Plato's Natural Philosophy: A Study of the Timaeus-Critias

New York: Cambridge University Press (2004)
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Plato's dialogue the Timaeus-Critias presents two connected accounts, that of the story of Atlantis and its defeat by ancient Athens and that of the creation of the cosmos by a divine craftsman. This book offers a unified reading of the dialogue. It tackles a wide range of interpretative and philosophical issues. Topics discussed include the function of the famous Atlantis story, the notion of cosmology as 'myth' and as 'likely', and the role of God in Platonic cosmology. Other areas commented upon are Plato's concepts of 'necessity' and 'teleology', the nature of the 'receptacle', the relationship between the soul and the body, the use of perception in cosmology, and the work's peculiar monologue form. The unifying theme is teleology: Plato's attempt to show the cosmos to be organised for the good. A central lesson which emerges is that the Timaeus is closer to Aristotle's physics than previously thought.



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Thomas Johansen
University of Oslo

Citations of this work

Self‐Motion and Cognition: Plato's Theory of the Soul.Douglas R. Campbell - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):523-544.
"Platonic Dualism Reconsidered".Suzanne Obdrzalek - 2024 - Phronesis 69 (1):31-62.
Cosmic and Human Cognition in the Timaeus.Gábor Betegh - 2018 - In John E. Sisko (ed.), Philosophy of mind in antiquity. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 120-140.

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References found in this work

Movers and elemental motions in Aristotle.István M. Bodnár - 1997 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 15:81-117.
Science and the sciences in Plato.John Peter Anton (ed.) - 1980 - Delmar, N.Y.: Caravan Books.

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