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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Plato’s views on theology. Plato inherited Socrates’s conviction that a proper understanding of the divine nature is essential to human virtue and happiness. Hence, god’s essential goodness is the thesis that runs most prominently through all his theological arguments. Since this supreme goodness is manifested above all in the cosmic structures created by divine intelligence, it is understandable if Plato turns out to stick resolutely to his insistence that, for all its appearances of imperfection, from a global perspective ours is the best physical world that could ever have been created, even by a supremely powerful being. On the other hand, Plato shows less interest than Socrates did in the idea of divine intervention in individual human lives. To that extent his work in theology points forward to Aristotle, who would insulate god entirely from concern with the sublunary world.

Keywords: theology, divine nature, virtue, happiness, Plato, Socrates, dialogues, philosophy

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