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Xenocrates (396–314 BC)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A119-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

The Greek philosopher Xenocrates was the third head of the Platonic Academy. Like his predecessor Speusippus, he further developed Plato’s philosophy, but along more orthodox lines. Indeed, Xenocrates contributed much to the formalization of Plato’s philosophy into dogma. Starting from a metaphysical system of Monad and Dyad, the former being a self-contemplating intellect on the Aristotelian model and the latter a material principle, he systematically derived the rest of creation, postulating first the generation of number, and then soul, defined as ‘self-moving number’. He is notable for a tendency towards triadic divisions of the universe, and a developed theory of daemons. He was probably responsible for the first definitive edition of Plato’s works.

Citing this article:
Dillon, John. Xenocrates (396–314 BC), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A119-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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