How does a school of thought, in the area of philosophy, or indeed of religion, from roots that may be initially open-ended and largely informal, come to take on the features that later mark it out as distinctive, and even exclusive? That is the theme which is explored in this book in respect of the philosophical movement known as Platonism, stemming as it does from the essentially open-ended and informal atmosphere of Plato's Academy. John Dillon focuses on a number of key issues, such as monism versus dualism, the metaphysical underpinnings of ethical theory, the theory of Forms, and the reaction to the Sceptical 'deviation' represented by the so-called 'New Academy'. The book is written in the lively and accessible style of the lecture series in Beijing from which it originates.
Explores the process by which the philosophy of Plato gradually became a dogmatic system
Highlights a series of basic features of Platonism, and traces their origins and development
Composed in a lively style as a result of its origin as a set of lectures
John Dillon is Regius Professor of Greek (Emeritus) at Trinity College Dublin. His chief publications are The Middle Platonists (1996); Iamblichus De Anima (with John Finamore; 2000); Alcinous: The Handbook of Platonism (1993); The Heirs of Plato (2003); and three volumes of collected essays. In 2004 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Irish Academy for distinguished research in the Humanities.
1. The origins of Platonist dogmatism
2. Monist and dualist tendencies in Platonism before Plotinus
3. The ideas as thoughts of God
4. The hierarchy of being as a framework for Platonist ethical theory
5. Carneades the Socratic