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AuthorClaghorn, George S. author
TitleAristotle's Criticism of Plato's 'Timaeus' [electronic resource] / by George S. Claghorn
ImprintDordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 1954
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Descript 147 p. online resource


The purpose of this study is to determine Aristotle's attitude toward the content and method of Plato's natural science. Plato and Aristotle have often been regarded as on opposite sides of a philosophic 'Great Divide'. On the other hand, those who have found that the two men were in agreement have sometimes mentioned only scattered instances of that agreement. There is need for a new comparison of the two philosopher- one which is limited in scope, based on the primary texts, and which is systematic and thorough in method. If successful, such a comparison would bring into sharp focus one phase of Aristotle's comments on Plato. Our attempt to meet this need is Aristotle's Criticism of Plato's TIMAEUS. In pursuing this study, it has been necessary to reject a number of uncritically-accepted interpreยญ tations of the Timaeus. Contrary to the view of many, we have concluded that Aristotle largely agreed with Plato, both in the principles and presuppositions of his natural science. A number of implications stem from this study. There is, for example, the oft-questioned manner in which Aristotle treated Plato's philosophy. In the great majority of instances, Aristotle stands forth as a reliable reporter and a skilled critic. Moreover, the study sheds light on that ancient riddle: whether Plato and Aristotle are basically akin or at odds in their general philosophies


I. Introduction -- The Problem -- The Importance of the Timaeus -- Modern scholarship and the relation of Aristotle to Plato -- Chronology to be used -- Sources and method of examining them -- II. Aristotle's Criticism of the Receptacle -- Plato's 'Receptacle'; Aristotle's 'matter' -- Identification of the two by means of the gold analogy -- Other similarities between the two -- Both are Non-being -- Both are unintelligible -- Both are full of potencies -- Both are infinite -- Both are Great and Small -- Both are extended -- Not empty space (the void) -- Space as contained and container -- Summary of the chapter -- III. Aristotle's Criticism of the Simple Bodies -- History of the term 'Element' -- Plato's view of the simple bodies -- The four earthly bodies -- Construction of plane-figures -- Meaning of plane-figures -- Aristotle's view of the elements -- Plato and Aristotle on the meaning and value of mathematical analysis -- Aristotle's criticisms of planes and plane-figures. -- Summary of the chapter -- IV. Aristotle's Criticism of Qualities -- Definition of 'quality' -- Plato's treatment of qualities -- Aristotle's treatment of qualities -- General criticisms of Plato's views -- The problem of weight -- Aristotle's doctrine (natural places, absolute directions, weight) -- Plato's doctrine (natural places, relative directions, weight) -- Aristotle's criticisms of weight -- Summary of the chapter -- V. Aristotle's Criticism of Motion -- Motions and their causes (Plato) -- Motions and their causes (Aristotle) -- The motion of the earth in the Timaeus -- ?????????? and its support -- ????????? and its support -- The position of the earth, a related question. -- Possible interpretations -- The earth at rest -- The earth in motion (kinds) -- Summary of the chapter -- VI. Aristotle's Criticism of Time -- 'Time' in the Timaeus -- 'Time' in Aristotle -- Aristotle's criticisms -- Similarities between the two views -- The problem of whether Time began -- Summary of the chapter -- VII. Aristotle's Criticism of Soul -- The intermediate character of myth -- Mythical nature of the Timaeus -- Value of myth -- The problem of soul -- Plato's general view of soul -- Living Creature and World-soul -- Human soul -- Aristotle's general view of soul -- Aristotle's criticisms of soul -- World-soul and the Unmoved Mover -- World-soul and God -- God as Demiurge -- God as Cause -- VIII. Aristotle's Criticism of 'Nature' -- 'Nature' to the Pre-Socratics -- 'Nature' to Plato -- 'Nature' to Aristotle -- Teleology in Plato's doctrine -- In Aristotle's -- Plato, Aristotle, and their predecessors -- Plato and Aristotle compared on doctrines -- Conclusion -- Index of Passages in Aristotle and Plato -- General Index

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