The development of Plato's conception of God.
Brunett, Harry Edgar
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The problem of the thesis is to develop the concept of God in Plato's thought as it grew out of his knowledge of early Greek religion into his mature expression of the meaning of human life and the telic aspects of the cosmos. The development of Plato's deity necessarily had to encompass his epistemology and metaphysics as these aspects of his philosophy combined to render the concept of God a logical possibility. The thesis begins with an examination of early Greek religion, as it is necessary to understand the antecedent influences that were brought to bear on Plato's thought. Plato was tremendously indebted to the religion of Homer and other early Greek religious writers, and this influence was to pervade his early dialogues. However, the scepticism of his contemporaries provoked Plato to seek a realm of being that was more compatible with his thinking than the naturalism and the solipsism of the Pre-Socratics and the Sophists. The doctrine of Ideas is the result of this search for a divine realm of being. Plato makes a distinction between the static aspect of the supernatural and the dynamic. The Ideas represent the static and metaphysical part of the divine. The gods are hardly mentioned along with the Ideas; they connote the dynamic in Plato's divinity and do not appear when Plato gives expression to his metaphysical entities. The concept of the soul developed early, and its creation made possible the apprehension of the Ideal realm by man. The tripartite division of the soul introduces us to Plato's soul psychology. The soul has the intellect as its highest faculty; it is this part of man that communicates with the supra-sensual world. Plato's later conception of the soul found it to be the originator of all motion and life. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University