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Old 11-28-2003, 11:58 AM
alterego alterego is offline
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Did Plato believe in God(s)?

I know he is famous for writing the dialogue in which the question: "Is conduct right because the gods command it, or do the gods command it because it is right." (not verbatim)

I was wondering if he did actually believe in God(s) ? Does anyone have a cite if so? (his works can be found on, i just cant find anything that lays it down definitively.)
Old 11-28-2003, 12:03 PM
ArrMatey! ArrMatey! is offline
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IANAPhilosopher, but I believe that Plato would have had to believe in the existance of deities to even formulate the idea of the Euthyphro Dilemma (explained above). A source for those unfamiliar with his line of reasoning-
Old 11-28-2003, 01:19 PM
alterego alterego is offline
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That is just speculation though. That question simply pointes out a logical flaw in theological conception. I just want to know if he believed in God or not
Old 11-28-2003, 01:27 PM
Larry Borgia Larry Borgia is offline
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Yes, I believe he did but it was a pretty abstract God: The form of the good. Teasing plato's beliefs out of the dialogs is hard, but the Republic, the Timaeus and others point to some divine hand ordering the world.
Old 11-28-2003, 02:00 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Yes, Alterego Plato believed in the law of form created through some semblence of one of the Gods.
Are you reading plato now? If so why are you asking if he believed in God as a singularity. Because if you think that, then the answer to your question is no.
Pick up Simon Blackburn's first work...Think. It will help you understand modern takes on ancient philosophies.
Old 11-28-2003, 02:29 PM
Shepherdless Shepherdless is offline
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Plato respected and often defended greek mythology, but, like all philosophers, he recognized it as mythos (beliefs) rather than logos (discourse/reason). In his earlier works (e.g. The Republic), he does not really discuss the existence of god(s); the philosopher's supreme duty is to determine the common good (the just society, etc.). His metaphysics is confined to the existence of eternal Ideas (eidos), of which the supreme is the Idea of the Good.

The Idea of the Good is the reality through which the world of becoming is made possible and rational. Thus it is truly the god of Plato
In his later works (e.g. Timeus) Plato's philosophy becomes more mystical and he develops the idea of the Demiurge or "divine architect" who "builds" the world based on the Ideas. Interestingly, the Demiurge is non-being, since he is neither matter/sensible nor and Idea. Mull that over.
The "Demiurge" forms the things of this world according to the model of the Forms. This implies that the ideas exist apart not only form sensibles that are modelled on them, but also from God, Who takes them as His model.
At least that's how I remember it. Quotes taken from this site and this one
Old 11-28-2003, 02:44 PM
bup bup is offline
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Plato does refer to God as a cognizant being in The Replubic. He has Plato saying that God is good, so we must believe those stories in which God is good and reject those where God is shown to be something less.

He refers to the being as God (singular), and not as Zeus or anyone else.

I don't speak Greek; I'm trusting the translator of my edition.
Old 11-28-2003, 03:36 PM
alterego alterego is offline
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Thanks Shepherdless thats what I was lookin' for! =)
Old 11-28-2003, 03:59 PM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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The quote "He was a wise man who invented God." is attributed to Plato. This suggests to me that he was not a strong believer in dieties.


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