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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2023

Kevin Corrigan
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

Plato is often represented as an essentialist thinker who believed in abstract entities known as the Forms, a thinker who privileged universals over particulars, thought over sensation, the disembodied soul or mind over both the embodied mind and the body, and who rejected art in favor of censorship and rigid authoritarianism. This book argues for a rather different understanding – a less familiar Plato for many in the modern world – a Plato who believes in Forms but is not an essentialist in any abstract or simple universalist way.1 This “less familiar Plato” thinks in new ways about thought models but develops a positive, scientific view of perception in the middle and late dialogues (before Aristotle), offers positive models of art and science that need to be evaluated together with the critique he provides in the Republic and maintains in the Laws, and articulates a broader view of intelligible reality within which the mind–soul–body continuum has an eidetic structure and in which even failure and the imperfect are included. This less familiar Plato develops an ideal and yet finely layered view of friendship and love that provided throughout antiquity a practical guide. He does not so much split the disembodied from the embodied mind as see both as forming a dynamic, coextensive continuum with a model of separation in life before death. He thinks of the problem of classification, so important for the development of modern scientific thinking, in new ways and provides a depth framework for understanding fundamental issues connected with what we today regard as problems of ecology and sustainability. Above all, Plato provides posterity with a framework for understanding and articulating the mystical imagination, ranging from what we might call the intellective imagination to the vision and touch of the beautiful and the good – which are not abstract principles open only to the educated but the invisible religious and philosophical bases of life.

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Chapter
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A Less Familiar Plato
From Phaedo to Philebus
, pp. 1 - 8
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Introduction
  • Kevin Corrigan, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: A Less Familiar Plato
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009324885.001
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  • Introduction
  • Kevin Corrigan, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: A Less Familiar Plato
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009324885.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Kevin Corrigan, Emory University, Atlanta
  • Book: A Less Familiar Plato
  • Online publication: 26 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009324885.001
Available formats
×