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(7,761 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen) | Nesselrath, Heinz-Günther (Göttingen) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki) | Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna)
(Πλάτων/ Plátōn). [German version] [1] The philosopher, 428/7 - 348/7 BC Athenian philosopher, 428/7 - 348/7 BC Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen) [German version] A. Life The Seventh Letter (which is not intended to constitute a complete autobiography) and scattered reports from various ancient authors (of these, Plutarchus' [2] Life of Dion and Philodemus' Academica Gaiser/ Academicorum Historia Dorandi are particularly instructive) are our most important sources of information on the life of P. To these should be added the chronological accounts in Apuleius, De Platone et eius d…


(2,433 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen)
(Ἀκαδήμεια, Ἀκαδημία; Akadḗmeia, Akadēmía). School for philosophers in Athens, founded by Plato and maintained continuously over three (according to others: nine) centuries. Here, our emphasis will be on the Academy as an institution. Dogmatic aspects will be discussed in the entries on individual philosophers and those on  Middle Platonism and  Neoplatonism. [German version] I. Plato's School Plato began teaching philosophy around 387/6 BC after returning from his trip to Sicily and southern Italy, where he had met with the Pythagoreans associated w…


(682 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen)
[German version] The philosophical concept of an ultimate origin that is separated by an ontological gap from what it 'causes', 'releases' from itself or brings into being. The antonym of transcendence is the concept of immanence: here the foundational origin is not something separate from the world, but is contained and present within it. The Latin transcendere, transcendens (as an equivalent to ὑπερβάλλειν/ hyperbállein, ὑπερέχειν/ hyperéchein, ὑπερβολή/ hyperbolḗ, ἀνάβασις/ anábasis, ἐπέκεινα/ epékeina etc.) has been documented since Augustinus (for more on the …


(196 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen)
[German version] Theory of anamnesis. ‘Learning is remembering’ (ἡ μάθησις ἀνάμνησις; hē máthēsis anámnēsis) is Plato's short phrase (Men. 81e 5, Phd. 72e 5, 76a 8) for the idea of anamnesis based upon the Pythagorean belief about the soul. In the Meno, anamnesis is used as an argument against the eristic statement that one cannot inquire about anything (80d-86c). In the Phaedo, knowledge of the ideas, which cannot be empirically acquired, is seen as proof for the immortality of the soul, which viewed the ideas before entering the body (72e-77a). In the Phaedrus, conceptual thinking an…

Ideas, theory of

(754 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen)
[German version] The modern (19th cent.) term for part of  Plato's ontology. Whenever there are many perceptible things of the same kind, there is an imperceptible ‘model’, conceivable only in thought, that explains the nature of the ‘copies’ and accounts for their existence. Plato calls this model the ‘idea’ (ἰδέα/ idéa, synonymous with εἶδος/ eîdos). The idea does not come into being and is eternal, immutable, uniform and indivisible, outside space and time; it is what it is, without qualification and ambiguity. (Pl. Symp. 211a; Pl. Phd. 247c et passim). It is at once that which i…


(720 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen)
[German version] In Homer the intellect is embodied in Athena at the divine level and in Odysseus at the human level - this doubling is also later preserved in the concept of the nous (νοῦς/ noûs: spirit, reason) as (a) divine substance and (b) human cognition. In pre-Socratic philosophy it is the force guiding the world in  Xenophanes [1] (21 B 23-25 DK) and especially in  Anaxagoras [2], for whom the divine nous recognizes, orders and rules everything (59 B 12 DK). Anaxagoras also emphasizes the special status of humans who live the intellectual life (59 A 29-30 D…


(368 words)

Author(s): Szlezák, Thomas A. (Tübingen)
[German version] (δυάς; dyás). ‘Indeterminate duality’ (ἀόριστος δυάς, aóristos dyás): the non-reducible counter-principle essential for the ‘creation’ of phenomena in Plato's oral teaching on principles, according to the testimony of Aristotle (Metaph. Α 987b 25ff.; Μ 1081a 14; Ν 1088a 15 and passim) and Theophrastus (Metaph. 11a 27ff.). Plato set it beside the ‘One’ or the ‘Good’ (ἕν or ἀγαθόν) as the definitive principle of reality. While Speusippos ascribed the introduction of interminabilis dualitas (= aóristos dyás) to the antiqui, thus probably the Pythagoreans (fr.…