COLLOQUIUM: Chiara Ferella, Humboldt University of Berlin, "Empedocles' symmetry revisited"

Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm

402 Cohen Hall

How many worlds per cosmic cycle did Empedocles postulate? The answer to this question derives from a revised notion of Empedocles’ symmetry, which renders the standard hypothesis of two worlds per cycle redundant. A renewed investigation of Empedocles’ zoogony and embryology suggests that Empedocles’ symmetry does not coincide with symmetrical “outcomes,” hence with opposite and symmetrical worlds. Rather it is a symmetry of forces, which shapes Empedocles’ cosmic cycle as a regular and perennial alternation of only two main cosmic periods. These correspond, respectively, to Love’s and Strife’s hegemony, One and Many, peace and war, rest and movement. It is a double oscillation matching the double nature of the two forces and the double discourse, which Empedocles claims to tell, when he introduces his cosmic cycle for the first time (DK 31 B 17.1).