Platos Cosmology: The Timaeus
Palavras-chave: Platão; Poesia; Poetas; Mímesis; Mitos; Demiurgo; Callípolis; Plato's attitude toward the poets and poetry has always been a flashpoint of . an art of "conscious" deception and the relationship between poetry and deception. Plato's demiurge is not a mythical figure used to give an allegorical and The paper considers its relationship to the Form of the Good and proposes some. In order to prove this thesis, we will analyze: a) the relation, according to Proclus, between Plato and Orpheus by mediation of Pythagoras; b) the citation context.
These possessed inherent dynamic properties. It is a claim of this article that this vitalization of matter was central to the emergence of genuine species transformism. In his original formulations, Buffon conceptualized these internal moulds and organic molecules to originate from divine creation. It was following upon his proposed solution to the issue of organic generation that Buffon then addressed the issue of organic species and their permanence.
In the fourth volume of the Natural History devoted to the large domestic quadrupeds, Buffon first raised the option of species transformism, only to reject it. In the article devoted to the domestic donkey, Buffon drew attention to the close similarity revealed between the horse and the ass, revealed by his collaborator Daubenton's anatomical descriptions.
This similarity strongly suggested an underlying unity of plan of all the quadrupeds. In a move that has confused commentators every since, Buffon then rejected this possibility.
The explanation of Buffon's rejection of transformism has taken many forms, most of these referring back to an early article by A. See Bowlerchp. Similar to Aristotle's concept of the substantial form—the metaphysical foundation for the essential identity of offspring and parent through sexual generation— Buffon's internal mould functioned in a similar way.
The species is maintained in time and given its ontological reality by the passing on in a repeating material series an immanent formal principle. But this implied for Buffon a significant redefinition of the concept of an organic species.
This redefinition has affected the tradition of natural history and biology since the s Sloanin Ruse and Richards ; Gayon The empirical sign of this essential unity of the species over time is the ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring, a criterion that takes precedence over similarities of anatomy or habits of life.
The horse and ass must be two different species because they cannot interbreed and produce fertile offspring, whatever may be their anatomical resemblances. The dogs, on the other hand, must, in spite of great morphological differences between breeds, constitute one species because of their interfertility. This created the conceptual basis of his concept of race as distinguished from a Linnean Variety.
To explain these changes, Buffon appealed to slight alterations in the organic molecules in response to environmental conditions that could in turn affect the internal moulds. Buffon subsequently made some steps toward combining the thesis of the historical degeneration of species with his theory of historical cosmology in The Epochs of Nature, published as a supplement to the Natural History in — In this imaginative synthesis, Buffon combined a history of the Earth with a historical sequence of the emergence of living forms Buffon In this treatise Buffon offered a naturalistic solution to the two inherited Cartesian dilemmas.
First, his schema was offered as a realistic account. The Cartesian language of counterfactualism has disappeared. Second, he integrated the history of living forms into this naturalistic history of the world.
Further naturalizing his theory of the internal moulds and organic molecules, both were now seen to arise by natural laws from the natural attraction of different shapes of matter and from the changes in matter as the earth cooled from its origin in matter cast off by the sun.
The Epochs also offered a schema for a historical sequence of forms, beginning with marine life and plants and eventually resulting in present forms. This naturalistic account even verged on incorporating the origin of human beings, although this issue is left vague. Humankind appears, without explanation in the text, in a non-paradisal state in the northern latitudes of Eurasia, surrounded by ferocious animals, earthquakes and floods, and in a primitive social condition that required collaboration for survival.
Buffon's liberal use of a form of spontaneous generation that allowed for the origin of even major animal groups from the clumping together of organic molecules as the earth cooled, rendered the actual derivation of forms from previous forms unnecessary. In several respects, the development of genuine transformist theories by Buffon's successors required a much more restricted use of the possibility of spontaneous generation. The work was never translated into English and it seems to have played an insignificant role in anglophone discussions, in contrast, for example, to the major impact of the works of Linnaeus, which received a wide British exposition and translation.
The boldly speculative character of the Epochs was also at odds with the new professionalized inquiries into geology and natural history undertaken by a younger generation of naturalists who may have adopted Buffon's naturalism and extension of geochronology, but not his grand rhetorical style Rudwickchp. On the other hand, the Epochs had an important history in the Germanies.
The treatise was quickly translated into German and it seems to have played an important role in the development of German historicism Reill in Gayon et al, Although linkages are unclear, the importance of Buffon's work for the development of progressive, rather than degenerative, theories of historical transformism sketched out by Johann Gottfried Herder — in the first volume of his Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit —91 is suggested by several lines of evidence.
For Immanuel Kant, the Epochs formed the foremost example of a genetic history of nature Naturgeschichteas opposed to a Linnean description of nature Naturbeschreibung. This set up within the German tradition an opposition between two alternative projects in natural history that persisted into the nineteenth century Sloan a; Wilson in Smith Subsequent reflections drew most inspiration from the theoretical developments by Buffon's one-time understudy and the occupant of the new chair of invertebrates Vers from —, Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck — Lamarck developed the theory of species change over time to the point that it introduced a new term—transformisme—to describe the theory of species change into the scientific literature.
Formulated within the most prominent institution dedicated to natural history, Lamarck's theoretical views also had the necessary material conditions for their elaboration in relation to extensive museum collections of materials.
Adopting from his earlier method of arrangement of the plant groups in his work on French botany in which he had ordered groups serially from most complex to most simple, Lamarck adopted a similar method for the invertebrate groups.
These taxonomic rearrangements took place before Lamarck made any public declaration of his views on species transformism.
The role of the poet in Plato's ideal cities of Callipolis and Magnesia
This linear rearrangement of the invertebrates provided him with an empirical base from which his transformist theory was then developed Burkhardt In view of the many interpretations of Lamarck's views sincethe primary features of Lamarck's theory need to be carefully detailed.
In most fundamental terms, his theory of species change was tied to his reversal of the taxonomic ordering of forms originally presented in his early systematic arrangements. In his first arrangements, these were ordered as a series of animal groups arranged in a simple linear series that began with the most complex forms cephalopods and terminated in the least organized infusorians.
The evolutionary theory he developed involved the claim that this new order of arrangement was also the sequence in which forms had been historically generated one from another over time. The following claims formed the core of his theory: The origin of living beings is initially through spontaneous generation.
This action is confined, however, to the origins of the most structurally-simple forms of life—infusoria. All subsequent forms necessarily have developed in some way in time from the elementary beginning in these simplest microscopic forms.
These material agencies produce the spontaneous generation of the infusorians and also provide the impetus by which these give rise to forms of higher complexity, the radiarians, and so on up the series. Lamarck's appeal to the causal role of Newtonian aetherial fluids, however, grounded his theory on a concept of active matter rather than on special superadded vital forces, and in this respect it can be termed a theory of vital materialism.
The principal axis of Lamarckian transformism is a linear series, realized in time. This moves from simpler forms up a scale of organization to more complex forms.
This results in an axis of fourteen primary groups, terminating in the mammals. Position on the series is defined primarily in terms of the structural and functional elaboration of the nervous system.
The best-known feature of Lamarckianism in the subsequent tradition—the theory of transformism via the inheritance of acquired characters—functions as a subordinate, diversifying process through which major animal groups are adapted to local circumstances. Such adaptation is not, however, the primary cause of transformation from group to group up the series. Consequently, in contrast to Darwin's later theory, the primary evolution of life is not through local adaptation.
Major transformations between lesser groups may, however, occur through the action of use and disuse of structures. For example, the transformation of primates into humans presumably has occurred by means of this adaptive process.
Revisions of the third point constitute the most significant change in these five points afteralthough the connection of these changes to Lamarck's more general theory remain unclear. Both in the diagram supplied as an Appendix to the Zoological Philosophy and in the Introductory Discourse to the later Natural History of Animals Without VertebraeLamarck presented a branching image of group development.
Likely responding to his younger colleague Georges Cuvier's — criticisms of linear relationships see belowLamarck admitted a more complex pattern of group relations, with some showing independent lineages and even different points of origin.
This issue was not, however, developed in any theoretical elaboration by Lamarck himself, and has not had significant impact on the historical understanding of Lamarckianism. Some of these elements in Lamarck's later theory did, however, have some impact on British readings SloanThe reception of Lamarck's views remains a topic of active scholarly exploration see www. Less concerned with the issue of species transformism than with the implications of comparative anatomy, Geoffroy St.
The Concept of Evolution to 1872
Hilaire proceeded to work out the implications of the inner anatomical similarities of vertebrates. Hilaire drew attention to the implications of comparative anatomy for the unity of the animal kingdom. In the mids, St. Hilaire developed a more historical position on the relation of the unity of type to issues of the fossil record and to the development of life Guyaderchp. ByGeoffroy St. This led him into direct opposition to the claims of his one-time friend and colleague, Georges Cuvier.
Cuvier's researches in comparative anatomy and paleontology led him to conclude to the contrary that animals were formed on a series of four distinct and autonomous body plans embranchements that may display some unity of type within the embranchements. Cuvier denied, however, the possibility of such unity between these plans, and developed this into a general anti-transformist argument that formed the mainstay of subsequent critiques of transformism into the Darwinian era.
Hilaire and Cuvier Appel This debate also forms one of the historic encounters between differing conceptions of biology that affected many aspects of nineteenth-century life science. It drew division lines within French, and even British, biology over the relation of organisms to history, and it directly engaged the possibility of species change.
This debate also served to focus issues within French life science in a way that significantly affected the later French reception of Darwin. This debate eventually was to involve issues of paleontology, comparative anatomy, transformism of species, and the relation of form to function. It mentions the traditional Earth, Air, Fire, and Water of Empedoclesbut goes beyond them, analyzing them in terms of mathematical objects shades of the Pythagoreans and empty space the invention of the atomists.
The four elements The intrinsic nature of fire, water, air, and earth 48band how they came into being.
The receptacle is that in which all becoming takes place. The fires that you see coming into being and being extinguished are just appearances, in the receptacle, of the Fire Itself the Form.
But how do they come into being? What are they made of? Each particle is a regular geometrical solid. There are four kinds of particles, one for each of the four kinds of matter.
Each particle is composed of elementary right triangles. The particles are like the molecules of the theory; the triangles are its atoms. The argument that all bodies are ultimately composed of elementary right triangles is given at 53c-d: Every surface bounded by straight lines is divisible into triangles.
Every triangle is divisible into right triangles. So all bodies can be constructed out of isosceles and scalene right triangles. See diagrams, RAGP Construction of solid particles out of the faces The construction of the particles is described at 54dc.
The particles are identified with the four elements at 55db. Plato argues that all imitative poetry, in particular the tragic poetry of Homer, should be excluded from the city. Homer has no techne to teach us. There is nothing in his work that guides us toward political and moral excellence. There is nothing in Homer that will make citizens better At best, Homer can imitate what he thinks will appear beautiful to the multitude bc.
Indeed, contrary to someone who is a user of a thing or a maker of a thing, the imitator of a thing has neither knowledge, nor right opinion, but can only imitate what he thinks will appear seductive to the multitude, that is, those who are ignorant of the things themselves. The poetic craft uses trickery and magic d.
The poet is first and foremost clever a ; he makes a citizen worse not better by arousing, nourishing and strengthening the inferior part of the soul b. Indeed, imitative poetry pertains to people whose behaviour is dominated by their passions bc; see also Republic 3. Moreover, Plato suggests that such poetry is "intentionally" deceptive c. Plato's comments in Republic 10 echo the Gorgias, where poetry is seen as pandering to the crowd, as using deception, trickery, magic and insincerity d.
It is demagoguery at its best. In both works, Plato appears obsessively fearful of the dramatic power of poetry. Indeed, it is so powerful, he contends, that it can even corrupt "good men" cwho can be seduced by its emotional spectacles.
Consequently, if Homer, the most poetic of the tragedians, did indeed educate Greece Although there is no indication in Republic 10 that the poets or their interpreters successfully defend "dramatic poetry" as traditionally practised, this does not mean that Plato banishes all poetry and the poets from the state of Callipolis.
This extreme position is defended by a number of scholars for example by Murray; ; Naddaff2, 8; Nehamas, Quite simply, this would be rash. To banish all poetry would be akin to claiming that all song, dance and music must be eliminated and these are clearly part of the human condition, as we see in the Laws. Indeed, there are several passages in the Republic where the poets continue to play an important role independent of the present arguments ea; da; d and b-c.
More important, it is unclear if Plato even intends to banish all imitative poetry from his ideal city again, a point many commentators endorse.
In my view, Plato's position in Republic 10 is not that different from that found in Republic 3. In conjunction, if there is to be poetry in the state then, as Plato noted in Republic 3 and reiterates here, it must be a dramatic poetry that represents gods, heroes and good men as they are, that is, as the philosopher rehabilitates them c.
This is the spirit, in my view, of Plato's contention at Republic a that "we can admit no poetry into our cities save only hymns about the gods and praises of good men" humnous theois kai egkomia tois agathois, a To what degree if any, is it contrary to what we saw in Republic 3? And, once again, would this kind of poetry be composed by a class of individuals with a specialized techne that Plato would characterize as "poets"?
Now in the "ideal" city of Callipolis, as we saw, traditional poetry is as severely restricted for epistemological as for moral reasons although the former appear to reinforce the latter. Plato's primary opposition is based on the notion that the primary entities in myth: In the passage cited above, Plato appears to limit poetry to "hymns to the gods" and "encomia of good people. Of course, all songs are poetic! Thus we find the expression, "to sing a song" humnon aeidein in Hesiod's Works and Days It was in fact Plato in the Laws who initiated humnos as a term to designate a precise genre that is, "songs or poems to gods", which were always sung to the accompaniment of a lyre Lawsb2; see also c; ba; d-e more on these below.
Plato contends that in the old days there were unmixed forms of pure song. One of these was the humnos that consisted solely of "song-prayers to gods" euchai pros theous, b2although at a Plato mentions hymns and encomia in honour of certain men.
Plato, as Aristotle, meanwhile seems to suggest that poetry arose naturally poietai egignonto phusei men poietikoi, Laws d4; see Fordn In his summary of the origins and evolution of Greek poetry in Poetics 4 ba30Aristotle contends that poetry was due to two causes both of which are connected with human nature: Not only is this similar to Plato's contention in the Republic e.
These, in turn, lead to metrical adaptation, which is a primary condition of poetry and precisely what poets excel in Poetics b; Laws ea; ea. In fact, both Aristotle and Plato associate hymns and encomia as one of the initial stages of poetic evolution Poetics 4. In conjunction, there is the famous passage in Plato's Protagoras ea where children are made to learn by rote poems in which they find "many admonishments, many narratives and eulogies and encomia of good men of old enkomia palaion anthron agathon ".
The aim, as Burnyeat correctly notes, "is to get the boys to emulate mimeisthai these heroes of the past". Encomia, as Aristotle notes in the Rhetoric, are only bestowed on men who have actually performed deeds worthy of praise. Hence it is only when a man has already done something impressive that we bestow an encomium upon him.
Plato uses the term encomia and humnos in a similar context in the Laws for the term encomia, see e1, 3, 9; a1; b5; c4; e9. I will make reference to these later. But let us first examine what is the finest example of encomiastic poetry in the context of the Republic. I am thinking of the famous Atlantis story that identifies Socrates' ideal citizens in the Republic with ancient Athenians.
It is a perfect example of encomiastic history of a city ten polin egkomiasai, 19d2 such that Socrates requests from his three interlocutors: Critias, Timaeus and Hermocrates Timaeus 20a. Moreover, the story is celebrated during a festival the importance of which cannot be underestimated, and meant to challenge Homer on his own terrain see Timaeus 21d and Naddaf in Brisson xxvi-xxxiii; and more recently, Johansen Because of civil conflict at home, Solon was not able to commit the entire story to verse, causing the political interpretation to take precedence over the poetic, as indeed it should in Plato's eyes.
But would Solon not have been more effective had this epic about the "real" Athens been put into verse so it could be performed over and over until the Athenians of Plato's time "could perfectly mime" the good men of old and, hopefully, become as "godlike" as these "original" ancestors? We would then have a chorus of citizens exhibiting courage, self-control, piety and freedom Republic cthat is, the characteristics appropriate to the tupos of the "good man" in the Republic.
But there is also a pressing question here. Could such an encomiastic history be accomplished without the poet's techne? At Critias b, Socrates likens Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates to poets in a theatre and their respective poems are not only understood as "divinely inspired" the Muses are invoked: This could give the impression that such encomiastic history could dispense with poetic verse. But this would suggest that prose would be more effective than song and performance in educating citizens to emulate virtuous men.
Moreover, in the "ideal" city of Callipolis as in ancient Athens the natural division of labour is still in effect; indeed, it is the sine qua non or one of them of the realization of the city itself. Therefore, it is neither possible, nor desirable, for all classes to conform to, or impersonate the tupos of the "good man". Again, Plato moves in the opposite direction in the Laws. The Laws presents a very different picture. In his last and longest work, the lawgiver is both the "poet" e.
Moreover poetic performance and, thus, dramatic poetry, are the necessary conditions for educating the future citizens in a quasi "classless" society in which all without exception have as part of their "job" description the cultivation of virtue or excellence.
The twenty or so references to Homer and Hesiod in the Laws are overwhelmingly positive, in stark contrast to Plato's diatribes and offensive arguments in the Republic. Even more surprising, if one considers the diatribes of the Republic, is the Athenian's admiring and unequivocal admission that a number of great poems have come down from the ancients.DEBES SABERLO: EL DEMIURGO TE DIO SU MENTE
In sum, among the poems of the past, most, but not all, by Homer and Hesiod, there are some dramatic poetic texts that can be used as they are, others can be revised, and still others must be discarded. This position is reiterated at Laws eff. The Athenian states that, to separate the good from the bad, the poets poietai must follow models paradeigmata that emulate the new "laws" being composed c-e.
These laws are indeed the mandatory paradigm of a "literary composition". The Athenian characterizes the discourse of the Laws as both "divinely inspired" ouk aneu tinos epipnoias theon and as resembling a poem poiesei, c; see also a-d on the legislator as tragedian. Plato refers to professional poets on several occasions c; b; b; e; e; e; a.
These poets, like the professional teachers and musicians with whom they collaborate, are explicitly stated to be salaried foreign employees of the state of Magnesia e. Such poets fulfil the expectation articulated in the Frogs by Euripides that poets possess both a teachable poetic craft and high moral standards.
They do not include, however, the troupe of foreign "tragedians" who request, and are denied, admission to Magnesia to perform their own dramatic poetry a-d. It would seem that the poetic technicians mentioned above would be made redundant by the famous "third" chorus, the chorus of Dionysus in Laws 2.
The members of this chorus are to be masters with a "higher" knowledge of music. Although a poetic technician needs to know about harmony and rhythm and the art of representation, he may not know "whether the representation is noble or ignoble" 2.
Such knowledge requires a higher music, one derived from the "actual Muses" c; b-cbeyond the reach of salaried functionaries. Nonetheless, there are too many references to these foreign technicians to think them expendable.
It should thus be argued that these technicians have the technical skill and knowledge to convey to the young the paradigms of their Dionysian masters. Plato is well aware, as was Xenophanes before him DK21B18that the Muses do not reveal everything to humans all at once; rather, by searching, people must discover and articulate what the Muses intend. Although Plato is clear from the opening of the Laws that divine "inspiration" was behind the Dorian law codes bthe Athenian's critique of Minos and Lycurgus shows that their codes are limited, and that inspiration awaits further and better articulation.
The older codes are thus precursors to "real" legislation. Plato's legislator is divinely inspired, but he works with a legislative techne that people have developed over the course of history.
Such a techne is not only grounded in divine reason or nous but is also the result of chance and necessity, of trial and error, of social, environmental and technological factors.
As the Athenian notes at the beginning of Laws 3, the purpose of investigation is to discover the cause of change in human affairs c; also Nightingale This need for progressive articulation also brings out a difference between the "historical" accounts of Homer and the law code Plato imagines to be the foundation of Magnesia.
This does not a philosopher or legislator make. As the Athenian claims later on, there is an old commonly accepted proverb that states, "when the poet is seated on the tripod of the Muse, he is no longer master of his wits" c.
Since the poet's art is an art of imitation or representation c5 by virtue of his "uncontrolled" thoughts, the poet depicts characters with contrasting personalities, who hold contradictory positions on the points in dispute; he cannot say which character's opinion is the true one c. The legislator, on the other hand, must never allow his law to say two different things on the same subject c-d.
The key to consistency, of course, is "divine reason" on which nomos or law is founded. The Athenian notes after referring to the Phoenician myth of the sowing of the dragon teeth: And Plato insists on several occasions in the Laws that all mousike, including his own, is imitative and representative e. In other words, the laws must be poetized and set to music and therefore "performed" in a fashion reminiscent of "dramatic poetry".