Some have argued that the most important and influential philosopher of all time is Plato, the brilliant student of Socrates who carried on and greatly expanded the tradition established by his master. Plato generally stands for an emphasis on rational truth rather than scientific and empirical fact. In this emphasis he favors the Italians over the Ionians, but he nevertheless hopes to find a synthesis between the two traditions.
In this first lesson on Plato, we survey briefly his life and the ideas that he opposed. Many have noted that the battle carried on by Plato resembles the battle many Christians have fought in a world of secularism and naturalism. For this reason, Plato has often been viewed as something of a proto-Christian. It is important to temper this view, however, by noting that Platonism has obscured the value of the material world in a way that does not fairly represent a biblical balance.
We will spend several lessons dealing with Plato. His importance cannot be overstated. In this first lecture we will focus primarily on his anti-Ionian outlook. Later we will take up his affirmative case for a transcendent order of truth in his world of the ideals.
This wide ranging course starts with the pre-Socratic philosophers of the ancient world, and traces the history of philosophical speculation across the ages up to the present. Included along the way is special attention to the greatest Christian thinkers in history, including Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and many others.