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The paper argues that the project of Plato’s craftsman-like god is directed to an epistemological end rather than an aesthetic one. The Demiurge is chiefly bent on improving the world’s intelligibility rather than its looks. Specifically, the paper argues that what the Demiurge does is to introduce standards or measures into the phenomenal realm by imaging as best he can the nature of Forms where Forms are construed as standards or measures. The two most spectacular examples of Demiurgic crafting on this model are: 1) his crafting the rational world-soul, which serves both as an object of human cognition, and more importantly as the model for the uniform rotation of human souls which makes them rational, and 2) his creation of time, which is viewed as a giant clock — the standard or measure of time — which Plato believes makes science possible.


Richard Mohr presented "Plato's Theology Reconsidered: What the Demiurge Does" at the annual meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy with the Society for the Study of Islamic Philosophy and Science in 1983. It was published in History of Philosophy Quarterly 2.2 (1985) 131-144, and reprinted in John P. Anton & Anthony Preus, eds. 1989. Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Vol. III: Plato, State University of New York Press, 293-308.

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