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The Heirs of PlatoA Study of the Old Academy (347-274 BC)$
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John Dillon

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198237662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198237669.001.0001

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Minor Figures

Minor Figures

Chapter:
(p.178) 5 Minor Figures
Source:
The Heirs of Plato
Author(s):

John Dillon (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198237669.003.0005

In this chapter, Dillon considers four minor figures of the Academy: Philippus of Opus, Hermodorus of Syracuse, Heraclides of Pontus, who were all students of Plato; and Crantor of Soli, a contemporary of Polemo. Philippus is best known for editing Plato's Laws for publication, and he was the real author of the Epinomis: as a philosopher, he is distinguished for elevating the rational World‐Soul to the status of the supreme principle, and for identifying astronomy as the true path to the knowledge of God. Hermodorus composed a book on Plato's life and works; philosophically he is interesting for his interpretation of Plato's first principles, and in particular, his denial that matter, or the Unlimited, is a principle. Heraclides, who supervised the Academy during Plato's third trip to Sicily, was nevertheless remarkably free from academic orthodoxy: his most distinctive philosophical position is that the soul is light, or aether, and therefore a quasi‐material substance. Cantor's major contribution to the development of Platonism is the idea of the commentary; Proclus identifies him as the first commentator, because he wrote an exposition, as distinct from an exegesis, of Plato's Timaeus.

Keywords:   astronomy, commentary, Epinomis, Laws, matter, Proclus, Soul, Timaeus, World‐Soul

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