Forms, dialectics and the healthy community : the British idealists' receptions of Plato

Tyler, Colin, 1968-

School of Politics, Philosophy and International Studies
Plato
2018

Journal article


Rights
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
Abstract

Through their writings and their influence on curricula and teaching at some of the leading universities of the British Empire, British idealists such as Bernard Bosanquet, Edward Caird, T.H. Green, R.L. Nettleship and D.G. Ritchie and others did much to revitalise philosophical research into Plato’s thought. Together with their precursor Benjamin Jowett, they helped to extend Plato’s significance beyond his already-established presence among classical historians, philologists and rhetoricians. In fact, the received view is that, in John Glucker’s words, after the 1860s, “The idealist image of Plato became canonical, and has been taken for granted since, in various shapes and forms, by most students of Plato and ancient philosophy.” Even though this influence is cited frequently by historians of the nineteenth-century reception of Plato’s thought, only rarely has it been welcomed. In Frank Turner’s words, Jowett and the British idealists held that ‘the task of the interpreter was to glean the unchanging moral truth of the insights of the ancient writers that lay encased in the language and moral conventions of an earlier time and place.’ Many critics have alleged that this “dogmatic image” of Plato interpreted him as seeing the forms as capable of being understood (only but fully) by a philosophical elite. Moreover, it is alleged that the British idealists used Plato’s theory of the just polis in The Republic (which entails rule by a benevolent dictatorship) as the basis of their own allegedly conservative theory of the modern healthy community.

Publisher
The University of Hull
Peer reviewed
Yes
Language
English
Extent
1 MB
Identifier
hull:12097

Journal

Journal title
Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie
Publication date
2018
Publisher
De Gruyter
DOI
10.1515/agph-2018-0004
ISSN (Electronic)
1613-0650
Volume
100
Issue
1
Start page
76
End page
105
Notes

Description of an article due to be published in: Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 2017, v.100 issue 1.

Link
Published article
QR Code