REL 391, Tuesday-Thursday 9:00-10:15 am Class Section # 23641 Essay One: Explain how Plato’s Timaeus explains how God is "the maker" (TO POIOUN) or "the craftsman" (TO DEMIOUIRGOUS) of the cosmos. The answer should consider how what Plato means by "maker" differs from "cause" and the role that the idea of "space" plays in the Timaeus' account.
Public belief is that philosophy is at the best of times a difficult subject to understand. The philosophy of Plato’s Timaeus is made farther difficult to understand, as the dialogue was never finished, Plato’s ‘Critias’ it is believed was meant to be the resolution to the dialogue of the Timaeus. Ancient Greek philosophy is considered the basis for both medieval and modern philosophy, Plato himself is also considered by most if not all historians and philosophers as one of the fathers of philosophy. The difficulty to understand Plato and his contemporaries is made worse by a single factor, time. The years between when the Greek philosophers first wrote and when their writings were brought back into the mainstream of knowledge, the world had become an almost entirely different place. The philosophy of the early medieval world was a radically different philosophy than that of the Greeks. As a result of this modern philosophy appears to be split at times between the Greek’s thinking and the medieval thinking. This leads to the ultimate complication of reading and interpreting Plato. What do we as modern readers and modern philosophers understand Plato to be explaining, and what did Plato as a philosopher of Ancient Greece understand himself to be explaining. I will be looking at Plato with a modern understanding, through the writings of modern philosophers, writings published in the last seventy five years, on Plato, but I will be doing this with a ear to the social perceptions and societal understandings of Plato’s time. In Plato’s Timaeus the ‘the Craftsman’ or ‘To Demiouirgous’ is defined by Plato as those who create,...
Cited: * Cornford, Francis M. Plato 's Cosmology. (“Timaeus”) Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1997. (ISBN: 0-87220-386-7; B387.A5 C65 1957)
* Kraut, Richard (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Plato. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. (ISBN: 0-521-43610 9; B395.C28 1992).
* Esp. Michael L. Morgan, “Plato and Greek Religion” pp.227-247.
* Nicholas P. White, “Plato’s metaphysical epistemology” pp. 277-310
* Popkin, Richard H. Columbia History of Western Philosophy, The. NY: Columbia UP, 2005. (ISBN 0231101295) (B72.C593 1999), pp.32-52
* Webster’s Dictionary
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