Timaeus and Critias by Plato
(Penguin Classics)

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Synopsis

Timaeus and Critias is a Socratic dialogue in two parts. A response to an account of an ideal state told by Socrates, it begins with Timaeus’s theoretical exposition of the cosmos and his story describing the creation of the universe, from its very beginning to the coming of man. Timaeus introduces the idea of a creator God and speculates on the structure and composition of the physical world. Critias, the second part of Plato’s dialogue, comprises an account of the rise and fall of Atlantis, an ancient, mighty and prosperous empire ruled by the descendents of Poseidon, which ultimately sank into the sea.
 

About Plato

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Plato was born c. 427 B.C. in Athens, Greece, to an aristocratic family very much involved in political government. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's step-father. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in 399 B.C., Plato finally distanced himself from a career in Athenian politics, instead becoming one of the greatest philosophers of Western civilization. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle. Plato's The Republic is an enduring work, discussing justice, the importance of education, and the qualities needed for rulers to succeed. Plato felt governors must be philosophers so they may govern wisely and effectively. Plato founded the Academy, an educational institution dedicated to pursuing philosophic truth. The Academy lasted well into the 6th century A.D., and is the model for all western universities. Its formation is along the lines Plato laid out in The Republic. Many of Plato's essays and writings survive to this day. Plato died in 347 B.C. at the age of 80.
 
Published August 28, 2008 by Penguin. 167 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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