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Parmenides, Cosmology and Sufficient Reason.

Gregory, AD; (2014) Parmenides, Cosmology and Sufficient Reason. Apeiron: a Journal for Ancient Philosophy , 47 (1) pp. 16-47. 10.1515/apeiron-2013-0022. Green open access

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Why Parmenides had a cosmology is a perennial puzzle, if, as the ‘truth’ part of his poem appears to claim, what exists is one, undifferentiated, timeless and unchanging.1 Indeed, not only does the cosmological part of the poem tell us how the cosmos is arranged, it also tells us how the cosmos, humans and animals all came into being. Although more of the truth has survived, the cosmology originally made up some 2/3 to 3/4 of the poem.2 The poem claims it will give the ‘complete ordering’ and Parmenides is perceived to have ‘completed all the phenomena’.3 Parmenides also seems to have made some important original contributions to cosmology.4 These I take to be important facts which any explanation of the nature of this cosmology must account for. The aim of this paper is to explore a new suggestion for the status of the cosmology, that it may be equalled but not surpassed by other cosmologies which are capable of accounting for all of the phenomena. Its function, I argue, is to raise sufficient reason issues about some fundamental questions in cosmogony and cosmology. I will also argue that we can find sufficient reason considerations relating to cosmogony and cosmology in the truth part of the poem. This opens the possibility that it is at least in part issues of sufficient reason that link the two parts of the poem. Finally I will argue that by paying close attention to what Parmenides has to say about signs, σήματα, we can see how he leaves open the possibility of making positive contributions to cosmology. I believe this gives us a richer account of Parmenides, places him more firmly in the debates of presocratic cosmology and cosmogony and gives him interesting relations to his predecessors and successors.5 These sufficient reason considerations may work both as a critique of contemporary cosmogony and cosmology and a challenge to any future cosmogony and cosmology.

Type: Article
Title: Parmenides, Cosmology and Sufficient Reason.
Location: USA
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1515/apeiron-2013-0022
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/apeiron-2013-0022
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2011–2015 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Keywords: Parmenides; Cosmology; Reason; Signs; Astronomy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1359821
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