Who's Who

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A

Alcinous (2nd century C.E.). Alcinous is the author of a famous handbook on Platonism, the Didaskalikos. Nothing is known of his life, but that he probably lived in the second century. In 1879, Freudenthal published a paper stating that the name Alcinous was, due to scribal errors, actually that of Albinus, another middle Platonist. This theory, however, has a number of difficulties and has not proved strong enough to convince most scholars.

Anderson, Mark (b. 1966). Anderson is currently the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Director of Classics at Belmont University. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Calgary (1994), a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University (1998), and an M.A. in Classical Studies from Vanderbilt University (2000). His research and teaching interests revolve around Plato, Nietzsche, and the nature and practice of philosophy. Among his books is Pure: Modernity, Philosophy, and the One (2009) and, online, Approaching Plato: A Guide to the Early and Middle Dialogues.

B

Benardete, Seth (1930-2001). He was one of America's greatest classical scholars. He was a student of Leo Strauss, and was professor of classics at New York University. His books on Platonism include The Being of the Beautiful: Plato's Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman (1984), Socrates' Second Sailing: On Plato's Republic (1989), The Rhetoric and Morality of Philosophy: Plato's Gorgias and Phaedrus (1991); The Tragedy and Comedy of Life: Plato's Philebus (2009), Plato's Laws: The Discovery of Being (2000), and The Bow and the Lyre: A Platonic Reading of the Odyssey (1997).

C

Cushman, Robert (1913-1993). Cushman was research professor emeritus of systematic theology and dean of the Divinity School of Duke University. He was the author of Therapeia: Plato's Conception of Philosophy, and well as works on Christian spirituality, like Faith Seeking and Understanding, John Wesley's Experimental Divinity: Studies in Methodist Doctrinal Standards, and The Heritage of Christian Thought.

D

Desjardins, Rosemary (b. 1936). Desjardins received her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975. Her books include The Rational Enterprise: Logos in Plato's Theaetetus (1990), and Plato and the Good (2004).

Dillon, John (b. 1939). John Dillon is an active member of the Platonic community in Ireland, and and help found the Plato Centre at Trinity College, Dublin. He studied Classics at Oxford, and received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, where he began teaching in 1969. He subsequently began teaching at Trinity College, Dublin from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. His many works on Platonism include The Heirs of Plato: A Study of the Old Academy (2005), The Middle Platonists (1977), Proclus' Commentary on Plato's Parmenides (1992, with G Morrow), Iamblichi Chalcidensis' Commentariorum Fragmenta (1972/2010), Iamblichus of Chalcis: The Letters (2009, with Wolfgang Polleichner), Iamblichus' De Anima: Text, Translation and Commentary (2002, with John Finamore), Alcinous, The Handbook of Platonism (1993), and two collections of articles, The Golden Chain (1990), and The Great Tradition (1997).

G

Gerson, Lloyd (b. 1948). Gerson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto. His works include Knowing Persons: a Study in Plato (2003), Aristotle and Other Platonists (2005), as well as editing the Cambridge Companion to Plotinus (1996), Neoplatonic Philosophy: Introductory Readings (with John Dillon, 2004), the Cambridge History of Philosophy in Late Antiquity (2010), and From Plato to Platonism (2013).

M

Moravcsik, Julius (1939-2009). Born in Budapest where his father a professor of Greek philology at the university there and an internationally known specialist in Byzantine history, Moravcsik recieved his doctorate at Harvard in 1959. He became a professor at the University of Michigan in 1960, and in 1968 began teaching at Stanford University where he served as chair of the Philosophy Department from 1972 to 1975 and again from 1983 to 1986. He was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and won a Humboldt Prize for Senior Foreign Humanists. He served as president of the Pacific division of the American Philosophical Association and president of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy. He specialised in ancient Greek philosophy and the philosophy of language, as well as the philosophy of friendship, sports and aesthetics. Moravcsik was the author of a number of books. He described himself as "a Platonist, but with a pragmatic flavour." Those who knew him note his generosity, support and popularity with his students, and his intense commitment to the work of philosophy.

Murdock, Iris (1919-1999). Dame Murdock was born in Dublin and grew up in London. She received her philosophical education at Oxford and Cambridge. From 1948 to 1963 she was a Tutorial Fellow in Philosohpy at St Anne's College, Oxford, and later, she became a renown novelist. Her philosophical works include critical studies in existential and analytic philosophy, and in her famous works, The Sovereignty of the Good, and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, developed a philosophy based on value realism and moral perception, inspired by the Platonism of Simone Weil.

Porphyry of Tyre (234-305). His was originally named after his father, Malkus, which in Syriac means "King". He was later nicknamed "Porphyry" by his teacher Longinus, which meant "Purple", the colour used by kings and emperors for their presentation to the people. Porphyry was born to an established family in the prosperous Syrian city of Tyre, an ancient city enriched by international wealth and known for their multifarious religious heritage. In his youth, he travelled widely, throughout Syria, Egypt, and the Near-East in search of spiritual wisdom. Soon, he was drawn to Christianity and quickly studied under the famous Christian theologian Origen, under whom he learned Christian scripture, biblical exegesis, literary criticism, and the Christian principles of salvation and ideology. It's not likely that he was baptized or entered into the official orders of the Church. However, after being assaulted by a group of Christian radicals, he sought for a path of deeper truth. He masterly studied rhetoric, logic, mathematics, history, mythology, theology, and many other fields. After studying with the esteemed rhetorician Longinus, he met with Plotinus, the great Neoplatonic philosopher in Rome, and stayed with him for several years (Simmons, 1-19). For Porphyry, the one thread of meaning throughout his life was the discovery of a universal method, an all-encompassing spiritual philosophy, which would allow everyone to attain salvation. Though Christianity promised this, was there a truly universal salvation available to all, a path outside the Abrahamic religion? Porphyry's life quest was to discover such a path. In the end, after decades of study and personal experience, he expounded a three-stage means: (1) for the general population, those who are simply trapped in the madness and business of life, a rich devotion and theurgic adherence to their ancestral gods will be sufficient for their future life among the gods after their deaths. (2) For those touched by metaphysical lights and philosophical insights, their hope is in the deeper purification of their souls by the sincere and austere practices of virtue (arete). (3) For those mastering deep virtue, and who are ready for the higher heights entailed in Platonic dialectics and the contemplation of the Good, they must rise the sheer cliff of the bright and dark ascension to the Absolute as described by his teacher Plotinos in his Enneads. Porphyry's life and work is a rich ocean of study, but it's often written off as being unoriginal or rationalist by those who have not delved into it deeper. However, his thought is more mystical, more religious, and more comprehensive than is often appreciated (cf. Simmons). Truly, his life's work is an act of charity, a generous pursuit into trying to find a way for everyone, for each of us, a realistic path in which our souls can find eternal hope and everlasting happiness.

S

Seung, T.K. (b. 1930). [From the cover of his Plato Rediscovered (1996):] "T.K. Seung was born in North Korea in 1930 and escaped to South Korea in 1947. In 1950, when the Korean War broke out, he was a freshman at Yonsei University in Seoul. He joined the ROK Army and spent the next three years in the combat zone. After the Korean War, he came to Yale and studied philosophy and law. He is now teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is the Jesse H. Jones Regents Professor in Liberal Arts, Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Government, and Professor of Law. He is author of The Fragile Leaves of Sibyl: Dante's Master Plan (1962), Kant's Transcendental Logic (1969), Cultural Thematics: The Formation of the Faustian Ethos (1976), Structural and Hermeneutics (1982), Semiotics and Thematics (1982), Intuition and Construction: The Foundation of Normative Theory (1993), and Kant's Platonic Revolution in Moral and Political Philosophy (1994). In the last two of these publications, he has been trying to revive Platonism as the foundation of normative theory, and the present volume is a part of this continuing endeavor. In this volume [Plato Rediscovered], he employs a special technique of interpretation that he developed in his Cultural Thematics and Semiotics and Thematics. This is the method of thematic dialectic. By using this method, he explicates the thematic structure and progression of the entire Platonic corpus."

Wild, John (1902-1972). Wild was an eclectic philosopher, and though late in life he became enamored with existentialism, his earlier works on Platonism are definately worth resurrecting from the dusty bookselves of the past. About Wild, Kurt von Fritz in his 1947 reveiw of Wild's Plato's Theory of Man wrote: "At a time when Plato is currently accused of being a feudalist and a fascist--two very different things--by philosophers and political scientists who have never taken the trouble to study his political works both in their philosophical context and against Plato's historical background, the publication of a work like the one under review is a very pleasant surprise. Its author has a thorough knowledge of the Greek language which enables him to interpret lucidly and correctly those Platonic terms which cannot be translated into English. He has so excellent a knowledge of ancient history that he does not need to refer to ancient political institutions in order to separate those features of Plato's political theory which are conditioned by the period in which he lived from those fundamental ideas which are applicable to all times. He is thoroughly acquainted with all of Plato's works so that he can elucidate a point by reference to widely separate passages. Finally, he is interested in Plato because he believes that what Plato has to say is of direct and practical importance to us" (Review, 142-143).




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