Plato’s ‘Timeaus’


Let is first be said that I understood almost nothing, not because it was so complex (though some of the mystical-mathematical Pythagoreanism might have been), but because my eyes constantly glazed over.

I had already read Gorgias a couple of years ago, but when I saw this book at Red Emma’s in Baltimore, I had to have it. The Renaissance, almost the only work by Plato accessible to the Latin scholastics was part of Timaeus  (I’m not sure which part).

As it turns out, almost the whole of it is a long creation monologue within which there might be some interesting, philosophical wheat amongst the chaff, but I can hardly be sure.

I was struck by the bit about oily ‘sap’ dividing visual rays because it resonated with an article that I read recently about how the ancient Greeks thought about color (hint: to them, it argues, ‘brightness’ is a color).

And this little bit, too, felt relevant to the mind-body problem (if you consider it a problem, which I do):

The only being which can properly have mind is the invisible soul

Speaking of the soul, questions of madness, stupidity, and personal morality are described as being primarily physical; as arising from the particular composition of one’s body and the arrangement/proportions of the humours (which proposition would seem to contradict that above statement about ‘mind’).

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