The <i>Timaeus</i> on the Principles of Cosmology

Thomas K. Johansen

in The Oxford Handbook of Plato

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780195182903
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 The Timaeus on the Principles of Cosmology

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  • Philosophy
  • Classical Philosophy
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Understanding of principles forms the basis of mastering Greek Philosophy. This article focuses on the idea of Principled Knowledge. Plato, too, seems to hold that grasping a body of knowledge requires a grasp of its principles. One example is the Republic where Socrates explains the image of the line. He has divided the line into two sections, the intelligible and the perceptible. The Timaeus, like the Republic, emphasizes the need for us to grasp the proper principle of our disciplines of study. The major principles enlisted in the Timaeus are as follows: Being is that which is graspable by intelligence with an account (logos); becoming is that which is graspable by opinion (doxa) with unreasoning (alogos) perception. Everything that comes into being has a cause (aition). When a craftsman uses an eternal model, his product is necessarily fine (kalon); if he uses a generated one, the product is not fine. The article further elaborates upon the standards of the cosmological argument and the most proper principle of coming into being which Socrates argues is the prelude.

Keywords: principle; philosophy; intelligible; perceptible; cosmological argument; prelude

Article.  11591 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Classical Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Science

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