Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Platonism: Neoplatonism


1. the teachings of the Greek philosopher Plato (?427--?347 bc) and his followers, esp the philosophical theory that the meanings of general words are real existing abstract entities (Forms) and that particular objects have properties in common by virtue of their relationship with these Forms
2. the realist doctrine that mathematical entities have real existence and that mathematical truth is independent of human thought



an idealist current in philosophy that originated with Plato’s teachings. The basic content of Platonism is the theory of ideas. In Platonism, “idea” is understood as a vitally functioning logical concept, brought to the limit of generalization, containing the principle and method of comprehending each thing, possessing an artistic structure, and existing as a specific substance. Matter is the reflection and outflow of an idea.

For a long time after Plato’s death, his Academy continued to develop his teachings. In the first century B.C., Posidonius called for the strict systematization of Platonic philosophy, based primarily on the commentary to Plato’s Timaeus. The Stoic interpretation, a long-lived version of Platonism, found support in the theology of Philo of Alexandria and in gnosticism, Herme-tism, the writings of the early church fathers, and the works of Numenius (second and third centuries A.D.), who was the teacher of Plotinus and Origen.

By the third century A.D., the mythology of Stoic Platonism had been vanquished by the dialectic and speculative thought of a philosophical school that gravitated toward Aristotle. Antio-chus of Ascalon, a member of Plato’s Academy, had already successfully challenged Stoic ethics. Later, Ammonius Saccas, following the Platonic and Aristotelian tradition, developed a theory about the ideal world and liberated the doctrine of the soul from the methods of Stoic naturalism. Thus, in the first century B.C. the Platonists, resorting to Aristotelianism and Py-thagoreanism, launched a resolute struggle against the elements of naturalism in Plato’s works—elements that had been strengthened in the Hellenistic period by the Stoics, the Epicureans, and the Skeptics. Neoplatonism, and outgrowth of this centuries-long struggle, emerged in the third century A.D.

Through Neoplatonism, the philosophy of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was influenced by Platonism (Augustine, Dionysius the Areopagite, Johannes Scotus Erigena, Averroës [Ibn Rushd], Ibn Gabirol, the Chartres school, J. Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa, G. Pletho, M. Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, and G. Bruno). All of modern European idealist philosophy has been directly or indirectly influenced by Platonism.


Istoriia filosofii, vol. 1. [Moscow] 1940. Pages 249–58.
Taylor, A. E. Platonism and Its Influence. New York, 1924.
Burnet, J. Platonism. Berkeley, Calif., 1928.
Shorey, P. Platonism Ancient and Modern. Berkeley, Calif., 1938.
Gilson, E. Platonisme, aristotélisme, christianisme. Paris, 1945.
Klibansky, R. The Continuity of the Platonic Tradition During the Middle Ages, 3rd ed. London, 1951.
Merlan, P. From Platonism to Neoplatonism, 2nd ed. The Hague, 1960.
Hoffman, E. Platonismus und christliche Philosophie. Zürich-Stuttgart, 1960.
Stein, H. von. Sieben Bücher zur Geschichte des Platonismus, new ed., parts 1–3. 1965.


References in periodicals archive ?
The resulting theory is, however, very far from standard Platonism and cannot be reconciled with it.
The Stoic Doctrine of Moral Progress and its Reception in (Middle-) Platonism, Leuven: University Press, 2005; Passions and Moral Progress in GrecoRoman Thought, ed.
An early use of Platonism to express a modern fusion of the aesthetic and the homoerotic occurs in Pater's essay on Winckelmann (1867).
So the history of Enlightenment reason is tied to the history of ethical responsibility, which is also related to the legacies of (at least) Platonism, Christianity, and Judaism.
After establishing the importance of the Ottonian Revival, Hiscock makes a comprehensive summary of the primary sources (in translation) for Platonic geometry, as well as its means of transmission and incorporation into Christian Platonism.
Juxtaposed passages from chronologically disparate works such as The Renaissance and Plato and Platonism "initially" demonstrate respectively that, while the early Pater valorized the "new," he comes to see novelty "no longer as attractive as it once was," for what "most intimately engaged the later Pater was not novelty but recurrence" (13).
When it comes to the question of whether numbers have actual existence, mathematical Platonism argues that numbers exist--although without spatial location or temporal duration and therefore perceptually inaccessible--because many of the propositions of mathematics that are accepted as true depend on the existence of numbers for their truth.
Her argument that the Platonism of the episode is literary decoration rather than a real ideological framework is very attractive to the reviewer, though many will take a different view; her point that curiositas is not always a bad thing is salutary.
Gnosticism has its origin in the pagan religions of Asia, Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, and Babylon, and also in astrology and Greek Platonism.
His own philosophical writings incorporating these sources and attempting a workable synthesis between Platonism and Christianity would encourage renewed efforts to establish an alternative to the Scholastic-Aristotelian models so prevalent in most contemporary theological, philosophical, and scientific settings.
One essay, Simon Swain's on Philostratus, stands out among these uniformly illuminating studies not only for its length but for its wide-ranging interpretation of the cultural change in the Greek world in the third century, with the concomitant emergence of Platonism as the dominant cast of thought.
The thesis summa ry appears at the end of Adriaan Theodoor Peperzak, "The Platonism of Emmanuel Levinas," in his Platonic Transformations: With and after Hegel, Heidegger and Levinas (Lanham, Md.