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From Plato to Platonism$
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Lloyd P. Gerson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801452413

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801452413.001.0001

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Aristotle on Plato and Platonism

Aristotle on Plato and Platonism

(p.97) Chapter 4 Aristotle on Plato and Platonism
From Plato to Platonism

Lloyd P. Gerson

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that Aristotle's testimony about Platonism and, indeed, Aristotle's entire philosophical enterprise are aimed at identifying and repairing problems in the Platonic positive construction out of “Ur-Platonism” (UP). Aristotle writes of Plato's positive construction synoptically, that is, almost never focusing on a single dialogue or dialogues, and trying to examine the core of his comprehensive and unified response to UP. For this reason, Aristotle's use of the dialogues as evidence for that positive response is constantly controlled by his access to the ongoing discussions in Plato's Academy. The best approach here seems to be to use the dialogues and Aristotle's testimony, especially in regard to the unwritten teachings, to track Plato's construction of a comprehensive philosophy based on UP. In addition, part of that task involves the creation of a technical philosophical vocabulary to express the distinctions and insights obtained through ongoing Academic work.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Platonic positive construction, Ur-Platonism, Platonic dialogues, unwritten teachings, philosophical vocabulary

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