Timaeus begins the discourse with a prologue in which he sets out the metaphysical principles on which his account is based, introduces the figure of the Craftsman and his eternal model, and provides a brief comment on the status of the account he is about to provide.
Owen claimed to see in the Timaeus a reassertion of several metaphysical views familiar from the Republic but subsequently exposed for refutation in these two dialogues, both of which on the orthodox view precede the Timaeus.
In his prefatory remarks Timaeus describes the account he is about to give as a “Likely account” or “Likely story”.
The description is a play on words: the subject of the account is itself an “Image” and, Timaeus avers, “The accounts we give of things [should] have the same character as the subjects they set forth”.
At the same time, Timaeus says he will strive to give an account that is “No less likely than anyone else’s” and, while the account cannot be grasped by understanding, it nevertheless merits our “Belief” and fulfills certain standards.
The account Timaeus gives of the generation of the universe is from the outset based on metaphysical and epistemological principles familiar from the dialogues of Plato’s middle period, particularly the Republic.
Many commentators on the Timaeus have pointed out that the teleological account set out in the Timaeus is the fulfillment of a quest for teleological explanations related in the Phaedo.
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