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  Reason and Necessity. Essays on Plato's Timaeus
edited by M.R. Wright
ISBN-13: 978-0-7156-3057-0 ISBN-10: 0-7156-3057-1, hardback, xvi+191 pp., 2000,

The editor: M.R. Wright has published numerous papers on ancient philosophy. Her principal books are Empedocles: the Extant Fragments; Cicero: On Stoic Good and Evil; and Cosmology in Antiquity. 

Plato's Timaeus contains a powerful and influential myth, of the construction of the universe by a divine craftsman. A god imposes reason on necessity, to bring order from a primeval 'receptacle' of disordered matter. There results the 'child' that is the cosmos - a copy of an eternally-existing perfect model. Here eight new essays from a distinguished international cast, explore aspects of this challenging work: the principles of the mythical narrative, how the world soul and human body are formed, implications for illness - mental and physical, the importance of music and harmonious proportion. Later developments are also treated: Aristotle's theory of generation, the commentary of Proclus and elements of modern evolutionary theory.


Outline of topics in Plato's Timaeus xvi
1. Myth, science and reason in the Timaeus - M.R. Wright
2. How to build a world soul: a practical guide - Sergio Zedda
3. How to build a human body: an idealist's guide - Scott Burgess
4. The body's fault? Plato's Timaeus on psychic illness - Christopher Gill
5. Timaeus on music and the liver - Andrew Barker
6. Aristotle's understanding of Plato's Receptacle - Lesley Dean-Jones
7. Proclus on demiurgy and procession in the Timaeus - Jan Opsomer
8. Zoogony and evolution in Plato's Timaeus, the Presocratics, Lucretius and Darwin - Gordon Campbell
Bibliography of main editions
Index locorum
General index