Parmenides Publishing

Titles By Patricia Curd

One Book, The Whole Universe: Plato's Timaeus Today

Edited by
Richard D. Mohr
and Barbara M. Sattler

ISBN 978-1-930972-32-2
416 pages • 6-3/4 x 9-1/2 • Paperback

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is Retired Professor of Philosophy and of Classics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
   He is the author of God and Forms in Plato (2005), as well as 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). 
Ann Bergren
Gábor Betegh
Sean Carroll
Alan Code
Zina Giannopoulou
Verity Harte
Thomas Kjeller Johansen
Charles H. Kahn
Anthony J. Leggett
Anthony A. Long
Stephen Menn

Richard D. Mohr
Kathryn A. Morgan
Alexander P.D. Mourelatos
Ian Mueller
Thomas M. Robinson
Barbara M. Sattler
Allan Silverman
Jon Solomon
Anthony Vidler
Matthias Vorwerk
Donald Zeyl


is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. From 2005 to 2007, she taught in the Departments of Philosophy and the Classics at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on Ancient Greek philosophy of science and metaphysics, especially on the Pre-socratic, Platonic and Aristotelian notions of time, space and continuity, and their implications for the measurability of processes.

synopsis reviews

The much-anticipated anthology on Plato’s Timaeus—Plato’s singular dialogue on the creation of the universe, the nature of the physical world, and the place of persons in the cosmos—examining all dimensions of one of the most important books in Western Civilization: its philosophy, cosmology, science, and ethics, its literary aspects and reception. Contributions come from leading scholars in their respective fields, including Sir Anthony Leggett, 2003 Nobel Laureate for Physics. Parts of or earlier versions of these papers were first presented at the Timaeus Conference, held at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in September of 2007.

To this day, Plato’s Timaeus grounds the form of ethical and political thinking called Natural Law—the view that there are norms in nature that provide the patterns for our actions and ground the objectivity of human values. Beyond the intellectual content of the dialogue’s core, its literary frame is also the source of the myth of Atlantis, giving the West the concept of the “lost world.”

From Platonic space to Presocratic vortices, from Philosopher-Kings to Craftsman-Gods and from modern physics to the myth of Atlantis, One Book, The Whole Universe presents in one volume the most up-to-date and penetrating scholarship on Plato’s Timaeus by some of the greatest minds alive today.


The Eric Hoffer Awards
- Finalist for "Reference"
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ForeWord Magazine
Book of the Year Awards 2010
- Gold
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"In this truly interdisciplinary volume, a great number of intriguing problems posed by Plato's Timaeus are given a fresh and lucid treatment. Contributors from an unusual range of backgrounds reflect on aspects of Plato's astounding synthesis of natural philosophy, including cosmology, theology, perception, physiology, and more. ... The readability of these essays and their variety in casting new light on this work make it an original contribution to the understanding of the Timaeus." (full review)
—Han Baltussen
University of Adelaide

"One Book, The Whole Universe is remarkably thorough in the treatment of its chosen text (a thesis that can be confirmed by the index locorum) and contains precisely the sort of articles that one would want and expect in a scholarly collection on the Timaeus. There is scarcely a Timaean topic of traditional interest to scholars that is not mentioned or even given a detailed explanation…"

... "The inter-disciplinary articles … round out the collection by showing that many issues in the Timaeus, quite surprisingly, can be thoughtfully discussed in relation to topics such as modern fashion design (364–72). Mohr and Sattler are to be commended for attempting to link ancient issues with contemporary developments, and the articles which focus on the latter, I suspect, will be refreshing to scholars who have developed the inevitable (but not incurable) myopia that comes with academic specialization."

..."What the sum total of One Book, The Whole Universe accomplishes best is that it unexpectedly brings into view the relationship that exists between the Timaeus's eikos mythos concept and our own contemporary logoi. It is for this reason, rather than any particular article or group of articles, that this volume should be considered of primary importance." (full review)

—Jason W. Carter
University of Oxford
This remarkable book derives from a conference held at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. The title of the conference was 'Life, the Universe, Everything – and More: Plato's Timaeus Today' and the ambitious scope of that title is fairly reflected in the contents of the book.
(full review)
Plato's Timaeus Today is a collection of conference proceedings focusing on providing a more detailed understanding both of the dialogue and its subsequent influence. The contributors are from a range of backgrounds, including not just scholars primarily noted for their work in the field of ancient philosophy, but also Anthony Leggett, the 2003 Nobel Laureate in Physics (although he is also a classicist by training). The volume also has an easy-to-navigate companion website, which supplies animated versions of some of the diagrams, as well as clips from some film portrayals of Atlantis. (full review)
—Carl O'Brien
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"One Book is a collection of papers stemming from a conference titled 'Life, the Universe, Everything—and More: Plato's Timaeus Today. The result is a wide-ranging compendium bringing together a diversity of perspectives from physicists, philosophers, classicists, architects, and a film critic. Both through close readings of the text and creative speculation stimulated by this rich dialogue, One Book provides some excellent scholarship for those interested in the Timaeus." (full review)

—Emilie Kutash
St. Joseph's College
for Philosophy in Review
Vol 31, No 2 (2011)
(5 stars) An invaluable addition to college library Philosophy collections, July 8, 2010

One Book The Whole Universe: Plato's Timaeus Today is an anthology of scholarly essays by learned authors, analyzing the ancient Greek philosopher Plato's "Timaeus" - an introspective philosophical text that surveys the meaning of and purpose of all creation. Individual essays include "The Place of Cosmology in Plato's Later Dialogues", "The Receptacle and the Primary Bodies: Something from Nothing?", "Timaeus in Tinseltown: Atlantis in Film", "Time and Change in an Eternal Universe", and many more. A handful of illustration and a general index round out this excellent companion to a classic, foundational treatise of Western Philosophy. One Book The Whole Universe is an invaluable addition to college library Philosophy collections.
—Midwest Book Review
Oregon, WI USA
“The scope of Timaeus is awesome. It consists largely of Plato’s attempt to develop an account, both scientific and suggestive, of pretty much everything about our universe—the macrocosm and the microcosm, the visible and the invisible, the divine and the human. Everything about this account is startling and innovative, from its powerful teleological thrust to its specific conceptions of god, the structure and origin of the universe, and the principles that make it what it is. The comprehensive scope of the dialogue is magnificently matched by the essays in this volume. All the usual topics are discussed—the receptacle, god, the nature of matter, cosmology and mythology—but always as matters deserving fresh investigation. And there is plenty more besides: the reception of the dialogue by Aristotle and later antiquity; the cinematic treatment of the Atlantis myth; the value of the work from a modern scientific perspective; the influence of the dialogue on modern architectural movements. Every single paper in this volume is of the highest standard.”
—Robin Waterfield
acclaimed author, and translator of numerous ancient texts, including 
Plato: Timaeus and Critias 
“The most wide-ranging and stimulating presentation of ancient and modern views on Plato’s cosmological dialogue ever published. Highly recommended.”
—David T. Runia
University of Melbourne
“[One Book, The Whole Universe] is both very welcome and very important. The Timaeus, with its vast scope and philosophical richness is a constant source of interest and debate and these papers do it full justice, to the complex and seminal text of the Timaeus itself, to its influence in antiquity and to its relevance for modern thought… A vital book not only for those interested in Plato but for anyone interested in ancient philosophy and science more generally.”
—Andrew Gregory
University College London
“Occasioned by an extraordinary conference organized by life-long Timaeus scholar Richard Mohr, this collection brings together a rich set of illuminating reflections on particular aspects of the dialogue… Anyone interested in the Timaeus and its place in ancient philosophy and culture will want to consult this collection.”
—Mitchell Miller
Vassar College
“[Plato’s Timeaus Today] is very original… In addition to a panorama of the various attempts made in antiquity to account for the universe, this collective work completes the historical survey by diverse incursions into modernity: the questions of myth and stories, that of time and of the architecture of living and inanimate beings, not to mention the deconstructionist interpretation of space proposed by Derrida.”
—Luc Brisson
French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
“This collection represents the state-of-the-art in Anglo-American scholarship on the Timaeus and its reception. One of its major strengths is its range of methodologies and perspectives. [It] will go a long way to restore the Timaeus to its rightful place among Plato’s later works, and keep it at the forefront of Plato scholarship.”
—Gretchen Reydams-Schils
University of Notre-Dame

“Plato’s Timaeus is an attempt to explain every aspect of the universe. This volume is an attempt to explain every aspect of the Timaeus, from the architecture of Atlantis to the geometry of the primary bodies. A must-have collection for scholars working on this dialogue.”

—Catalin Partenie
University of Quebec at Montreal