The Notre Dame Workshop on Ancient Philosophy and the History of Philosophy Forum are excited to welcome visiting scholar Alexander Long from the University of St. Andrews. Please join us for his talk, entitled "Is the Timaeus Plato's On Nature?" which will be followed by a Q&A session. An abstract is included below.
We hope to see you there!
Is the Timaeus Plato's On Nature?
In antiquity the Timaeus acquired a second title: Peri phuseôs (On Nature). But in Plato what is said to be ‘in phusis’, or to be or have a ‘phusis’, is not coextensive with the cosmos, its living inhabitants, and its elemental constituents. Calling the Timaeus Plato’s ‘natural’ philosophy, or his On Nature, fits its engagement with previous Greek philosophy, but it is also misleading, inasmuch as it suggests that the items in Timaeus’ speech belong to one and the same field of inquiry by virtue of having naturalness in common. The broadly Aristotelian uses of ‘nature’ and ‘natural’ in recent scholarship on the dialogue do not match Plato’s uses of the Greek word, and I consider how this affects our understanding of the dialogue and its place in the history of philosophy.