The Ontology of Images in Plato’s Timaeus

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (6):909-30 (2022)
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In the Timaeus, Plato’s Timaeus offers an account of the sensible world in terms of “images” of forms. Often, images are taken to be particulars: either objects or particular property instances (tropes). Contrary to this trend, I argue that images are general characteristics which are immanent in the receptacle, or bundles of such characteristics. Thus, the entire sensible world can be analysed in terms of immanent general characteristics, the receptacle, and forms. Hence, for Timaeus, fundamentally, there are no sensible particulars. I end by arguing that my interpretation is compatible with Timaeus’ construction of sensible entities from triangles.

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Samuel Meister
University Tübingen


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