Metaphysical Necessity: Or Metaphysical Platonism

Metaphysical necessity, or foundationalism, is one of the central questions of philosophy and the most important concept in Platonism. Metaphysical necessity asserts that everything that exists, to avoid epistemological nihilism, must have a foundation. Plato asserted that this foundation is the realm of the forms, or ideas. From Plato to Hegel, metaphysical necessity has been … Continue reading Metaphysical Necessity: Or Metaphysical Platonism

Plato’s Myth of Er

The conclusion of Plato’s Republic is the Myth of Er.  What are we to make of the Myth of Er and why is it important?  Why does it come at the very end of the work and not earlier?  It is important to remember that – as I’ve said before in other explanatory summaries of … Continue reading Plato’s Myth of Er

Plato’s Noble Lie

In The Republic, Socrates famously discusses the idea of the “noble lie.”  The noble lie has been an issue of tremendous interest to scholars and political and sociological theorists.  But is it the case that Plato endorses the noble lie, as some suggest and as the cursory reading seems to equally suggest? We must remember … Continue reading Plato’s Noble Lie

What is Platonic Irony?

What is Platonic irony?  When reading Plato’s dialogues philosophers are often keen to highlight irony within his texts.  Irony, however, is not necessarily what we think of it today.  Rather, Platonic irony is carefully constructed and inserted into the text by Plato himself.  Platonic irony is deeply dialectical in the Socratic sense, since Plato’s literary … Continue reading What is Platonic Irony?

Misunderstanding Plato

Plato is, arguably, the most important philosopher in the Western tradition.  This is not because everyone is a Platonist, or has been a Platonist.  Though many have.  This is because Plato started, at least in codification through writing, the discipline we remember – and still practice today – as philosophy.  But Plato is a deep … Continue reading Misunderstanding Plato

Plato’s Political Philosophy

Plato’s political philosophy is much discussed and debated.  Most people look to Republic and Laws to begin to see Plato’s political thoughts.  While Republic can be read, as a whole, as a work of formal political philosophy, Plato’s specific thoughts concerning the nature of the supposed ideal city (his political philosophy) come out in Books … Continue reading Plato’s Political Philosophy

Plato vs. Glaucon: What is the Purpose of the Social Contract?

Glaucon is Plato’s older brother and one of the many sophists that we encounter in the many dialogues.  He is given a fairly prominent position in the early books of The Republic, coming to prominence in Book II where Glaucon defends an early account of what we call the "Social Contract" in philosophy.  The social … Continue reading Plato vs. Glaucon: What is the Purpose of the Social Contract?