Platonic idealism  

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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and points his index finger to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms
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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and points his index finger to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms

"So goodbye to the Platonic Forms. They are teretismata, and have nothing to do with our speech" (Posterior Analytics, Aristotle).


When Plato was discoursing about his "ideas," and using the nouns "tableness" and "cupness;" "I, O Plato!" interrupted Diogenes, "see a table and a cup, but I see no tableness or cupness." Plato made answer, "That is natural enough, for you have eyes, by which a cup and a table are contemplated; but you have not intellect, by which tableness and cupness are seen." --Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers


Socrates's metaphor of the three beds, platonism, platonic realism, platonic idealism

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Platonic idealism usually refers to Plato's theory of forms or doctrine of ideas.

Overview

Some commentators hold that Plato argued that truth is an abstraction. In other words, we are urged to believe that Plato's theory of ideals is an abstraction, divorced from the so-called external world, of modern European philosophy, despite the fact Plato taught that ideals are ultimately real, and different from non-ideal things—indeed, he argued for a distinction between the ideal and non-ideal realm.

These commentators speak thus: for example, a particular tree, with a branch or two missing, possibly alive, possibly dead, and with the initials of two lovers carved into its bark, is distinct from the abstract form of Tree-ness. A Tree is the ideal that each of us holds that allows us to identify the imperfect reflections of trees all around us.

Plato gives the divided line as an outline of this theory. At the top of the line, the Form of the Good is found, directing everything underneath.

Some contemporary linguistic philosophers construe "Platonism" to mean the proposition that universals exist independently of particulars (a universal is anything that can be predicated of a particular).

Platonism is an ancient school of philosophy, founded by Plato; at the beginning, this school had a physical existence at a site just outside the walls of Athens called the Academy, as well as the intellectual unity of a shared approach to philosophizing.

Platonism is usually divided into three periods:

  1. Early Platonism
  2. Middle Platonism
  3. Neoplatonism

Plato's students used the hypomnemata as the foundation to his philosophical approach to knowledge. The hypomnemata constituted a material memory of things read, heard, or thought, thus offering these as an accumulated treasure for rereading and later meditation. For the Neoplatonist they also formed a raw material for the writing of more systematic treatises in which were given arguments and means by which to struggle against some defect (such as anger, envy, gossip, flattery) or to overcome some difficult circumstance (such as a mourning, an exile, downfall, disgrace).

Platonism is considered to be, in mathematics departments the world over, the predominant philosophy of mathematics, especially regarding the foundations of mathematics.

One statement of this philosophy is the thesis that mathematics is not created but discovered. A lucid statement of this is found in an essay written by the British mathematician G. H. Hardy in defense of pure mathematics.Template:Citation needed

The absence in this thesis of clear distinction between mathematical and non-mathematical "creation" leaves open the inference that it applies to allegedly creative endeavors in art, music, and literature.

It is unknown if Plato's ideas of idealism have some earlier origin, but Plato held Pythagoras in high regard, and Pythagoras as well as his followers in the movement known as Pythagoreanism claimed the world was literally built up from numbers, an abstract, absolute form.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Platonic idealism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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