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The Internet Journal of the International Plato Society


Natorp, Paul.

Plato's Theory of Ideas.

An Introduction to Idealism.
Edited with an introduction by Vasilis Politis. First English Translation by Vasilis Politis and John Connolly. Postscript by André Laks.
2004. 484 S. 68,50 Euro. 15,5 x 23 cm. Hardcover. 978-3-89665-250-8.
(International Plato Studies Bd. 18)

Prospekt (Druckversion/PDF) / Information leaflet (Print version/PDF)

Paul Natorp's monumental work, Plato's Theory of Ideas. An Introduction to Idealism (1903, 2nd ed. 1921), is a fascinating and highly original work which merits renewed study not only as a significant document of German Neokantianism, but as an important contribution to our understanding of Plato.

Natorp's interpretation, far from being an uncritical projection of Kant back onto Plato, is a remarkable attempt to dissociate the theory of ideas from its Aristotelian reception, still dominant today, which sees the ideas as transcendent substances, and to argue that Plato's theory is basically a theory of explanation.

In particular, Natorp argues that Plato's ideas are simply explanations, or laws, rather than substances; and what the ideas explain is in the first instance the possibility and nature of thought and knowledge, and only as a consequence the nature of reality. Natorp emphasizes the broadly Kantian origins of his approach, but he takes issue with Kant on a number of crucial points, and this not least is what allows him to defend a transcendental interpretation of Plato's theory of ideas.

This volume contains a complete translation of Plato's Theory of Ideas; an introduction which summarizes Natorp's interpretation of Plato, its relation to Aristotle and Kant, and its continued importance; along with a postscript which positions Natorp within German, and in particular Marburg, Neokantianism.

Vasilis Politis teaches at Trinity College Dublin. He was educated in Oxford University. He has just published Aristotle and the Metaphysics (Routledge).

John Connolly, has, with John Minahane, translated Desiderius Lenz, The Aesthetic of Beuron and other Writings, and contributed to the translation of Friedrich Waismann's The Voices of Wittgenstein.

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Andere neue Titel aus dieser Schriftenreihe/Other new books from this series:
International Plato Studies

33 · De Brasi, Diego. L'immagine di Sparta nei dialoghi platonici.

32 · The Painter of Constitutions. Edited by Mario Vegetti, Franco Ferrari and Tosca Lynch.

31 · Dialogues on Plato's Politeia (Republic). Edited by Noburu Notomi and Luc Brisson.

30 · Regali, Mario. Il poeta e il demiurgo.

29 · Balansard, Anne. Enquête sur la doxographie platonicienne dans la première partie du Théétète.

28 · Mouroutsou, Georgia. Die Metapher der Mischung in den platonischen Dialogen Sophistes und Philebos.

27 · Kim, Alan. Plato in Germany: Kant – Natorp – Heidegger.

26 · Plato's Philebus. Edited by John Dillon and Luc Brisson.

21 · Eidos-Idea, 2. Edition. Edited by Francesco Fronterotta and Walter Leszl.

5 · Pritchard, Paul. Plato's Philosophy of Mathematics. Second edition.