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Timaeus and Critias

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  852 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Timaeus is one of Plato's dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings.
ebook, 146 pages
Published November 26th 2012 by Start Publishing LLC (first published -360)
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Erik Graff
Nov 11, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Plato fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
The sources for the myth of Atlantis are two: Plato's dialogs Timaeus and Critias, primarily the latter. That's it. The rest is much more modern invention.

Cornford's Plato books are usually detailed and excellent, albeit perhaps too detailed and technical for some readers. In this edition he did the translation as well as an introduction and preface, apparently abstracted from his longer Plato's Cosmology. Since the Timaeus is primarily a geometricized cosmology, something pretty alien to modern
Robert Palmer
Apr 27, 2014 Robert Palmer rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Plato's Republic
Most people who read this ancient text do so because it is the source of the Atlantis mythology (together with Plato's Critias). While I believe that Plato may very well have partially based his Atlantis on an actual city that was destroyed (e.g., the island of Thera), it seems fairly obvious that Plato's purpose in writing about Atlantis in these two works was to illustrate his ideal state as described in The Republic.

The Republic, Timaeus, and Critias are all written as conversations involving
Zeyl's translation is the most lucid of the Timaeus I have read. The work is a must–read for anyone interested in early & medieval Christian thought, and has merit in its own right— despite having been generally degenerated since the Enlightenment. Zeyl's introduction is as long as the text itself, and covers a lot of exegetical ground; Zeyl's view of the text can be said to be of the "unitary" school.

Recently I have been fascinated by and exploring the concept of the microcosmos mirroring the macrocosmos and little did I know that the Timaeus would dig so deeply into this topic. The Timaeus was part of the same series of dialogues between Socrates, Critias, Timaeus and Hermocrates that includes The Republic and Critias. Unlike most other works I have read by Plato, this stays away from Socrates challenging others in discourse and instead allows Timaeus a platform for a monologue on the f
Timaeus is a book which tells us about how Plato thought the world came to be. Ofcourse it is not very credible any more, but it contains some very interesting ideas. For example, the book explores the difference between the intelligible world and the sensory world. Also, it tries to answer the question if this universe is the only, and if so, why. It combines mathematics and metaphysics, and next to that it defines 'God' in an interesting way (as being the universe, if I'm not mistaken). Howeve ...more
Though the Timaeus was one of Plato's most influential dialogues -- influential on the course of Western intellectual history, particularly in Christian theology -- we did not read it in grad school for a few reasons. 1) It is largely about the creation of the world and lays out a scientific view that is clearly false according to contemporary science. 2) It is a late Platonic dialogue, and we largely skipped late Plato and focused instead on studying early and middle.

This was all well and good
It's kind of a mess. Plato's conception of how the earth was created is just an atavistic whirlwind of different origins and primary forces, none of which are explained or tied together into a coherent framework He starts out with a foundational idea and then when he can't develop it any further, he just throws out another one and insists that it's somehow related to the previous one. That being said, this is a hugely important dialogue because in his examination of first origins Plato briefly c ...more
This particular dialogue (if it can really be called a dialog considering only one man is speaking uninterrupted for more than 90% of the material) certainly has historical value in understanding the theories of the four humors, the early Greek theories on the mechanics of the human body, and their legends concerning Atlantis, but it was hard for me to find much real value beyond that. Most of the other writings of Plato contain reasoning and philosophical speculation that are at times profound ...more
Adam Smith
I read this book because I heard that it was the original source of the Atlantean myth; if that is true then the origin of the myth consists entirely of a brief 'it happened to a friend of a friend of mine' mention on page 12. Atlantis is only mentioned in passing, while the majority of the book is focused on explaining all of creation according Platonic physics.

It is so hard to reconcile Platonic physics against what I know of modern physics, the two just don't work together, making this book d
Skyler Reidy
Very interesting. I haven't read any Plato in years, but i see his influence all the time. It was nice to go ad fontes and see the idea of the forms played out in his own words. A lot of the text is dedicated to ancient scientific theories which seem a little crazy, like the idea that dire is made of tiny triangles. However, Plato is arguing that all substances on earth are just mixtures of a discrete number of elements, and that these elements are fundamentally different because of their shapes ...more
Probably the worst Platonic dialogue. Of course, all of the cosmology is demonstrably wrong. But what makes it particularly annoying is the huge amount of absurdities that Plato should have known to be false (all triangles are of two kinds, both of which have a right angle). The ratio of wrong or meaningless statements is probably no higher than in Parmenides or Phaedo, but the length of this dialogue means there's a lot more silliness to sift through. Finally, the fact that it is one long monol ...more
"Quite possibly the oddest reading in the entire [St. John's] program." -- Mrs. Trigg
Nesta presente obra, o filósofo e matemático grego tem como dialogantes Sócrates, Crítias, Hermócrates e Timeu, e é constituída por duas partes distintas: o diálogo entre Timeu e Sócrates; a segunda parte - que alarga-se até ao término do livro - é a abordagem e especulação de Timeu sobre a origem do universo, o microcosmo e a natureza enquanto mundo físico – sendo este o focus central do livro.

Opinião completa no blogue:
This book provides an ancient Greek myth of world creation. It also describes the destruction of Atlantis. I have never understood why people have been as excited by this dialogue as they have historically. Part of it is because it was the only known surviving dialogue in Europe. Still, it doesn't say much that I find interesting but it was quoted and quoted throughout Medieval history.

Don't get me wrong. In the end it is still Plato. It just isn't one of my favorites.
what the actual hell. in a good way.
I was fortunate enough to take Zeyl's last seminar as a professor on the Timaeus. I have a personal affinity for Aristotle, but this is quite an experience for a philosophy book and there are many things I got out of reading it. I'd recommend reading Cornford's commentary along with Zeyl's translation and long introduction/commentary.
This dialogue contains a detailed description of Plato's cosmogony embroidered with all the big Greek problems: the question of being and becoming, God, the nature of the physical world and Being itself. There's not much to dislike here, even though the dialogue does meander a bit.
John Balkcom
The only Platonic dialogue containing a complete creation myth and a key to the music of the spheres - and in this text Plato introduces the notion of "likely stories" as an ancient insight into the contemporary issues surrounding the nature of scientific explanation.
After a long hiatus, I picked up Plato's dialogues again in 2005, starting with a re-read of Timaeus and Critias which I'd read at least a couple of times before. No review or notes written at the time.
A lot of the Timaeus is dead weight to contemporary readers, but the parts that aren't contain a whole lot of interest. Looking forward to my semester module surrounding this work.
Jesse Whyte
Insanely impressive commentary on one of the most important texts in the canon and perhaps the one most prone to misinterpretation.
Elisabeth Sepulveda
Uses orderly sequencing and a divine being to explain and describe the creation of the universe. Lots of logos, nothing crazy.
Again, profound synthesis of his time. Certain to keep my head guessing for several millenia.
Some interesting revelations of Greek thought and belief about origins & cosmology.
This book taught me that some books have to be discussed to get anything out of them.
τὸ τοὺ Πλάτου φὺσις χαλεπός ἐστίν καταλαβαίνειν, ἀλλὰ ἔτι ἔγω διαβάζειν.
I believe this is the one in which Plato posits the fall of atlantis.
A very useful and thorough commentary to read along with the Timaeus.
It's incredible how this man's mind worked.
The classic treatment. Superb.
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Thoughts of Plato: Plato's "Sameness" and "Differences" 1 5 Dec 10, 2012 03:58AM  
  • The Categories
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Elements of Chemistry
  • Proslogion
  • Philoctetes
  • The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (Volume I)
  • The Enneads
  • Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)
  • On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life
  • The New Organon
  • Euclid's Elements
  • A History of Philosophy 2: Medieval Philosophy
  • The Libation Bearers
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • The Discourses
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics
  • Plato I: Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. (Loeb Classical Library, #36)
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, 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, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most
More about Plato...
The Republic The Trial and Death of Socrates The Symposium Apology Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo

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“De l’espèce d’âme qui a la plus haute autorité en nous, voici l’idée qu’il faut s’en faire : c’est que Dieu nous l’a donnée comme un génie, et c’est le principe que nous avons dit logé au sommet de notre corps, et qui nous élève de la terre vers notre parenté céleste, car nous sommes une plante du ciel, non de la terre, nous pouvons l’affirmer en toute vérité. Car Dieu a suspendu notre tête et notre racine à l’endroit où l’âme fut primitivement engendrée et a ainsi dressé tout notre corps vers le ciel. Or, quand un homme s’est livré tout entier à ses passions ou à ses ambitions et applique tous ses efforts à les satisfaire, toutes ses pensées deviennent nécessairement mortelles, et rien ne lui fait défaut pour devenir entièrement mortel, autant que cela est possible, puisque c’est à cela qu’il s’est exercé.
Mais lorsqu’un homme s’est donné tout entier à l’amour de la science et à la vraie sagesse et que, parmi ses facultés, il a surtout exercé celle de penser à des choses immortelles et divines, s’il parvient à atteindre la vérité, il est certain que, dans la mesure où il est donné à la nature humaine de participer à l’immortalité, il ne lui manque rien pour y parvenir ; et, comme il soigne toujours la partie divine et maintient en bon état le génie qui habite en lui, il doit être supérieurement heureux.”
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