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Classics - Substance in Plato?

 
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 08:40 am
I was wondering if there was the idea of 'spiritual substance' in Plato. I am very familiar with it in Aristotle, Augustine and Acquinas but am just trying to find out if it is in Plato?
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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 11:45 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;84929 wrote:
I was wondering if there was the idea of 'spiritual substance' in Plato. I am very familiar with it in Aristotle, Augustine and Acquinas but am just trying to find out if it is in Plato?

He had his metaphysics, and metaphysics is impossible without a spiritual conception of reality... And I cannot point to proof of Plato's meta physics at this moment or any time soon, yet I think if follows right through to modern times... All men being created equal is only a later example... The belief that reality is created throws forms into a different light than we are used to thinking of them... An accidental reality lets us see and use forms as they are: Judgements...
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jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 05:14 pm
@jeeprs,
Yes, but 'spiritual substance' in particular. I think this was introduced by Aristotle. I am interested in the development of that specific idea.

(Also, I don't agree that forms are 'judgements' in the human mind. Plato's view is that forms precede existence, and are that which creates the possibility for judgement.)
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jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 05:21 pm
@jeeprs,
If I understand what is meant by "spiritual substance," then to my knowledge, such a concept was alien to Plato's way of thinking. The closest he came to the idea might have been in his discussion of the good-itself, or the good-beyond-being.
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prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 06:01 pm
@jeeprs,
Ancient Theories of Soul (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

A fairly good discussion of the ancient Greek conception of the soul. I assume soul and "spiritual substance" are similar notions?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 07:45 pm
@jeeprs,
well I think this idea of 'spiritual substance' is deeply problematical because of its dualism. I think it is one of the major causes of our current metaphysical distress.
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 01:12 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;85052 wrote:
well I think this idea of 'spiritual substance' is deeply problematical because of its dualism. I think it is one of the major causes of our current metaphysical distress.

Agreed...

although Plato set it in motion with his references to the above-mentioned good-itself.
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jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 03:26 am
@jeeprs,
Agreed. I think a lot of it came from Aristotle trying to make sense out of what Plato said about the Soul and the Good. Aristotle came along in his encyclopedic way and started to classify all the qualities it must have, what could be said about it, and so on.
richrf
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 10:23 am
@prothero,
prothero;85038 wrote:
Ancient Theories of Soul (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

A fairly good discussion of the ancient Greek conception of the soul. I assume soul and "spiritual substance" are similar notions?



Hi,

Nice article. Thanks. Many of the ideas of Greek philosophy correlate with Daoist philosophy which was evolving at approximately the same time. Possibly traders between the two continents carried ideas which they shared. Maybe it was synchronicity.

The Five Shen


What Are The Five Shen?

The Five Shen are the spirits associated with each of the body's five yin organ-systems (Heart, Kidney, Spleen, Liver and Lungs).

Shen: Emperor of the Heart

Within the Five Shen system we find something like a spiritual hierarchy: Shen - the spirit of the Heart - is the Emperor, with aspects of its power - like Ministers - residing as the spirits of the other organs.

Hun: The Ethereal Soul of the Liver


The Hun or ethereal soul is associated with the Liver System, and is the aspect of consciousness that continues to exist - in more subtle realms - even after the death of the body.

Yi: Intellect of the Spleen

The spirit of the Spleen System is Yi, or intellect. A healthy Yi manifests as spirit-infused intelligence and understanding.

Po: The Corporeal Soul of the Lungs

The Po or corporeal soul is associated with the Lungs, and is the aspect of consciousness that dissolves with the elements of the body at the time of death. Since the Po exists only within the context of a single lifetime, it tends to be associated with our immediate or more dense desires - as opposed to the Hun, which expresses more long-range commitments.

Zhi: The Kidney's Will to Act

The Shen of the Kidney System is Zhi, or will. Zhi is associated with the element water, and it carries the energy of the direction north and the planet Mercury. Zhi is the minister in charge of the intention and effort required to accomplish things.
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rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 03:30 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;86228 wrote:
Agreed. I think a lot of it came from Aristotle trying to make sense out of what Plato said about the Soul and the Good. Aristotle came along in his encyclopedic way and started to classify all the qualities it must have, what could be said about it, and so on.

Yes, the trouble is that the words of a philosopher are viewed as an absolute statement about reality, instead of being understood as a continual process of discovery, a dangerous investigation of the limits of epistemology. The exploration often leads to dark areas of nothingness within the psyche, where nonsense and skepticism reign supreme, but the paths blazed thereto are no less useful as an entry in the enterprise of human knowledge.

For example, Descartes should have driven the final nail into the coffin of dualistic metaphysics when he painted himself into a logical paradox in First Meditations. Instead, lesser philosophers continue to try to paint gold the roads Descartes paved in the mud, leading nowhere but to the spiral of one's own bottomless neuroses.

And to this day people still use his words as a justification for belief in the absurdity that Descartes uncovered! It is because they are not willing to themselves go to the indifferent emptiness that one finds at the limits of one's mind.
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