Plato on Order from Chaos

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Gregory, Andrew
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Flinders University Department of Languages - Modern Greek
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There is a debate about the account of the origins of the cosmos given in Plato’s Timaeus. Should we take it literally, as giving us a cosmogony? Or should it be taken metaphorically, giving an account of what the world would be like in the absence of god? This paper looks at the evidence in Plato’s other works on whether there was an actual origin to the cosmos or not. This paper also looks at what Plato means by the description “demiurge” and related terms in other works, and asks how appropriate a description that is of the god of the Timaeus on the literal and metaphorical views. This paper concludes that there is good evidence in favour of a literal cosmogony outside the Timaeus and that the demiurge description is highly appropriate for god on the literal account but thoroughly inappropriate on the metaphorical account.
Greek Research, Greece, Australia, Andrew Gregory
Gregory, Andrew 2009. Plato on Order from Chaos. In E. Close, G. Couvalis, G. Frazis, M. Palaktsoglou, and M. Tsianikas (eds.) "Greek Research in Australia: Proceedings of the Biennial International Conference of Greek Studies, Flinders University June 2007", Flinders University Department of Languages - Modern Greek: Adelaide, 47-54.