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Monstrosity and PhilosophyRadical Otherness in Greek and Latin Culture$
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Filippo Del Lucchese

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474456203

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474456203.001.0001

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(p.78) 3 Plato
Monstrosity and Philosophy

Filippo Del Lucchese

Edinburgh University Press

Grounded on the reading of Timeus, book X of The Laws, and book V of The Republic, this chapter analyses the process of invention of idealism, which consists first and foremost in the subordination of the material principle of the atomists to a higher divine principle. Through this process, Plato is able to shape the idea of a hierarchy of perfection in the universe which, as on a scale, relies but also distinguishes superior and inferior things. Monstrosity thus becomes the feature of the lower parts of the universe, the material and necessary parts, recalcitrant to their ordering by the superior and divine ones. This chpapter’s thesis is that, in Plato, the threatening character of monstrosity becomes a dangerous threat for the order and harmony of the universe. Monstrosity is the inferior other of divinity. Plato also reinforces Socrates’s teleology and opposes the realm of ideal truth to that of aimless, rumbling and chaotic causality that monstrously characterises the lower reality.

Keywords:   Idealism, Platonism, Plato, Perfection, Axiology, Divine, Order, Harmony, Teleology, Socrates, Theodicy

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