Parmenides Publishing

Titles By Patricia Curd

Plato’s Universe
—with a new Introduction
by Luc Brisson

155 pages • 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 • Paperback
Gregory Vlastos
was Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.
   He was the author of Platonic Studies (1973) and many articles and monographs on the Presocratics and Plato.
Luc Brisson
is Director of Research at the National Council for Scientific Research, France.

A distinguished Platonic scholar discusses the impact of the Greek discovery of the "cosmos" on man's perception of his place in the universe, describes the problems this posed, and interprets Plato's response to this discovery.

Starting with the Presocratics, Vlastos describes the intellectual revolution that began with the cosmogonies of Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes in the sixth century B.C. and culminated a century later in the atomist system of Leucippus and Democritus. What united these men was that for all of them nature remained the inviolate, all-inclusive principle of explanation, precluding any appeal to a supernatural cause or ordering agency.

In a detailed analysis of the astronomical and physical theories of the Timaeus, Vlastos demonstrates Plato's role in the reception and transmission of the discovery of the new conception of the universe. Plato gives us the chance to see that movement from a unique perspective: that of a fierce opponent of the revolution who was determined to wrest from its brilliant discovery, annex its cosmos, and redesign it on the pattern of his own idealistic and theistic metaphysics.

This book is a reprint of the edition published in 1975 by the University of Washington Press. It includes a new Introduction by Luc Brisson.       

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“The renewed availability of Vlastos’s book to today’s scholars and students is truly important, in several respects. The clarity of Vlastos’s argumentation, his historical knowledge, and his familiarity with the text enable us to make contact once again with one of Plato’s works in which little interest has been shown in the English-speaking world since the Second World War: the Timaeus. ...
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—Luc Brisson
National Council for Scientific Research, France

“The clarity with which Vlastos has formulated the central questions and presented his insights into them make the book fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of ideas, but at the same time it has much that is of crucial interest to specialists both in Greek philosophy and in the philosophy of science.”
—Carl. A. Huffman
Robert Stockwell Professor of Greek Language and Literature, DePauw University

“Presented by a brilliant modern philosopher who has lived with Plato’s work, this beautifully written account ought to be read by every educated person.”

“The book is a model of expository prose, lucid and persuasive, elegant and tightly argued. The argument is marked throughout by the fairness, carefulness, and candour that one expects from its author, even though in view of the public occasion he gives less space than he sometimes does to the elimination of alternative views and the establishing of details.”
—Francis E. Sparshott
Victoria College,
University of Toronto

“Gregory Vlastos' influence on the study of Greek philosophy, notably of the Presocratics and Plato, has been great and admirable."
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—G.E.L. Owen
Times Literary Supplement