Plato's heritage to Western philosophy, European intellectual tradition and some special sciences
Although the statement of Whitehead, asserting that European philosophy may be seen as footnotes to Plato, is exaggerated, it does provide us with a challenge to explain the element of truth in it. This article investigates a number of philosophical issues surfacing already in pre-Platonic thought in order to show how Plato mediated their impact upon subsequent philosophical developments and philosophical trends within some special sciences. The quest for a principle of origin explored alternative modes of explanation, such as number (the Pythagorean claim that everything is number), the metaphysics of space (Parmenides), the struggle with constancy and change (Heraclitus and Plato) as well as contemplating the limits of conceptual knowledge in Plato's dialogue, Parmenides. Owing to the philosophical roots of the special sciences, a more detailed account is given of the influence of Platonism upon the disciplines of mathematics, physics and theology.
- Faculty of Humanities