By Arthur Farndell
Marsilio Ficino, a leading pupil of the Italian Renaissance who translated the entire works of Plato into Latin, examines Plato’s Timaeus, the main greatly influential and hotly debated of the Platonic writings. supplying a possible account of the construction and nature of the cosmos, the dialogue comprises such questions as what's the functionality of mathematics and geometry within the layout of production? what's the nature of brain, soul, subject, and time? and what's our position within the universe? To his major observation Ficino provides an appendix, which amplifies and elucidates Plato’s meanings and reveals interesting information about Ficino himself.
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Additional info for All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus
And in all cases, the extremes, like solids, are united by two means. But, of course, that which is a point in mathematics is considered by Plato to be, in natural science, the indivisible, steadfast seed-power. That which is linear extension in mathematics he considers to be, in natural science, the growth of the budding form, if I may express it thus. The plane in one he sees as the form in the other, for just as a plane surface limits the body, so does form limit matter. Finally, that which is depth in mathematics is the organic nature in natural science: I mean a twofold nature, being both formal, that is, compounded of many forms, and similar to a solid sphere, and also material, being composed of form and matter, more like a cube.
The first of these regions extends from the first heaven, through the sphere of fire, to the beginning of the air. From here the second region extends as far as the middle part of the air. From here the third region extends to the earth, and the fourth region is the earth itself. To this type of division there correspond, respectively, the four hosts of denizens endowed with reason: the world deities, the angels, the daemons, and the individual souls. But, setting these things on one side, let us return to the work we have taken in hand.
Then the number seven comes into being, if you have restored this actual form of the world to its model, in which it may indeed rest on the seventh day. Chapter 18 Why there are distinct parts within the world and why there is opposition among them; also concerning the four elements we see not only a differentiation of forms but also a state of opposition; for the world comes forth from the First, and as it comes forth it declines. Indeed, the outward movement causes differentiation, and the decline causes the opposition.
All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus by Arthur Farndell