Plato’s “Reasonable Account” as a Living Being. On the Epistemological Status of Timaeus’ εἰκὼς μῦθος
7 May 2020 3.00pm
Federico M. Petrucci (University of Turin)
Much has been written on the actual meaning of the phrase “εἰκὼς λόγος/μῦθος” occurring in the poem of Timaeus’ tale. However, especially after Myles Burnyeat’s 2005 seminal paper on this issue, scholars seem more or less to agree on a set of interpretative positions. The aim of this talk is to exploit the standard interpretation as follows. The εἰκὼς λόγος/μῦθος is conceived as a ὅλον; accordingly, it encompasses non-homeomeric parts, each playing a specific role in the whole and being potentially provided with a specific epistemological status. While some of these parts do concern directly the sensible world, and hence are (to some extent) subject to improvement and refutation, others concern – either directly or indirectly – the intelligible realm or metaphysical objects (especially the Demiurge and the so-called chora), and their philosophical content is not negotiable in Plato’s view. If this is the case, however, the epistemological import of the whole narrative is much stronger than usually assumed, since also the parts of the account which do not directly treat the latter objects are construed in such a way as to be perfectly consistent with them.