25 November at 3pm

Filip Karfik  (University of Fribourg)

On line seminar - to register, please send an email to silvia.debianchi@unimi.it

This video is part of the PROTEUS project that has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement No. 758145)


Plato’s Timaeus offers an account of the beginning of the universe. This account takes the form of a creationist story but it is nonetheless conceived of as an analysis reducing the current state of the universe to a limited number of principles explaining it. Among these principles the most basic two are intelligible patterns on the one hand and space on the other. The latter is responsible for blurred appearances of the former coming about. These appearances themselves are instable and lack identity that would make them countable and thus graspable by reason. This means that space itself is conceived of as a principle of indeterminacy. It doubles as it were the intelligible patterns by producing something else which is not itself intelligible. The universe, however, does not present to us a polymorph flux lacking determinacy. Otherwise there would be no point in assuming intelligible patterns underlying its appearance. The universe presents to us as a whole the parts of which can be well distinguished one from another, counted and measured. Even the changes occurring within this whole are regular to the extent that they can be counted and measured. A change which occurs with regularity thus making itself countable and measurable is called time. Unlike space which is a principle of indeterminacy, time is a characteristic of what is determinate. Essential to the appearances and their changes for being accessible to reason is that they are structured by shapes and numbers. While space itself, on Timaeus account, does not involve any of them, time presupposes an arithmetically and geometrically structured entity.