Document Type : Research Paper
PhD Student of Transcendental Philosophy, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
Associate Professor, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
Although Plato has not used the word symbol in his philosophical discussions, we might grasp the meaning of symbol in his philosophical thinking via a careful examination of his works based on the premise that a symbol refers to a symbolized phenomenon as well as his stance toward art and its epistemic effect. As the core of Plato’s epistemological theories, the theory of idea plays a key role in the conceptualization of symbol, in a way that the relationship between symbol and the symbolized phenomenon comes to be based on the relationship between the shadow or image and the origin and the benefitting of the shadow from the origin. The careful examination of the meaning of benefitting leads to the idea of form, which is the basis of the relationship between the symbol and the symbolized. Therefore, the analysis of the meaning of symbol in Plato’s works supports the suggestion that the hierarchy of the world of beings, too, is governed by symbolic relationships, as phenomena are the symbols of ideas and ideas are the symbols of the principle of good – the God in Plato’s philosophical system. The study at hand adopts the analytical-descriptive approach to explore Plato’s works in order to explicate the status of God in the world of being and the nature of creatures’ relationship with him based on the symbolic system. The findings reveal that God is the principle of unity that never comes to be the symbol of anything, and knowing and describing his essence is only possible through knowing the symbols.