Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-84b7d79bbc-2l2gl Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-25T20:33:30.285Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 10 - Why Is the Cosmos Intelligent?

(2) Stoic Cosmology and Plato, Timaeus 30a2–c1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 May 2021

Ricardo Salles
Affiliation:
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Get access

Summary

This chapter studies the intersection of biology and cosmology from the angle of the thesis that the cosmos is intelligent in the sense that it is an agent capable of thinking, which is part of their more general thesis that the cosmos is an animal. The thesis that the cosmos is intelligent is argued for by the Stoics through different families of proofs.The present chapter focusses on one of them, called ‘F1’,and its relation to the proof of the intelligence of the cosmos in Plato, Tim. 30a2–c1. The argument-structure common to the members of F1 is (a) the intelligent is better than the unintelligent but (b) the cosmos is better than everything else; therefore, (c) the cosmos is intelligent. I argue that this argument-structure is borrowed from the Timaean proof but that, in contrast with the Timaean proof, F1 is based on a teleological theory that I call ‘cosmocentrism’, according to which the cosmos is a beneficiary, and the ultimate beneficiary, of everything that exists within it. Plato accepted cosmocentrism, but he did not use it to argue for the intelligence of the cosmos. This family, therefore, introduces a major innovation in ancient cosmological thinking.

Type
Chapter
Information
Cosmology and Biology in Ancient Philosophy
From Thales to Avicenna
, pp. 172 - 189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×