Plutarch against Colotes on Platonic Ontology
This chapter focuses on Plutarch's response to Colotes' attack on the Platonic theory of Forms. Colotes argued that by taking the sensible particulars to be only images of the Forms and not real beings Plato in effect abolished the sensible world. Plutarch first embarks on a detailed explication of the theory of Forms: far from doubting the existence of the sensible world, Plato sought to explain its reality by showing how the sensible beings relate to the intelligible Forms. Secondly, Plutarch argues that in fact Epicurean ontology too puts forward a distinction between sensible and intelligible reality, in this way being very much like Plato's theory. Despite the apparent implausibility of his argument, Plutarch turns out to put his finger on an important connection between two philosophical systems that are otherwise in opposition to each other.
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