In Christopher Gill & Mary Margaret McCabe (eds.), Form and Argument in Late Plato. Oxford University Press. pp. 179--211 (1996)

Catherine Joanna Rowett
University of East Anglia
There is an analogy between Timaeus's act of describing a world in words and the demiurge's task of making a world of matter. This analogy implies a parallel between language as a system of reproducing ideas in words, and the world, which reproduces reality in particular things. Authority lies in the creation of a likeness in words of the eternal Forms. The Forms serve as paradigms both for the physical world created by the demiurge, and for the world in discourse created by Timaeus: his discourse gains its validity not from faithfulness to the way things appear, or the way particular things 'actually happened', but in virtue of its attempt to express in words a likeness of the perfect and eternal reality. There are implications for Plato's philosophy of language, and for the relation between words and things (words do not depict or name things but can be used to construct worlds in a parallel way to the manner in which things construct worlds, both worlds being modelled on one common world of ideas). The match between world and discourse is because of their common pictorial relation (likeness) to an independent model.
Keywords Timaeus  Language  Forms  Likeness  Likely story
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