Timaeus

R.G. Bury. Timaeus: The Loeb Classical Library, Vol. IX. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1989. Platos Timaeus was written in an attempt to make sense of the beginnings of time, of the world, as we know it. It is an attempt to describe how the world came into being. It is important to note that even Plato states that this is only a likely account(53). Nonetheless, it is an excellent summary of Platonic philosophy and was extremely influential in later years over the ancient and mediaeval world. To the modern reader, such as a college student, it proves to be quite obscure and repulsive, but interesting just the same. Plato first argues that since the sensible world is that which is becoming always and never existent(49) it must have come to be. Therefore, the world must have some for of cause, a cause to be. He refers to the cause as the maker and father of the universe(51) as well as the Mind(109) and God(127) later in the work. It is very common to hear Platos god referred to as the Demiurge, which literally means craftsman. Now then, since the Demiurge was depicted as good, he desired that, so far as possible, all things should be good and nothing evil(55). This is where Plato begins to describe the qualities of the universe that the Demiurge is creating. The deductions that Plato makes involving the forming of the universe shows his optimism concerning humankind. He views humankind as formed for the greater good of the universe. The world created by the Demiurge is alive, intelligent, eternal, and good, and therefore it is a blessed god(65). It just so happens that along with the influence of the Demiurge there was another factor at work. Plato refers to this as the Errant Cause(111). It is apparent that this other principle could be likened to the mother of the cosmos, sense the Demiurge was the father. Plato affirms that there m…

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