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Plato Timaeus

Vak 2011-2012

Admission requirements

BA in Philosophy, Classics, or Liberal Arts.


In this seminar we embark on a thorough reading of Plato’s famous dialogue the Timaeus (in English translation). On the surface it is one of the two most influential creation stories in Western history (the other being the book of Genesis in the Bible). A closer look reveals that the dialogue spells out the conditions of Plato’s politics, describes the mathematization of the physical world, and addresses the vexing question how autonomous material processes still leave room for morality. Apart from important issues of interpretation we shall look at famous instances of reception in later philosophy and art of this emblematic dialogue.

Course objectives

Course objectives will be posted on Blackboard by the start of the course.


Friday, 10:00-13:00

See Collegeroosters Wijsbegeerte 2011-2012 , Master’s Programmes in Philosophy (Dutch website)
See Timetables Philosophy 2011-2012 , Master’s Programmes in Philosophy (English website)

Mode of instruction

Seminar, student presentations

Assessment method

  • participation in the seminar (25%)
  • at least one presentation in the seminar (25%)
  • end of term paper (50%)



Reading list

  • Plato. Timaeus and Critias . A new translation by Robin Waterfield with an introduction by Andrew Gregory, Oxford World Classics, Oxford 2008.
  • T.K. Johansen, Plato’s Natural Philosophy. A Study of the Timaeus-Critias . Cambridge 2004.
  • Materials on Blackboard.


Please register for this course on uSis.

Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

Prof.dr. F.A.J. de Haas


Specialisation (MA Philosophy): History and Philosophy of the Sciences
Specialisation (MA Philosophy of a Specific Discipline): Philosophy of Humanities