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Utorak, 29 Juni 2021 20:21

Plato's Cosmology: The Timaeus Istaknut

Plato in Raphael's The School of Athens carrying a copy of Timaeus Plato in Raphael's The School of Athens carrying a copy of Timaeus

The Timaeus is Plato dialogues mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character Timaeus of Locri, written c. 360 BC. Participants in the dialogue include Timaeus, Socrates, Hermocrates, and Critias. In it, Plato gives his cosmological story as a part of the portrait of Greek thought, and as a facet in the complex entity that was Plato's realm of ideas. Thanks to a translation by Cicero the Timaeus was influential in the Middle Ages and continues to hold a place in the significant literature of philosophy.

In the Timaeus Plato presents an elaborately wrought account of the formation of the universe and an explanation of its impressive order and beauty. First, he argues that since the sensible world "is always becoming and is never real" it must have come to be, and therefore must have a cause. This cause he calls "the maker and father of the universe". Later he calls it Mind and God. Modern scholars refer to Plato's God as the Demiurge ("maker", or literally "craftsman"). This divine Demiurge, imitating an unchanging and eternal model, imposes mathematical order via "shapes and numbers" on preexistent chaos to generate the ordered universe. He fashioned the universe out of four elements: earth, fire, air, and water. These elements are solids composed of triangles and arranged as geometric means. Earth: cube; pyramid: fire; octahedron: air; icosahedron: water. The fifth solid, the dodecahedron, is used for the whole of Heaven since it is almost like a sphere. The world created by him is alive, intelligent, eternal, and good, and therefore it is a "blessed god". Time and change were created by the Demiurge at the same moment when the world was formed. Plato wrote: "(the Demiurge) began to think of making a moving image of eternity: at the same time as he brought order to the universe, he would make an eternal image, moving according to number, of eternity remaining in unity. This, of course, is what we call "time"."

At the center of the universe is the earth surrounded by circles for the planets. The rational soul infuses the entire universe. Humans, according to Plato, were created by the children of the eternal creator (the "demiurge" or master craftsman), and this explains their dual nature. Because we are not directly descended from him, we are not gods ourselves, but there is nonetheless something "divine" and "immortal" in us: our rational souls, which are god-like.

Pročitano 116 puta Poslednji put izmenjeno Četvrtak, 08 Juli 2021 21:09

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