things which are functionless: the Form of justice, say, or the Form of equality? Again, isn’t a Platonic carpenter supposed to copy the Form of table? Didn’t the demiurge imitate the Form of animal? But how can you copy or imitate a function? And in any case, doesn’t Plato say that the Form of table is
on the claim that the myth is necessary for the interlocutors to get their discussion on the
right path. The god, whom White calls “the demiurge” for convenience, is representative
of the statesman. For White, this myth not only exhibits how a divine leader might rule, it
also suggests that a
account of the constitution of the eyes.
In the Timaeus passage the existence of the gods is presupposed, and it is number, and the notion ( ennoia ) of time, not of the demiurge, that result from perception. The notion of a divine maker was introduced much earlier in Timaeus’s account, but without
concerning the paradigmatic cause (expressed in hotou men oun an and pan in [b]), Proclus’ exegesis turns this passage instead into a list of conditionals, before applying two of those conditionals in a categorical form.
If [something] is becoming, it has a Demiurge;
if there is a Demiurge of the
’ adopts the voices of supernatural beings, from the demiurge in the Timaeus , through the muses of Republic VIII and the nymphs of the Phaedrus , down to the voice of the supreme philosopher in the Theaetetus . This is where Plato is philosophically inspired ( kata philosophian enethousiase, In Alc
contemplate these caused never existing contingents as
the Platonic demiurge contemplated the various Forms subsisting independently
6 Retrospect and prospect
To overcome the widespread allegation of fallacy in the first part of the Third Way,
we have portrayed Aquinas as invoking the obvious modal
agent. This is sometimes seen as a Platonic notion, as Plato’s demiurge is the
prototypical agent conferring purpose on that which he creates.3 In addition to
1 Ernest Nagel (1977) is an oft-cited opponent of natural teleology. For another contemporary critique
see Davies 2001 and 2009.
2 For Aristotle
intuitive rst grasp, the universal reading seems slightly more convincing.
In the end, the argument is about God. It is not about a demiurge with a strongly restricted
eld of responsibility but about the universal source of being. Furthermore, (S6) follows
immediately after the conclusion of the rst part of
determining features of the universe by deducing them from the teleological principle that the demiurge produced it for the best or most beautiful ( Timaeus (= Ti. ) 29d7–30c1). 19 Timaeus alleges, for example, that the universe must be one, because it was crafted so that it looks like the model that is