Plato Timaeus

ISBN 13: 9781612036342

Timaeus

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Timaeus is one of Plato's dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by Timaeus. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings. The dialogue takes place the day after Socrates described his ideal state. In Plato's works such a discussion occurs in the Republic. Socrates feels that his description of the ideal state wasn't sufficient for the purposes of entertainment and that "I would be glad to hear some account of it engaging in transactions with other states". Critias proceeds to tell the story of Solon's journey to Egypt where he hears the story of Atlantis, and how Athens used to be an ideal state that subsequently waged war against Atlantis. Critias believes that he is getting ahead of himself, and mentions that Timaeus will tell part of the account from the origin of the universe to man. The history of Atlantis is postponed to Critias. The main content of the dialogue, the exposition by Timaeus, follows.

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Plato (423 BCE – 347 BCE) was a philosopher in Classical Greece. The exact time and place of Plato's birth are not known, but it is certain that he belonged to an aristocratic and influential family. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BCE. His father was Ariston. He was a mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, he helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science. His sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. His dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion and mathematics. His lasting themes include Platonic love, the theory of forms, innate knowledge, among others. His theory of forms launched a unique perspective on abstract objects, and led to a school of thought called Platonism. A variety of sources have given accounts of Plato's death. One story, based on a mutilated manuscript, suggests Plato died in his bed, whilst a young Thracian girl played the flute to him. Another tradition suggests Plato died at a wedding feast. The account is based on Diogenes Laertius's reference to an account by Hermippus, a third-century Alexandrian. According to Tertullian, Plato simply died in his sleep.

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