By Arthur Farndell
Marsilio Ficino, a leading student of the Italian Renaissance who translated all of the works of Plato into Latin, examines Plato’s Timaeus, the main greatly influential and hotly debated of the Platonic writings. providing 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 construction? what's the nature of brain, soul, subject, and time? and what's our position within the universe? To his major remark Ficino provides an appendix, which amplifies and elucidates Plato’s meanings and reveals interesting information about Ficino himself.
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Extra info for All Things Natural: Ficino on Plato's Timaeus
See how they correspond respectively: the point and seed correspond to essence; line and growth to being; plane and form to power; depth and organic nature to action. 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.
To express this, however, he viewed matter as formless and the soul as irrational, and he saw that movement without order would come forth from it. 19 All Things Natural 15/4/10 12:08 Page 20 ALL THINGS NATUR AL Chapter 12 Matter was not in disarray prior to the world in time, but was arranged according to some principle of order or origin we are able to gather that matter was not coeval with the maker of the world. It was not prior to the world by any length of time, either in origin or in order.
They also say that the intellectual and Jovial mind, the maker of the world, looks up, in the act of making the world, to the intelligible supreme mind as the model, and looks up to the Good as the end. And for this reason, that which they call Being Itself and Living Itself within the intelligible world perceives that the world is arranged into four regions by principles and Ideas of a fourfold nature. The first of these regions extends from the first heaven, through the sphere of fire, to the beginning of the air.