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Introduction to the philosophy and writings of Plato


INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY AND WRITINGS OF PLATO
By
THOMAS TAYLOR
"Philosophy," says Hierocles, "is the purification and
perfection of human
life. It is the purification, indeed, from material
irrationality, and the
mortal body; but the perfection, in consequence of being
the resumption of
our proper felicity, and a reascent to the divine
likeness. To effect these
two is the province of Virtue and Truth; the former
exterminating the
immoderation of the passions; and the latter introducing
the divine form to
those who are naturally adapted to its reception."
Of philosophy thus defined, which may be compared to a
luminous pyramid,
terminating in Deity, and having for its basis the
rational soul of man
and its spontaneous unperverted conceptions,--of this
philosophy, August,
magnificent, and divine, Plato may be justly called the
primary leader
and hierophant, through whom, like the mystic light in
the inmost
recesses of some sacred temple, it first shone forth
with occult and
venerable splendour.[1] It may indeed be truly said of
the whole of this
philosophy, that it is the greatest good which man can
participate: for
if it purifies us from the defilements of the passions
and assimilates us
to Divinity, it confers on us the proper felicity of our
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