Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Plato's Timaeus

"The very properties that constitute goodness in the cosmos also do so in human life: order and proportionality. Timaeus' ethical recommendation is therefore that through cosmology we can imitate the order of the universe in our own souls and thereby become more virtuous and happier."
Plato's Natural Philosophy: A Study of the Timaeus-Critias Thomas Kjeller Johansen (p.3)

"[the Demiurge] found that, among things that are by nature visible, no work that is without intelligence will ever be better than one that has intelligence ... and moreover that intelligence cannot be present in anything apart from soul [psyche]. In virtue of this reasoning, when he framed the universe, he fashioned reason within soul and soul within body .... This, then, is how we must say, according to the likely account, that this world came to be ... a living creature with soul and reason." Timaeus 30a-c [Cornford translation]

"[W]e may conclude that Plato's Demiurge, like the human craftsman in whose image he is conceived, operates upon materials which he does not create, and whose inherent nature sets a limit ... on his work." Cornford Plato's Cosmology p. 37

"This was his [the Demiurge's] intent: first that it might be in the fullest measure a living being whole and complete, of complete parts; next, that it might be single, nothing being left over, out of which another might come into being; and moreover that it might be free from age and sickness [!!!]. For he perceived that, if a body be composite, when hot things and cold and all things that have strong powers beset that body and attack it from without, and they bring it to untimely dissolution and cause it to waste away by bringing upon it sickness and age. For this reason and so considering, he fashioned it as a single whole consisting of all these wholes, complete and free from age and sickness." Timaeus 32c-33b

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