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    Platonism is the philosophy of the Athenian Classical philosopher Plato. In the context of political philosophy, Platoism is a culturally far-right and economically variable ideology inspired by Plato's classic book The Republic, as well as his other works, and some of those who came after him.

    History[edit | edit source]

    The Academy[edit | edit source]

    Platonism was originally expressed in the dialogues of Plato, in which the figure of Socrates is used to expound certain doctrines, that may or may not be similar to the thought of the historical, Plato's master. Plato delivered his lectures at the Platonic Academy, a precinct containing a sacred grove outside the walls of Athens. The school continued there long after Plato's death. There were three periods: the Old, Middle, and New Academy. The chief figures in the Old Academy were Speusippus (Plato's nephew), who succeeded him as the head of the school (until 339 BC), and Xenocrates (until 313 BC). Both of them sought to fuse Pythagorean speculations on number with Plato's theory of forms.

    The Skeptical Academy[edit | edit source]

    Around 266 BC, Arcesilaus became head of the academy. This phase, known as the Middle Academy, strongly emphasized Skepticism. It was characterized by its attacks on the Stoics and their assertion of the certainty of truth and our knowledge of it (katalepsis). The New Academy began with Carneades in 155 BC, the fourth head in succession from Arcesilaus. It was still largely skeptical, denying the possibility of knowing an absolute truth (acatalepsy); both Arcesilaus and Carneades argued that they were maintaining a genuine tenet of Plato.

    Middle Platonism[edit | edit source]

    Around 90 BC, Antiochus of Ascalon rejected Skepticism, making way for the period known as Middle Platonism, in which Platonism was fused with certain Peripatetic and many Stoic dogmas. In Middle Platonism, the Platonic Forms were not transcendent but immanent to rational minds, and the physical world was a living, ensouled being, the World-Soul. Pre-eminence in this period belongs to Plutarch. The eclectic nature of Platonism during this time is shown by its incorporation into Pythagoreanism (Numenius of Apamea) and into Jewish Philosophy (Philo of Alexandria).

    Neoplatonism[edit | edit source]

    In the third century, Plotinus recast Plato's system, establishing Neoplatonism, in which Middle Platonism was fused with Mysticism. At the summit of existence stands the One or the Good, as the source of all things. It generates from itself, as if from the reflection of its own being, reason, the nous, wherein is contained the infinite store of ideas. The World-Soul, the copy of the nous, is generated by and contained in it, as the nous is in the One, and, by informing matter in itself nonexistent, constitutes bodies whose existence is contained in the World-Soul. Nature therefore is a whole, endowed with life and soul. Soul, being chained to matter, longs to escape from the bondage of the body and return to its original source. In virtue and philosophical thought it has the power to elevate itself above the reason into a state of ecstasy, where it can behold, or ascend to, that one good primary Being whom reason cannot know. To attain this union with the Good, or God, is the true function of human beings.

    Plotinus' disciple, Porphyry, followed by Iamblichus, developed the system in conscious opposition to Christianity. The Platonic Academy was re-established during this period; its most renowned head was Proclus (died 485), a celebrated commentator on Plato's writings. The academy persisted until Roman emperor Justinian closed it in 529.

    Philosophical Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    The Forms[edit | edit source]

    The theory of forms is one of Platoism's most fundamental ideas. Plato believed that everything we experience is a reflection or shadow of another realm, the realm of forms. So, while we may see multiple instances of different individual trees, including different species, these are all different imitations of the form of the tree, which isn't any particular tree, but rather a perfect, unchanging, ideal tree with all the qualities that could ever make something identifiable to us as "tree-ish." This is true not only for phenomena like trees, but also for concepts like justice and beauty.

    The Soul[edit | edit source]

    Plato believed the soul gave life and was immortal, with reason in the head, spirit in the torso's top third, and appetite in the middle. He discussed reincarnation in dialogues like Phaedo and Timaeus, linking it to recollection of pre-birth knowledge rather than observation. Socrates, representing Plato's views, demonstrated this through a geometrical example in Meno, suggesting knowledge comes from eternal Forms.

    Epistemology[edit | edit source]

    Plato challenges common beliefs about knowledge, arguing that reality isn't accessible through the senses. He criticizes those who insist on tangible proof, calling them "happily without the muses." While he's often associated with the idea that knowledge is justified true belief, he also highlights issues with this definition in Theaetetus, suggesting a circular nature. Plato links knowledge to unchanging Forms in works like Sophist and Republic, stating that understanding these Forms is crucial for true knowledge, avoiding the uncertainties of sensory experiences.

    Ethics[edit | edit source]

    Plato explores ethics in dialogues discussing virtue, vice, pleasure, pain, crime, punishment, and justice. The Euthyphro dilemma questions whether the gods love piety because it's pious or if it's pious because they love it. In Protagoras, Socrates argues virtue is innate, cannot be learned, and knowledge is virtue. The Republic delves into the nature of justice, linking it to seeking wisdom and understanding the Form of the Good. Plato believes justice is achieved when one applies knowledge to fulfill moral and social responsibilities in society.

    Rhetoric and Poetry[edit | edit source]

    Plato's dialogues explore art-related questions, including rhetoric and rhapsody. Socrates, while praising divine madness in Phaedrus, aims to ban Homer's poetry and laughter in the Republic. Scholars debate whether Plato truly disliked rhetoric, with some seeing his dialogues as a portrayal of complex rhetorical principles. Despite this, Plato extensively employs myths, primarily for didactic purposes, as he believed stories effectively conveyed philosophical conclusions to a broader audience. Examples include Atlantis, the Myth of Er, and the Allegory of the Cave.

    Political Beliefs[edit | edit source]

    Plato believed that the ideal city-state would function by means of virtue and moral philosophy. In this utopia, to achieve a thoroughly just society, Plato advocates the rule of philosopher-kings, claiming such a society unimaginable unless philosophers become kings or kings become philosophers. Here, the term “philosopher-king” does not impose rule by a monarch but of a ruler who has completed his education in philosophy and mathematics. The rulers would be selected from the guardian class, who would serve as soldiers and law enforcement in the city, and who would enforce the rules of the philosopher kings onto the ordinary people.

    Relations[edit | edit source]

    Friends[edit | edit source]

    • Socratism - The most outstanding philosophy, from where I formed views from it.
    • Neoplatonism - You used my ideas a little differently, but I am still satisfied with the continuation of my idea.
    • Aristotelianism - Too pragmatic, but still a good philosophy.
    • Hellenism - This religion gives a better way.

    Frenemies[edit | edit source]

    • Athenian Democracy - A good system, only that leads democracy leads to dictatorship through manipulation.
    • Orthodox Marxism - Your idea about class consciousness at least in part comes from my allegory of the cave, in which the prisoners (or in your case the working class) are made to see the light. However, I probably would balk at half the things you promote if I were still alive.

    Enemies[edit | edit source]

    Gallery[edit | edit source]

    Quotes[edit | edit source]

    Further Information[edit | edit source]

    Wikipedia[edit | edit source]


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