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The Prooemium: The Geometrical Method Of Physiologia

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Chapter Summary

The method of geometry was famously criticized by Plato: Socrates speaks harsh words of criticism of geometers for assuming unfounded starting points. This chapter discusses Proclus' reasons for choosing geometry rather than dialectic in his discussion of Plato's methodology. It scrutinizes how Proclus elaborates the comparison, and shows that he chose geometry not just to grant philosophy of nature a scientific status, but assign to it the proper scientific status. It also shows that the method of philosophy of nature relates to that of theology, i.e. to dialectic. The main topic is Proclus' comparison of Plato's method in setting out the starting points of his cosmology with the method of a geometer, and the function of that comparison in establishing a theological philosophy of nature. A conceptual analysis in the prooemium of the Timaeus leads to knowledge of the efficient cause and the paradigmatic cause of the universe.

Keywords: geometrical method; physiologia; Plato; Proclus; prooemium; theology



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