Tag Archives: Plato

PLOTINUS: Fifth Ennead

Tractate I – The Three Initial Hypostases

Section 1 – Plotinus asks what has led the souls of men to forget God and their kinship with the divine. He answers that the souls have entered the realm of becoming and have been beguiled by this world’s temptations. He proposes a solution to reunite the soul with the divine. First, one must regard perishable things (like fame, wealth, etc.) as dishonorable. Second, one must learn the nature and worth of the soul. Continue reading PLOTINUS: Fifth Ennead

PLATO: Laws [Book X]

In Book X of Plato’s Laws, Plato tries to demonstrate the existence of the gods. His argument is complex and ambiguous. My interpretation of his argument is the following: 1) there are things in motion, 2) matter can move other matter, but it cannot move itself, 3) the soul can move itself and matter, 4) because matter is in motion, a soul must have moved it, 5) a soul capable of moving and arranging the heavens is a god. Continue reading PLATO: Laws [Book X]

PLATO: The Republic [Book X]

In Book X of Plato’s Republic, Socrates banishes all artists from his ideal State. He argues that the creations of art are farthest removed from truth; and therefore, art turns the mind of the spectator away from truth and toward the realm of becoming. For example, there are several instances of tables in the world, but only one idea of a table. A table-maker can make a table, but he cannot make the idea of a table. Even farther removed from the true idea of a table than the table of a table-maker is the painting of a table. “Tables, then, are of three kinds, and there are three artists who superintend them: God, the maker of the table, and the painter.” Continue reading PLATO: The Republic [Book X]

PLATO: The Republic [Book IX]

In Book IX of Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes the character of a tyrant. All men, Socrates admits, have a lawless and beastly nature. This darker nature displays itself during dreams while the rational part is sleeping. “Then the wild beast within us, gorged with meat or drink, goes forth to satisfy his desires; and there is no conceivable folly or crime a man may not be ready to commit.” The difference between tyrants and other men is that tyrants do not reign in the wild beast when they awaken, but rather encourage it. Continue reading PLATO: The Republic [Book IX]

PLATO: The Republic [Book VIII]

In Book VIII of Plato’s Republic, Socrates moves from the discussion of the ideal State of aristocracy to a discussion of the four unjust types of States – timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Because the natures of States resemble the natures of the men that comprise them, an examination of unjust States will illuminate the natures of unjust men. We can then compare the happiness of the just man to the happiness of the unjust man. “And we shall know whether we ought to pursue injustice, as Thrasymachus advises, or to prefer justice.” Continue reading PLATO: The Republic [Book VIII]