Parmenides Publishing

Titles By Richard D. Mohr

God and Forms in Plato
— and other Essays on Plato’s Metaphysics

304 pages • 6 x 9 • Paperback

Richard D. Mohr
is Retired Professor of Philosophy and of the Classics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
   He is the author of a series of works on social issues — Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society, and Law (1988); Gay Ideas: Outing and Other Controversies (1992); A More Perfect Union (1994); Pottery, Politics, Art: George Ohr and the Brothers Kirkpatrick  (2003); The Long Arc of Justice: Lesbian and Gay Marriage, Equality, and Rights (2005). 

       This book is a collection of dovetailing essays which together interpret and assess the chief arguments and texts which make up Plato’s cosmology. Arguments in the Timaeus, Sophist, Statesman, Philebus, and Laws X are analyzed with an eye to problems which affect the wider understanding of Plato’s metaphysics, theology, epistemology, psychology, and physics. New interpretations are given to Plato’s views on the role and characteristics of his craftsman God, the nature and status of Forms, the nature of time and eternity, the status and nature of space and the phenomenal realm, and the nature of and relations between reason, souls, bodies, and motion.

       The book is critically sympathetic to the Platonic project, at least to the extent that it argues that many (though not all) features of the Platonic cosmology are more intelligible and coherent than usually supposed by critics. It defends the view that for Plato God makes the world in the way that a carpenter cuts a board to be exactly a yard long – by applying a yard stick to the board and removing the excess wood. This view of a making requires that there be standards or measures that exist independently both of the agent who creates and the world on which he works. These standards are Plato’s Forms. Transcendent Forms cannot be excised from the Platonic metaphysics as many modern critics have been trying to do in an attempt to make Plato respectable by today’s criteria of philosophical decency.

       This work presents a revised and updated edition of the author's 1985 book The Platonic Cosmology (E.J. Brill, Leiden) together with four revised and updated essays by the author on Plato's metaphysics, and a wholly new essay, "Extensions," which expands the themes of the book into wider philosophical contexts.

Return to top

Click here for an extract of the review

“The ... book [is] perhaps the most acutely argued and intelligent treatment extant of the consequences of a literal view of the Timaeus – that is, a view which accepts the existence of the Demiurge, and the reality of a temporal creation of the world, with which existence is bound up..."
Click here to read the full review
—John Dillon, Classics
Trinity College, Dublin

“[The] theme is, in brief, that the Demiurge introduced standards into the created world to serve as criteria of judgment. These standards are perfectly realized in this world; and their function is primarily epistemological..."
Click here to read the full review
—Elizabeth Asmis
University of Chicago

“Mohr holds that ‘each Form has a core conceptual content which can not be analyzed into other Forms’, and, thus, our knowledge of each Form must be a matter of direct acquaintance with it, not reducible in terms of locating the Form within some network of Forms in which it is embedded. ... All of the essays here are written with intelligence, and in a lucid, often quite delightful style.”
—Edward N. Lee
University of California,
San Diego, La Jolla