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Grand Theories and Everyday BeliefsScience, Philosophy, and their Histories$
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Wallace Matson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812691.001.0001

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Athens II: Plato

Athens II: Plato

(p.104) Chapter 13 Athens II: Plato
Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs

Wallace Matson

Oxford University Press

Frustrated by events from pursuing an active political career, Plato founded the Academy, a school for educating statesmen. The training was meant to inculcate genuine Knowledge, hence the curriculum went heavy on mathematics. Plato supposed the objects of mathematics to be figures and numbers, but not particular visible marks; rather eternal and unchanging things seen only with the mind's eye. He generalized the view into a theory according to which there is such an eternal object–an Idea–for every meaningful word; for to mean, he supposed, is to name. Thus Plato had a theory of language–on which he built his Grand Theory. It rejected all three Milesian requirements: unity, immanence, and Sufficient Reason. Belief in Platonism is necessarily high belief, because the notion of coping as test of reality has no place in it. Plato also invented theology, not a science but a mimicry of one.

Keywords:   idea, participate, mathematics, meaning, naming, language, theology, Milesian requirement

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