A Razor’s Edge: For an Explanation on ‘Identity’ In Timaeus


This paper intends to explain how ‘a razor’s edge’ in Katha-Upanishad inspire an understanding of ‘identity’ in Timaeus. In Katha-Upanishad, a razor’s edge was compared to an extremely sharp path to manifest Ātman, the ultimate eternal Being permeating over the universe and inner Self of individuals. It discloses the arduousness of self-knowing, also reveals that the approach to one’s identification with the Ātman lies on a seemly impassable point. Nevertheless, difficulties could be owed to a relation between oneself and Time. Instead of leaning to the separation of past, present and future or indulging in restless flux of materials, the ‘edge’ implies a de-antagonistic situation where any presupposed divisions are not dissolved but involved in, meanwhile, people can struggle to recognize and reside in soul oneness among and over entire diverse appearances. In Timaeus, the unchanging self-sufficient Being is original, Time and celestial bodies in regular motions are images of Being. Identity, which maintains at a permanent present, accomplishes itself by incorporating a timeless essence and images within temporality. In Sophist, identity is “that which is in its being” suffusing all that is motionless and in a state of motion. Thus, for human beings whose nature is a concealment of the eternity of Being or the universal soul, the way of achieving at one’s identity, of nourishing oneself in accord with the universal order, appears to be passing over the ‘edge’, that entails an imitation of divinity and an internal whole residence at the permanent present.

Author Information
Ya Du, Renmin University of China, China

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2017
Stream: Philosophy - Comparative Philosophy

This paper is part of the ACERP2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon