Eriugena, Berkeley, and the idealist tradition (review)

Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (4):pp. 638-640 (2008)
This book on some of the important thinkers in the history of Platonism originated in a symposium held at the University of Notre Dame’s Irish Studies Center, Dublin, in 2002. The editors introduce the volume with a question: “What do philosophers mean by ‘idealism’?” The essays that follow can be divided into three sections: ancient to late ancient, Eriugena and Islamic Thought , and Berkeley and Modern Philosophy.The first three papers deal with Plato and Platonism. Vasilis Politis argues for a kind of non-subjective idealism based on a reading of Sophist 248c–249d. This is based on a recognition of reason as central to Plato’s concerns. In the second paper, John Dillon writes about “The Platonic Forms as Gesetze” and asks, “Could Paul Natorp Have Been Right?” By a judicious use of the German text, and with reference to the 2004 translation of Natorp’s Ideenlehre , Dillon presents Natorp’s case for understanding the Forms as “systems for ordering knowledge, that they are nothing other than ‘laws of thought’.” Dillon notes the texts that must be overlooked to arrive at this interpretation. Yet, he acknowledges Natorp’s good knowledge of Plato and finds
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0071
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