The emergent metaphysics in Plato’s theory of disorder as found in The Timaeus and Laws X.
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This thesis is an exploration of Plato’s understanding of the power of disorder as it is presented in his cosmology, The Timaeus and in his predominantly religious work, Laws X. In the former work this causal force is presented as the disordering power responsible for the physical chaos prior to the generation of the universe, as well as for any residual disorder found within the cosmos after it has been ordered and is the antithesis of ‘nous’ or reason. In the latter work, however, Laws X, the causal force for disorder is now understood as a disordering power capable of endangering the soul, active long after the cosmos has been generated and itself, a ‘Soul’. What ultimately emerges is a dynamic theory of disorder and a metaphysics supporting that theory, weaving through, connecting across and separating apart these two works. In Part I, consisting of five chapters, I provide the Greek, an original translation and commentary on seven key passages from The Timaeus where Plato presents his ideas on disorder, both as an effect within the cosmos and as a causal power or force for disorder prior to its generation. In this regard, I look closely at Plato’s use of the Greek word &V&YK~ in its role as a disordering power, but which has also been commonly understood and translated as ‘necessity’. I contrast this with Plato’s understanding of the role which the ‘Demiurge’ or the ordering power of the cosmos has played, with its faculty of ~06s or ‘reason’ and its access to ideal ‘Forms’ or ‘ideas’ when ordering or generating the universe. In Part 11, consisting of four chapters, Laws X is similarly presented, providing the Greek, a translation (for the most part, that of A. E. Taylor) and commentary on eight key passages. Here I investigate Plato’s understanding of disorder as it pertains specifically to the ‘soul’ and of the soul’s relation to the disordering power(s) and to ‘evil’. In the final chapter a theory of disorder is proposed, in which an epistemology is outlined, an ontology is given and from which, it is argued, a metaphysics of disorder emerges.