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From Plato's Timaeus To Aristotle's De Caelo: The Case Of The Missing World Soul

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Chapter Summary

The Timaeus is the natural reference point for the kind of natural philosophy Aristotle seeks to develop. This chapter characterizes the relationship between the cosmologies of the De caelo and the Timaeus by comparing the general scopes and subject matters of the two works, and, then, by focusing on, the apparent absence in the De caelo of the world soul, which was one of the most important features of Plato's cosmology. One might then argue that the limitations of the De caelo reflect Aristotle's narrower concern in this work in the with the material building blocks of the universe. The chapter argues that despite an emphasis on the bodily constituents of the universe, a heavenly soul emerges in the De caelo at crucial points where Aristotle wants to offer a certain kind of teleological explanation of the directions and courses taken by the heavenly motions.

Keywords: Aristotle; De caelo; Plato's cosmology; Timaeus; world soul



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