Plato's structure of reality in the Timaeus
Roux, Suzanne Raymonde
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Plato’s Timaeus is a complex account of the origin of the kosmos or universe and all living things and of the underlying structure of the kosmos. Plato claimed that before an ordered universe was created there existed three things: firstly, the Eternal Forms or the paradigmatic eternal model on which our universe is copied, secondly, Space or that in which the perceptible universe was created, and thirdly the ever changing and perceptible universe. For Plato, as for Empedocles, the universe was made out of the primary elements of fire, earth, air and water. Plato introduced a geometrical atomism into this account claiming that the underlying and basic constituents of these primary elements are triangles. In this paper I will give an account of how the universe is constructed using the irreducibly fundamental constituents of the triangles. Teleology and a geometric atomism comprise the centrepiece of Plato’s account of the formation and structure of the universe.