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Plato as Mathematician Author(s): Harold Cherniss Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Mar., 1951), pp.

395-425 Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc. Stable URL: Accessed: 02/10/2010 04:48
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of Metaphysics,




3, March




in his summary of the history of mathematics says concern them and partic for these studies caused to make very great progress, and in support ularly geometry of this judgment fact that Plato packed he cites "the obvious and everywhere his writings discussions with mathematical in those who take up for mathematics admiration awakens x asserts Index more specifically The Herculanean philosophy." under the direction of made that mathematics great progress which the mathematicians formulated who Plato, problems not necessarily but even this does zealously investigated;2 Proclus that Plato's mean



from the

to and


. . .U?cnwo?, ye 7ra?

that he propounded,
inferred very

of any of the solution in fact did not do so that he

here used, apxireKTovowTos apxireKrwu modern

own after Plato's statement, interpreted OVK avro? Most /oyaTiKO? ???* ipyaruv ap^wv.3

scholars exercised




of math great influence critic of mathematical methods ematical study and an intelligent in technical mathe and aims, did little or no original work 4 have been taken up by but extreme positions matics himself; the creative that Plato has contended Frank Erich others. in fact scarcely that he was is a mere mathematician fable, of his able to keep abreast of the mathematical developments that he than to suppose is more perverse time, and that nothing
presents a true picture of contemporary science. Others have

that Plato, the conclusion as an enthusiastic advocate



insisted, however, in the mathematical

1 In Primum p. 66, 844. 2 Academicorum

upon ascribing and developments discoveries

Elementorum Librum

to Plato


important part of the fourth

ed. Friedlein, ed. '%.Mekl?r, whose



Philosophorum author The 2-7 col. Y, 15-16). (pp. lost from the papyrus name has been


Herculanensis quoting Y, 2). I, Geschichte 10; A.

is apparently (cf. </>i?<<r>i: Mathematics,

a source

3 Politicus 259 E.
4 Cf. Manual matik Heath, A History o[ Greek of Greek Mathematics,




und Naturwissenschaften

171; Heiberg, p. im Altertum, p.

der Mathe La Science






of this position Dr. Mugler's century,5 and to the establishment 6 is new and extensive devoted. study maintains that interpreters have Mugler (pp. xvii-xix) in drawing been mistaken from the pedagogical of plan VII conclusion the relative any general concerning Republic to philosophical Plato assigned and position which speculation own that in Plato's intellectual the mathematics, experience to them of the two was the reverse of that assigned more often the end of metaphysical mathematics there, being reflection than its point of departure, and that he recommended as a propaedeutic to his pupils not merely mathematical study own experience from his but primarily because he for dialectic relation that subsequent meditation the upon philosophical thus acquired would of knowledge often lead to mathe does not say how this thesis is to matical discoveries. Mugler the fact that at the end of the Laws be reconciled with (965 to be the supreme is still declared science B 1 fF.) dialectic as Philebus 57 D ff. as well and that in such a late passage believed fund 290 C, neither in an early one like Euthydemus of which of dialectic is "pedagogical," and its priority the supremacy as emphatically are affirmed as in Republic to mathematics of the "meta he simply says that a close interpretation VII;7 as
dans his rAntiquit?, Polish book, IV, Des pp. 291 and 296. Z. Jordan in the French du occcup?e ce tant qu'il que les Syst?me par ait r?sum? de Platon enrichies ? Platon dans de seule con con?u of


(Poznan, l'histoire fa?on ment

says (p. 289): 1937), n'est des math?matiques de directe. On peut parler ce sens que c'est qui qui lui n'a a

Math?matiques " place pas Platon le premier de cess? due en ?

math?maticien adonn? sur


des logie naissance des


qui s'est refl?chir

la m?thodo de et la


math?matique, m?thodes nouvelles." 5 Erich Frank,


les m?thodes




sogenannten Pythagoreer, matik (Leipzig, 1929) strongest proof of et Plato's

p. 65.

(1920-21), Seth Demel,

p. Piatons


and Verh?ltnis thesis


und zur Mathe


Frank's opposes expressly mathematical creativity de Heitz, of Plato's Philebus

and unique



in his son 1948.

friendship Charles -f 427). 87 and Plato's

with Theaetetus
6 Platon Mugler A.

(p. 24) !
la Recherche Math?matique P. H. ?ditions Unity on the Epoque, Pp. by xxviii

(Strasbourg-Zurich, 7 On cf. the Laws p.

Shorey, 497; 113. p.

E. Taylor, Plato*, Examination of Pleasure,

p. Thought, cf. Hackforth,

Plato physical" contention, pretation

as Mathematician will substantiate to examine his

his inter

and the Timaeus dialogues and it is therefore necessary in detail.

This the purpose of interpretation begins with a chapter, is to demonstrate which the founda that Plato "dematerialized" tions of and sensory geometry by eliminating empirical from its terms and definitions. The method of implications the which demonstration appear is to compare the with terms those and definitions writings by his and by the later geometers. No other procedure predecessors is possible; since of Plato's and but, predecessors early in the original words there are extant contemporaries only a few sentences which deal with mathematics and since very moreover in his dialogues Plato avoids technical usually it is hazardous to draw and linguistic innovation,8 terminology a comparison, even though from such conclusion any general a to assume it is plausible that Plato would have welcomed terms since he insisted that of geometrical "dematerialization" are not the material the objects of the geometer's investigation and atemporal that he draws but absolute, immaterial, figures In fact, however, Mugler's detailed realities.9 study of Plato's for space, place, dimension, line, surface, terminology figure, little or no support for his conclusion area, and solid produces use of av?rj for "dimension," in this chapter. Plato's for suits the hypothesis of reform; and neither scarcely example, in Parmenides 137 E.10 It of "straight" the definition does to the point as a "geometrical be that Plato's may objection n from his writings of a general the absence explains dogma" in this case was not to the term for point; but the objection at the time but to the assumption that term used by geometers
8 Cf. introducing Theaetetus a new 184 C, technical Politicus term; 261 E 5-7; 182 A and Plato's apology for

in Plato's



8 ff.

9 Cf. Euthydemus
io Cf. Heath, 11 Aristotle,

290 C 1-3, Republic 510 D and 527 B 5-8.

The Elements, 1, pp. 20-22. in any 165-166. does not consider in inter Mugler case he



to define as the the point sought (p. 19) that Plato preting of a line. The meaning p. 120, 4-6) given by Alexander (Metaph., beginning elvai tl ov?? (bv?fiaCev, ?/c?Xet ?k ?pxyv to ?xev ovv (Trjfie?ov ovk t\eyev is right: iroXX?jccs t}v arofiov ypajifirjv ?Xeyev. rijs ypafifirjs

punctuation it to mean

992 A Metaphysics but of this sentence;

is mistaken

there is an



term can this or any alternative entity which to Mugler word ?a?os according signify.12 (pp. 10-13) was to geo and introduced freed of its concrete significance sense of "third dimension" in the abstract metrical terminology to recognize thinker the first occidental by Plato, who was The character of geometrical the three-dimensional space: clearly own use of to ?a?ovs fieTexov as a term that needs but Plato's no explanation this conclusion improb (Republic 528 B) makes if Gorgias able, and it is impossible really wrote aw/Aa Se Tvyx^vov
TpiirXovv o~tgli> /cat y?p kolL irXaTOi ?jLrJKOs Kai ?d?os e??.18 It is indulg

does (pp. fantasy to argue further, as Mugler ing in the merest time to be a fourth dimension and that Plato conceived 13-17), with two-dimensional set up a hierarchy of spaces beginning stereometrical space to four space and rising through planar used kinematic dimensional space. The terminology" "spatial of the intelligible world (voyjtos twos, ?XrjOeias ir&?ov, etc.), which is to justify this conclusion is somehow (pp. 14-15), supposed of to be only the symbolic admitted later (p. 279) language in divorcing real being 52 A - C is explicit myth; and Timaeus
from space and position in every sense whatever. Nor does

528 D ff., on which Mugler support chiefly depends, Republic to be a kine that astronomical the notion space is considered stereo "above" matic hierarchically space of four dimensions as only one example of is there taken metric space; astronomy on the same level as another of which the study of movement,
12 Plato's for nephew 4, lines and 40, successor, 45, 48, 70 Speusippus, [Lang Criticism hand, used 3-4 one for used the term the point aTcy^ was

(frag. "point" Aristotle's real entity (cf. Cherniss, the other I, n. 322 [ p. 397 ]). On not already term (ttj/jlclov was "later" (cf. Euripides, for of the terms iri<f>?peia is (frag. B frag. surface 4, lines 382,

]); for him and o[ Plato cannot "point" be


the Academy that the time and treat

in Plato's Mugler

earlier ment use of

[Nauck2]). has also (pp. 32-37) 60 and 70 [Lang]).

in his



were still

Fragment any evidence be no reason

3, 73 [Diels-Kranz] (II, p. 281, 6-7 of the words the authenticity against with its to doubt that the argument of geometrical the definition [Topics 142 B space of 24-25, occurred (tu/ulo, as Physics to 204


if there ). Even there would of the

three-dimensionality assumes Aristotle is generally accepted 1016 B 27-28, etc.).

assumption in Gorgias' exov B rpe?s

treatise. dtaar?aeLs


20, Metaphysics

Plato astronomy
of harmony.14

as Mathematician and wrongly pursued

is the science


as rightly thesis

It is the decisive and similarity. argument to designate this

that Plato made of the second chapter in the theory of geometrical innovations is made to depend thesis This the largely upon term ?o-os ko! o/xoio? invented the technical that Plato fertile

of figures. Mugler the congruity that contends was innovation to the desire inspired by terminological the notion of equality make derivative by superposition by it as a special case at once of equivalence representing (?Wtt/?) and of similarity factor (o/xotoV^?) so as to avoid the empirical in a question of motion the fundamentals of geom concerning of the "Parmenidean etry and that this is another manifestation tendency" which The significance again to support Plato's reflections.15 characterizes geometrical to again and innovation is appealed in the subsequent various hypotheses cites Yet Mugler of the book. from chapters (pp. 54-55) one occurrence of the term, Timaeus 55 A Plato's writings only of this the most
(. even . . okov if 7repi(f> pov<s ?ara Kal ofxoia Stave/x^Tt/cov here was etc meant ?o~a ueprj to carry Kal ouota . . .), which sense the technical

to prove is scarcely the that Plato was sufficient indicated, inventor of the term; and the one passage that he adduces with the technical acquaintance (p. 62) to testify to Aristotle's it at all. In this passage, Meta does not contain expression
physics /cat ?aov takes 1054 tov A Se 29-32 (eort to Se tov T pov fi?v ?Vos Kal . . . to Kal tovto aVtcrov), and Kal o/xotov irXrjdovs /cat luov together olv??jlolov "equality" Mugler Kal


to mean

?v?^olov . . . to passage

should Kal to have ?vo/xotov 14 Laws

to mean
written to /cat avtcrov,

tovtov and Kal to moreover

o/xotov the

in that case Aristotle

/cat luov parallel observe eTepov at

Republic 747 A and so

530 817 that

C ? E



cf. Laws

7A7 A;


that to be between

in a

which does not mention Aristotle's argu they study. Mugler to prove that there can be no more than three dimensions (De C?elo on the subject. to Ptolemy's 268 A 9 - B 5), he refers lost treatise though 15 to that the geometers from Euclid suggests Mugler (pp. 58-59) reason to avoid Archimedes for the same of superpo the method sought ment sition; but cf. contra Heath, Euclid: The Elements, I, pp. 225-6.

single study, the "spaces"

and solid plane no is clearly there

are geometry "hierarchical"

considered difference

1003 B 33-36 (. . . ?eyw

S' olov

TavTOv Kal Kal tcov aXXtav



twv tolovtwv) shows are three separate this


Plato's invention

that Tab , o/xotov, and taov in 1054 A 29-32 terms.16 Much and parallel than stranger is Mugler's contention however, (p. 103)
of the technical term ?roc /cat o/xoto? is

131 A and 132 E because he "there proved by Parmenides to each other two determinations the of magnitude opposes are united in this term to designate and form which geometrical
congruity." In the former of these passages, olov o/xoiott/to? /x?i/

fi TaXa?ovTa o/xota, /xcye'flou? Se ?xeydXa (131 A

that of 0/X010T77? Euclid's and /xe'yetfo? and in are the nothing latter, but oS S' the ?v Dar?

1), Mugler
elSo? Ta and o/xota

/xe'yc0o? /xcTe'xoi/Ta

that "Plato Uses o/xota rj, ovKeKtivo ?Wat avTO to etSo?; ( 132 E 3-4), in connection with the term etSo? by which Euclid similarity A element of similar figures." the characteristic designates sentence that at the whole of 130 E - 131 A shows glance
bfioLOTT)^ and /xc'ye0oc are not, however, set off against each

other to the


treated of

ideas ff.,

a special o/xoiott/? and as that here

/ca??o? and

in 129 A


?/xoi?t^c is a reference ?vo/xoi?V^c mentioned by Socrates it are listed not only with along pair, that
St/caiocrw7 as examples of ideas.

with in connection 132 E the term etSo? is used similarity as it is in connection sense but exactly in no special (o/xota) - 131 A. In short, with /xe'yeflo?, KctAAo?,and St/caioowry in 130 E In
Plato says that/x?ye?to? is an etSo? too 17 for etSo? here means

"idea," which,
16 A where, few

of course,
lines later,

it does


in Euclid's
uses the

term have phrase ?aa Kai been as ieoy?via expected the tech

1054 B

2, Aristotle

seems to recognize as Mugler (p. 62), to say Uo. Kal ?/xota if he had just previously term sought nical by Mugler.

he might this used

" Cf. also 131 C - D, Ph

18 It is true, the as Mugler of shape

do 65 D

- E and 100 E - 101 A.

that Plato often uses eZ?os


it still but he uses figure; implication such more which in contexts often whatever, any significance preclude 454 E in Laches 191 D for example (ev <yvfnravTi t?o 7ro\exuf?S et'Sei), Gorgias 363 E (e?dos ?X?yxov), (et8os \6yo)y)f (?vo etdr] iretdovs) and 473 E Republic *ne formless eld?s ti Kal ?/jLop<f>op to signify 51 A Timaeus x^Pa? (?v?parov receptacle, 16 D 7; indicate the theory cf. 49 A 3-4), Philebus The 32 C 12 T7]v tov that of ?weipov l??av). in imagining Plato the geometrical evidence (eldos therefore el?os used does took of not his ?ireipov, "seem start cf. to from

says (p. 105), or geometrical

the metaphysical el?os."

Plato All
use, not

as Mathematician then of Mugler's

of to-o?

/cat o/xoto?



for Plato's
as a tech

to mention


term is Timaeus 55 A; and that even to-a fxeprj nical geometrical Kal o/xota in this passage is evidence of such a terminus technicus one considers when becomes that the other col questionable
locations of to-o? and

o/xoto? to mean combination











that Aristotle,
geometrical in



still use
used the

in "equal" to-o? /cat o/xoto?




of these occurrences does not explain or even mention Mugler the phrase. The earliest extant enunciation of the conditions of geo seems to be Aristotle's in Anal. reference metrical similarity 99 A 13-14; but Mugler believes Post. (p. 106) that an allu to TaWov in the expression is contained sion to these conditions 139 E and 148 A a of the older geometers, seen in ?vTnreTrovOivaias used by survival of which 14 etc. Mugler in Elements Euclid VI, Prop. might have cited 1018 A 15-17 where Aristotle gives TairavT^ ravTo Metaphysics Trejrovdoq o/xotov which and that this is a technical is to be term
TreirovOoTa and r? 7rAet?o tovto weirovO?Ta along with ?)v r? 7rotorr/?


in Parmenides

this combined with the of o/xota; but, though /xta as meanings it seem probable that r? makes of the Parmenides passages
Tavrop Kai Kai to la?rrjTa ofjLoi?TrjTa Kai 837 A: KaXovfiep 6/uloiop (piXov fi?p irov 140 E: ?aov ?o~<a. Parmenides XP?V0V KCLl ?ct?ttjtos that xP?V0V nere it is not certain upon ofioi?TTjTos fjL0?^ L (though depends cf. Cornford, and Parmenides, Plato the compound ?ct?ttjtos Kai o/jloi?ttitos, 741 A; ttjp Tifi?vres ?fioXoyovpiepop ?/totw Kar' ?peT7]p Kal ktX. Laws p. 6?jloiov to be 127, n. av for Parmenides 1). As Kara tt\v e?7] avro?s 161 C (el y?p elt\ lo~op, e?t] re ?v rj?r] Kai that Plato proves ?o~?Tr?Ta), this no more strict i.e. "equality sense," by superposition" as Mugler it does thinks similarity," (pp. 57', 19 Laws


in the "equality case of "a particular 148 A than does Parmenides (? 5r? t? ep erepop t?p ?XXwp ir?iropBep 103-4), airap airacnp ofioiop ap etr?) show that he thought dif elpai, KaT avT? tovto case of similarity to be a particular in the strict sense ference (cf. Philebus

13 D).
20 Politics 25-26; 1279 A ?ovXerai 9-10, 1287 B 33; ?? ye if ir?Xis 1288 A 1, ?aos Kai 6/jlolos. Politics 1295 B QiXos ?<r<av elpai Kai ofio?wp oti fi?Xiara. Cf. Politics 1299 B 23-24. For cf. b?oios meaning "equal" ?| '6 ye

De C?elo 296 B 20, 297 B 19, 311 B 33-34.

22-23 ?arj Kai ofioia is applied to the

In [Aristotle], Problems 914 A

of lines.


TovTo Tren-ovSOTa was


definition of o/xota, there is


nothing geometrical

to indicate


it was

ever meant


a definition


The of the Parmenides have passages similarity. to do with this concept,21 and the examples of o/xota nothing in the parallel passage 1054 B given by Aristotle (Metaphysics in question show that for him the definition had no 9-13) at all. specific mathematical implications
Unambiguous examples even of o/xoto? as a technical term

for geometrical similarity are difficult to find in Plato's writings.22 to find it so used where One would Plato says instead expect tolovt?? xw/ofcV?L0V inMeno 87 A 5, if the interpretation of this E. F. August and S. H. Butcher and adopted passage given by is correct as I believe it is. Benecke had and Mugler by Heath
argued that toiovt?> olov cannot mean "similar" and that, had

the this argu situated." Heath "not similarly condition rejected " ment in view of the want of fixity in mathematical terminology in Plato's time and of his own habit of varying his phrases for contends that Plato effect";23 but Mugler 76-77) (pp. literary in his tech from using o/xotov here because refrained purposely used
nical terminology this term was ambiguous, meaning both "sim



it in that






ilar" and
9/xoto? with

the technical




for Plato's
by o/xouo?


of is


Called this, he

7rdvT(?v contends

in Timaeus
TeXecoTaTov (pp.

33 B where
?/xot?raTOv 72-74), re Plato

the spherical
ovto meant eavT?





that the sphere alone of solids admits of an in any direction while still in any infinite number of displacements to itself in any other. The remaining similarly situated position use of so interpreted would testify not only to Plato's passage avTo eavT? in the sense
21 See note Plato and Parmenides, 19 supra and cf. Cornford, p. 125. 22 81 C 6) ?/c ttoXXup bfxo?uip (Timaeus that holds 81) (p. Mugler the term ?auro?s eis ?/xoi?T^ra and although examples, 2) are such (81 D is reference where there of the Timaeus in the earlier does not occur parts sizes of the same kind but of different to triangles D). (e.g. 57 C 23 A n. 1. Everyone 302, Mathematics, I, p. of Greek History admits of a that in Meno mathematical that toiovtu 83 D 6 "similar" there term. oIop would is rendered explain the 75-76) by tolovtop but the nature of Socrates' technical interlocutor purposeful avoidance

in denying

Mugler (pp. in 87 A 5 can be

with Benecke agrees in the same way. explained

ofjioiov in the technical

as Mathematician
sense of "homothetic"

(o/xoto? /cet/xevov)

but also geometry

to the extension to stereometry.

is valid against This objection the translation of Martin, and Robin Rivaud, ("la plus compl?te ment ? elle-m?me"), is not the alternative semblable but 34 B, where In Timaeus the epithets interpretation. Mugler's cosmos in 33 B are repeated, to the spherical ?/xoi?VaToi' applied 2i amo lav in rendering is replaced by 6/xaA.oV; and Cornford, is adequate "uniform," which both, rightly uses the same word, to the meaning, the point of for, as A. E. Taylor explains,
ofioLOTaTov avTo ?curr?is that "the sphere is a surface, as the

interpretation no sense here are equally like themselves.

the theory of similarity from plane to think that his appears Mugler is proved because the superlative ?/xot?VaToc has if one translates o/x?to? by "like," since all figures


is a plane curve, of constant and the only curvature, 25 to Plato known such surface and the ancients generally." are logically in Whatever mathematical involved implications circle there is no reason this notion of uniformity, in Timaeus 33 B as Mugler does or phrase to interpret the to see in it any

24 Proclus in 33 B by avrb ?avr? avpexh the former phrase explains Kal ?fiaX?s Kai TeTaypepop II, p. 72, 4-5 (In Timaeum, [Diehl]). According to him all polygons, and of p. 75, 5-15) (ibid., angular figures, figures are and 2<tt? '?fioiop ip crepeo?s surfaces several rj a (pal pa ?p?fioia ?jl?pop a single as alone the sphere For cf. Aristotle, surface trxilp?Ttav. having De C?elo 25 A 286 B 23-32 where there is a reference to the Timaeus for this notion. Cornford, Platos on Plato's Cosmology Timaeus, tov cx^aros (1937), p. pp. 54 and 58; A. E. Taylor, In De 102. 285 B 4-5 Ceelo can mean the uniformity of only

Commentary Aristotle's ttjp the sphere in ?'

cf. 977 B 1 (ir?pTr? De Xenophane [Aristotle], and Alexander '?fioiop ftpra a<f>aipo L?i] elpai) Simplicius, apud Phys., 16-17 p. 895, (?fiaXys y?p Kal avTTj [seil, il ?wl tov kvkXov k?ptjctis] ?i? to sense rrjs kvkXiktjs ypa/JLfjLrjs). It is in the same ?/jlo??os irepiay?s wapTax?Oep that bodies to explain Plutarch, are always circular, they have why says the lines of intersection F) of two round 932 (De Facie a uniform everywhere Problems exyf?a> 915 A KaXXiffTOP and : irapTax?ve tendency" 35-36 the by fit x^poC?-at (i.e. a constant "round" the epithet (to of

ofioi?TrjTa this sense;


ofioi?TT)Ta, "since In

Trepi<f>ep?s), which 33 B, Timaeus 4-9) takes as a

[Aristotle], is called rb

is defined

avTb ai>T$ efioi?Tarop; reminiscence of Timaeus

(Syntaxis KvicXoTeprjs

I, 2 10, Halma] [p. kp rots eTwr?fiois Kal

p. 411, (De Ceelo, Simplicius B the statement of Ptolemy fi?pat r? re ) ; ?fjLoiofiepe?s ?e eiriQapeiai ep tois crTepeo?s i) aQaipiKr). 33


Harold for the inferences

Cherniss which he draws from that inter

in Plato's construction of the regular poly of the material that the corpuscles world, of the theory of geometrical looks for the application Mugler as an "organizing of cosmic importance." principle similarity to II and all of Chapter III are devoted Part of Chapter the recent theorem how by employing that limited showing to five, by taking as of the regular the number polyhedra hedra, It is naturally are which determinative of the polyhedra area of which is the invariant their faces alone, the surface in all rearrangement, and by of these regular solids to a limited number as the ultimate are then regarded elements

the faces reducing of triangles, which Plato of the physical world, imposed geometrical discipline the unlimited of the Atomists and intro upon polymorphism into the physical sciences the principle of economy.26 duced 57 C - D to mean Timaeus interprets Unfortunately Mugler the half-square and the right that the elementary triangles, sizes; and from this he infers scalene,27 exist in different angled that, occur

term o/xoto? does the supposed not technical although in this passage, are of the physical world the elements two series of figures, the members of either series being an in mag of similar infinite number triangles infinitely various is apparently unaware He nitude of p. 119). (pp. 79-81, demonstration that this interpretation is incorrect, Cornford's in size of the molecules that the variation of any one kind is the result of the different number of elementary triangles used in the composition of the squares and equilateral triangles
26 For IX Univ. (1888), this p. of interpretation P. Friedl?nder, Plato's Platon, purpose cf. e.g. Shorey, and more (1949), of A.J.P.,


Publications of California 27 From of these neither constructed;

II, p. 610 in Philosophy, XVI can the faces

recently 232-3. pp.

and Mugler that this was the reason 127-129) of economy, the principle discarded the dodecahedron Plato, by inspired why since four he had in favor of the simpler kinds of cube, general only be matter reasoned of with so; which but one to equate corpuscular not overlook should patterns. the fact to ad Plato that the loc. he well have may also had reasons as A a whole History

triangles holds (pp.

the dodecahedron

the dodecahedron for assigning tradition note 110 B with Wyttenbach's (cf. Phsedo I, pp. 159-162). of Greek Mathematics,

universe and Heath,

Plato which are

as Mathematician


the faces of the four regular solids, that the mag of the squares and equilateral and of the solids triangles of them are not infinitely various constructed but definitely limited and have a definite mathematical ratio to one another, and that the elementary and right-angled scalene half-squares exist not only each in a single form but each in a triangles nitudes

atomic magnitude.28 inter of Cornford's single Knowledge to make even more than have enabled Mugler pretation would of Plato's he does of the "economy" mathematical physics, as will it would also have appear, subsequently although, he rests several removed the support upon which important

At before

establishment of the at the beginning Now of Greek character Euclidean space." of Chapter IV he says that "Plato is Euclidean without know aware of the contradiction his that he was between ing it," and the implications of a geometry finite universe of parallel Euclid of the contra the resolution lines, and that he was expecting in the direction of a non-Euclidean diction geometry analogous to that of Riemann The for this is evidence (pp. 141-149). in Plato's works there is no coherent silence: chiefly theory or physical,30 of the infinite either mathematical lines straight
when mentioned are always treated as merely segments, and

IMugler the end of Chapter to had contributed

had the


that Plato



is no mention
28 Cornford, Plato's

of parallels
Cosmology, in Philosophy,



Univ. Figures

of California 1-4. 29 A which four six an he


cf. Friedl?nder, pp. 230-239; XVI p. 234 and (1949),

is his interpretation of pl?a in Timaeus 81 C 6, example slight to KepTpop in 54 E 2, the point at which to be equivalent takes meet in the construction of the square and half-squares elementary right-angled triangle had he more such or single does (pp. seen fewer scalene 18, 121-122). there that elements triangles He are than meet could square these and in not and the have construction adopted cf this faces which

elementary equilateral

interpretation which have there is no 30

equilateral in many of


to such statements with not express himself respect ?vo r? ?weipa nxarw ?i? tovto in Physics 206 B 27-33: Kal els aireipop i?pai Kal ?wl t^v ?iro?f)crept '?ti Kal ?irl ttjp avirjp ?okc? vnep?aXXeip Mugler as of Aristotle that KaOaipeaip.

to them show

Harold that geometers the problem

Cherniss were occupying of the Academy are indica of parallelism. There 65 A 4-9) Prior. that attempts

(e.g. Anal. to demonstrate the existence of parallels had already been to show that the failure of these but there is nothing made, to anyone had suggested the possibility of a non attempts as Mugler maintains Euclidean If, geometry.31 (pp. 141-2), sim that his acceptance of geometrical Plato did not suspect him to the geometrical infinity implied by ilarity committed to see why we must assume that lines,32 it is difficult parallel
a possibility that Aristotle be such thought envisaged ?\\' 200 A e?ye tovto 18-19): (i.e. that the sum (Physics two right angles) of a triangle of the angles ur? co-tip, oi?? to ev?v equals in Aristotle, ?GTip (cf. Heath, Mathematics this is no p. 101); but in reality more of such a possibility that he conceived 66 A evidence Anal. Prior. (cf. when It might he wrote than De 11-15) of the doctrine Anima bodily 406 B 4-6 is evidence that he conceived as possible resurrection. 31

themselves with tions in Aristotle

that was

32 insists elsewhere and 257-8, (pp. 241-2, Mugler 388) especially Kal fl??op ovKovp e?7] ap tolovtop Kal eXarTop 82 C 3-4) x^P^ (Meno as a postulate structure of the Euclidean intended of space. consciously that it is on his first at all; the a precaution contrary merely twice the set-back that a square scarcely have been meant against size of the the slave's first can

I think

after denying be constructed nical where

it could

into that Mugler reads import geometrical is not definition the immediately preceding 10 - C 2; Mugler of a square [p. 388] (82 B ras ?i? fi?aov in 82 C 2-3 to mean "diagonals," tions stated would be sufficient, but in fact the sides of the square Since p. 130]). of Plato, enunciation to be a conscious less

to carry the tech it especially in a passage even a sufficient definition erroneously in which takes case the the lines ravraai condi

between Meno 3-4 the 55 A

midway to them and parallel The [cf. Thompson, 82 C take Meno does, however, Mugler of the homogeneity of space, he is all

this means

in supposing of Timaeus that the wording (pp. 258-65) justified tGjp eimrediop yojpiCjp e^e^rjs (fiiap o~Tepeap yojpiap iroie?, rrjs afi?XvTaTrjs was in order to avoid two right angles the equation with chosen yeyopv?ap) from in postulating the difficulties involved Plato shrank either because the this of equality of all equality by the invariability Postulate (Euclid, 4) or in demonstrating right angles in turn which would involve the assumption application If he had consciously of figures. the homo postulated no reason to recognize there was for him not that he of all right if he merely and, angles; equality an explicit as he does postulate, throughout it is most that he assumed the p. 258), probable strange interprets wording as not of Timaeus involving 55 A, any which Mugler of

of space, geneity in fact postulated the had the former without assumed the Timaeus latter like too. Taylor The (so Mugler, seemingly correctly


Plato he was finite aware of

as Mathematician


the incompatibility between his doctrine of a the geometry of parallel lines. The problem of infinity has a temporal as well as a spatial contends that Plato the conception aspect. Mugler rejected time in the sense of an endless of cyclical succession of identical cosmic periods, exactly though this and the conception of a finite universe had always gone together,33 and had sub universe and for it the theory that time is a monodromic and irre to the endless progression flux comparable of the series of whole numbers The phrase /car' ?piOfxov lovcrav (pp. 149-174). in Timaeus 37 D 6-7, which he calls (p. 174) "the most stituted of Plato's expression is his evidence for
of yp?vov . . . KaT


rigorous infinite,"

ideas concerning this comparison,

?piO/nov kvk?ov/icvov

the temporally under though

(Timaeus 38


he specifies this progression both for time and for 7-8) means number as one of an evolution of cycles by (pp. 155, It is more than doubtful that by /car' api?^wv in 236, 238). these passages Plato as

intended any comparison with the series in any sense;34 infinite if he did not, of integers and, later connection of the passage with Theodorus' sup Mugler's a far of demonstrating posed method (p. 238), irrationality
angular right desire eral was not by any determined of the question magnitude, probably as a determinate unit of angular measurement but by Plato's angle to define is revealed if the three equilat which the "straight angle" be "flattened about of the tetrahedron into out" apex any triangles consider to be an the "straight angle" 18-22 and Heath, p. 292, [Friedlein] not unnatural it was for Plato, if to call there exact was 157-8 is no cyclical thought it what evidence return by Plato comes after

a plane. did not Since the Greeks at all In Euclidem, (cf. Proclus, angle Euclid: he wished the The Elements, to define it III, in pp. terms

48-49), of angularity,

obtuseness of plane greatest angles. 33 to what asserts, Mugler Contrary of held the doctrine that Anaximander certain held it: that Heraclitus cf. Heraclitus, neither frag. B held 30 it nor (I, pp.


to prove it is to have


) ;Vlastos,

Class. Phil., XLII

34 The of

(1947), p. 165; Plato, Sophist 242 E.

means is the correlate and only phrase probably "numerably" ovre irpos aXXrjXa vvfifitrpovprat o~KOirovpTes apiOfiots. Plato ?piOfJLOis in 39 C: is infinite 144 Ah state that the series of integers did elsewhere (Parmenides to "the perfect is enough 39 D of time" in Timaeus number but his reference to show that as of in Kar' speaking of time as a likeness had no iovo-ap or the infinity kvkXov/jl pos he of eternity intention of /car' apiBfxbp to

?pidfibp this series.





is quite without in any case, foundation. connection fetched more reconstruction of Plato's for Mugler's important is his notion that in this mathematical however, philosophy, time as being derived from eternity Plato passage represents a derivation or emanation, a kind of projection is which by reason of the instanta to the evolution in discursive equivalent Still neous In the doctrine of time so (pp. 164, 169-70). of the Pythagorean he sees both the reconciliation interpreted the geometrical of the irrational with demonstration apagogic to Theodorus he ascribes demonstration which (pp. 224-38, that and at the same time the philosophical conception 276-7) intuition the formulation of which possible and method of analysis of the geometrical is a precise methodological that method He even goes so far as to 307-10, 322).


adaptation (pp. 283, is assert that the theory of space in the Timaeus 281-2) (pp. a corollary of the theory of time there and that Plato, though to take the final step in making he hesitated space the exten sion of an unextended time the devel o/xo? ir?v as he had made of an atemporal w?v, was aware that his theory of 6/xov opment and was prevented only incomplete it in this sense.35 In support of this completing and his circle finds in an opinion of Speusippus the application of the theory of time by Proclus to the suppression of the distinction between His use of this passage theorems (pp. 277-8). much

space was

from by death notion Mugler is cited which in the Timaeus and problems is typical of iv?vTa
atwvo? /xcVoi/toc

of his

Speusippus used




the expression
to the


37 D 6 and recalls the Parmenidean cV evtof Timaeus ?/xo?)nav, and he suggests that this term, ir?vTa Tama, may signify besides to the ideal world succession its denial of temporal the asser in a coexistence tion of the unextended of that real world
single 35 point. The words in question, ?fiewov cvv <?>aai X?yeiv otl

to Mugler According but this theory; complete els av?is there refers fien/xep to

50 C 6 is Plato's Timeeus promise (p. 282) Sp the Tp?irop ripa ovaQpao-TOP Kal dav?aarop, to fie6e?is, the ultimate of which explanation

in Pheedo at all, as Plato had himself 100 D. indicated be given could never not have provided from ideal reality would of space the derivation Certainly it would the problem. have The that explanation; remark, rephrased only is not a promise but the regular Platonic eis avOis, then, of later treatment formula for dismissing the matter.

Plato TravTa TavT? ?cttl (Proclus,

as Mathematician p. 78, 4 to assert

the same not

[Friedlein]) that all pro is (Tatn-?)," by which
as theorems.36 the remotest

meant There

In Euclidem, say that it is better simply "they positions (irdvTa) are of the same kind
that is no all such so-called term problems here as are ir?vTa

TavTc? and

connection whatever

the atW or the theory that may be. with in Plato's



in the Timaeus,

that he ever con suggests writings from ideal reality. To the contrary, is an that the x^P^^ emphatically ultimate fact not to be explained and Mugler's away; assump tion that Plato to try to "overcome" it not tried or intended counter to the evidence like all of the dialogues but, only goes is a subversion of the very motivation such interpretations, Nothing space templated deriving asserts most the Timaeus of space Plato's doctrine Plato's Nor was philosophy.37 a corollary or unconsciously of his doctrine of consciously as Cornford time. has rightly (Plato's Space, emphasized is treated under the heading of "Neces pp. 102-3), Cosmology, existence and of phenomenal sity" as being both a condition of whereas 47 E ff.), limits the effect of Reason (Timaeus is a product of the of the rational ordering is time an emanation of eternity Yet neither world. phenomenal is produced or in any sense derived from it. Time by the 38 E 4-5), the motions bodies of the heavenly (Timaeus is to define the existence and preserve of whose purpose of whose of time (38 C 3-6) and the measurement numbers is time (39 C - D). In short, time motions against one another time is the rational
36 Cf. lein's (M?m. Tannery excuse text Heath,

a factor which


of orderliness

in the phenomenal


reads Fried Elements, I, p. 25. Mugler of Tannery's suggestion any knowledge If is irapTa TaOro lern. that the true reading Scient., IX, p. 126) of an is not even the semblance is right, as he probably is, there for Mugler's fantasy. without indicating Timaeus 52 A D, which, be it noted, comes after what space in 50 C (see note to "complete" the theory of the mistaken On 35 supra). to overcome the x^P1*^ Der Mugler in the

37 Cf. thinks direction that Plato

is Plato's of

promise derivation have


attempted pp.

cf. E.

supposition Hoffmann

in Zeller's Philosophie
Piatonismus I, p. 72. und Mystik,

der Griechen,
12-13, and A.


1^ (1922),


1092-3 and






ni s s

can simulate alone the flux of becoming the eternity by which 39 D 7 - E 2).38 There of real being is no justifica (Timaeus use of the doctrine tion then for Mugler's of time in the as the key to Plato's r?le in the development Timaeus of the and in the formulation of of the method irrationals theory q?

to far the greater IV is devoted part of Chapter By Plato's attitude towards the infinitesimal (pp. 174-249). Mugler as the result of confusion first (pp. 175-188) Aris explains to Plato totle's ascription of the doctrine of atomic lines; he is right, in his conclusion, I believe, of the many although means are of which he reaches the conclusion arguments by he says, is confirmed conclusion, by Plato's of the "new procedure" employed knowledge by Theodorus to demonstrate the irrationality of \/3, The \/5,... \/l7. is an attempt to establish Plato's remainder of the chapter part in the development of the theory of irrationality. It is too erroneous.39 This too confused to be resumed and often in detail complicated as a whole this reconstruc here; but it may fairly be said that
38 Cf. Aristotle imitation De Generatione to his and purpose (Cherniss, 465-6). from are that the infinite variety to exist. erroneous to state for a similar I, in the that of I sizes have in which already of 336 B the 27 - 337 of A 7 for the way on Plato in which time and as an the

adapts of eternity


the Timeeus


s Criticism


I, pp. 420 Academy 39 One is the the two observed Timeeus ly used Aristotle*s


elementary triangles (pp. 404-05 supra) 57 C - D; and I take this passage Criticism of of Insec. Plato

supposed is an this

this opportunity the Timeeus myself and the 968 A the he latter 14 ff. passage of

interpretation I once mistaken (Cherniss,

purpose p. former

of De Lin. analysis in is inexact, although is the confusion which Cherniss, op. to do with nothing (cf. cit.,

Academy and of De and ideal

Generatione and material 1 ff.,

126). Mugler's 316 A 11-12 treatise there


indivisibility however, has

it does, misled in this supposes note in his Metaphysics, that I, p. 206 and unaware by Ross's apparently in his Physics, Ross his error it (cf. and corrected pp. 480-1 recognized to prove so, Mugler's Cherniss, op. cit., p. 15). This being long argument not have misunderstood that Plato could the import of Zeno's paradoxes in He of the way implied done would have himself lin? in space did a in this better not passage to cite is entirely irrelevant. 181-188) (pp. as evidence 206 B 27-33 that Physics set a limit to the divisibility Plato to have op. cit., pp. 128-9).

pp. as Plato,

124-8). Physics he mistakenly

187 A



(cf. Cherniss,

Plato tion can have no

as Mathematician


in his is right unless Mugler plausibility the nature of Theodorus' method and of its interpretation to Plato's historical relation (pp. 191-203) thought. Mugler that the takes as an established certainty Zeuthen's conjecture of not 147 D 3-6 was to in Plato's Theeetetus demonstration alluded an extension of the traditional apagogic proof of the irra 40 demonstration dis of v'2 but a new geometrical tionality on it would have depended covered Theodorus himself; by the form of the periodic continued and the construction fraction, must have corresponded at least in to Mugler itself according

(A History spirit to that suggested by Heath of Greek Mathe turns upon of which the recurrence matics, I, pp. 207-8) similar figures of infinitely decreasing magnitude. is the for Theodorus' demonstration sole evidence and that reveals only that he began of the Theeetetus, passage one surd after another up to yj\7 with \/3 there and selecting that he This somehow tells nothing of the method stopped. 41 reasons but Mugler for denying that used; adopts Zeuthen's it could have been an extension of the traditional apagogic not have been original enough to warrant 1) this would proof: not notice of it as a new discovery; Plato's and 2) it would to each surd up to yj\7% have had to be applied separately since its general applicability that would clear before become The
point is reached, while at the same time it involves no good

at \/17. ade for stopping The second argument was quately answered by von Fritz in 1934 (R.E., Zweite Reihe V, and in 1938 quite G. H. 2, cols. 1819-1824); independently to the Theory and E. M. Wright (An Introduction Hardy that the application of the pp. 41-3) of Numbers, proved
40 Cf. Mathematics in Euclid, 41 Aristotle, Element. Anal. Prior. pp. Appendix, (pp. 147 D 196 22-3; no. 41 A the 27 25-27 and 50 A 35-38 itself [Heibergl). eypa<pe must and have fjLrjKet o? a used and Heath, is preserved


in Aristotle, X, insists

demonstration (III, p. 408

Mugler avfjLfxeTpoi in Thesetetus



203) that Theodorus


as distinguished That from the apagogic method. eypacp? "geometrical" ri ire/M, the phrase was here used, has no such implication proved by Heath I, p. 203, n. 2); and the apagogic of Greek Mathematics, (A History proof in Euclid, 27 itself uses the phrase X, App. (see note 40 supra) preserved XLVI Annals ?07/cet (cf. von Fritz, of Mathematics, ?<rvp,[xeTpos ... [1945],

p. 256).




.. . to the surds \/3 method assump apagogic \/l 7 without tion of a general theorem would in fact satisfy all of Zeuthen's criteria for the nature of Theodorus' is then There procedure. to believe that Theodorus did not use the "geo good reason to him; and, method" if he which Mugler ascribes there is no basis at all for any of Mugler's hypotheses the attempt of Theaetetus, (pp. 216-239) concerning inspired to reconcile Theodorus' "Heraclitean" by Plato, conception of the irrational with the Pythagorean which conception to find in such a calls "Parmenidean," Plato's Mugler hope metrical did not, a "mathematical reconciliation demonstration of the Platonic as a projection of Becoming his disappoint of Being," theory ment at Theaetetus' failure to achieve this result in adequately and his own of the ultimate fashion, rigorous anticipation of the relation between solution by the mythical representation time and eternity in the Timeeus.
Moreover, whatever demonstration Theodorus used, there

is not



invention.42 Theodorus
that it was

his own that it was of says that Plato refers to the discovery Mugler with astonishment" and philosophical "profound evidence to indicate
a revelation to Plato of a new aspect of the irra






in which



it (pp. xx-xxv, Yet far 195, 203, 239). regarded of astonishment Plato does not put into the mouth of expression a single word of comment on the demonstration which Socrates in the and there is nothing Theodorus Theaetetus says gave, to suggest had done more than repeat that Theodorus passage a standard to his pupils what was mathematical demonstra tion.43 Even
42 Zeuthen to was Mugler, the an demonstration additional on the

hitherto from any

if he did use an original

held that of the


have been

extended and used this it.


must method apagogic other than y/2 before that 193-4 of even of the he and

argument other hand, "the new

assuming asserts (pp. conception method, possibility numbers."


Theodorus, not have could 231) Plato's the a

that Theodorus' put check to

discovery," "great in the interest all "must cedure have 43 This I, p. 243-4. 205; cf. to other was also


apagogic of the dreamed rectangular recognized von Fritz,

though applying

contemporaries Pythagorean pro

A History by Heath, Annals of Mathematics,

of Greek XLVI

Mathematics, (1945), pp.


as Mathematician


it nor its implications he could have been new to Plato when as an wrote is there represented tetus. Theodorus the The statement old man in 399 B.C., and this agrees with Eudemus' a In Euclidem, that he was 66, 4-9 (Proclus, p. [Friedlein]) in the generation of Chios before to believe that Plato learned of not in Athens Theodorus' mathematical achievements but in must have done so Laertius, III, 6), he (cf. Diogenes Cyrene not later than the middle nineties, more than 25 years before tetus 2 1811), he wrote the The (cf. von Fritz, R.E., V, contemporary Plato. Even of Hippocrates if one chooses and the dialogue for he wrote after the death of Theaetetus so at that time knew as well all that Theaetetus It is unreasonable that therefore to in 369 was to as assume,

accomplish.44 does Mugler

in doctrines and arguments (pp. 204-10), later dialogues reflect the influence of a hypothetical discovery he that could not have affected Plato before of Theodorus wrote the initial improbability the Theaetetus; of such an and to certain is raised assumption impossibility by the evidence For example, Mugler of the dialogues themselves. says (p. in Republic 597 C he used the "third that Plato, when 210)
man" argument, was either not aware that the reasoning was

susceptible longation Theodorus employed analogous

44 fundamental Annals

pro prolongation thought and that only after having how unnecessary to him) which Mugler the method ascribes (in an to complete of similar figures infinite repetition argument did Plato
that at theory (1945), allusion cannot the passage




such seen

in the Parmenides
this of p. time



It is not



impossible to the


242-5) (pp. Parmenides, Theaetetus. (Parmenides fiei??pwp things measures are

XLVI of Mathematics, is an that there a dialogue which in ?' ?p

264). to Eudoxus' much of

he already knew Eudoxus' as well (von Fritz, maintains himself Mugler formulation if later any he makes so in than the the


Unfortunately ots 140 C)

which tup


p,rj avfifierpop,

fi?rpwp &rrai means it is with which in one as case and the

the One only "<If not commensurable, in greater same number and the of other."

de ?xep a/uLiKporepiop, t?v or is greater than less> it will consist of smaller Here incommensurables it measures that par


In Parmenidem, to see pretation is analagous that 5. Def.

having 1206 in



it seems

it a hypothesis to Eudoxus'

"de l'in?galit? as formulation

(cf. Proclus, is only misinter ou par d?faut" exc?s by Euclid, V,


A B) limits. prolong Timeeus



its finite the "third man" argument beyond is used without the argument 31 A, in which express assertion of the infinity of the regress just as it is in the and invalidate Mugler's would alone explanation; Republic, it is if he had himself have seen how utterly baseless he would from the infinity of the regress that the argument remembered are certainly earlier which stated is used in dialogues expressly for example, than the The tetus, in the Cratylus, (421 D E) in the Lysis and even and especially (219 C). The of which have 292-3, immobile geometrical Chapter V formulated, 322, eternity, the analogous 401), which 307-8, method is chiefly Mugler of Plato's authorship analysis, to establishing, could devoted contends xxvii, 283, (pp; the relation of time to after forth in the Tim us, had of deductive demonstration


only is set

conception existence. of intuited mathematical evolvement this whole thesis rests, namely The upon which interpretation as being an emanation us time is represented that in the Tim or projection of eternity, has already been dealt with (pp. 408 suggested as the discursive of Plato's theory of supra); but, even if that interpretation it could have to do it is difficult to see what time were correct, in assuming This method consists with the method of analysis. to be proved or the problem propounded as true the proposition and from that from this a consequence as solved and deducing 410 is reached which is until a consequence another to be true or false. In the latter case known independently to be false or the is proved assumed the proposition originally in the former, from the consequence known insoluble; problem consequence in is deduced of consequences to be true the same sequence is reached and so reverse order until the original assumption the analysis and Since both the first stage, proper, proved. are strictly deductive, each the second, the so-called synthesis, must be unconditionally and convertible; step in the analysis to is any proposition that one pleases the point of departure 45 assume and not "an intuition of geometrical truth."
45 Cf. Euclid: (1936), The pp. Heath, Elements, 464-473. A History I, pp. of Greek 137-142; Mathematics, R. Robinson, II, pp. Mind, 400-401 XLV and N.S.

Plato One would

as Mathematician


that Mugler this orthodox suppose accepts of geometrical for he adopts interpretation analysis, (pp. 293 as "the oldest of the method" definition the addition to 7) 1-5 46 and recognizes "the reversibility Euclid, of pro XIII, as an indispensable its application of condition positions" at the same time he insists Yet (pp. 321-2).47 (pp. 288-93, 310-11 ) that "the invention of the method is contained in germ" in Republic that is that the upward movement 510-511, which in 511 B is said to be peculiar to dialectic was later recognized as the specifically moment of geometrical by Plato analytic to invent the analytic method method also. So Plato was by to geometry the reversibility of the movement of soon as he should come to see that geometrical in the unconditioned" truth is "anchored by the fact that the of mathematical results in the world exist of investigation ideas prior to the research of them. Now, this last Plato knew when he wrote the Republic, for he there says tov act ovto? r? coriv (527 B). y o)fX TpiKrjyv?Wc repeats an old mistake Mugler asserts when he that what the methods (p. 291) distinguishes of the geometer and the dialectician in Republic is not 510-511 so much as their sphere of application. their procedure Plato extending dialectic as
46 The Euclid, Omnia, IV, pp. Opera III, pp. 442-3. even asserts that this the divine is theory of time "in pilot conceived 364-6 (Heiberg); of that cf. Heath, Euclid:

Elements, 47 He by the

expressed Politicus its

"reversibility in the Timeeus and

reciprocal" and descending of them "time tradicted ?yht\Tov of time 583-4; the (pp. remains &rrat

reascending This 322-3). in all by iroT?, of the Plato's 324 II,

the development changing as a geometer the using in turn the series of propositions contradicts work statement his earlier

is propositions" in the myth of the of the world into method, analytic and the inverse


as well

irremediably in Laws Greek Eth. Nie.

assertion that (p. 159) it is con monodromic"; ov y?p to yeyopbs 934 A, irreversibilicy 8-11; Theognis, in the Timeeus suggests 1139 B the time retrograde or mathe for the



(cf. Protagoras Pindar, Olympian of time; cosmos

B; Aristotle, 15-17; in

reversibility motion of the matics. which is not God an

and as


It is conceived imposes of to upon the

etc.). Nothing the myth of the Politicus to do with a theory of nothing a reaction of the tension created and to which it bears but the

the cosmos

by the motion the same relation

as Necessity

does to Intelligence in the Timeeus

divine pilot's any activity intellectual

(cf. Politicus
result of

273 B);
his com


aspect meant

plete withdrawal
have been

(Politicus 270 A, 272 E, 273 C-D)

symbolize activity.

and so could not




the opposite (511 C D); he insists that it is their says exactly mathematics and dialectic which and that methods distinguish movement of 511 B belongs to dialectic the ascending alone - 534 is no evidence to show that he ever There A).48 (533 B in this respect; but, even if he had done so, his mind changed he could not have invented geometrical analysis by extending to geometry the dialectical instead of proceeding ascent,
inferred consequences from



by deduction

the Republic, for that a series of through

assumed to a conse

from a given term or true, moves quence already to another which it and from this to a third proposition implies which implies the second and so on until one is reached which series and is not itself deducible from any implies the whole known to be only thing else.49 Mugler he likens "the subsumption confusion further when to the species under the genus and "the passage the retrograde from genus path of analysis" to the deductive to species for process" (pp. 306-7 and 314), is a strictly in both deductive process analysis geometrical of but knew all species cannot be inferred 263 A-B). (cf. Politicus from genus, as Plato confounds

directions himself For

that the reversibility believes of that, Mugler was which the method of analysis upon propositions depends a discovery that impressed Plato and his school so profoundly it as a general law of geometry and were that they regarded to them to be the one case which what appeared scandalized by to make it conform to this law, all their efforts withstood in Euclid, concerning parallels expressed namely the proposition 27 and 28 (pp. 329-30). It is strange that I, Propositions at length in this connection he argues that although Mugler, of the reversi the work of Menaechmus implies the recognition about Proclus' says nothing (pp. 324-29), bility of propositions assertion Euclidem, pp. 253, 16 254, 5) that Menaechmus, (In that not all mathe and their associates recognized Amphinomus, are convertible. He also fails to mention matical propositions
48 Cf. references; 4$ Cf. R. Plato's Republic Shorey, Plato's Earlier Robinson, Plato's Earlier (L.C.L.), Dialectic, pp. II, pp. p. 206, n. a with

204-209. Cherniss, A.J.P.,





(1947), pp. 140-5.

Plato Aristotle's propositions remark

as Mathematician


commonly implies at in the absence to the contrary of evidence passages that Plato and the Academic mathematicians strongly a universal assume must that be convertibility

78 A 10-13) that mathematical (Anal. Post. in being more from dialectical propositions a statement convertible which (?vTi<TTpi$u /??A?ov), two least that they are not all convertible. These differ indicate did not law of

78 A 5-13, he would Had Mugler noticed Anal. Post. not 200 A have supposed that in Physics 15-24 Aristotle meant to deny the reversibility of geometrical propositions generally and he could have his involved of this spared explanation as a confusion denial of physical and geometrical presumed This passage of the Analytics alone, (pp. 331-356).51 in mathematics is easier than stating as it does that analysis in other subjects are more because mathematical propositions also have saved him from the would convertible,52 commonly erroneous are silent about notion that Plato's the disciples method and that the first mention of it is made after Euclid's relations from the futile elaboration of dubious psychological to explain this supposed silence The (pp. 311-320). refers to geometrical fact is that Aristotle not only analysis once but several tone of these references times.53 The implies was well that the method known and consciously used by and in no case does Aristotle con mathematicians generally, theories
who maintained the persons 72 B 15 ff.); but this (Anal. Post. of knowledge and not a specifically mathematical theory it may its proponents have been doctrine, possibly although applied by to a demonstration of parallels also 64 B 39 - 65 A 9). Prior. (cf. Anal not have out elsewhere that this position could I have been taken pointed of demonstration dt ?\\-f?\(ap in general Speusippus, of Xenocrates or who Xenocrates had but was the probably theory of that ideas of certain abandoned 50 Aristotle does refer to unnamed

time and

validity was a

by Plato, followers and


for direct any knowledge (Aristotle's objects and the Academy, I, pp. 66-8). 51 On 15-24 cf. Ross, 200 A Aristotle's Physics Physics, in Aristotle, and Heath, Mathematics p. 101. 52 Cf. Prior and Posterior Aristotle's Ross, Analytics, therewith

altogether Criticism of pp. 531-3

53 Besides Anal. Post.

cf. Heath, Mathematics



78 A 6-13 cf. Eth. Nie.

in Aristotle, pp. 270-272)

1112 B
and Soph.

11-24 (on


175 A 26-28.

nect itwith The analysis of two


Cherniss at all or suggest that its


doctrine any metaphysical was the work of Plato. "tradition" of Plato's

seeks Mugler passages: Diogenes Euclidem, Proclus, p. 211, 18-23 (Friedlein). felt some reserve about that Plato saying method


of geometrical authorship to vindicate consists (pp. 283-287) In Laertius, III, 24 and Proclus, however, clearly transmitted the

to Laodamas, for he protected himself wih the phrase, was "as they say." indicates that Favorinus his Diogenes source for the statement that Plato first explained the method one says unequivocally to Laodamas. Neither that Plato was the method; the first to formulate and the earlier author of the Index Herculanensis

14 ff. [p. 17, Mekler]), whose (Col. Y. does not mention, of the rise testimony Mugler speaks only in Plato's time without to of analysis the method ascribing in the passage Since Proclus Plato himself. just mentioned, to Plato, the ascription of analysis after reporting gives as the second suggested procedures
dwayojyrj and


of "discovery" it has been Plato's diaeresis,54 that he or his source confused the complementary of geometrical and synthesis with Plato's analysis
its complementary method, Siatpeori?,55 a confusion

is seen to have been easy and almost as soon which inevitable as one observes that there were different many procedures and that among called by the name "analysis" these was the in the Symposium A - D, 211 C), which (210 "upward path" to do with geometrical has nothing is a kind but which analysis it highly probable of (Twayojyrj. What makes that the "tradi
54 Proclus, tov In Euclidem, pp. 211, 23 212, refers a 1. ?i? to the tt?s t?p ?\\u>p

?paip?crecos ttjs of the privative ?paipovaa

irpoKeifxepov KaTaaKevijs here term in dichotomy is not and to

reference this

separating-off to ras vwod?aeLs apparently p. 171) to the

in Republic 533 C 8; failure for Robinson's mistaken notion responsible seems that to have "Proclus understood path." 55 Cf. Heath, 56 Ammonius


was Dialectic, belonging

(Plato's Earlier as division


Euclid: p.

The 272.


I, p.



1 and



in Aristotle,

Symposium ophers" [p. 157, from 9-37,


p. 5, (Anal. Prior., and distinguishes analysis. distinguishes So

geometrical Hermann])

calls the upward 19-25) it and the "analysis Albinus (Didaskalikos, three kinds of analysis,

path of the of philos 4 and 5 V, of which


as Mathematician


in such a confusion at best, originated tion," late and uncertain as a recognized method is the evidence that geometrical analysis was pre-Platonic. A special form of it, the apagogic method, was to write 57 and before Plato began employed consciously in Plato's is used for non-mathematical demon early writings assumes in a way which of its strations knowledge general 58 and inMeno 86 E Plato himself refers to the formula rules;
tion says the of Siopia/jioi, it is a which common implies procedure a conscious of use of analysis, and that first

geometers.59 the and third, the called second i? ?? virod?aeus is a reduction

?p?Xvais, of

is the upward is a r?sum? 245 C

influenced is apparently by treats Proclus himself sometimes lines 18-23). (cf. as of diaeresis 982, 27-28 (In Parmenidem, [Cousin2]), analysis sense in this and as Ammonius Prior, does p. 7, 35-36) (Anal. just it with Iamblichus, identifies p. 23, 5-16 avpaytayi] (cf. also Protrepticus, in Eth. Nie. 1095 A 32 - B 1 (ev yap Kal reference Aristotle's [Pistelli]). Kal ?f^rei IlXaTiop $ ?rrl tols ?p%as ?px?p w?Tepop ?irb t?p r?w?pei tovto Phaedrus geometrical analysis the opposite ?Grip

in the Symposium, path 101 D of Pheedo E, - E to a scheme which

to do with seem to have had 17 ?o?s) might analysis geometrical : . . . ir?aai al fia0r?fiar 1/cat 12 ff. [Friedlein] In Euclidem, p. 255, (cf. Proclus, too this remark but 7TiVreis rj ?-rr? tC?p ?px<op etaip rj ?ir? ras ?px&s kt\.), and with was in connection more made cvpaytayq Sialpeois (cf. probably Aristotle's Cherniss, 57 Cf. Heath, Proclus, gives Plato relation In Euclidem, reduction of to the in connection Criticism A History p. 212, impossible it as with to of Plato and the Academy, I, p. I, pp. analysis but does 63, n. 51). of Greek Mathematics, after 1-4 (Friedlein), as he a did cf. third with method the 291, 372. and diaeresis not mention For pp. the 255,



18 - 256, 8 (Friedlein).



two. preceding In Euclidem,

- 95 A: 58 rQv ovp Beixhwp... n.b. 93 C Phaedo 3) (93 C E.g. . . . ei opdi) r? viro?eais . . .; (94 A . . . r? Kal KaXtos ?oice? o?Ta)\?ye<rdai 12 ff.) . . . avTol . . . ovK ?pa ?^Te 7<*P &v /caXws ?xci ii?tp avro?s tyoXoyo?fiep

(94 E 8 ff.). Cf. also Euthyphro

notes. 59 Cf. The Elements, [p. Heath, I, p. A History 142; and

9 D 8, 11 B 7, 11 C 4-5 with Burnet's

I, p. of 303 and Euclid:

of Greek Mathematics, that the Index observe the enunciation


14 ff.

not use the u>ord Stopur/i?s of analysis. introduced be that the term in this sense was according by Leon, who may 1 [Friedlein]) to Proclus evpe?p, 67, Oiopicpovs Euclidem, 66, 22 pp. (In or discovered the invented to mean that Leon a statement taken usually but which could not be true in the light of the Meno) may method (which he formulated in his compilation of "the elements" mean that many only new diopio-fioi.

17, Mekler]) does Plato


(Col. Y, the rise oiopur/Mo? with it in Meno 86 E; and

Even if Plato was



to formulate of the method is no reason why he could however, geometrical analysis, as well not have done so at the time when he wrote the Meno as when he wrote the Timaeus. The "tradition" itself if taken the first there to would that he "transmitted the method seriously imply or even Laodamas" he wrote the the Timeeus long before were The if his geometrical discoveries tetus, for Laodamas, the result of analysis In Euclidem, 211, 22-23 p. (Proclus, was in his fifties the method [Friedlein]), using presumably have been fifty years old in 380 B.C. was older than Neoclides, at the very latest, since he the teacher a little older of Leon, than Eudoxus and Leon was himself 2 In Euclidem, 18-67, pp. 66, [Friedlein]).60 without these implications, Mugler, chronological observing that "the analytic method marks the term maintains, however, of the evolution of the Platonic of knowledge" (p. 309) theory and that the method could not be invented until "the evolution (Proclus, in general of Plato's had trans ideas concerning knowledge a priori, under ferred to the highest of the geometrical plane enter vision of the relations which the form of an instantaneous into the solution of a problem, that connection of the parts to in the Meno if which he assigns" "a function still equivalent not subordinate to the a priori representation of the elementary he asserts, spatial properties" (p. 401). This evolution, though it is revealed in the modifications of the theory of reminiscence in the Pheedo, and the Republic, is not completed the Pheedrus, in the until Plato has conceived the metaphysics of time The doctrine of time in the Timeeus the inter Timeeus. aside, it the inter of the Meno which this implies and with pretation are and epistemology of Plato's pretation early metaphysics demonstrably false. Mugler has adopted
"a been

at the latest and he must

little was


of Klara

60 that Proclus's and "younger" Assuming a difference of only five years and that Neoclides would have than his older Laodamas pupil, von Fritz's date was of 400 for in 408 pp. 66, the birth of Eudoxus and if Eudoxus De born as Heath

years twenty only born about if 430,


? Euclide, Pythagore Proclus p. (In Euclidem, than Archytas.


The 234-5). would imply

is right, and about 438 maintain (cf. Michel, of names order given by that Laodamas was older

Plato Buchmann

as Mathematician


in the Meno is not reminiscence that reminiscence of the ideas but is only the fragmentary of experience memory in an earlier incarnation, and he has made of the words gained cv fxovov inMeno 81 D 2 a metaphysical in a fashion concept similar to that in which he elevated the harmless ir?vTa Tavr? to a profound of Proclus doctrine metaphysical (pp. 301-3, 309-10, 364-374).

was Buchmann's of the Meno misreading 61 here it is to observe sufficient the conclu exposed long ago; sions drawn from the interrogation of Meno's slave (86 A - B) : now recalled he must have had the knowledge "when he was not a human being", his soul must therefore have known it all time (tov ?? xp?vov)> an(i tne truth, of realities throughout is forever in our souls.62 This which Mugler fails passage, to mention, is by itself conclusive that in the Meno proof is not of earlier bodily experience reminiscence but of the ideas as it is in the Pheedo,QS the Pheedrus, and the Timeeus exactly to the Timeeus and that from the Meno no such there was evolution 61 Cf.
fails to see

of Plato's A.J.P.,


of knowledge


that upon which


(1937), pp. 497-500.

Like Buchmann Mugler

and the fact that it involves irony of Oe?a fio?pa in the Meno an aporia which at the end; Socrates and Politicus expressly emphasizes to show is enough that what 278 C - D alone is said of ?\r)$e?s in ?ofri the Meno doctrine Mugler a man in makes who does the Plato's at doctrine time that from his distinguish U u?pop in Meno The 81 D 2, of which dialogues. so much, is the statement of a minimal case prevents ("nothing one has from recalled all the rest only thing rediscovering to Meno's it is an answer not a dogmatic lazy desperation latest the fragmentation t?p ?ptcjp of (86 B reminiscence. 1) can refer only 72 E the to knowledge - 73 B shows of that in of the not

by himself"); statement of 62

i] ?X^Oeia

ideas (cf. Pheedrus 247 C 8, 248 B 6, 249 B 5-6).

63 The Plato niscence former. never reference conceived latter 81 D to that dialogue 4-5 he the Meno anyone to be formally in Pheedo could "new" declares and that remi the suppose that all doctrine from

in the InMeno


Consequently that too; and fallen follows already assuming are merely to establish into from an the

in a previous incarnation must learning aware Plato would have of this been infinite the fact regress implied that in an earlier the danger of which already the doctrine by Mugler's dialogue of such the others a

is ap?fiprjais. learning have been ap?fipr?(n$ and not have could

(Lysis that

concluded ultimate e??wXa,

from term i.e.

interpretation (p. 369) 219 C - D) he had the necessity of regress have the same from name regress argument

he was of

the necessity

the using of ideas.



Cherniss of the development of Plato's

his "history" bases Mugler mathematical philosophy.

of show the irresponsibility One example will eloquent The expression used at Repub reconstruction." this "historical in the description of the deductive of lic 510 D procedure
geometers, TcAeurucrtv . . . 7ri tovto ov av iiri VKevjiv op/x^cT?XTt, is

an anticipation of the relation according and dialectic between that Plato was geometry in that to play intuition was which and of the importance for ?p/unjowi calls up the figure of the hunt, a figure connection, of after him in full knowledge and Proclus which Speusippus to characterize for the research used the Platonic theory to Mugler (p. 292) later to establish truth, and "one sets out to hunt only that which he says, just glimpsed knows." This conception, in the metaphysical matures in the Republic here dialogues the fertile for geometrical method but will become only with If it is valid, how theories of time and space in the Timeeus. in Republic from the expression ever, to draw such inferences geometrical one already and and the figure of the hunt used by Speusippus final conception of the calls Plato's then what Mugler Proclus, and dialectic and the ultimate relation of geometry stage of in the his theory of knowledge, only "anticipated" though were when Plato wrote the Euthy fully developed Republic, 510 D demus, earlier than the Republic and dialogue roughly In Euthydemus with 290 B - C, a the Meno.M contemporary and left unnoticed astronomers, geometers, passage by Mugler, are expressly called hunters, "for they are not arithmeticians in creating figures but in discovering those that really use to make inasmuch as they do not know what to hunt them, they ? but only how at of them themselves are not entirely them who least those among foolish ? hand engaged exist ? and over very matical which, to discoveries to reconstruct strange their to employ." dialecticians It is the development of Plato's mathe even mentioning without this passage philosophy written in his career, and expresses early succinctly the
the relative Platon, Platon, p. date of II, p. 4L the Euthydemus cf. C. Ritter, 179, n. 1; M?ridier, Euthyd?me, Platon, Notice, I,

64 For p. pp. 273;

Friedl?nder, Robin,



as Mathematician


so much that reappears unchanged in his latest remarks vividly on the subject. towards Even the attitude construction" "geometrical in this passage was never altered by Plato ?* so far revealed as there is any evidence to show. Mugler to be maintains, Plato that in the Republic banished and sure, "problems" of construction from geometry, that this had been operations he wrote the Meno and the Pheedo, his attitude when but that in the later dialogues in the Timeeus and particularly the and becoming of motion removed from suspicion rehabilitation and made possible its "restoration of construction the procedure to honor" this supposed "rehabilita 269-77, 293). Now, (pp. in the later dialogues is more than dubious; 65 tion of becoming" to the question atti of Plato's but it is in any case irrelevant and construction, tude towards problems for even in the earlier not seek to banish this method he did from geometry. dialogues from a misunderstanding that he did derives belief Mugler's it is said that geometers 527 A - B, where of Republic speak of "squaring," and the like ludicrously "applying," "adding" as if they were on their in action and were carrying engaged a view to action.66 is with This way of talking discussion ludicrous, purpose of Plato says, because which
of the motion other is

it is

in contradiction and


the of

the reality in Aristotle's 396. of earlier - B. pp. by On

is knowledge
is not of Plato hand, the was "new" and

the object
to the Phsedrus

65 That I have shown and n. p. 451, the world about tically Philebus 66 of p. this 1097 in the 59 A Mugler, passage and


the Academy, doctrine that never stated 51 E

I, pp. accurate more - 52 A

433-7, truth empha in and

becoming dialogues

impossible than it is

in Timaeus

265, E.

269-70, Hoffmann

272, 273; cf. the in Zeller, Phil

similar Griech.,

misinterpretation II, 1 (1922),

in his Plato's of correction this mistake Shorey's Republic so far astray as to suppose II, p. 171, n. f. Mugler goes (p. 270) in Physics 200 A 24 says there are that in mathematics Aristotle a Platonic of an earlier no thesis is maintaining later period irpa?eis he not of course but Aristotle this means abandoned himself; by by Plato (L.C.L.), that when that of constructions mathematical no place in geometry but simply that the purpose have or activity but knowledge is not production reasoning 1214 A 8-12). For this distinction 1103 B 26-31; Eth. Eud. - 166 A XXIV and Shorey, Class. 165 D Phil., (1929),

(cf. Eth. Nie. cf. Charmides p. 312.


Harold is therefore
says nor

Cherniss existent.

means that





these science

terms he


or could

be banished

pro an interdiction he of construction, upon problems nouncing as in Republic 530 B that astronomy be pursued recommends is by the use of problems later and (531 B-C) geometry and students criticizes of harmony for not both astronomers using Meno's classical

the language between as something that all geometers represents he he calls their language ludicrous, admit; and, when in the same breath Far that it is unavoidable.67 from contradiction

from geometry. The of the and the purpose will says

this method.

in his interrogation with That Socrates in the construction slave does not employ geometrical sense is irrelevant; the example p. 274) (Mugler,
86 E fF., c? T?vSe tov kvkXov r?Se to x(?Plov

in Meno

as Proclus the term defines Tp?yoivov ?vTaOrjvaiis a "problem" and Socrates p. 79, 20 ff. [Friedlein]), (In Euclidem, certainly use no indication of the geometers' that he disapproves gives Pheedo 101 C, which Mugler of such procedure. interprets in the interdiction of the supposed (p. 275) as a prefiguring to do with at all has nothing geometrical procedure Republic, to the doctrine of ideal numbers,68 which Mugler but refers one of the most it is certainly not even mention, does although Even the important parts of Plato's mathematical philosophy. Plutarch 5-6; Queest. XIV, repeats (Marcellus story which 718 E-F) or Conviv. says not that Plato rejected problems operations mechanical to the use of that he objected solution of geometrical prob lems. that the geometer says not Just should refrain from constructing so figures but that in doing is not to create the figures his purpose that he constructs but to hunt down those that already and truly exist. of but in the contrivances so the Euthydemus
67 X?yovffi which


s re Ka? ?payica?as. For the meaning of ?x?p irov fi?Xa yeXoi is almost cf. Shorey, Plato's mistranslated, universally to his references add Laws II, p. 170, n. b and 687 C (L.C.L.), Republic 104 D. Locrus 10-11, 872 E, Timaeus 68 Cf. Aristotle's Criticism and the Academy, Cherniss, of Plato I, ?payica?as,

pp. 517 ff. and The Riddle of the Early Academy,

pp. 34 ff.


as Mathematician


and view of the nature of mathematical This reasoning its object, of the entities which that the meaning the doctrine is not his province discovers but that of the mathematician the concomitant distinction between the dialectician, and mathematician convictions he wrote of and Plato's the period during which to that of the last of his writings, the Euthydemus It is as likely as any conjecture of and the Laws. the Philebus, of suggestion the kind can be that, whatever encouragement and criticism he may have given to the mathematical specialists and whom he knew and despite his interest in their reasoning his enthusiasm have and for he would dialectic insisted value of their discipline, the propaedeutic that the sphere of his own activity was dialectician at least remained from firm and unaltered

such attempts the between he had

not mathematics and would have repudiated as that of Dr. Mugler to obliterate the distinction two or to reverse the order of importance which

of for the generous them even purpose assigned in modern that his reputation eyes by pretending magnifying a a philosopher but also and primarily not merely he was mathematician. productive Harold Cherniss The Institute [or Advanced Study.