Plato and Aristotle, Contest and Temporary Reconciliation

  • František Novotný

Abstract

Aristotle’s philosophy with its logic, metaphysics and its doctrine of nature formed an important part of that general view of the world, which Thomas Aquinas expounded in didactic form and Dante in the verses of his poetry, and contributed thus to the cohesion of the Christian system. This general view also included Plato’s philosophy, although its influence was more of a negative kind, as a factor which was independent on Aristotle’s authority and at times opposed it, and had thus a liberating effect from the cult of Aristotle’s philosophy which was at times even despotic. It might have seemed that the old controversy about Plato and Aristotle had been solved and that it was finally settled that it was Aristotle who approached more nearly to the Christian truth. This might have appeared to be tbe case at least in the Western world. Aristotle in view of his systematisation was also better fitted for the teaching of philosophy in schools. The syllabus of studies could easily decree for instance “docetur Ethica Aristotelis”. Against this it was hardly possible to put the reading of some of Plato’s dialogues.

Keywords

Manure Eter Triad Nism Egypt 

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References

  1. 1.
    A truthful account of Pletho’s activity and subsequent recollections about him is presented by Börje Knös in the study Gémiste Pléthon et son souvenir (Association Guillaume Budé, “Lettres d’humanité”, tome IX, Paris 1950), p. 97–184. On p. 140 seq. there is a list of the monographic literature on Pletho.Google Scholar
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    In a letter to Pletho’s sons (Migne, Patr. Gr. 160, 696 seq.) he writes that Hellas had not produced after Plato and Aristotle a man superior to Pletho in wisdom. Were it possible to accept the Pythagorean and Platonic doctrine of the transmigration of souls, he would have had no hesitation in holding that Plato’s soul was destined by fate to descend to earth and to choose the body and life of Gemistus’. In another letter to Nicolas Secundinus (ibid. 697) he praises Pletho as a philosopher — not one of those who limit themselves to specialised sciences and to theory, though he knew them well, but a cultivator of that philosophy which deals with questions of practical life, and which adorns the morals and manners of men.Google Scholar
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    Osias Schwarz quotes in the article De Laurentii Corvini studiis Platonicis (Eos 34, 1932/3, p. 154).Google Scholar

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© František Novotný — Ludvík Svoboda 1977

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  • František Novotný

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