Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is considered the pivotal figure in the history of Ancient Greek and Western philosophy, along with his teacher and his most famous student, Aristotle. Plato has often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality; the so-called Neoplatonism of philosophers like Plotinus and Porphyry influenced Saint Augustine and thus Christianity. Alfred North Whitehead once noted: "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato."Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. Plato appears to have been the founder of Western political philosophy, his most famous contribution bears his name, the doctrine of the Forms known by pure reason to provide a realist solution to the problem of universals.
He is the namesake of Platonic love and the Platonic solids. His own most decisive philosophical influences are thought to have been along with Socrates, the pre-Socratics Pythagoras and Parmenides, although few of his predecessors' works remain extant and much of what we know about these figures today derives from Plato himself. Unlike the work of nearly all of his contemporaries, Plato's entire oeuvre is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, the works of Plato have never been without readers since the time they were written. Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about education. Plato belonged to an influential family. According to a disputed tradition, reported by doxographer Diogenes Laërtius, Plato's father Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens and the king of Messenia, Melanthus. Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon, one of the seven sages, who repealed the laws of Draco.
Perictione was sister of Charmides and niece of Critias, both prominent figures of the Thirty Tyrants, known as the Thirty, the brief oligarchic regime, which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. According to some accounts, Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed in his purpose; the exact time and place of Plato's birth are unknown. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BC, not long after the start of the Peloponnesian War; the traditional date of Plato's birth during the 87th or 88th Olympiad, 428 or 427 BC, is based on a dubious interpretation of Diogenes Laërtius, who says, "When was gone, joined Cratylus the Heracleitean and Hermogenes, who philosophized in the manner of Parmenides. At twenty-eight, Hermodorus says, went to Euclides in Megara." However, as Debra Nails argues, the text does not state that Plato left for Megara after joining Cratylus and Hermogenes.
In his Seventh Letter, Plato notes that his coming of age coincided with the taking of power by the Thirty, remarking, "But a youth under the age of twenty made himself a laughingstock if he attempted to enter the political arena." Thus, Nails dates Plato's birth to 424/423. According to Neanthes, Plato was six years younger than Isocrates, therefore was born the same year the prominent Athenian statesman Pericles died. Jonathan Barnes regards 428 BC as the year of Plato's birth; the grammarian Apollodorus of Athens in his Chronicles argues that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad. Both the Suda and Sir Thomas Browne claimed he was born during the 88th Olympiad. Another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping: an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Besides Plato himself and Perictione had three other children; the brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the Republic as sons of Ariston, brothers of Plato, though some have argued they were uncles.
In a scenario in the Memorabilia, Xenophon confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato. Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult. Perictione married Pyrilampes, her mother's brother, who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens. Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in Parmenides. In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato introduced his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or referred to them with some precision. In addition to Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Republic, Charmides has a dialogue named after him; these and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Plato's family tree. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the Ch
Alexandria is the second-largest city in Egypt and a major economic centre, extending about 32 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country. Its low elevation on the Nile delta makes it vulnerable to rising sea levels. Alexandria is an important industrial center because of its natural oil pipelines from Suez. Alexandria is a popular tourist destination. Alexandria was founded around a small, ancient Egyptian town c. 332 BC by Alexander the Great, king of Macedon and leader of the Greek League of Corinth, during his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire. Alexandria became an important center of Hellenistic civilization and remained the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt and Roman and Byzantine Egypt for 1,000 years, until the Muslim conquest of Egypt in AD 641, when a new capital was founded at Fustat. Hellenistic Alexandria was best known for the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexandria was at one time the second most powerful city of the ancient Mediterranean region, after Rome.
Ongoing maritime archaeology in the harbor of Alexandria, which began in 1994, is revealing details of Alexandria both before the arrival of Alexander, when a city named Rhacotis existed there, during the Ptolemaic dynasty. From the late 18th century, Alexandria became a major center of the international shipping industry and one of the most important trading centers in the world, both because it profited from the easy overland connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, the lucrative trade in Egyptian cotton. Alexandria is believed to have been founded by Alexander the Great in April 331 BC as Ἀλεξάνδρεια. Alexander's chief architect for the project was Dinocrates. Alexandria was intended to supersede Naucratis as a Hellenistic center in Egypt, to be the link between Greece and the rich Nile valley. Although it has long been believed only a small village there, recent radiocarbon dating of seashell fragments and lead contamination show significant human activity at the location for two millennia preceding Alexandria's founding.
Alexandria was the cultural center of the ancient world for some time. The city and its museum attracted many of the greatest scholars, including Greeks and Syrians; the city was plundered and lost its significance. In the early Christian Church, the city was the center of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, one of the major centers of early Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the modern world, the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria both lay claim to this ancient heritage. Just east of Alexandria, there was in ancient times marshland and several islands; as early as the 7th century BC, there existed important port cities of Heracleion. The latter was rediscovered under water. An Egyptian city, Rhakotis existed on the shore and gave its name to Alexandria in the Egyptian language, it continued to exist as the Egyptian quarter of the city. A few months after the foundation, Alexander never returned to his city. After Alexander's departure, his viceroy, continued the expansion.
Following a struggle with the other successors of Alexander, his general Ptolemy Lagides succeeded in bringing Alexander's body to Alexandria, though it was lost after being separated from its burial site there. Although Cleomenes was in charge of overseeing Alexandria's continuous development, the Heptastadion and the mainland quarters seem to have been Ptolemaic work. Inheriting the trade of ruined Tyre and becoming the center of the new commerce between Europe and the Arabian and Indian East, the city grew in less than a generation to be larger than Carthage. In a century, Alexandria had become the largest city in the world and, for some centuries more, was second only to Rome, it became Egypt's main Greek city, with Greek people from diverse backgrounds. Alexandria was not only a center of Hellenism, but was home to the largest urban Jewish community in the world; the Septuagint, a Greek version of the Tanakh, was produced there. The early Ptolemies kept it in order and fostered the development of its museum into the leading Hellenistic center of learning, but were careful to maintain the distinction of its population's three largest ethnicities: Greek and Egyptian.
By the time of Augustus, the city walls encompassed an area of 5.34 km2, the total population in Roman times was around 500-600,000. According to Philo of Alexandria, in the year 38 of the Common era, disturbances erupted between Jews and Greek citizens of Alexandria during a visit paid by the Jewish king Agrippa I to Alexandria, principally over the respect paid by the Jewish nation to the Roman emperor, which escalated to open affronts and violence between the two ethnic groups and the desecration of Alexandrian synagogues; the violence was quelled after Caligula intervened and had the Roman governor, removed from the city. In AD 115, large parts of Alexandria were destroyed during the Kitos War, which gave Hadrian and his architect, Decriannus, an opportunity to rebuild it. In 215, the emperor Caracalla visited the city and, because of some insulting satires that the inhabitants had directed at him, abruptly commanded his troops to put to death all youths capable of bearing arms. On 21 July
The Academy was founded by Plato in c. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding the Lyceum; the Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC. The Platonic Academy was destroyed by the Roman dictator Sulla in 86 BC; the Akademia was a school outside the city walls of ancient Athens. It was located in or beside a grove of olive trees dedicated to the goddess Athena, on the site before Cimon enclosed the precincts with a wall; the archaic name for the site was Ἑκαδήμεια, which by classical times evolved into Ἀκαδημία, explained, at least as early as the beginning of the 6th century BC, by linking it to “Akademos”, a legendary Athenian hero. The site of the Academy was sacred to Athena; the site was also associated with the twin hero-gods Castor and Polydeuces, since the hero Akademos associated with the site was credited with revealing to the brothers where the abductor Paris had hidden their sister Helen.
Out of respect for its long tradition and its association with the Dioscuri – who were patron gods of Sparta – the Spartan army would not ravage these original ‘groves of Academe’ when they invaded Attica. Their piety was not shared by the Roman Sulla, who axed the sacred olive trees of Athena in 86 BC to build siege engines. Among the religious observances that took place at the Akademeia was a torchlit night race from altars within the city to Prometheus’ altar in the Akademeia; the road to Akademeia was lined with the gravestones of Athenians, funeral games took place in the area as well as a Dionysiac procession from Athens to the Hekademeia and back to the city. The site of the Academy is located near Colonus 1.5 kilometres north of Athens' Dipylon gates. The site was rediscovered in the modern Akadimia Platonos neighbourhood. Visitors today can visit the archaeological site of the Academy located on either side of the Cratylus street in the area of Colonos and Plato's Academy. On either side of the Cratylus street are important monuments, including the Sacred House Geometric Era, the Gymnasium, the Proto-Helladic Vaulted House and the Peristyle Building, the only major building that belonged to the actual Academy of Plato.
What was to be known as Plato's school originated around the time Plato inherited the property at the age of thirty, with informal gatherings which included Theaetetus of Sunium, Archytas of Tarentum, Leodamas of Thasos, Neoclides. According to Debra Nails, Speusippus "joined the group in about 390 BC", she claims, "It is not until Eudoxus of Cnidos arrives in the mid-380s BC that Eudemus recognizes a formal Academy." There is no historical record of the exact time the school was founded, but modern scholars agree that the time was the mid-380s sometime after 387 BC, when Plato is thought to have returned from his first visit to Italy and Sicily. The meetings were held on Plato's property as as they were at the nearby Academy gymnasium. Though the Academic club was exclusive and not open to the public, it did not, at least during Plato's time, charge fees for membership. Therefore, there was not at that time a "school" in the sense of a clear distinction between teachers and students, or a formal curriculum.
There was, however, a distinction between junior members. Two women are known to have studied with Plato at the Academy, Axiothea of Phlius and Lasthenia of Mantinea. In at least Plato's time, the school did not have any particular doctrine to teach. There is evidence of lectures given, most notably Plato's lecture "On the Good". According to an unverifiable story, dated of some 700 years after the founding of the school, above the entrance to the Academy was inscribed the phrase "Let None But Geometers Enter Here."Many have imagined that the Academic curriculum would have resembled the one canvassed in Plato's Republic. Others, have argued that such a picture ignores the obvious peculiar arrangements of the ideal society envisioned in that dialogue; the subjects of study certainly included mathematics as well as the philosophical topics with which the Platonic dialogues deal, but there is little reliable evidence. There is some evidence for what today would be considered scientific research: Simplicius reports that Plato had instructed the other members to discover the simplest explanation of the observable, irregular motion of heavenly bodies: "by hypothesizing what uniform and ordered motions is it possible to save the appearances relating to planetary motions."
Plato's Academy is said to have been a school for would-be politicians in the ancient world, to have had many illustrious alumni. In a recent survey of the evidence, Malcolm Schofield, has argued that it is difficult to know to what extent the Academy was interested in practical politics since much of our evidence "reflects ancient polemic for or against Plato", it is believed that above the door of Plato's Academy was written Ἀγεωμέτρητος μηδεὶς εἰσίτω ("Let
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy, entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Old Catholic and Independent Catholic churches and in the Assyrian Church of the East, bishops claim apostolic succession, a direct historical lineage dating back to the original Twelve Apostles. Within these churches, bishops are seen as those who possess the full priesthood and can ordain clergy – including another bishop; some Protestant churches including the Lutheran and Methodist churches have bishops serving similar functions as well, though not always understood to be within apostolic succession in the same way. One, ordained deacon and bishop is understood to hold the fullness of the priesthood, given responsibility by Christ to govern and sanctify the Body of Christ, members of the Faithful. Priests and lay ministers cooperate and assist their bishops in shepherding a flock.
The term epískopos, meaning "overseer" in Greek, the early language of the Christian Church, was not from the earliest times distinguished from the term presbýteros, but the term was clearly used in the sense of the order or office of bishop, distinct from that of presbyter in the writings attributed to Ignatius of Antioch.. The earliest organization of the Church in Jerusalem was, according to most scholars, similar to that of Jewish synagogues, but it had a council or college of ordained presbyters. In Acts 11:30 and Acts 15:22, we see a collegiate system of government in Jerusalem chaired by James the Just, according to tradition the first bishop of the city. In Acts 14:23, the Apostle Paul ordains presbyters in churches in Anatolia; the word presbyter was not yet distinguished from overseer, as in Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5–7 and 1 Peter 5:1. The earliest writings of the Apostolic Fathers, the Didache and the First Epistle of Clement, for example, show the church used two terms for local church offices—presbyters and deacon.
In Timothy and Titus in the New Testament a more defined episcopate can be seen. We are told that Paul had left Timothy in Titus in Crete to oversee the local church. Paul commands Titus to exercise general oversight. Early sources are unclear but various groups of Christian communities may have had the bishop surrounded by a group or college functioning as leaders of the local churches; the head or "monarchic" bishop came to rule more and all local churches would follow the example of the other churches and structure themselves after the model of the others with the one bishop in clearer charge, though the role of the body of presbyters remained important. As Christendom grew, bishops no longer directly served individual congregations. Instead, the Metropolitan bishop appointed priests to minister each congregation, acting as the bishop's delegate. Around the end of the 1st century, the church's organization became clearer in historical documents. In the works of the Apostolic Fathers, Ignatius of Antioch in particular, the role of the episkopos, or bishop, became more important or, rather was important and being defined.
While Ignatius of Antioch offers the earliest clear description of monarchial bishops he is an advocate of monepiscopal structure rather than describing an accepted reality. To the bishops and house churches to which he writes, he offers strategies on how to pressure house churches who don't recognize the bishop into compliance. Other contemporary Christian writers do not describe monarchial bishops, either continuing to equate them with the presbyters or speaking of episkopoi in a city. "Blessed be God, who has granted unto you, who are yourselves so excellent, to obtain such an excellent bishop." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 1:1 "and that, being subject to the bishop and the presbytery, ye may in all respects be sanctified." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 2:1 "For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as to the bishop as the strings are to the harp." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:1 "Do ye, beloved, be careful to be subject to the bishop, the presbyters and the deacons."
— Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 5:1 "Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6:1. "your godly bishop" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 2:1. "the bishop presiding after the likeness of God and the presbyters after the likeness of the council of the Apostles, with the deacons who are most dear to me, having been entrusted with the diaconate of Jesus Christ" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 6:1. "Therefore as the Lord did nothing without the Father, either by Himself or by the Apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and the presbyters." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 7:1. "Be obedient to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was to the Father, as the Apostles were to Christ and to the Father, that there may be union both of flesh and of spirit." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 13:2. "In like manner let all men respe
Aristotle was a philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he is considered the "Father of Western Philosophy", his writings cover many subjects – including physics, zoology, logic, aesthetics, theatre, rhetoric, linguistics, economics and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him, it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry; as a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion. Little is known about his life. Aristotle was born in the city of Stagira in Northern Greece, his father, died when Aristotle was a child, he was brought up by a guardian. At seventeen or eighteen years of age, he joined Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven.
Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC. He established a library in the Lyceum which helped him to produce many of his hundreds of books on papyrus scrolls. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues for publication, only around a third of his original output has survived, none of it intended for publication; the fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, following Plato's death, Aristotle developed an increased interest in natural sciences and adopted the position of immanent realism. Aristotle's views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, were not replaced systematically until the Enlightenment and theories such as classical mechanics. Some of Aristotle's zoological observations found in his biology, such as on the hectocotyl arm of the octopus, were disbelieved until the 19th century.
His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, studied by medieval scholars such as Peter Abelard and John Buridan. Aristotle's influence on logic continued well into the 19th century He influenced Islamic thought during the Middle Ages, as well as Christian theology the Neoplatonism of the Early Church and the scholastic tradition of the Catholic Church. Aristotle was revered among medieval Muslim scholars as "The First Teacher" and among medieval Christians like Thomas Aquinas as "The Philosopher", his ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics, such as in the thinking of Alasdair MacIntyre and Philippa Foot. In general, the details of Aristotle's life are not well-established; the biographies written in ancient times are speculative and historians only agree on a few salient points. Aristotle, whose name means "the best purpose" in Ancient Greek, was born in 384 BC in Stagira, about 55 km east of modern-day Thessaloniki.
His father Nicomachus was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Both of Aristotle's parents died when he was about thirteen, Proxenus of Atarneus became his guardian. Although little information about Aristotle's childhood has survived, he spent some time within the Macedonian palace, making his first connections with the Macedonian monarchy. At the age of seventeen or eighteen, Aristotle moved to Athens to continue his education at Plato's Academy, he remained there for nearly twenty years before leaving Athens in 348/47 BC. The traditional story about his departure records that he was disappointed with the Academy's direction after control passed to Plato's nephew Speusippus, although it is possible that he feared the anti-Macedonian sentiments in Athens at that time and left before Plato died. Aristotle accompanied Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor. After the death of Hermias, Aristotle travelled with his pupil Theophrastus to the island of Lesbos, where together they researched the botany and zoology of the island and its sheltered lagoon.
While in Lesbos, Aristotle married Hermias's adoptive daughter or niece. She bore him a daughter, whom they named Pythias. In 343 BC, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander. Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During Aristotle's time in the Macedonian court, he gave lessons not only to Alexander, but to two other future kings: Ptolemy and Cassander. Aristotle encouraged Alexander toward eastern conquest and Aristotle's own attitude towards Persia was unabashedly ethnocentric. In one famous example, he counsels Alexander to be "a leader to the Greeks and a despot to the barbarians, to look after the former as after friends and relatives, to deal with the latter as with beasts or plants". By 335 BC, Aristotle had returned to Athens. Aristotle conducted courses at the school for the next twelve years. While in Athens, his wife Pythias died and Aristotle became involved with Herpyllis of Stagira, who bore him a son whom he named after his father, Nicomachus.
According to the Suda, he had an erômenos, Palaephatus of Abydus. This period in Athens, between 335 and 323 BC, is when Aristotle is believed to have composed many of his works, he wrote many dialogues. Those works that have survived are in treatise form and were not
Platonism, rendered as a proper noun, is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered derived from it. In narrower usage, rendered as a common noun, refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, is the opposite of nominalism. Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato. In a narrower sense, the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism; the central concept of Platonism, a distinction essential to the Theory of Forms, is the distinction between the reality, perceptible but unintelligible, the reality, imperceptible but intelligible. The forms are described in dialogues such as the Phaedo and Republic as transcendent perfect archetypes of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. In the Republic the highest form is identified as the Form of the Good, the source of all other forms, which could be known by reason.
In the Sophist, a work, the forms being and difference are listed among the primordial "Great Kinds". In the 3rd century BC, Arcesilaus adopted skepticism, which became a central tenet of the school until 90 BC when Antiochus added Stoic elements, rejected skepticism, began a period known as Middle Platonism. In the 3rd century AD, Plotinus added mystical elements, establishing Neoplatonism, in which the summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Plato's forms as God's thoughts, while Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were influenced by Plotinus' Enneads, in turn were foundations for the whole of Western Christian thought; the primary concept is the Theory of Forms. The only true being is founded upon the forms, the eternal, perfect types, of which particular objects of moral and responsible sense are imperfect copies.
The multitude of objects of sense, being involved in perpetual change, are thereby deprived of all genuine existence. The number of the forms is defined by the number of universal concepts which can be derived from the particular objects of sense; the following excerpt may be representative of Plato's middle period metaphysics and epistemology: "Since the beautiful is opposite of the ugly, they are two." "Of course." "And since they are two, each is one?" "I grant that also." "And the same account is true of the just and unjust, the good and the bad, all the forms. Each of them is itself one, but because they manifest themselves everywhere in association with actions and one another, each of them appears to be many." "That's right." "So, I draw this distinction: On one side are those you just now called lovers of sights, lovers of crafts, practical people. "How do you mean?" "The lovers of sights and sounds like beautiful sounds, colors and everything fashioned out of them, but their thought is unable to see and embrace the nature of the beautiful itself."
"That's for sure." "In fact, there are few people who would be able to reach the beautiful itself and see it by itself. Isn't that so?" "Certainly." "What about someone who believes in beautiful things, but doesn't believe in the beautiful itself and isn't able to follow anyone who could lead him to the knowledge of it? Don't you think he is living in a dream rather than a wakened state? Isn't this dreaming: whether asleep or awake, to think that a likeness is not a likeness but rather the thing itself that it is like?" "I think that someone who does, dreaming." "But someone who, to take the opposite case, believes in the beautiful itself, can see both it and the things that participate in it and doesn't believe that the participants are it or that it itself is the participants--is he living in a dream or is he awake? "He's much awake." Book VI of the Republic identifies the highest form as the Form of the Good, the cause of all other Ideas, that on which the being and knowing of all other Forms is contingent.
Conceptions derived from the impressions of sense can never give us the knowledge of true being. It can only be obtained by the soul's activity within itself, apart from the troubles and disturbances of sense. Dialectic, as the instrument in this process, leading us to knowledge of the forms, to the highest form of the Good, is the first of sciences. Neoplatonism, beginning with Plotinus, identified the Good of the Republic with the so-called transcendent, absolute One of the first hypothesis of the Parmenides. Platonist ethics is based on the Form of the Good. Virtue is the recognition of the supreme form of the good. And, since in this cognition, the three parts of the soul, which are reason and appetite, all have their share, we get the three virtues, Wisdom and Moderation; the bond which unites the other virtues is the virtue of Justice, by which each part of the soul is confined to the performance of its proper function. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought. In many interpretations of the Timaeus Platonism, like Aristotelianism, poses an eternal universe, as opposed to the nearby Judaic tradition that the universe had bee
The soul, in many religious and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, feeling, memory, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves and have their physical representative in the world; the actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger there is a self-conscious identity residing in it, a physical representative in the world; some teach that non-biological entities possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, understood that the soul must have a logical faculty, the exercise of, the most divine of human actions.
At his defense trial, Socrates summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence. The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual; the Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50. It is cognate with other German and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Deeper etymology of the Germanic word is unclear; the original concept behind the Germanic root is thought to mean “coming from or belonging to the sea ”, because of the Germanic and pre-Celtic belief in souls emerging from and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola compared to Old Saxon sêo.
The Koine Greek Septuagint uses ψυχή to translate Hebrew נפש, meaning "life, vital breath", refers to a mortal, physical life, but in English it is variously translated as "soul, life, person, mind, living being, emotion, passion". Vulgate – Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem. Authorized King James Version – "And God created great whales, every living creature that moveth."The Koine Greek word ψυχή, "life, consciousness", is derived from a verb meaning "to cool, to blow", hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα, meaning "body". Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα, as seen in Matthew 10:28: Greek – καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. Vulgate – et nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus animam autem non possunt occidere sed potius eum timete qui potest et animam et corpus perdere in gehennam. Authorized King James Version – "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Paul the Apostle used ψυχή and πνεῦμα to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש and רוח ruah.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Babylonian religion. Kuttamuwa, an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, ordered an inscribed stele erected upon his death; the inscription requested that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlife with feasts "for my soul, in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body; the 800-pound basalt stele is 2 ft wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois; the Bahá'í Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, whose mystery no mind, however acute, can hope to unravel". Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen as the soul's state of nearness to God.
Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world. Buddhism teaches that all things are in a constant