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General guidance and Glossary of Terms.

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Peter Blumsom

Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 1167
Location: Wembley, London, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:31 pm    Post subject: General guidance and Glossary of Terms. Reply with quote

General guidance

This forum has been created to discuss the ideas of Plato, the great Athenian philosopher. So powerful and universal were these ideas that they never seem to date. We may read the Republic, for example, and find his political comments penetratingly relevant to the politics of the 20th / 21st century, highlighting some of the deep-rooted problems that seem to plague our own democracies.

Talking of the just or good man he says

So good men will not consent to govern for cash or honours. They do not want to be called mercenary for exacting cash payment for the work of government, or thieves for making money on the side; and they will not work for honours, for they arent ambitious. . . . For in a city of good men there might well be as much competition to avoid power as there are now to get it. - Republic, Book 1 [347].

And what is a good man? Socrates gives this famous musical example from Gorgias [482c].

I think it better, my good friend, that my lyre should be discordant and out of tune, and also any chorus I might train, and that the majority of mankind should disagree with and oppose me, rather than that I, who am but one man, should be out of tune with, and contradict myself.

Knowledge of The Good itself is the highest aim of the philosopher, the 'lover of wisdom'.

Plato can be likened to a slender rope bridge that traverses the abyss between the two mighty land-masses of the ancient and modern worlds. Each new age discovers its own Plato and in doing so finds its own way of harmonising present concerns with an age old wisdom tradition.

The discussion is open to you, my friends. The only two disciplines are that it be conducted in the spirit of reasonable men and women and that it be directly relatable to the Platonic tradition

Many Thanks.


General Lexicon to be added to

(diakosmesis) lit. 'orderer' or nous (in the embodiment of the Demiurge, the artificer of the cosmos in the form of the heavens, including the circles (κυκλα - kukla) of the stars and planets. But it could be extended to any master craftsman).

διανοια (dianoia) thought or thinking, but more practical than intuitive. I shall include an interesting insight on dianoia by Jacob Klein in my next post (hopefully)

δοξα (doxa) opinion (true or false), expectation, fancy, notion, assumption, judgement; though it can be extended to include reputation, glory, splendour.

κοσμος (cosmos) usually meant to be the heavens but, coined by the Pythagoreans, it can mean anything that is ordered beautifully. That is the meaning I have adopted on this thread so far.

κυκλος (kuklos) circle, ring, cycle, orbit, ambit, wheel.

νοητικα (noetiika) an adjective which I am taking to mean vous-like.

νους (nous) has many meanings. Plato calls Nous 'the Great King' or King of the Heaven and The Earth and, in this form, regarded by some as the Demiurge, the Craftsman God of the dialogue TIMAEUS. It also can stand for Divine Mind (which I adopt or the=is thread) or even rationality or the rational, but should not be confused with the (lower) dianoia which represents nous in the soul.

τριηρης (Trireme) a war ship with three banks of oars. Used by the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.

Meanings taken from Wikipedia ( )

Nous. In ancient Greek writings, nous, nou-, noe-, noos-, -noia (Greek: ????, contracted from ????, pronounced as "noose", when reading Greek, or pronounced to rhyme with "house" in British English, or "NOW-ss" in Australian English, or "nooz" or "noos" in American English) means intelligence, intellect, intuition, reason; common
sense, or mind. For Plato it was generally equated with the rational part of the individual soul (to logistikon), although in his Republic it has a special function within this rational part. Plato tended to treat nous as the only immortal part of the soul. In the Timaeus, Plato identifies nous as the principle within the world soul that is responsible for the rational order in our universe. It is an important key term in the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus as the highest activity of the human soul. It is distinguished by its tendency to signify "practical activity" like visualizing, reasoning, understanding, common sense, and planning; rather than just of the emotions. Heraclitus argued that just scholarly knowledge does not teach nous. In Parmenides, the cognate verb noein and other related words (noma, thought and notos, thinkable) are key arguments of common sense (practical intelligent solutions to everyday problems) being nous.

Noesis. In phenomenology, noesis is an act of consciousness. "Thinking", "loving", "hating", "imagining" are all verbs applying to what minds do. One would never call "loving" a belief, because it is something you do, not something you merely hold to be true.

[/b]Agathon (Greek: ??????) (ca. 448�400 BCE) was an Athenian tragic poet and friend of Euripides and Plato. Agathon is portrayed by Plato as a handsome young man, well dressed, of polished manners, courted by the fashion, wealth and wisdom of Athens, and dispensing hospitality with ease and refinement.

Dianoia. Greek term used by Plato to signify understanding or intellectual activity as a discursive process, in contrast with the immediate apprehension characteristic of noesis. In the taxonomy of Aristotle, dianoia includes both the theoretical epist�m� and the more practical techn�.

Doxa (????) is a Greek word meaning common belief or popular opinion, from which are derived the modern terms of orthodoxy and heterodoxy. Used by the Greek rhetoricians as a tool for the formation of argument by using common opinions, the doxa was often manipulated by sophists to persuade the people, leading to Plato's condemnation of Athenian democracy.

Andreia The Greek term for bravery or courage (from andreios � "manly" or "stubborn.") According to Plato, this is the virtue properly exemplified by soldiers in the ideal state.

phulakakikos - Guardianship (lit. 'fitted for watching').

automatou - spontaneous (lit.'moved by his own will')


brahma-jnana = absolute knowledge
(Source: Michael Shepherd)

swabhava = one's essential nature
(Source: Michael Shepherd)

paramatman = the Absolute
(Source: Michael Shepherd)

Brahmasutrabhasya = Shankara's commentary on the (Source: Michael Shepherd)

Brahmasutra, which is essentially a collection of sayings from the Upanishads. (Source: Michael Shepherd)

saccidananda = absolute existence, absolute consciousness, absolute bliss, seen as one. (Source: Michael Shepherd)

saguna = seen as having attributes
(Source: Michael Shepherd)

nirguna = beyond attributes, beyond form, formless.(Source: Michael Shepherd)

atman = the eternal 'watchman', both universal and individual (Source: Michael Shepherd)
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