Glossary Item

Neoplatonism

The Neoplatonic movement, a revival and reinterpretation of Plato's doctrine of essential, pre-existing "forms," began as early as the third century BCE with the writings of Plotinus (Plato himself lived during the 5th century BCE). The Neoplatonic tradition subscribes to Plato's theory that reason can reveal an understandable order in the universe; this tradition has influenced many movements during the past two-thousand years, including the Romantic movements in 19th century Britain (ie. Wordsworth, Shelley, etc.) and the U.S. (ie. Emerson). The significance of Neoplatonic views in the culture debate is their adherence to the essential quality of "goodness," "truth," and other aspects of the universal order -- that is, a Neoplatonic position tends to discard the possibility that there could be more than one interpretation of "goodness," "truth," etc.


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