Plato and Creation

I have been reading some introductions to Plato. In my reading, I don’t understand why the Creator would create matter, humans, etc if they are only copies (and sometimes bad copies) of the perfect forms?


have you been reading the timeas, or what?

creator makes form-copies because he is good, and he must express this good – same reason why the freed slaves have to go back to the cave to free others, in the republic. the problem is not the creator’s lack of ability to reproduce good, but the object (form-copies) to achieve the state (good) they were produced to be at.

Thanks, Trix.

But how can matter achieve this? Sorry, I have not read Timeas.


oh, then where are you getting this theory of plato’s creation from? this theory is incredibly obscure, plato only goes into cosomolgy in one dialogue, timeas, so that’s why i was asking. there’s nothing wrong with not reading this, i’m a little envious, it’s just curious to me in what other dialogue you picked this up in.

it is incredibly difficult problem that physical objects have to participate completly (well) in their respective forms – especially since objects can participate in contradictory forms at the same time (i.e. both oneness and sameness). this question bugs plato especially in later dialogues. i don’t there he provides a satisfactory answer, but this does not lead him to doubt the existence of forms, or a creator.

aristotle has a really good answer to this, and it involves his introduction of causation. i would recommend the metaphysics. you’ll be more likely to get an answer here than in plato’s dialogues.

It was a first impression from a little reading. If the Creator created the material universe with imperfect forms, why did He do it? The Creator contemplates Himself alone (or is that from Aristotle?), so then why would He bother creating inferior copies?

Thanks, but I was interested if Plato had an answer. Does Plotinus address this issue? What about the early neo-platonic Christians?


you don’t get any straight answers from plato. i wouldn’t look at the neo-platonists, i think they actually come after aristotle. read the sophist and paramedies – basically, there are many levels to everything. that’s the closest thing to an answer; i think aristotle’s theory of causation picks it up from there (i.e. it might as well be plato’s answer).

yes, but what reading?

forms are by definition perfect. the creator made them that way.

i think it is aristotle, i don’t remember it in the timeas (this work is the ONLY place plato speaks of a creator)

are you saying that it’s the creator’s fault that copies (i.e. physical objects) aren’t perfect? plato has an answer, read his dialogues.

I’m starting to get that impression.

Bertrand Russell’s Introduction to Western Philosophy.

Sorry, my bad…I meant to say "If the Creator created the material universe and it was not perfect, why did He do it?

Yes, I will try to read his dialogues. Thanks.

BTW, I think Plato would find your lack of capital letters disturbing :smiley: