Ilievski, V. (2022), In: Time and Cosmology in Plato and the Platonic Tradition. Series: Brill's Plato Studies Series, Volume: 9 Publisher: Brill pp. 44 –77.


Close to the beginning of his grand speech, Plato’s Timaeus makes the following declaration: “To find the maker and father of this universe is a difficult task, and even once found, it’s impossible to declare him to all” (Timaeus 28c3–5). This is certainly not meant to be taken as a hyperbole, for the inquiry into the cause of creation must indeed be an arduous and unpredictable one. Now, the Timaean maker and father1 was made famous under another appellation, one much less straightforward and much more perplexing than the former two—ho dēmiourgos. It turns out that pinpointing the Demiurge’s status within Plato’s metaphysics is a task almost as difficult as pursuing the contemplative effort needed to attain to poiētēn kai patera himself. In fact, this seems to be the only indubitable thing regarding the Demiurge, as demonstrated by both the ancient divergence of opinions and the contemporary debates. My purpose in this chapter is not to settle the differences over the ontology and the cosmogonical role of Plato’s creator-god, for that could be too ambitious a task. Instead, I pursue a more modest aim, which is to offer a further contribution toward the resolution of this long-standing dispute by considering and combining certain aspects of my predecessors’ views, perhaps adding a distinct flavor to the mixture. In short, my intention is to argue that the Timaean divine craftsman stands for a transcendent Intellect, which is not only a productive cause,2 but also the highest god and the ultimate creative principle of Plato’s late metaphysics. Section three below is dedicated to this endeavor. In order to accomplish this aim, it will first be necessary to provide a concise outline of the most important views on the Demiurge circulated among the ancients, as well as those from recent times. This task is carried out in sections 2.1 and 2.2 of this chapter.


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