Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Gerson, Lloyd P. "Review of Kevin Corrigan, et al., eds. PLATONISMS." BMCR (August 2008).
Corrigan, Kevin, and John D. Turner, eds. Platonisms: Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern. Leiden: Brill, 2007. The "Platonisms" of the title of this book is evidently used as equivalent to "varieties of Platonism" or "versions of Platonism," where the "variety" or "version" indicates an interpretation of Plato's dialogues or of the implications of the claims made therein. Usually, though, a variety of Platonism is attributable to a philosopher who is defending that position. Thus, we speak of the Platonism of Speusippus or of Numenius or of Proclus and designate their different doctrines as varieties of Platonism. We usually do not speak of the Platonism of philosophers who are not self-proclaimed followers of Plato in some sense; thus, we do not normally refer to Descartes' Platonism or Levinas' Platonism, even though their engagement with Plato is certain to be an engagement with some variety of Platonism. Nor do we typically designate as a variety of Platonism a philosophical position that either agrees with a variety of Platonism at some very general level or with some relatively remote consequence of a Platonic position. So, philosophers who argue for the existence of a first principle of all or even for the importance of critical reflection in human life are not said thereby to embrace a variety of Platonism. The same is true for philosophers who, for example, argue for a purely remedial theory of punishment. In the present volume, "Platonisms" is a term used with maximal scope, thus justifying the immense range of topics covered as well as methodologies employed. There is no harm in this; indeed, it is a positive step in demonstrating the extraordinary fecundity of Plato's thought. Still, I would be surprised if many individuals would have sufficient interest in enough of the areas covered to want to pay the very considerable price for this book. . . . Read the whole review here: http://www.bmcreview.org/2008/08/20080843.html.