Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Plato Code?

Jay Kennedy (a visiting scholar at the University of Manchester) has produced a detailed study of what he claims are regular, objectively quantifiable, "musical" patterns in the works of Plato. These mathematical patterns, according to Kennedy, are strongly Pythagorean. A quick look at Kennedy's own "Introduction for Scholars" to his work justifies, in my opinion, taking him and his work seriously.

Although there are some real problems (surprise!) with how Kennedy's research is being hyped in the media, there are some very positive aspects to what he is up to. The important thing to remember, however, is that Kennedy's "discovery", in fact, merely confirms the predominant view of Plato and his philosophy that held sway for well over 20 centuries, and which was only very recently replaced with a new "scholarly consensus".

Here is what Kennedy has to say in his own words:
The distance between 'neo-Platonism' and Platonism has been steadily diminishing since the work of Dodds. This work implies that the reports among Plato students that he was a Pythagorean in some strong sense were correct. This reaffirms the views among some neo-Pythagoreans and neo-Platonists. How is the history of the reception of Plato now altered?

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