Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Likeness and likelihood in Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Plato's Timaeus
Author: Bryan, J. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
This thesis scrutinizes the use of the term eikos/eoikos (usually translated either as ‘like’ or ‘likely’) in the philosophy of Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Plato’s Timaeus. I argue that each philosopher employs the word in a manner significantly different from that of his predecessors. Moreover, as I demonstrate in each case, the difference in sense is informed by a desire to reflect on and correct previous accounts. I conclude that recognizing this continuity in the development of the philosophical sense of eikos will greatly improve our general understanding of the epistemology and, perhaps, metaphysics of Xenophanes, Parmenides and the Timaeus. The first chapter argues that we should read fragment B35 of Xenophanes as deliberately contrasting with the Homeric formula of telling lies like (homoios) truth. An analysis of the Homeric use of the terms eoikos and homoios demonstrates that Xenophanes uses eoikos in B35 to signify a particular kind of similarity between his account and truth: apparent but potentially specious similarity. The second chapter treats the promise of Parmenides’ goddess to offer a diakosmos eoikos pas (B8.60). I argue that Parmenides intends the sense of eoikos to be deliberately ambiguous and that interpreters are mistaken in searching for one precise meaning for the term in this context. Eoikos describes the subjective plausibility of the erroneous beliefs that mortals tend to fabricate without justification. The third chapter discusses the eikos logos of Plato’s Timaeus. I argue that the eikos nature of Timaeus’ cosmology derives not from the unstable nature of the cosmos, but from the fact that it is created as a likeness (eikon). The final chapter argues that the Timaeus’ use of eikos is also a response to the epistemologies of Parmenides and Xenophanes. By arguing for a positive representational relation between the realm of Becoming and that of Being, Plato is rejecting the utter separation of these realms and the total condemnation of thought about Becoming found in the poem of Parmenides.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available