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The Middle Platonists: Constructing Platonic Doctrines

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter,the author intends therefore to move straight to the Middle Platonists, be it with an occasional glance backwards to Plato's immediate heirs such as Speusippus and Xenocrates. In the case of the Cratylus, for instance,it can be noted in this chapter that Platonists bring the Aristotelian theory of names as symbols and the Stoic theory of etymology to bear on the Cratylus in order to construct a clear-cut doctrine concerning names, their relation to the nominata, and their function in philosophical inquiries. This discussion will serve as a firm basis for the rest of the chapter, which will deal with such diverse authors as Antiochus of Ascalon, Plutarch of Chaeroneia, Philo of Alexandria, and finally Galen. The picture that emerges from this chapter is that in the Imperial period it was generally assumed that Plato in the Cratylus had practiced Stoic etymology.

Keywords: Middle Platonists:constructing; nominata; Platonic Doctrines; stoic; theory of etymology; theory of names; wisdom



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