We know Plato is highly regarded among Neoplatonic mystics. His doctrine of knowledge as recollection, Ideal forms, human soul, love, transmigration or afterlife are congruent with mysticism. Now we also know that Plato was greatly influenced by Pythagoreans and this raises the question whether he was personally a mystic or just elaborated and modified Pythagorean ideas. I mean did he personally have mystical involvements or claim any visions, as Plotinus did?

I know of accounts of mystical vision attributed to him by Arab/Iranian medieval writers but it appears that these sources had confused him with Plotinus who does actually cite personal visions.

  • 1
    This topic is controversial and goes back to the "esoteric interpretation" of Plato's dialogs and his hypothetical "unwritten doctrines", see Yount, Plato and Plotinus on Mysticism for a recent defense. Most scholars are skeptical.
    – Conifold
    Feb 10 at 6:16
  • 1
    It could be said so according to Plato's famous and special form of the good which fits the criterion of mystics though it may not be cited as a personified vision and Plato is generally regarded as pluralist instead of monist academically... Feb 10 at 7:12
  • Maybe you can try reading some Dialogues and decide if there are mystical aura in them... IMO the answer is NO. Feb 10 at 9:41
  • @MauroALLEGRANZA what about the Timaeus? That might be a borderline case, at least. Feb 10 at 12:33
  • 1
    When talking of ideas/philosophy, it matters little whether we say Plato or Socrates. But when you talk of persons it's important to talk of the correct ones — in this case Socrates. For whom see. Plato saw himself mostly as humble amanuesis. Or hagiographer. For Socrates
    – Rushi
    Feb 10 at 13:12


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .