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παραλλάττειν -- ὁρώμενα is a cardinal principle with Plato: see Tim. 28 A, B, 37 D and especially Pol. 269 D, E. παράλλαξις is used half-technically of any change or deviation in the courses of the heavenly bodies, as for example in the legend of Atreus (Pol. 269 A): cf. Tim. 22 C.

ζητεῖν depends on ἄτοπον ἡγήσεται, ἄτοπον being now taken as neuter. A reference to 525 B note will shew that Madvig's ζητήσει (or ζητεῖν δεῖν), and Richards' ζητοῦντα, with other conjectures, are wholly beside the mark. J. and C. (following Stallbaum) say ζητεῖν “depends on νομίζοντα with the common ellipse of δεῖν”: but δεῖν is not commonly omitted. In ζητεῖνλαβεῖν there is a slight suggestion of something like the historical Socrates' distrust of astronomy (Xen. Mem. IV 7. 6).

προβλήμασιν κτλ. Some have cited in illustration “Leverrier and Adams calculating an unknown planet into existence by enormous heaps of algebra” (De Morgan, quoted by Bosanquet p. 293: cf. Lutoslawski Plato's Logic p. 300). The example is striking but inapposite; for, according to this passage, the visible perturbations of Uranus, which occasioned the search for Neptune, would not have seemed to Plato anything very extraordinary. Unless he is greatly exaggerating here, and I do not deny that throughout this passage there is a touch of γενναῖον πάθος, ὥσπερ ὑπὸ μανίας τινὸς καὶ πνεύματος ἐνθουσιαστικῶς ἐκπνέον καὶ οἱονεὶ φοιβάζον τοὺς λόγους (Longinus περὶ ὕψους 8. 4), Plato's views on law in the heavens must have undergone considerable modification before he wrote the Laws: see the striking passage 821 B ff., and Tim. 47 A ff.

τὰ δ᾽ ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἐάσομεν: ‘we will dispense with the starry heavens.’ There is a touch of fine audacity, not to say impiety, in Plato's phrase. Greater than the starry heavens is the mind of man. Nettleship (Lect. and Rem. II pp. 271— 277) and Bosanquet (Companion pp. 290—293) are, as it seems to me, unduly anxious throughout the whole of this episode to minimise and explain away Plato's depreciation of the senses and their objects, although by so doing they can make his theories harmonize more nearly with the views of certain modern philosophers, and possibly also with the truth. Krohn (Pl. St. pp. 170—174) inclines to the opposite error, although, except perhaps on verbal grounds, Plato would not quarrel with his definition of Platonic astronomy as “die Wissenschaft von den Bewegungen intelligiblen Körper.” Plato's Astronomy is in fact a kind of idealised Kinematics, with occasional illustrations from the visible movements of the heavenly bodies (τῇ περὶ τὸν οὐρανὸν ποικιλίᾳ παραδείγμασι χρηστέον κτλ. 529 D).

οἶμαι δέ γε κτλ. 526 C note

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Plato, Timaeus, 22c
    • Plato, Timaeus, 28a
    • Plato, Timaeus, 47a
    • Xenophon, Memorabilia, 4.7.6
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