Article

Platonic Ethics in Later Antiquity

Lloyd P. Gerson

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199545971
Published online April 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199545971.013.0007

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Platonic Ethics in Later Antiquity

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This chapter examines the ethical theories of Platonists in later Antiquity. The focus is on Plotinus, given that later Platonists follow him in his exposition of the Platonic position. The chapter also discusses how Plotinus's pupil, Porphyry, and later Platonists systematized his account of virtue. It is argued that the fundamental truth contained in the Platonic interpretation of Plato's ethics is the refusal to foist upon Plato a facile view of human personhood. Platonists never for a moment supposed that Plato thought that what was good or virtuous for the human being, the anthrōpos, was identical with what was good or virtuous for the person, for persons have destinies that transcend humanity.

Keywords: Plato; ethical theory; Platonists; Plotinus; Porphyry; virtue; personhood

Article.  10448 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy ; Classical Philosophy

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