Yet despite the sometimes confusing variety of forms assumed by Neoplatonism, its continual mingling with a rich diversity of extraneous teachings falsifying in advance any very precise general delineation, there were a number of respects in which it constantly remained faithful to its original source; more especially in its placing of primary importance on the "two things in which" it has been said, "Plato is more interested than in the theory of ideas itself, for that theory is after all only his way of satisfying these two requirements; first that there is such a things as mind which can apprehend reality, and second, that this reality which is the object of knowledge has absolute and unqualified existence."(118b) Thus the epistemological analysis offered by the Theaetetus, with its apparently negative conclusions, is an illustration of the thesis that it is impossible to extract knowledge from sensible appearance if the world of true being is left out of account. This world is known through the mind, it is the real reference of thought, for, it is argued in the Parmenides (119b), a thought cannot refer to nothing, to what "is not"; the Forms cannot be mere thoughts, for a thought is always an act which has something other than itself as an object, and the thinking of Forms, which cannot be sensible perceptions, must therefore be of "Real Forms." Every mental operation therefore appears as the intuition of an object. The mind's direct insight into reality is sometimes exemplified in the dialogues by the way in which genuine new knowledge can arise from reflection, can be born from the rearranging of words, the referential content of each one of which taken singly was nevertheless apparently fully known previously (for the Cratylus freely admits that, whether single words can be held to "resemble" things or no, they can only be significant for those who already know the things they represent (120)). Since mind thus communicates with a higher more extensive aspect of reality than the sense, "opinion and reflection and thought, and art, and law, will be prior to things hard and soft and heavy and light; and further the works and actions that are great and primary will be those of art; while those that are natural and nature itself, which they [the scientists] wrongly call by this name, will be secondary and will derive their origin from art and reason."(121) Such a view of the character of mind, explains why, in the last resort as well as for preliminary investigations, "Aucune demonstration logique, aucune serie de deductions n'est superieure, pour Platon, a la simple analyse psychologique de nos facultes intellectuelles"(122); it accounts for the consciousness Platonism frequently displayed of being - as Nietzsche said much philosophy had always been - "a recognising, a remembering, a return, and a homecoming to a far-off ancient common household...a kind of atavism of the highest order"(123): for in the logical working out of this view of mind it was usually found to be necessary to have recourse to some theory of anamnesis, or of individual minds' participation in, or illumination by, some unified intellect transcending them.

There was complete agreement between the two schools that knowledge dealt with universals and not particulars, and that logic - and perhaps also mathematics - was a necessary preliminary discipline to other sciences. For instance, though Bruno makes it subserve a special purpose, there is nothing in the statement itself, which he employs fundamentally in his exposition of the Lullian Art - "Subiectum considerationis est universum, quod veri intelligibilis rationabilisque rationem subire valet,"(124) that would distinguish it as either Aristotelian or Platonic; nor is there much to which either party would not subscribe in Hugh of St. Victor's insistence that logic and mathematics which "treat of the intellectual comprehensions of things" must be prior, in order of learning, to physical speculation since they "put their consideration not in the actual state of things where experience (experimentum) is deceitful, but in reason alone, where unshaken truth dwells. Then with reason provided for they could descend to the experience of things."(125) But there is sharp contrast between their respective evaluations of these sciences as direct contributions to positive knowledge, and between the relationship allowed between the universal and reality, as to whether it or the particulars falling under it represented an approximation to the other. For Pico for instance "La connaissance a pur but non pas la connaissance des choses concretes mais celle de leur immuable modele. Le critere de la verite de cette connaissance est sa concordance avec l'idee"; "si ut exemplari suo quam vocamus ideam secundum quam illas condidit deus....respondent, verae dicuntur...." and the formulation of a concept was "le comprehension de la substance divine qui se devoile dans les choses."(126)

There was perforce, Cusa frequently insisted unanimous agreement that the beginnings of all intellectual knowledge was "faith," something which forming the ground of discursive knowledge could not be proved by it but only taken on trust; since in all spheres it was necessary to pose certain premisses of this order from which the intellect drew the matter of which it treated and its method of doing so; and on which ultimately all intelligibility depended (127). Truth thus appears as a function of a logical system, and the description of a proposition as true can mean only, and exactly, that it has been implied by a previous proposition in a manner admitted as valid, and also that this proposition, or the first term of the series of propositions standing in such a relationship to each other has been taken for granted, accepted as an axiom of the system. Now it is clear that two kinds of suppositions are made here: firstly concerning valid formal logical procedures, secondly, if the system is to have any experiential reference, and a chain of deductions is ever to conclude in a synthetic statement, then at least one proposition must be initially postulated, having synthetic content (that something is thus or thus), and which is susceptible only of empirical verification, and only thus saved from being merely conditional. These two Aristotelianisms separated as Platonism did not. The various principles of logic, it held, admitted not of absolute proof but only of one "ad hominem" (128) they were accepted perhaps as "natural facts," but not treated as "hypotheses" - as statements in a metaphysic proceeding from higher principles on which they could be satisfactorily believed to depend whether or not the nature of these was directly accessible to human reason; while "verification" was ultimately to be sought in the data provided by the sense concerning objects totally independent of mind. The limits of logical thought were to correct to some extent errors in the data - discrepancies between various appearances of the same object - and to reveal reality already entirely present in these objects, though perhaps not fully manifest at any one time since they were all undergoing processes of generation and corruption - its function was merely to explain the sensible world by a rational organisation of it in terms, as far as possible, of selected privileged aspects of perception. In contrast, Platonism did not restrict experience - in so far as this term refers to the source of genuine synthetic knowledge - to the senses; the necessary preliminary synthetic propositions could be found in the mind itself and the direct experiential verification of them was, if not yet fully, an ability of the soul; indeed abstract thought, imagination and sense, were all fragments of one final experience, represented under various guises, of the unity of things, which, since it was an experience which included all knowledge in itself, necessarily implied the otherwise "hypothetical," principles of logic. Indeed the hierarchies of existence, reason and value were considered as only complementary aspects of the same reality, inseparable and mutually implicative; there is an insistence on what has been called "the fact that the ontological predicates are meanings that depend for their meaning on the acknowledgment of values,"(129) and that the intellect is orientated towards values; while these values are, understandably, accepted in such neo-Platonic systems as actual and transcendent since such Renaissance systems do not of course consider, and therefore make no allowance for, the only other possible alternative, that it is the orientation of the intellect (in man) which itself defines, and by giving a form to, in effect gradually creates, values.

The final and unique belief for Plato, which would supply the equivalent of a direct inspectional verification of fact by a genuine intuition of reality, and also a guarantee of formal correctness of logical method, was the Idea of the Good, which was at once the goal of life, the condition of knowledge and the sustaining cause of the World. For Christian Platonists such as Clement the Idea of the Good becomes fused with the nature of God as known by scriptural revelation and by the "illumination" of all individual minds, proceeding mediatedly from God, but which is only thoroughly certified by the acceptance of some revelation. But when Clement insists (120) on the dependence of all knowledge, indeed of the very possibility of knowledge, on such revelation, that there can be no third term between a self communication of the divine and absolute scepticism, he is not advancing such revelation as exhausting the form or content of all accessible knowledge, but claiming it merely as a premise which having absolute certainty, and universal application, guarantees retrospectively the validity of all human knowledge which can be exhibited in a unified coherency; and this by the mere fact that its own existence certifies that there is knowledge and that it may be possessed by the mind, hence any proposition that can be shown to belong integrally to such an ordered system in any connection may then be taken as wholly compatible with, and certified by, revelation.

Where recourse was not made to such revelation, the possible, though rare, attainment of contact with the One, or Idea of the Good, by the individual mind was employed, to demonstrate the existence of ultimate grounds of certainty for thought, resulting in the emphasis on what has been called "interiority" of the Neoplatonism of Plotinus and thereafter of the majority of thinkers in this tradition, which provides a sharp contrast to classical thought in general. Since the idea of the Good was much richer in content than single experiences, was not an intellectual abstraction from them, but all-comprehensive, and involved the complete reconciliation and co-existence of apparent contraries, it thus transcended all intellectual knowledge employing division and discrimination, and rejected all descriptions that any form of discursive thought might attempt to impose on it. The contemplation of it could take place in a mystic trancelike state which Plotinus, employing the paths suggested in the Symposium, frequently achieved, according to Porphyry, who also claims to have once, at the age of sixty-eight, similarly approached near, and been united with, the supreme divinity; while Procus, says Marinus, by his mental purifications attained at last to and "by his own eyes he saw those truly blessed visions of Reality, no longer obtaining this knowledge by reasoning or demonstration, but as if by vision, and by simple and immediate perception of the intuitive faculty - viewing the ideal form in the Divine Mind."(131)

Nevertheless the process was thoroughly intellectual (as opposed to something won through moral discipline or the exploitation of emotional feelings). "I believe we are not permitted to think that God dwells in any other part of us than the intellect," wrote Synesius, whose work on divination, and some confusion with the homonymous alchemist contributed to his high reputation in the Renaissance (132). The passage to the One for Plotinus could only be effected when noumena were fully realised as arising from the world of the sense. The attainment of the One was, following Plato's analogy of the line, represented as the final term of a progressive intellectual ascent. The hierarchy in which science and modes of knowing could be arranged, could thus, even in the absence of direct experience of the One, or Idea of the Good, by the observed direction of its development define as it were, the position of this, and the sciences in their successive higher generalities, could indicate something of the nature of that on which they were all ultimately dependent. Such a connected hierarchy of knowledge leading upwards to a source which alone verifies its content is described by Proclus, in the commentary on the Euclid: "l'ascension des connaissances va des choses plus particulaieres aux plus generale jusqu'au moment ou l'on s'eleve a la science meme de l'etre en tant qu'etre....cette science est la plus collective de toutes et...toutes se ressentent des principes qui viennent d'elle; car celles ci suggerent toujours les premieres hypotheses au dessus de celles qui leur sont subordonnees, tandis que celle-la fournit d'elle-meme, et comme etant la plus parfaite des sciences, des principes a toutes, universels pour les unes et plus particuliers pour les autres."(133) The confirmation of all certitude however remained necessarily dependent upon some direct experience to be found at the upper termination of such a scale, this final experience, which involves all knowledge, and is its actual source and logical foundation, Augustine identified with the "beatific vision."(134) It became a familiar analogy to compare the Reason's elation to God with that of the eye of the sun - it was a power that remained helpless until things were illuminated for it by God (135). In the seventeenth century Henry More still employs similar ideas when he speaks of "a certain principle more noble and inward than reason itself, and without which reason will falter or at least reach but to mean and frivolous things," and which is of so "retruse a nature" that he hesitates to name it, but finally calls it "Divine Sagacity"; it is "a more inward compendious and comprehensive presentation of truth, even antecedaneous" to reason, though the activities of reason serve to confirm and illustrate it (136). Similarly John Smith founds truth and knowledge on "an intellectual touch of Him," and distinguishes, following Proclus, ascending degrees of knowledge beginning and ending in "intuition," from a "naked perception" through a miscellaneous collation of impressions, Discourse, Reason, Mathematics and Dialectic, to a "naked intuition of eternal truth," the realisation of the last being not wholly possible in life, for "imaginative Powers, which are constantly attending the highest acts of our soul, will be breathing a gross dew upon the pure glass of our understandings."(137)

The doctrine of a scale of degrees of knowledge, the higher whatever the immediate efficient causal occasion for their appearance in the individual mind, being functionally independent of the lower and successively approximating more closely to Reality and True Being, is a marked feature of neoplatonism. It appears occasionally with an admixture of Aristotelian doctrine in Boethius (138), but in the work of Avicenna, who was according to Roger Bacon the vehicle for the last of the four great revelations made to mankind by God, and to whose "Theology" Dee notes his adherence, it achieved formalised, explicit and influential expression for the middle ages and Renaissance. Rejecting the original Platonic Ideas - though only in the guise under which Aristotle had critically exposed them as useless or self-contradictory - he distinguishes four degrees of "abstraction": that supplied through the senses in the presence of the material object, secondly imagination which continues to envisage the object in its absence through its sensible attributes, thirdly the "vis estimativa," which allows of particular judgments which discover certain immaterial ideas in the object, through which alone the mind becomes aware of them - the lamb's recognition of "enmity" in the wolf is an example - while although these surpass the apparent content of the data supplied by any one of the senses, they are still rather considered as possessed of presentational immediacy, as essentially connected with the character of the object in the nature of things than as imported into sensation by the mind as a product of educated association; and lastly, accessible only to rational beings such as Man, the Universal. The materials for the first three operations are all furnished by the "intelligence" and represent the extent of its unaided capacity for taking account of the external world it perceives through the senses; but in knowing the universal, the intellect becomes "actual" in a way not determined, by particular objects, while since what exists potentially only becomes "active" by the assistance of something already "active" of the same nature as itself, a separated Intelligence is postulated by Avicenna, which governs the sublunar world, gives forms to all things, and transmits "intelligible forms" to the human intellect, which then becomes "active" in applying them to the three lower types of knowledge already in its possession. As regards these "universals" or "intelligible forms," Avicenna asserts even God's knowledge is of the same order as man's, and thought comprehending everything past and future at once, yet still requires a "discursus," though of a non-temporal kind (139). In the Latin West the activity of the separated intelligence was usually interpreted, as for example in Gundissalinus' de Anima which closely followed and "Christianised" Avicenna's arguments, as the Augustinian illumination of the mind by God; Avicenna himself being accepted as having formalized a philosophy implicit in the theological writings of Augustine: "Il parut d'abord offrir une sorte de developpement de Saint Augustin, et les rapports que l'on pouvait etablir de l'un a l'autre furent la raison de l'influence profonde excercee par Avicenne dans l'Ecole Franciscaine."(140)

The view of the nature and powers of the mind here presented is a general and distinguishing feature of neoplatonism. Thus Anselm's ontological "proof" of God's existence, which Albertus Magnus significantly stigmatised as "a Pythagorean sophism," it has been observed, "was an expression of his conviction that thought penetrates significantly to the ultimate nature of things."(141) The understanding, said Cusa, is always directed towards being, it is nourished on truths which recall it to the Divine Wisdom, from which its activities derive, and of which, since it tends towards it, it has already some slight "foretaste" or precognition (142). Cassirer drawing attention to Galileo's frequent use of the Meno, particularly the incident of the slave's solving without instruction a problem in geometry by "natural" reason, stimulated by questioning, remarks, "Galileo seems to accept all the consequences drawn by Plato from this fact. He declares that truth being necessary and eternal cannot be attained and cannot be proved by experience alone. Experience gives us accidental facts, but it cannot teach us any necessary truth. The necessary things, that is to say those for which it is impossible to be otherwise, the human mind either knows by itself (da per se) or it is impossible for it sever to learn them"(143) (an example which illustrates the connection of this stream of thought with the new science - Descartes similarly was to locate the Archimedean point of the philosopher within the mind)(144). Again Cudworth, in the same tradition, holds that universals cannot be derived from things, but "things" are perceived via universals: these exist already, and completely, within the mind, and seem to stimulate it into activity. "The essence of nothing is reached into not by the senses looking outwards but by the mind's looking inwards into itself." The "primary and immediate objects of intellection and knowledge are not things existing without the mind but the ideas of the mind itself actively exerted"; that is the mind itself must supply the intelligible "reason of things" and judges of truth and being, by the degree to which its innate standards of coherence are satisfied, for "the entity of all theoretical truth is nothing else but clear intelligibility; and what is clearly conceived is an entity and a truth,"(145) for even omnipotence could not create a mind capable of forming a clearly intelligible idea of a falsehood.

Before noting some of the effects of such doctrines on views as to general structure of the world, the use and status of mathematics and their relations with the scientific outlook of the Renaissance, something must be said of the considerable transformations the Theory of Ideas underwent, retaining something of the vocabulary but little of the probably meaning of the original Platonic statement. In some respects a belief in separated forms was more congruous with Christian teachings than the Aristotelian position that they were only definitions embodied in matter, while it did not pass unnoticed from the earliest times that Aristotle himself had not been able universally to apply this postulate, since although he denied the existence of form apart from matter, the Prime Mover, on which the whole dynamics of his cosmology depended, was itself nothing but Pure Form. Boethius who, as an accepted source and authority, transmitted to the Middle Ages a presentation of classical philosophy, in which elements from Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, later Platonists and perhaps Augustine, were inextricably commingled, exhibits confusion and offers apparently contradictory statements on this point. He denied for instance on the one hand that the world is framed by God after any models (146) and in another place addresses God, "thou dost all creatures' forms from highest patterns take."(147) In one treatise he can state "essences indeed can have a general existence in universals but they have particular existence in particulars alone, for it is from particulars that all our comprehensions of universals is taken,"(148) yet in De Trinitate, after setting out an Aristotelian analysis of essence depending on an only abstractedly separable form, and the three grades of speculative sciences Physics, Mathematics and Theology distinguished in accordance with this, he adds that matter is "subjected to" universals, and that "we misname the entities that reside in Bodies, when we call them forms; they are mere images; they only resemble those forms which are not incorporate in matter."(149) Indeed even after the time of Aquinas, except among Averroists, until the late Renaissance it would seem to have been usual, for professed followers of Aristotle, while accepting Aristotelian doctrines as undoubtedly true as far as human knowledge was concerned, nevertheless to admit, that as regards God, essences were possessed of existence independent of, and prior to, particulars. Mandonnet thus writes of Albertus: "Pour lui tout en admettant avec Aristote, qu'il n'y a que des singuliers dans la nature et que l'universel est dans l'intelligence humaine, il ajoute a cette double donnee l'affirmation de l'existence d'un universel anterieur a sa realisation dans les singuliers, et independent du fait de son actualite."(150)

Plato's postulation of the Ideas provided a certain foundation of knowledge, relating it directly with reality, such as could not be derived from the sensible world, and also provided a mediate realm, logically ordered and accessible to mind, between the sensible world and the Idea of the Good. This last was acutely necessary, since the Idea of the Good is nowhere directly discussed in the dialogues and indeed perhaps could not have been by Plato without employing terms, which although readily acceptable to later "platonists" who were able to regard the Parmenides as expressing a mystic theology, would have suggested to the classical Greek mind, had the representation of this formless absolute been then attempted, only the horrors then invariably associated with the undetermined, and unlimited, which were properties pertaining rather to what lay below the level of what was intelligible, denoting deficiency, evil, and primitive unqualified matter (151). Many difficulties regarding the theory Plato directly or by implication did successfully resolve; thus as to apparently contradictory assertions about the immanence or transcendence of Ideas, his general treatment may be taken as showing that, he "eut accepte les deux theses, et selon son expression: pris les deux a la fois: en distinguant les point de vue" (152) and the application of the "Third Man," with its consequence of setting up an infinite regress, would thus not be a valid objection. However, large groups of "Ideas" - those of the mathematicals, or connecting modes or structures of thought are the chief exceptions - lie open to Aristotle's objection of being a useless and unnecessary duplication of the external world. For they themselves seem to be almost concrete entities, differing from the sensibly perceived only in being permanent and stable - and also lie, it would frequently seem to be implied, outside mind - though the mind may have innate memories of them - for they are objects of knowledge for it, to be reached by its activities, they are not mental phenomena belonging to some higher intelligence, in which individual minds participate, but rather "things," endowed with all the qualities that would be at first intuitively ascribed absolutely to sensible objects (qualities the Greeks seem never to have wholly disassociated from their fundamental assumptions about what the nature of Reality must be), but which a later critical analysis - such as the Heraclitean - shows to be indefensible, as a view of merely sensible objects. In the reinterpretation of the theory, which became general from the early centuries of the Christian era onwards, "apprehension of the ideas is not so much a result reached by the activity of intelligence, as the presence in the intellect of, or the illumination of the intellect by, the Ideas."(153)

Thus Alcinous in the first century, conciliating Plato and Aristotle, situates the Ideas in the divine Intelligence, they become as it were from thence forward the thoughts of God, but thoughts which are active, "productive of things," an instrument of creation (154). In such a tradition Augustine stresses that things exist because God knows them; He does not know them because they are, for His thought, as opposed to man's which is merely reflective and representative, is creative and constitutive (155). Similarly the great principle of Avicenna's system is, it has been said, "Penser, chez les substances separees, signifie creer." (156)

A similar change occurs in what the Ideas are considered to be for the individual mind and the type of knowledge which this possesses per se. Porphyry when he joined the school of Plotinus was, after much disputation, led to reject his earlier view - perhaps nearer Plato's own - that the ideas could exist as separate entities outside the mind. But the concepts that are innate in the soul, to Plotinus are no longer "objects" which in their qualitatively perceptible aspects sensible things imitate as closely as possible; they are the noetic activity of the soul, the principles according to which it "energises." It was in some such form as this that the theory of Ideas generally survived and developed, still claiming to be "Platonic," so that in the seventeenth century John Smith, drawing largely on Plotinus, defends "innate ideas" as being in reality a reflection of the structure of the mind, and as representing not discrete particular objects of knowledge, but the functioning of an active nature latent within us, and Henry More regards them as "our own modes of considering sensible objects": cause and effect, like and unlike, whole and part, for instance, being the "natural furniture of human understanding."(157)

Such a view, although apparently much looser and more vague as to the precise nature of the objects and forms of a priori knowledge than the original Platonic statements, proved in practice highly fertile in suggestiveness. A typical Renaissance popular rather than philosophical expression of it is offered by Eliot's Governour. Discussing "Sapience," he says "that god almyghtie infuded Sapience into the Memorye of man...whiche, as a Treasory, hath power to retayne, and also to erogate and distribute, when opportunitie hapneth....More over Plato (in his boke called Timaeus), affirmeth that there is sette in the soule of man commyng into the worlde certayne spices or as it were sedes of thynges and Rules of Artes or sciences. Wherefore Socrates (in the boke of Science) resembleth hymselfe to a mydwyfe...And like as in houndes is a power or disposition to hunte, in horses and grehoundes an aptitude to renne swifetly, so in the soules of men is ingenerate a lerne of science, whiche with the mixture of a terrestryall substaunce is obfuscate or made darke, but where there is a perfeyte mayster prepared in tyme, then the brightnes of the science appereth polite and clere," for it is to be developed by practice and exercise (158). An example of the type of knowledge which could be regarded as deriving from this source is provided by Galileo's Dialogues of Two principle systems of the World. When Galileo, in the person of Salviai, is accused by Simplicius of erring with Plato, holding that "nostrum scire sit quoddam reminisci," far from rebutting the charge, he proceeds to lead on Simplicius and Sagredo to deduce for themselves, on apparently a priori grounds, certain fundamental propositions of mechanics and the true laws of physics (159). In such a development as this it would seem that the Ideas, in the form in which they are accepted as innate in the mind, become in fact, however unconsciously on the part of those employing such theories, increasingly connected with and solely taken as indicating the particular way in which Mind apprehends Order.

The resultant subtilization, or rather radical change in the nature of the Ideas, is clearly to be seen in the case of mathematical entities. After listing five degrees of knowledge, distinguished by various instruments they employ for representing reality, Plato writes "Every circle that we draw or make in common life is full of characteristics that contradict the fifth thing, the true circle, for it everywhere coincides with a straight line, while the true circle as we said has in it not the slightest element belonging to a contradictory nature."(160) The idea of the circle is here, as it were, a purification of an intuitive datum, existing by itself, and unrelatedly, as a primitive atomic object of thought. On the other hand, Cusa and Bruno introducing for this purpose infinity into mathematics, find it of more importance to investigate, and to reason and draw ontological conclusions from circles that coincide throughout with straight lines, to reach Ideas which, produced by rigorous logical thought and therefore intelligible, embrace and unify under one principle, as many "contradictory natures" as possible. Thus Cusa, rejecting imagination which, confined to sensible things, obscures by false particularisation (161), lists a number of descriptions of the maximum, employing apparently widely differing entities, lines, triangles, and circles, and then states that the originators of all these were, at the same time, of one opinion and possessed of an "exact conception" of the maximum (162), and asserts that the mind can arrive at such concepts, which may be usefully and validly employed, even though it is incapable of fully envisaging them (163). The limitation of what may be said to be "conceived," or be described as "a clear and distinct Idea," to the imaginative faculty led of course to Berkeley's denial of existence to general abstract ideas (e.g., Triangle), and similarly to Mill's remarks on the geometrical line, that "the mind cannot form any such notion, it cannot conceive length, without breadth; it can only in contemplating objects attend to their length exclusively of their other sensible qualities, and so determine what properties may be predicated of them in virtue of their length alone. If this be true, the postulate involved in the geometrical definition of a line is the real existence, not of length without breadth, but merely of length that is, of long objects."(164) These views illuminate by contrast the attitude of much Renaissance neo-Platonism, particularly that influenced by mathematics, diametrically opposed to them in this respect. For already by the Renaissance to Platonists the Idea is frequently thoroughly functional, to "conceive" adequately is becoming translatable by "to be able to operate with," to be clear and distinct is coming to signify a potentiality for being subjected to an intelligible analysis within a system of reasoning, existence is allowed to that of which a logical account can be given. Indeed the standard that is here adopted of what is "objectively" true, together with the recognition of its origin in reason, may without much distortion be compared to Frege's position: "So verstehe ich Objectivitat eine Unabhangigkeit von unserm Empfinden, Anschauen und Vorstellen, von dem Entwerfen innerer Bilder aus den Erinnerungen fruherer Empfindunge, aber nicht eine Unabhangigkect von der Vernunft; denn die Fragen beantworten, was die Dinge unabhangig von der Vernunft sind, hiesse urtheilen, ohne zu urtheilen....Der grund der Objectivitat kann ja nicht in dem Sinneseindrucke liegen, der als Affection unserer Seele ganz subjectiv ist, sondern soweit ich sehe, nur in der Vernunft" etc.(165) While as respects neo-Platonic systems adopting a similar position, however doubtful its truth as applied to the thought of Plato, the view may to a large degree be maintained that "The Platonic Idea is the expression of the simple thought that every rightly formed concept has its solid basis in objective reality," since "every representation as such as a universal relation, not the individual phenomenon, as its content."(166)

The mind is supposed to attain these concepts by a process of discovery, an increasing self-consciousness, which usually remains fairly close to the original Platonic anamnesis - indeed the acceptance of such a doctrine can be shown to destroy the basis of Aristotle's attack in the Prior Analytics on the Platonic investigation by division, as a false syllogism, perpetually begging the questions, as well as much of his other criticisms and is perhaps the only firm basis for answering it. In this process the sensible world is of assistance in suggesting, and pointing to, the general truths from which it derives being. Thus in Plato's words "we see through not with the sense."(167) Thus "the geometrician and arithmetician," writes Plotinus, "knowing in the sensible object the imitation of that which subsists in intellection, they are as it were agitated and brought to the recollection of reality."(168) Some such stimulation may be necessary, but it provokes rather than controls the essentially active process of recollection: "Memory is not a certain repository of impressions, but a power of the soul exciting itself in such a way as to possess that which it had not."(169) Similarly Bacon's master, Grosseteste, taught in conjunction with a doctrine of "illumination" from Avicenna and Augustine, that the action of the sense, and their true function, was such as to excite the soul to a memory of its former acquaintance with incorruptible intellgibles. While, echoing the same thesis, in the seventeenth century, Henry More declares that doubts as to the existence of innate ideas can arise only through confusion of the "extrinsecal occasion" of thinking with its "adequate or principle cause," externals being rather "the reminders than the first begetters or implanters" of knowledge (170).