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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 2015

Elizabeth Jelinek
Pages 7-27

An Examination of Plato’s Chora

In the Timaeus, Plato’s creation story, Plato describes an entity he refers to as the chora. The Greek word chora is translated as place, room, or space, but Plato’s descriptions of the chora are so notoriously enigmatic that there is disagreement about what, exactly, he intends to indicate by it. In this paper, I address an interpretation of the chora according to which the chora is a kind of cosmic mirror. I argue that this interpretation results in an uncharitable reading of Plato’s explanation. Alternatively, I contend that Plato conceives of the chora as space, place, and matter all at once. The upshot of my view is that it attributes to Plato a more nuanced understanding of space and place and a more coherent explanatory account.

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