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Academy,school founded by PlatoPlato
, 427?–347 B.C., Greek philosopher. Plato's teachings have been among the most influential in the history of Western civilization. Life
After pursuing the liberal studies of his day, he became in 407 B.C. a pupil and friend of Socrates. From about 388 B.
..... Click the link for more information. near Athens c.387 B.C. It took its name from the garden (named for the hero Academus) in which it was located. Plato's followers met there for nine centuries until, along with other pagan schools, it was closed by Emperor Justinian in A.D. 529. The Academy has come to mean the entire school of Platonic philosophy, covering the period from Plato through NeoplatonismNeoplatonism
, ancient mystical philosophy based on the doctrines of Plato. Plotinus and the Nature of Neoplatonism
Considered the last of the great pagan philosophies, it was developed by Plotinus (3d cent. A.D.).
..... Click the link for more information. under ProclusProclus
, 410?–485, Neoplatonic philosopher, b. Constantinople. He studied at Alexandria and at Athens, where he was a pupil of the Platonist Syrianus, whom he succeeded as a teacher.
..... Click the link for more information. . During this period Platonic philosophy was modified in various ways. These have been frequently divided into three phases: the Old Academy (until c.250 B.C.) of Plato, SpeusippusSpeusippus
, fl. 347–339 B.C., Greek philosopher; disciple and nephew of Plato, whom he succeeded as head of the Academy. Speusippus distinguished 10 grades of being, thereby prefiguring Neoplatonism. He held that the good is not the source of being but is its goal.
..... Click the link for more information. , and XenocratesXenocrates
, 396–314 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Chalcedon, successor of Speusippus as head of the Academy. He was a disciple of Plato, whom he accompanied to Sicily in 361 B.C. His ascetic life and noble character greatly influenced his pupils.
..... Click the link for more information. ; the Middle Academy (until c.150 B.C.) of ArcesilausArcesilaus
, c.316–c.241 B.C., Greek philosopher of Pitane in Aeolis. He was the principal figure of the Middle Academy. Despite his position in the Academy, his teachings diverged from Platonic doctrine.
..... Click the link for more information. and CarneadesCarneades
, 213–129 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Cyrene. He studied at Athens under Diogenes the Stoic, but reacted against Stoicism and joined the Academy, where he taught a skepticism similar to that of Arcesilaus.
..... Click the link for more information. , who introduced and maintained skepticism as being more faithful to Plato and Socrates; and the New Academy (c.110 B.C.) of Philo of Larissa, who, with subsequent leaders, returned to the dogmatism of the Old Academy.
the name of many scholarly institutions, societies, and educational institutions. The word “academy” comes from the name of the mythological hero Academus, in whose honor the district near Athens where Plato gave lectures to his students in the 4th century B.C. was named.
During the Hellenic period scholarly societies similar to the Academy arose—for example, the Mouseion of Alexandria in the third century B.C. In the East, the most famous medieval academies were the House of Wisdom in Baghdad in the 9th century, the Academy of Mamun in Khwarizm at the beginning of the 11th century, and the scholarly societies at the observatories in Maragheh in the 13th century and in Samarkand in the 15th century. In Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries the name “academy” was given to various scholarly institutions that specialized in the humanities. During the 17th century a group of scholarly academy societies arose that were concerned with the problems of natural science. Since the 1650’s academies have been created as national centers for scholars with state support—among them, the Royal Society in London (1660), the Académie des Sciences in Paris (1666), and the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin (1700), and the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1724). From 1783 to 1841 there was in Russia, in addition to the Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy, which devoted itself to questions of Russian language and literature.
Most countries now have comprehensive academies of sciences, or similar institutions; several countries also have academies that specialize in particular spheres of knowledge. In England, the London Royal Society has been functioning as an academy of sciences since the end of the 18th century. In France, the Institut National serves this function; in Italy, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (“the academy of those as sharp-eyed as a lynx”); and in Asian and African countries, the Arab Academy in Damascus (1919), the National Institute of Sciences of India (1935), and others. A number of academies in the capitalist countries limit their activity to discussing and publishing scholarly works, awarding prizes, counseling governments in science, and so on. In some foreign countries, the term “academy” is used for scholarly societies and social and educational organizations.
In the USSR and other socialist countries, academies are comprehensive scholarly institutions based primarily on research, with institutes, laboratories, and scientific stations; they conduct experiments on the problems of contemporary science, coordinating the work of other scholarly institutions. In the Soviet Union the major center for scholars is the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. In addition, there are academies of sciences in the Union republics and branch academies: the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR, and the Academy of Arts of the USSR. Several higher educational institutions are also called academies—for example, the K. A. Timiriazev Moscow Agricultural Academy, the Ukrainian Agricultural Academy in Kiev, and many higher military educational institutions. The Academy of Social Sciences attached to the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Academy of Housing and Municipal Economy, and other academies do a great amount of research and educational work.