Understanding of Platonism

Ne 27 března 2016

(comment on the podcast episode 250)

When listening to the Q & A episode #250, I was very excited by the last question on the relationship between our understanding of Platonism, or what actually Platonism because during the ages, and the actual thinking of Plato.

I like what I understand be the meaning of the answer that for many centuries what went under the label of Platonism was actually more inheritance of Neoplatonism, which was the only thing which actually was known to the medieval philosophers.

My question how much of that understanding of Platonism actually survived the recovery of the true Plato’s works in the Renaissance Italy. Particularly I have been persuaded for years that generally Plato belongs to what the Marxists of my youth of the Communist Czechoslovakia called the idealist type of philosophy (or using the medieval terminology could be called realist, I guess [1]). However, when listening to Mr. Adamson’s coverage of Plato, it seemed to me that his thoughts were a way closer to nominalists. Or perhaps that Plato’s ideas were a way more primitive; only the coverage of philosophy without any gaps gave me better understanding of the time scale of the development of philosophy, particularly how really incredibly ancient Classical Athenian philosophers were. In the usual course on the philosophy I experienced (which was rather short on the Hellenistic and late Antique philosophy with some small exceptions), Classical philosophers seemed to live just next to the Boethius and Marcus Aurelius. For example I remember that Stoicism was just one brief lecture, but when I look at the dates more intentionally I see that there are 445 years between deaths of Zeno of Citium and Marcus Aurelius, that is like from us to the year 1574, when the pope Innocent X was born who was fighting with Oliver Cromwell.

So, the question remains, was Plato actually Platonist, meaning a realist or idealist?

[1]I guess this understanding of Plato was still prevalent when Raphael painted his The School of Athens

Category: faith Tagged: blogComment philosophy