Definition of Platonism in US English:



  • 1The philosophy of Plato or his followers.

    See Plato
    • ‘But to other philosophers and mathematicians Platonism seems extravagant, for reasons that are at least partly epistemological.’
    • ‘For Heidegger, the history of metaphysics is ‘the history of being’, a series of answers to the basic question of philosophy that extends from Plato to the inversion of Platonism in Nietzsche.’
    • ‘However, they drew on a wide range of philosophical sources besides Platonism.’
    • ‘A professor of philosophy whose speciality was Platonism took occasion to tell Christina that Galileo, who was not present, was wrong to say that the earth moved, because that contradicted the Bible.’
    • ‘They explicitly disavow the classical philosophies of formalism, logicism, Platonism, intuitionism, and social constructivism.’
    1. 1.1 Any of various revivals of Platonic doctrines or related ideas, especially Neoplatonism and Cambridge Platonism (a 17th-century attempt to reconcile Christianity with humanism and science).
      • ‘Their ideas and philosophies helped to depose the remnants of Christian Platonism and an old notion of history as either exhibiting degeneration or of being in some sense cyclical.’
      • ‘Pitting science against Platonism tells only half the story.’
      • ‘Some Christians, however, have attempted to circumvent this difficulty by adopting a modified Platonism.’
      • ‘To our historicist age, Hildegard's Christian Platonism may seem the ultimate heresy.’
    2. 1.2 The theory that numbers or other abstract objects are objective, timeless entities, independent of the physical world and of the symbols used to represent them.
      • ‘Finsler develops his approach to the paradoxes, his attitude towards formalised theories and his defence of Platonism in mathematics.’
      • ‘Bloodless as these abstractions may appear, Platonism understands these universals as highly causative: individual existents cannot be accounted for in isolation, but only as members of a prior class.’