Proclus on Nature: Philosophy of Nature and Its Methods in Proclus' Commentary on Plato's Timaeus

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Of Proclus' immense philosophical system, the part concerning the natural world may well be the most fascinating. Traditional scholarship tends to downplay that part of Neoplatonism, in favour of idealism, but recently this attitude is changing. This study contributes to that development by showing how Proclus' natural philosophy relates to theology, while remaining a science in its own right. Starting from his Commentary on Plato's Timaeus, it presents a revision of Proclus' metaphysics of nature and provides new insight into his surprisingly peripatetic philosophy of science, the role of mathematics, and the nature of discourse in natural philosophy. This book will be of interest both to students of the Platonic tradition, and to historians of natural science, metaphysics and epistemology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[...] scholars of late antique philosophy will be very grateful for the synthesis that Marije Martijn presents in this splendid new book on the subject. Philosophers who concentrate on Plato’s Timaeus itself, rather than its later reception, can also benefit from this book. [...] This is not an introductory book. It is, however, rich in erudition, philosophically rigorous, and highly original. In my view, Martijn’s first book announces her as a name to watch in the rapidly expanding field of late antique philosophy." Dirk Baltzly in BMCR, 20.4.2011

"[...] cette thèse est d'une extraordinaire richesse, d'une maîtrise incomparable, à la fois des concepts, et des auteurs, d'une érudition, sans commune mesure, dans leur maniement, leur évocation de l'essence de la Nature, au chapitre II, qu'au chapitre III, à propos de la méthode géométrique, là où elle part des définitions, des démonstrations, ou des axiomes, dans cette approche épistémologique très pointue, et au chapitre IV sur les mathématiques, les sens et la vue. Ce qui fait de l'ouvrage un instrument incomparable pour tous ceux qui voudraient entreprendre une recherche, à quelque niveau que soit sur le Commentaire sur le Timée de Proclus. Jean-Michel Charrue in Revue philosophique de Louvain 1/2012

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789004181915
  • Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/22/2010
  • Series: Philosophia Antiqua Series, #121
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marije Martijn, Ph.D. (2008) in Philosophy, Leiden University, is lecturer at the VU University Amsterdam. She has published on different aspects of Proclus' work and is currently working on the metaphysical foundations of his scientific aesthetics.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

1 Preliminaries 1

2 Philosophy of nature as theology 7

3 Προψηλαφηματα-the prooemium of the Timaeus 10

Chapter 2 Platonic Φνσις according to Proclus 19

1 Introduction 19

2 The essence of nature 23

3 Nature, soul, and the natural 24

4 The ontological level of Nature 39

5 Nature's working 55

6 Conclusion 65

Chapter 3 The prooemium: the geometrical method of physiologia 67

1 Introduction-φνσιολ ογια, νεολογια, and the geometrical method of the Timaeus 67

2 The constituents of the geometrical method in the prooemium 71

3 After the starting points-Proclus takes stock 132

4 In conclusion 159

Chapter 4 After the prooemium: mathematics, the senses, and life 163

1 Introduction 163

2 Book III: Intermediate Philosophy of Nature and mathematics 166

3 Books IV and V: Lower Philosophy of Nature, the Senses, and Life 204

4 General conclusion 214

5 Appendix: The Elements of Physics 216

Chapter 5 Discourse and Reality: The ειχως λογος 219

1 Introduction 219

2 The ειχως λογ ος today-a selection 222

3 Proclus on the ειχως λογος: preliminaries 226

4 The nature of the ειχως λογος: resemblance 229

5 Unlikeness 240

6 A true and likely story 271

7 The practice of discourse: assimilation 276

8 In conclusion: φνσιολογια as scientific mimesis 293

Chapter 6 Conclusion 297

1 Introduction 297

2 Chapter II: Nature 297

3 Chapter III: Theological philosophy of nature 299

4 Chapter IV: Mathematical, empirical, biological philosophy of nature 300

5 Chapter V: The likely story 301

Bibliography 303

Index rerum 321

Index locorum 333

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