Translated by Katarzyna Kretkowska
Chapter 1: Megiste mousike: The Hidden logos of Nature and Platonic Wholes
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Megiste mousike: The Hidden logos of Nature and Platonic Wholes
1.1 The relation of the whole and its parts in Plato’s ontology, the problem of the hidden structure and a new reading of the Parmenides
At the source of modern mathematical physics, inaugurated since the beginning of the 17th century by Galileo, Kepler, Huygens and Newton, and ever since undergoing a continuous development, we encounter a cognitive impulse of the metaphysical and mathematical research undertaken in Plato’s Academy and its environment in the 4th c. B.C. and in the still earlier Pythagorean studies. Historically speaking, the remark is not an exaggeration or a mere compliment to the archaic layers in the history of ideas, but it is a statement of a certain fact of historical importance when attempting to comprehend the genealogy of natural science in the tradition of Western culture. Though Plato himself, as can be inferred from the existing sources, rather did not conduct mathematical research, yet the range of his inspirations and his encouragement of such studies was so vast that we can call the 4th c. B.C. an age when Greek, ‘Platonic’ (i.e., ‘analytic’ and ‘dianoetic’) mathematics was in full bloom, with their peak achievement undoubtedly attained in the Stoicheīa by Euclid from Alexandria (4th/3rd c. B.C.) ([Lassere, 1964], [Maziarz, Greenwood, 1995, p. 75ff.], [Boyer, 1991, p. 86ff.]). The strength and range of that research inspiration in Greek science can hardly be overrated and...
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