The oldest, surviving manuscript of Definitions: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Gr. 1807 (9th century), first page
The Definitions (Greek : ὍροιHoroi; Latin : Definitiones) is a dictionary of 184 philosophical terms sometimes included in the corpus of Plato's works. Plato is generally not regarded as the editor of all of Definitions. Some ancient scholars attributed Definitions to Speusippus.
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.
A dictionary, sometimes known as a wordbook, is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often arranged alphabetically, which may include information on definitions, usage, etymologies, pronunciations, translation, etc. or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, sometimes known as a lexicon. It is a lexicographical reference that shows inter-relationships among the data.
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece and the founder of the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his most famous student, Aristotle. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."
In modern scholarship, Definitions is thought to have little philosophical value. Given the sophistication of Plato's and Aristotle's efforts in the area of definition, this collection seems to be an elementary text produced by second-rate philosophical study.[ citation needed ] Its early date, however, does give it some importance as a source for the history of ancient Platonism.
Definitions is a list of 184 terms important in early Platonism together with one or more brief definitions. Though not in alphabetical or any other simple order, it is possible to discern some features of the organization of the collection. Definitions 1–20 consist chiefly of terms from natural philosophy. Definitions 21–107, the main section of the collection, contain concepts from ethics (affects and virtues), political theory, logic, grammar, and epistemology. Definitions 108–184 are a final appendix that contains a mixture of concepts which sometimes duplicate earlier terms and therefore was probably added at a later date. There are few terms drawn from metaphysics. It is probable that the collection underwent changes through the centuries since the number of definitions in the surviving manuscripts varies.
Methodologically, Definitions is related to the Platonic Method of Division (diairesis) that progresses from the more general to the more specific, i.e., from 'above' to 'below.' Definitions were constructed by first giving the genus of the thing to be defined and then giving more and more of its special characteristics (its differentia) until it was fully distinguished from other members of the genus. Such a definition therefore gives the lowest species for the thing defined. In Definitions, for example, the word definition is defined as an expression that is composed of genus and differentia.Many definitions in Definitions follow these principles and define terms by giving their genus and distinguishing characteristics. A human, for example, is a two-footed animal without wings. Here, two-footed animal is the lowest genus that contains humans and without wings distinguishes humans from all the other two-footed animals, i.e., from birds. Other definitions, however, consist only of lists of characteristics or are trivial explanations of words. Many concepts are defined simply by giving the distinguishing characteristic. Humans, for example, are also defined as the only rational animal.
Diairesis is a form of classification used in ancient logic that serves to systematize concepts and come to definitions. When defining a concept using diairesis, one starts with a broad concept, then divides this into two or more specific sub-concepts, and this procedure is repeated until a definition of the desired concept is reached. Apart from this definition, the procedure also results in a taxonomy of other concepts, ordered according to a general–specific relation.
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There is a scholarly consensus that Definitions cannot be ascribed to Plato. However, many individual points rest on his doctrines and it is probable that the way of defining various concepts goes back to this teaching. It is thought certain that Definitions originated in the circles around the school of philosophy founded by Plato, i.e., in or around the Academy. The definitions were probably collected at the time of the Early Academy, and indeed in the period immediately following Plato's death, that is, in the second half of the fourth century or the first third of the third century BCE. Key Aristotelian terms such as 'potential' and 'actuality' are not conspicuous in Definitions.
It was conjectured that Definitions is a selection from a larger collection that was available in the Academy in that period, and may have been the foundation of a lost collection made by Speusippus, Plato's nephew and the second head of the Academy.Today, however, the hypothesis that the extant collection is related to Speusippus' is no longer defended. Whether Definitions is a compilation made from older collections is debated by scholars.
Speusippus was an ancient Greek philosopher. Speusippus was Plato's nephew by his sister Potone. After Plato's death, c.348 BC, Speusippus inherited the Academy, near age 60, and remained its head for the next eight years. However, following a stroke, he passed the chair to Xenocrates. Although the successor to Plato in the Academy, Speusippus frequently diverged from Plato's teachings. He rejected Plato's Theory of Forms, and whereas Plato had identified the Good with the ultimate principle, Speusippus maintained that the Good was merely secondary. He also argued that it is impossible to have satisfactory knowledge of any thing without knowing all the differences by which it is separated from everything else.
The existence of Definitions is first attested in the Roman imperial period. Until late antiquity, no one else but Plato was named as the author,but the prevailing opinion was that the collection did not originate with him. It was not included in the tetralogical arrangement of Plato's works. The anonymous Prolegomena to Platonic Philosophy, which is dated to late antiquity, designates Speusippus as the author.
The earliest, surviving manuscript is from the ninth century CE.
Definitions was unknown to the Latin-speaking, scholarly world of the Middle Ages and was first rediscovered by Renaissance humanists. In the fifteenth century, the humanist Marsilio Ficino believed the collection's author was Speusippus.
Ficino translated Definitions into Latin and published his translation in Venice in 1497 with Aldus Manutius, and named Speusippus as the author in the introduction.
The first edition of the Greek text was brought out in Venice by Aldus Manutius in September 1513 as part of the complete works of Plato edited by Markos Musuros. This edition was the basis for the Latin translation that the humanist Willibald Pirckheimer brought out in Nuremberg in 1523 with the printer Friedrich Peypus.
Marsilio Ficino was an Italian scholar and Catholic priest who was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. He was an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism in touch with the major academics of his day and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin. His Florentine Academy, an attempt to revive Plato's Academy, influenced the direction and tenor of the Italian Renaissance and the development of European philosophy.
Plotinus was a major Greek-speaking philosopher of the ancient world. In his philosophy, described in the Enneads, there are three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. His teacher was Ammonius Saccas, who was of the Platonic tradition. Historians of the 19th century invented the term Neoplatonism and applied it to Plotinus and his philosophy, which was influential in Late Antiquity. Much of the biographical information about Plotinus comes from Porphyry's preface to his edition of Plotinus' Enneads. His metaphysical writings have inspired centuries of Pagan, Islamic, Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic metaphysicians and mystics.
Georgius Gemistus, later called Plethon ( Πλήθων), was one of the most renowned philosophers of the late Byzantine era. He was a chief pioneer of the revival of Greek scholarship in Western Europe. As revealed in his last literary work, the Nomoi or Book of Laws, which he only circulated among close friends, he rejected Christianity in favour of a return to the worship of ancient Hellenic Gods as well as ancient wisdom based on Zoroaster and the Magi.
Parmenides is one of the dialogues of Plato. It is widely considered to be one of the more, if not the most, challenging and enigmatic of Plato's dialogues. The Parmenides purports to be an account of a meeting between the two great philosophers of the Eleatic school, Parmenides and Zeno of Elea, and a young Socrates. The occasion of the meeting was the reading by Zeno of his treatise defending Parmenidean monism against those partisans of plurality who asserted that Parmenides' supposition that there is a one gives rise to intolerable absurdities and contradictions.
Friedrich Adolf Trendelenburg was a German philosopher and philologist.
Platonism, rendered as a proper noun, is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In narrower usage, platonism, rendered as a common noun, refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, and is the opposite of nominalism. Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato.
Minos is purported to be one of the dialogues of Plato. It features Socrates and a companion who together attempt to find a definition of "law".
Plato’s number is a number enigmatically referred to by Plato in his dialogue the Republic (8.546b). The text is notoriously difficult to understand and its corresponding translations do not allow an unambiguous interpretation. There is no real agreement either about the meaning or the value of the number. It also has been called the "geometrical number" or the "nuptial number". The passage in which Plato introduced the number has been discussed ever since it was written, with no consensus in the debate. As for the number's actual value, 216 is the most frequently proposed value for it, but 3,600 or 12,960,000 are also commonly considered.
Walter Dubislav was a German logician and philosopher of science (Wissenschaftstheoretiker).
Eudorus of Alexandria was an ancient Greek philosopher, and a representative of Middle Platonism. He attempted to reconstruct Plato's philosophy in terms of Pythagoreanism.
Neoplatonism is a term used to designate a strand of Platonic philosophy that emerged in the third century AD against the background of Hellenistic philosophy and religion. The term does not encapsulate a set of ideas as much as it encapsulates a chain of thinkers which began with Ammonious Saccas and his student Plotinus and which stretches to the sixth century AD. Even though Neoplatonism primarily circumscribes the thinkers who are now labeled Neoplatonists and not their ideas, there are some ideas that are common to Neoplatonic systems, for example, the monistic idea that all of reality can be derived from a single principle, "the One".
Karl Goswin Uphues was a German philosopher. He taught at a gymnasium in Aarau before becoming a professor at the University of Halle.
Michael Bordt SJ is a German philosopher and academic. He is a professor at the Munich School of Philosophy and specialized in the area of ancient philosophy, especially Plato and Aristotle. Since 2011 he has been the chair of the Institute of Philosophy and Leadership at Munich.
The Platonic Theology is a work consisting of eighteen books by Marsilio Ficino. Ficino wrote it between 1469 and 1474 and it was published in 1482. It has been described as Ficino's philosophical masterpiece.
Many Plato interpreters held that his writings contain passages with double meanings, called 'allegories' or 'symbols', that give the dialogues layers of figurative meaning in addition to their usual literal meaning. These allegorical interpretations of Plato were dominant for more than fifteen hundred years, from about the first century CE through the Renaissance and into the Eighteenth Century, and were advocated by major figures such as Plotinus, Proclus, and Ficino. Beginning with Philo of Alexandria, these views influenced Jewish, Christian and Islamic interpretation of their holy scriptures. They spread widely in the Renaissance and contributed to the fashion for allegory among poets such as Dante, Spenser, and Shakespeare.
Plato's so-called unwritten doctrines are metaphysical theories ascribed to him by his students and other ancient philosophers but not clearly formulated in his writings. In recent research, they are sometimes known as Plato's 'principle theory' because they involve two fundamental principles from which the rest of the system derives. Plato is thought to have orally expounded these doctrines to Aristotle and the other students in the Academy and they were afterwards transmitted to later generations.
Imre Tóth was born in 1921, in Satu Mare, a few years after the Treaty of Trianon recognized it as a part of Romania, to a very religious Jewish family that had fled from the 1920 pogroms. Resisting with the Communists during the Second World War and then excluded from the Party, he narrowly escaped death in the camps. After the war he studied at Babeș-Bolyai University. He is a philosopher, mathematician and science historian, who specialized in the philosophy of mathematics. He worked on non-Euclidean geometry, mathematical irrationality, freedom, Plato and Platonism, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, and Hegel. He died on May 11, 2010, in Paris