Plato's works and ideas. The problem of the delayed development of Platonism is an interesting one because the general conditions for its emergence seem to have been in place from at least 50 bc. Notable among these conditions were three significant changes in late Hellenistic philosophy. The first was the demise of the skeptical academy by the middle of the first century bc, which released the interpretation of the Platonic corpus from institutional constraints, and in particular from the skeptical interpretations of Plato the academics had advocated since the third century bc. How much may the debate continue; Platonism still continues to be an integral part of present day philosophical interpretations.

Keywords: Plato; Platonism; Hellenestic School; empirical approach; Platonic philosophy

Article.  15397 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Classical Philosophy

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