Plato on God as Nous

This book is the first sustained modern investigation of Plato's theology. A central thesis of the book is that Plato had a theology--not just a mythology for the ideal city, not just the theory of forms or the theory of cosmic souls, but also, irreducible to any of these, an account of God as Nous (Reason), the source of rational order both to souls and the world of bodies. The understanding of God as Reason, and of the world as governed directly or indirectly by Reason, is worked out in the dialogues of Plato's last period, the Statesman, Philebus, Timaeus, and Laws. These dialogues offer a strategy for explaining the physical world that goes beyond anything in the middle dialogues, and gives the best starting point for understanding the cosmologies and theologies of Aristotle, the Stoics, and later ancient thinkers. Menn focuses on the Timaeus as Plato's most sustained effort to provide what (according to the Phaedo) Anaxagoras had failed to deliver: an explanation of the world through Reason, showing that things are as they are because it is best, or because it best serves the order of the world as a whole. Anaxagoras was disappointed because he explained things through their material constituents, without explaining why the constituents are ordered as they are; but the theory of forms has the same defect, since itcannot explain why different parts of the universe participate in different forms according to a particular order. The Timaeus and other late dialogues attempt to supply the missing explanation of the ordering of the physical world. These dialogues do not retreat from the middle dialogue theory of forms, nor do they escape into an esoteric theory of numbers; but they add to the middle dialogues an analysis of the principles necessary to account for the existence and partial intelligibility of the sensible world--not only forms and a material substance but also Nous and souls. Although the demiurge of the Timaeus (and his counterpart the Nous of Philebus) is represented as a cause both to souls and bodies, most scholars have been reluctant to identify the demiurge as a being separate from and superior to souls, because they think that both the meaning of the Greek word nous and Plato's own statements require that Nous iseither a kind of soul (mind or rational soul) or something inseparable from souls (rational mental activity). Reexamining the linguistic evidence and the Platonic texts, Menn argues that nous can mean something separate from souls, namely the virtue of rationality or intelligence that souls participate in. Menn argues that Anaxagoras' Nous should be construed as such a virtue; then he examines what status this virtue has in the context of the Platonic theory of forms, and how itis a cause both to souls and to bodies. Soul plays a crucial role in mediating the causality of Nous and introducing rational order into the world of bodies, but neither soul in general nor the world-soul in particular can be identified with Nous. Menn stresses the pre-Socratic context for the cosmology and theology of Plato's late dialogues; he argues for the importance of Diogenes of Appolonia in particular, and he reconstructs a possible new fragment of Diogenes from the Timaeus and from the Hippocratic treatise On Breaths. In the Timaeus and other late dialogues Plato attempts to do better than his predecessors by standards implicit in Socrates' critique of Anaxagoras in the Phaedo, but what Plato offers remains consciously provisional. Aristotle argues that the Timaeus remains liable to some of the same criticisms that Socrates had leveled against Anaxagoras, and Aristotle's own cosmology and theology take up Plato's challenge to carry out Anaxagoras' promise of an explanation of the world through Nous, and attempt to improve on the Timaeus asPlato had improved on Anaxagoras. In this way the Timaeus serves as an essential starting point, not onlyfor those later ancient philosophers who took it as an authoritative statement on the world and on God but also for those who took it as a challenge to do better.

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  • Author : Stephen Menn
  • Publisher : Journal on the History of Phil
  • Pages : 86 pages
  • ISBN :
  • Rating : 4/5 from 21 reviews
CLICK HERE TO GET THIS BOOKPlato on God as Nous

Plato on God as Nous

Plato on God as Nous
  • Author : Stephen Menn,Stephen Philip Menn
  • Publisher : Journal on the History of Phil
  • Release : 19 January 1995
GET THIS BOOKPlato on God as Nous

This book is the first sustained modern investigation of Plato's theology. A central thesis of the book is that Plato had a theology--not just a mythology for the ideal city, not just the theory of forms or the theory of cosmic souls, but also, irreducible to any of these, an account of God as Nous (Reason), the source of rational order both to souls and the world of bodies. The understanding of God as Reason, and of the world as

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  • Author : Gerd Van Riel
  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Release : 22 April 2016
GET THIS BOOKPlato's Gods

This book presents a comprehensive study into Plato's theological doctrines, offering an important re-valuation of the status of Plato's gods and the relation between metaphysics and theology according to Plato. Starting from an examination of Plato's views of religion and the relation between religion and morality, Gerd Van Riel investigates Plato's innovative ways of speaking about the gods. This theology displays a number of diverging tendencies - viewing the gods as perfect moral actors, as cosmological principles or as celestial

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Timaeus
  • Author : Plato
  • Publisher : Good Press
  • Release : 20 November 2019
GET THIS BOOKTimaeus

"Timaeus" by Plato (translated by Benjamin Jowett). Published by Good Press. Good Press publishes a wide range of titles that encompasses every genre. From well-known classics & literary fiction and non-fiction to forgotten−or yet undiscovered gems−of world literature, we issue the books that need to be read. Each Good Press edition has been meticulously edited and formatted to boost readability for all e-readers and devices. Our goal is to produce eBooks that are user-friendly and accessible to everyone in

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  • Author : Stephen Menn,Stephen Philip Menn
  • Publisher : Cambridge University Press
  • Release : 28 January 2002
GET THIS BOOKDescartes and Augustine

This book is a systematic study of Descartes' relation to Augustine. It offers a complete reevaluation of Descartes' thought and as such will be of major importance to all historians of medieval, neo-Platonic, or early modern philosophy. Stephen Menn demonstrates that Descartes uses Augustine's central ideas as a point of departure for a critique of medieval Aristotelian physics, which he replaces with a new, mechanistic anti-Aristotelian physics. Special features of the book include a reading of the Meditations, a comprehensive

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  • Publisher : Oxford University Press
  • Release : 16 August 2012
GET THIS BOOKThe Oxford Handbook of Aristotle

This book reflects the lively international character of Aristotelian studies, drawing contributors from Europe, North America, and Asia. It also reflects the broad range of activity Aristotelian studies comprise today, informed by cutting-edge philological research and focusing as its core activity on textual exegesis and philosophical criticism.

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  • Publisher : BRILL
  • Release : 01 December 2003
GET THIS BOOKPlato and the Good

This book is an original interpretation of the idea of the Good that is based on the interplay between words (logoi) and dramatic action (erga) in Plato’s dialogues Philebus, The Republic, Phaedrus, Euthyphro, and the Apology.

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Plato on the Limits of Human Life
  • Author : Sara Brill
  • Publisher : Indiana University Press
  • Release : 03 June 2013
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By focusing on the immortal character of the soul in key Platonic dialogues, Sara Brill shows how Plato thought of the soul as remarkably flexible, complex, and indicative of the inner workings of political life and institutions. As she explores the character of the soul, Brill reveals the corrective function that law and myth serve. If the soul is limitless, she claims, then the city must serve a regulatory or prosthetic function and prop up good political institutions against the

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  • Author : Sandra Peterson
  • Publisher : Cambridge University Press
  • Release : 10 March 2011
GET THIS BOOKSocrates and Philosophy in the Dialogues of Plato

In Plato's Apology, Socrates says he spent his life examining and questioning people on how best to live, while avowing that he himself knows nothing important. Elsewhere, however, for example in Plato's Republic, Plato's Socrates presents radical and grandiose theses. In this book Sandra Peterson offers a hypothesis which explains the puzzle of Socrates' two contrasting manners. She argues that the apparently confident doctrinal Socrates is in fact conducting the first step of an examination: by eliciting his interlocutors' reactions,

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  • Publisher : Springer
  • Release : 19 January 2017
GET THIS BOOKThe Immediacy of Mystical Experience in the European Tradition

This volume examines mystical experiences as portrayed in various ways by “authors” such as philosophers, mystics, psychoanalysts, writers, and peasant women. These “mystical authors” have, throughout the ages, attempted to convey the unsayable through writings, paintings, or oral stories. The immediate experience of God is the primary source and ultimate goal of these mystical expressions. This experience is essentially ineffable, yet all mystical authors, either consciously or unconsciously, feel an urge to convey what they have undergone in the moments

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  • Publisher : Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
  • Release : 19 November 2018
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This volume tackles both the apparent lack of unity and the perplexing philosophical content of the Statesman as it explores, in what is now Plato's second account, subsequent to that of the Republic, of what would constitute the best society, the role and nature of the statesman in it; the art of governance of it; the role and nature of its laws; the role and status of its female citizens; and how the virtues are interwoven within it, along with

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  • Publisher : Cambridge University Press
  • Release : 31 July 2017
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The field of ancient Greek ethics is increasingly emerging as a major branch of philosophical enquiry, and students and scholars of ancient philosophy will find this Companion to be a rich and invaluable guide to the themes and movements which characterised the discipline from the Pre-Socratics to the Neo-Platonists. Several chapters are dedicated to the central figures of Plato and Aristotle, and others explore the ethical thought of the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Skeptics, and Plotinus. Further chapters examine important

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  • Author : Gabriela Roxana Carone
  • Publisher : Cambridge University Press
  • Release : 31 October 2005
GET THIS BOOKPlato's Cosmology and its Ethical Dimensions

Although a great deal has been written on Plato's ethics, his cosmology has not received so much attention in recent times and its importance for his ethical thought has remained underexplored. By offering accounts of Timaeus, Philebus, Politicus and Laws X, the book reveals a strongly symbiotic relation between the cosmic and human sphere. It is argued that in his late period Plato presents a picture of an organic universe, endowed with structure and intrinsic value, which both urges our

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  • Publisher : Oxford University Press, USA
  • Release : 19 January 2022
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Plato is the best known, and continues to be the most widely studied, of all the ancient Greek philosophers. The updated and original essays in the second edition of the Oxford Handbook of Plato provide in-depth discussions of a variety of topics and dialogues, all serving several functions at once: they survey the current academic landscape; express and develop the authors' own views; and situate those views within a range of alternatives. The result is a useful state-of-the-art reference to

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  • Publisher : Springer Science & Business Media
  • Release : 13 June 2013
GET THIS BOOKModels of God and Alternative Ultimate Realities

The envisioned volume is a collection of recent essays about the philosophical exploration, critique and comparison of (a) the major philosophical models of God, gods and other ultimate realities implicit in the world’s philosophical schools and religions, and of (b) the ideas of such models and doing such modeling per se. The aim is to identify exactly what a model of ultimate reality is; create a comprehensive and accessible collection of extant models; and determine how best, philosophically, to

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  • Author : Eli Diamond
  • Publisher : Northwestern University Press
  • Release : 31 May 2015
GET THIS BOOKMortal Imitations of Divine Life

In Mortal Imitations of Divine Life, Diamond offers an interpretation of De Anima, which explains how and why Aristotle places souls in a hierarchy of value. Aristotle’s central intention in De Anima is to discover the nature and essence of soul—the principle of living beings. He does so by identifying the common structures underlying every living activity, whether it be eating, perceiving, thinking, or moving through space. As Diamond demonstrates through close readings of De Anima, the nature