The famous seat of the Platonic philosophy was a gymnasium enlarged as a public park by Cimon; it lay about a mile to the north-west of the Dipylon Gate, with which it was connected by a street bordered with tombs.
As the Platonic philosophy was primarily moral, and its metaphysics a theory of the moral order of the universe, Aristotle from the first must have mastered the Platonic ethics.
Following Duns Scotus, he adopted the Platonic theory of ideas, and denied that Aristotle had made any contribution to metaphysical speculation.
At the same time he has nothing to say against the Platonic theory of universalia ante rem (see Idealism).
While denying the possibility of an absolute method and an absolute philosophy, as contended for by Hegel and others, Trendelenburg was emphatically an idealist in the ancient or Platonic sense; his whole work was devoted to the demonstration of the ideal in the real.
The Platonic dialogue, however, was founded on the mime, which had been cultivated half a century earlier by the Sicilian poets, Sophron and Epicharmus.
The term has also been applied to the Italian humanists of the Renaissance, and in modern times, somewhat vaguely, to thinkers who have based their speculations on the Platonic metaphysics or on Plotinus, and incorporated with it a tendency towards a mystical explanation of ultimate phenomena.
The Categories earlier than some parts of the Metaphysics, because under the influence of Platonic forms it talks of inherent attributes, and allows secondary substances which are universal; the De Interpretatione earlier than the Analytics, because in it the Platonic analysis of the sentence into noun and verb is retained for the proposition; the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia earlier than the Nicomachean Ethics, because they are rudimentary sketches of it, and the one written rather in the theological spirit, the other rather in the dialectical style, of Plato; and the Rhetoric to Alexander earlier than the Rhetoric, because it contains a rudimentary theory of the rational evidences afterwards developed into a logic of rhetoric in the Rhetoric and Analytics.
Later on much evidence goes to show that (by a divergence from the orthodox standard perhaps due to Platonic influence) it was a Stoic tenet to concede a soul, though not a rational soul, throughout the animal kingdom.
But the peculiar way in which it enforces its morals in terms of the Platonic contrast between the spiritual and sensuous worlds, as archetype and temporal manifestation, suggests a special local type of theology which must be taken into account in fixing its provenance.