After the Ascent: Plato on Becoming Like God
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Vol. 26, pp. 171–183, 2004
14 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2010
Date Written: 2004
Plato is associated with the idea that the body holds us back from knowing ultimate reality and so we should try to distance ourselves from its influence. This sentiment appears is several of his dialogues including Theaetetus where the flight from the physical world is compared to becoming like God. In some major dialogues of Plato's later career such as Philebus and Laws, however, the idea of becoming like God takes a different turn. God is an intelligent force that tries to create order in the physical world. I argue that likeness to God in these dialogues involves imitating God's effort by trying to order our bodies, souls, and societies as intelligence directs. Becoming like Plato's God is not to abandon the world. It is to improve it.
Keywords: Plato, homoiosis, becoming like god
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