Universiteit Leiden

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Dissertation

Proclus on Nature. Philosophy of Nature and its Methods in Proclus' Commentary on Plato's Timaeus

This dissertation is a study of the view of the Neoplatonist Proclus (Athens, 411-485) on to what extent and how the changing and unreliable world of sense perception can itself be an object of scientific knowledge.

Author
Marije Martijn
Date
03 April 2008

One of the hardest questions to answer for a (Neo)platonist is to what extent and how the changing and unreliable world of sense perception can itself be an object of scientific knowledge. This dissertation is a study of the answer given to that question by the Neoplatonist Proclus (Athens, 411-485) in his Commentary on Plato’s  Timaeus.

The author presents a new explanation of Proclus’ concept of nature and show that philosophy of nature consists of several related subdisciplines matching the ontological stratification of nature. Moreover, she demonstrates that for Proclus philosophy of nature is a science, albeit a hypothetical one, which takes geometry as its methodological paradigm. An explanation of Proclus’ view of what is later called the mathematization of physics, i.e. the role of the substance of mathematics, as opposed to its method, in explaining the natural world is also offered. Finally, the author discusses Proclus’ views of the discourse of philosophy of nature and its iconic character.

Supervisor: prof.dr. F.A.J. de Haas

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