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ἐπ᾽ αὐτῶν τούτων κτλ. For ἐπί see on V 475 A. τοῦτον in τὸν μιμητὴν τοῦτον (“hunc, quem quaerimus” Schneider) was found by Dübner to be the reading of A as well as the rest of Bekker's MSS, and Schneider restores it in his Addit. p. 77.

οὐκοῦν κτλ. For γίγνονται see on VIII 562 A. With ἐν τῇ φύσει cf. infra 597 C, 598 A, Phaed. 103 B and Parm. 132 D τὰ μὲν εἴδη ταῦτα ὥσπερ παραδείγματα ἑστάναι ἐν τῇ φύσει. Each of these passages brings φύσις into connexion with the Ideas: cf. also V 476 B, VI 501 B, Crat. 389 B ff. and infra 597 D, E. In the phrase ἐν τῇ φύσει, the expression φύσις means ‘Nature’ i.e. rerum natura (cf. R. G. Bury in Cl. Rev. VIII p. 299), but for Plato rerum natura, strictly interpreted, is the Ideal World. Plato's nomenclature is in harmony with the traditional usage of Greek philosophy, for “in Greek philosophical language, φύσις always means that which is primary, fundamental, and persistent, as opposed to that which is secondary, derivative, and transient” (Burnet Early Greek Phil. p. 11). Now in Platonism the primary, fundamental, persistent, is the εἶδος: and hence the φύσις or ‘nature’ of anything means its Idea (e.g. Phaedr. 254 B μνήμη πρὸς τὴν τοῦ κάλλους φύσιν ἠνέχθη), and the φύσις or nature of all things (rerum natura) becomes an expression for the World of Ideas (“regio idearum, νοητὸς τόπος” Schneider). Bosanquet would like to render φύσις by ‘evolution,’ “without understanding any definite theory of origins.” Such a translation would be, in my judgment, not only gravely misleading, but linguistically wrong; for ἐν τῇ φύσει οὖσα cannot mean ‘which evolution has produced’: the force of ἐν must be local—figuratively so, of course— exactly as in ὥσπερ παραδείγματα ἑστάναι ἐν τῇ φύσει referred to above. So also J. B. Mayor in Cl. Rev. X p. 121. To Krohn, φύσις appears to be “die allgemeine Gesetzlichkeit des Universums, die dem δημιουργός die Musterbilder liefert” (Pl. St. p. 249). This is nearer the truth, but we must not surrender the self-existence of the Ideas. See also on 597 D.

ἣνθεὸν ἐργάσασθαι. “Occurrit, ut videtur, quasi ex improviso Platoni, Deum Idearum auctorem appellare” says Pansch (de deo Platonis p. 45), truly enough, in the restricted sense that we ought to lay no stress on this passage by itself as evidence for the origin of the Ideas. But, if God and the Idea of Good are the same (see on VI 505 A ff.), Plato is merely saying in theological language what he formerly said in philosophical, when he derived the οὐσία of all other Ideas from the Idea of Good (VI 509 B). See Krohn Pl. St. p. 242, where the same explanation is given, and Zeller^{4} II p. 666. It is not, I think, quite correct to dismiss θεός as merely “eine mythische Ausdrucksweise” (Hirmer Entstehung u. Komp. etc. p. 647), and Susemihl (Einleitung p. 262) is certainly wrong when he takes it to mean ‘a god.’ The sentence has been much discussed in connexion with the theory that Plato's Ideas are ‘thoughts of God’: see for example Hermann de loco Plat. de rep. VI 505 sq. p. 5 with Bonitz's reply Disput. Pl. duae p. 33 and Hermann's rejoinder Vindic. disp. de idea boni pp. 39 ff., and cf. Zeller l. c. pp. 664— 670. I have already said in App. III to Book VII that Plato himself says nothing to shew that he viewed his Ideas in this light; and it is only by reading into his words much more than they are naturally fitted to convey, that the present passage can be made to support the identification.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Plato, Phaedo, 103b
    • Plato, Cratylus, 389b
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 254b
    • Plato, Parmenides, 132d
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