Plato's Natural Philosophy: A Study of the Timaeus-Critias

Plato’s dialogue the Timaeus-Critias presents two connected accounts, that of the story of Atlantis and its defeat by ancient Athens and that of the creation of the cosmos by a divine craftsman. This book offers a unified reading of the dialogue. It tackles a wide range of interpretative and philosophical issues. Topics discussed include the function of the famous Atlantis story, the notion of cosmology as ‘myth’ and as ‘likely’, and the role of God in Platonic cosmology. Other areas commented upon are Plato’s concepts of ‘necessity’ and ‘teleology’, the nature of the ‘receptacle’, the relationship between the soul and the body, the use of perception in cosmology, and the work’s peculiar monologue form. The unifying theme is teleology: Plato’s attempt to show the cosmos to be organised for the good. A central lesson which emerges is that the Timaeus is closer to Aristotle’s physics than previously thought.

• Offers a fresh approach to one of the most important and influential texts in the history of Western philosophy • Demonstrates the crucial role played by teleology in these works • Argues for greater recognition of the importance of the Timaeus for Aristotle’s physics.


From the hardback review: 'If I were going to recommend to someone who had just read Timaeus one philosophical monograph on this work I cannot think of a better choice than Johansen's … Traditional in its exegetical approach, yet properly critical of giants of the past like Taylor and Cornford, Plato's Natural Philosophy is a solid contribution to what is evidently a renaissance of interest in what is surely one of Plato's major works.' – Bryn Mawr Classical Review

From the hardback review: 'Johansen's book is a remarkable achievement. The presentation of the arguments is consistently clear and crisp, and interim conclusions make the work user-friendly. The result is a philosophically inspired and engaging book suitable equally for those who are struggling their way through the Timaeus for the first time and for those who are already saturated with the ever-growing scholarly literature.' – Rhizai

From the hardback review: 'This valuable work of scholarship, brimming with careful textual exegesis and original philosophical interpretation … succeeds admirably … infused by the spirit of the dialogue it explores.' – The Classical Review

From the hardback review: 'Johansen's book sets out many independently stimulating problems and individually motivated answers. However, as Johansen argues for both the dialogue and the cosmos he discusses, it is best appreciated when viewed as a finely constructed whole.' – Journal of Hellenic Studies

Nøkkelord: Filosofi Idéhistorie Antikk filosofi