David Kolb

Pythagoras Bound: Limit and Unlimited in Plato’s Philebus

Publication: Journal of the History of Philosophy, 1984, 497-512.

Though Plato favors physical atoms in his Timaeus, they are not ultimate; he generates them from a formless energy-space plus mathematical patterns. On the other hand, most interpreters read the Platonic Forms as ultimate intellectual atoms. I suggest that Plato refuses atomism on all levels, and the Forms themselves should be seen as generated from a combination of limit and unlimited, as we are told in the Philebus and as is hinted at in the reports on the “unwritten doctrines.”

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