Journal of the History of Philosophy 50 (2):159-195 (2012)

Barbara Michaela Sattler
University of St. Andrews
This paper aims to show that—and how—Plato’s notion of the receptacle in the Timaeus provides the conditions for developing a mathematical as well as a physical space without itself being space. In response to the debate whether Plato’s receptacle is a conception of space or of matter, I suggest employing criteria from topology and the theory of metric spaces as the most basic ones available. I show that the receptacle fulfils its main task–allowing the elements qua images of the Forms to exist as sensible things by being that in which the elements appear, change and move–in virtue of being pure continuity. All further qualifications required for a full notion of space are derived solely from the content of the receptacle.
Keywords Plato  Space  Matter  Elements  Timaeus  Receptacle
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2012.0037
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References found in this work BETA

The Disorderly Motion in the Timaios.Gregory Vlastos - 1939 - Classical Quarterly 33 (02):71-.
Timaean Particulars.Allan Silverman - 1992 - Classical Quarterly 42 (01):87-.
The Contents of the Receptacle.Sarah Broadie - 2003 - Modern Schoolman 80 (3):171-190.

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