Vázquez, D. (2022), In: Time and Cosmology in Plato and the Platonic Tradition. Series: Brill's Plato Studies Series, Volume: 9 Publisher: Brill pp.111–133


I defend, against its more recent critics, a literal, factual, and consistent interpretation of Timaeus’ creation of the cosmos and time. My main purpose is to clarify the assumptions under which a literal interpretation of Timaeus’ cosmology becomes philosophically attractive. I propose five exegetical principles that guide my interpretation. Unlike previous literalists, I argue that assuming a “pre-cosmic time” is a mistake. Instead, I challenge the exegetical assumptions scholars impose on the text and argue that for Timaeus, a mere succession of events and the relations derived from it (before, after, simultaneous with) imply no time, given the narrow definition of the term used in the dialogue. For Timaeus, I explain, time is measurable, regular, and dependent on the motion of the celestial bodies. A mere succession of events like the one needed to understand the creation story and the pre-cosmos requires none of these elements. Readers of Plato erroneously assume that a succession of events implies time, but that is to impose a conception of time absent in the text. The chapter offers a detailed reconstruction of the pre-cosmic stage under a literalist interpretation and argues how it is compatible with the immutable relationship between the Demiurge and the cosmos.



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