Plato's Academy

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The Academy founded by Plato in Athens in 387 BC after returning from the trip to Sicily was an association of the most educated people of those days. The Academy was located in the famous groves and gardens allegedly left by Academus or Hecademus, the mythical Athenian hero who revealed where Helen was hidden.


Although Plato did deliver his lectures there, "the metaphysical theories of the director [Plato] were not in any way 'official' and the formal instruction in the Academy was restricted to mathematics" (Chermiss 1980, p.18). In other words, the Academy was an association of highly educated people engaged in independent research and studies.
As the founding father of the Academy, Plato became its first Head (scholarch) and remained at this position for forty years. Plato's immediate successor as the Head of the Academy was his 40-year old nephew Speusippus (347-339 BC) who, after his uncle's death in 347BC, remained scholarch for the next eight years. According to his contemporaries, Speusippus was a proliferate writer who produced many works written in the form of treatise and dialogues. Unfortunately, we have only few of the texts attributed to him: the information on Speusippus ideas and doctrines is primarily retrieved from third party sources (Dilon 2003).
The scarce information available these days makes it clear that despite his familial connection with Plato, Speusippus could barely be named as the continuator of his uncle's major ideas. In particular, Speusippus rejected the famous Theory of Forms developed by Plato during his years at the Academy. ...
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