Platonic arguments often have premises of a particular form which is misunderstood. These sentences look like universal generalizations, but in fact involve an implicit qua phrase which makes them a fundamentally different kind of predication. Such general implicit redoubled qua predications (girqps) are not an expression of Plato's proprietary views; they are also very common in everyday discourse. Seeing how they work in Plato can help us to understand them.
This paper defends an interpretation of Plato, Soph. 259c7–d7, which describes a distinction between genuine and pretender forms of ‘examination’ or ‘refutation’ (ἔλεγχος). The passage speaks to a need, throughout the dialogue, to differentiate the truly philosophical method from the merely eristic method. But its contribution has been obscured by the appearance of a textual problem at 259c7–8. As a result, scholars have largely not recognized that the Eleatic Stranger recommends accepting contrary predication as a condition of genuine refutation. After (...) reviewing various proposals to change the text, the paper defends this reading. Finally, the paper turns to the methodological significance of accepting contrary predication. The dialogue depicts contrary predication as an instance of a class of statements that compel the soul's disbelief. Soph. 259c7–d7 suggests that these kinds of statements are a crossroad: one can either reject them and turn to eristic discourse or accept them and practise genuine refutation. The paper reflects on what this indicates about Plato's meditations on contradiction and philosophy. (shrink)
Este trabajo pretende ser una referencia útil para los estudiosos de la filosofía de Platón. Aporta un enfoque original a la investigación de los procesos lógicos que condicionan que unas formas participen de otras. Con la introducción del concepto de participación relacional, abre una posible vía de solución a las distintas versiones del argumento del «tercer hombre». Puede resultar de interés asimismo el método de generación de los números a partir de lo par y lo impar, propuesto en la interpretación (...) de Parménides 143e-144a. El escrito tiene continuidad en un segundo artículo acerca del ser y la verdad en Platón. (shrink)
At 252e1 to 253c9 in Plato’s Sophist, the Eleatic Visitor explains why philosophy is a science. Like the art of grammar, philosophical knowledge corresponds to a generic structure of discrete kinds and is acquired by systematic analysis of how these kinds intermingle. In the literature, the Visitor’s science is either understood as an expression of a mature and authentic platonic metaphysics, or as a sophisticated illusion staged to illustrate the seductive lure of sophistic deception. By showing how the Visitor’s account (...) of the science of philosophy is just as comprehensive, phantasmatic and self-concealing as the art of sophistry identified at the dialogue’s outset, this paper argues in favor of the latter view. (shrink)
This chapter [of the edited volume, A Companion to Ancient Philosophy] examines the shift in Plato’s account of the eidē or ‘forms’ from the Republic to the Parmenides. Forms in the Republic are characterized in terms of perfection, purity, and changelessness, with the form being an ultimate explanatory principle for being-X. Participants, while being-X, are also capable of not-being-X, either through qualitative change and coming-to-be, or through external changes in perspective or opinion, by which they “appear [φανήσεται]” not-X (R. V.479a7). (...) The form is treated as prior to participant and as prior to mixture with what would deny what it is. It is intrinsically changeless and not subject to changes in appearance. -/- In the Parmenides, the account of form shifts to accommodate the types of admixture demanded for combination with and division from other forms. In the Fifth Hypothesis, forms are subject to determinate “bonds of being and not-being,” which permits the form to present itself as an object of discursive knowing, being-X, -Y, and -Z, and not-being not-X, not-Y, and not-Z. Forms are still treated as pure and perfect, but now with the power of gathering together intelligible bonds of being and not-being. Thus, in the Parmenides, forms are the gathering source and the gathered terms subject to the admixture; they are that by which true speech is explained. In this chapter, I argue that the “turning of the soul from becoming to truth and being” (R. VII.525c) announced in the Republic is partially fulfilled through the account of veridical speech in the Parmenides. (shrink)
Plato’s Protagoras contains, among other things, three short but puzzling remarks on the media of philosophy. First, at 328e5–329b1, Plato makes Socrates worry that long speeches, just like books, are deceptive, because they operate in a discursive mode void of questions and answers. Second, at 347c3–348a2, Socrates argues that discussion of poetry is a presumptuous affair, because, the poems’ message, just like the message of any written text, cannot be properly examined if the author is not present. Third, at 360e6–361d6, (...) it becomes clear that even if the conversation between Socrates and Protagoras was conducted by means of short questions and answers, this spoken mode of discourse is problematic too, because it ended up distracting the inquiry from its proper course. As this paper 2 sets out to argue, Plato does not only make Socrates articulate these worries to exhibit the hazards of discursive commodifi cation. In line with Socrates’ warning to the young Hippocrates of the dangers of sophistic rhetoric, and the sophists’ practice of trading in teachings, they are also meant to problematize the thin line between philosophical and sophistical practice. By examining these worries in the light of how the three relevant modes of discourse are exemplifi ed in the dialogue, this paper aims to isolate and clarify the reasons behind them in terms of deceit, presumptuousness and distraction; and to argue that these reasons cast doubts on the common assumption that the dialogue’s primary aim is to show how sophistical rhetoric must succumb to Socratic dialectic. (shrink)
Against the background of a conventionalist theory, and staged as a defense of a naturalistic notion of names and naming, the critique of language developed in Plato’s Cratylus does not only propose that human language, in contrast to the language of the gods, is bound to the realm of myth and lie. The dialogue also concludes by offering a set of reasons to think that knowledge of reality is not within the reach of our words. Interpretations of the dialogue’s long (...) etymological sections often neglect this critique and tend to end up with an overly optimistic assessment of the theory of language on offer. In the light of one of the dialogue’s central etymological accounts, Socrates’ etymology of the name Hermes, this paper discusses two recent and influential versions of such a view: David Sedley’s theory of onomatopoetic encapsulation and Franco Trivigno’s qualified referentialism. It argues that the complex relation between language and reality expressed in the Cratylus cannot be exhaustively captured by either of these theories because Plato considers all names to be semantically underdetermined until they are put to use. It suggests that Plato rather works with a functionalistic notion of names and naming, and that the dialogue’s account of natural and correct naming is to be understood in these terms. (shrink)
The paper argues that Motion and Rest are “greatest kinds” and not just convenient examples, since they are all-pervading. Thus Motion and Rest can be jointly predicated of a single subject and can be predicated of each other, just as Sameness and Otherness can. While Sameness and Otherness are opposites, a single subject may be the same in one respect, namely, the same as itself, and other in another respect, namely, other than other things. Thus they can be predicated of (...) a single subject, and they can be predicated of each other, as well, since Sameness is other than other things and Otherness is the same as itself. The same explanation applies to Motion and Rest, as the paper demonstrates: a given subject may be in motion in one respect while being at rest in another respect. This distinction is made in the Sophist itself, right in the passage concerning the greatest kinds. Thus Motion and Rest should be considered greatest kinds on par with Being, Sameness, and Otherness, and each of these kinds pervades all other kinds. (shrink)
Plato was the first philosopher to discover the metaphysical phenomenon of plural-subjects and plural-predication; e.g. you and I are two, but neither you, nor I are two. I argue that Plato devised an ontology for plural-predication through his Theory of Forms, namely, plural-partaking in a Form. Furthermore, I argue that Plato used plural-partaking to offer an ontology of related individuals without reifying relations. My contention is that Plato’s theory of plural-relatives has evaded detection in the exegetical literature because his account (...) of plural-subjects through the Theory of Forms had not been recognised for what it is. I further submit that Plato’s handling of related individuals through plural-predication is not only a “first” in philosophy, but also an “only”, having remained a unique account in the metaphysics of relations. I hope that Plato’s account will introduce a fresh approach to contemporary debates on the subject. (shrink)
The focus of the book, that consists in three studies, can be described in the following aspects: Considerations on Aristotle's universals, reconstruction of Aristotle's critics to Plato' s ideas in Aristotle's lost work “On Ideas”, analysis of Aristotle's substance in the works Categories, Metaphysics, On the Soul, Posterior Analytics, Physics. My point of view is that Aristotle refuses every aspect of Plato's ideas in a radical way. I analyze Aristotle's conditions for a synonymy of predication and compare them with the (...) condition for a not-homonymy of predication in the Argument from Relatives of “On Ideas”. My reflections on substance plead for the presence of a plurality of values of substance in the works of Aristotle: substance can be, for instance, the individual biological entity (plant or animal) or the essence/nature/form of a biological entity; a co-existence of both values can be noticed in the different works of Aristotle. (shrink)
Since Stalbaum’s 1838 translation revived interest in Plato’s Timaeus, commentators have tended to bracket the discourse on Necessity, reading it as either mythical or mystical. This essay offers an interpretation of Necessity that is also an assertion of its importance for understanding the philosophically important conception of chora-space found therein. Beginning with throwing ourselves back into the Presocratic milieu, I examine what remains of Presocratic notions of kreon and ananke (necessity) in order to move forward a more robust interpretation of (...) the discourse on Necessity and chora-space. (shrink)
At Cratylus 385b–c, Plato appears to argue that names have truth-value. Critics have almost universally condemned the argument as fallacious. Their case has proven so compelling that it has driven editors to recommend moving or removing the argument from its received position in the manuscripts. I argue that a close reading of the argument reveals it commits no fallacy, and its purpose in the dialogue justifies its original position. I wish to vindicate the manuscript tradition, showing that the argument establishes (...) that there is subject matter for investigation, and there is a correctness of names. (shrink)
One of the perennial questions of philosophy concerns the simple statements which say that an object is so and so or that such and such objects are so and so related: simple predicative statements. Do such statements have an ontological basis, and if so, what is that basis? The answer to this question determinesâor in any case, is expressive ofâa specific fundamental outlook on the world. In the course of the history of Western philosophy, various philosophers have given various answers (...) to the question of predication. This essay presents the main, crucial answers: the paradigms and theories of predication of the Sophists (and of all later radical relativists), of Plato, of Aristotle, of the Aristotelian-minded non-nominalists, of Leibniz, and of Frege. In addition, the essay follows (to some extent) the most influentialâthe Aristotelian or mereologicalâparadigm of predication in its continuity and modification through the many centuries of its reign. However, the essay is not content to adopt the merely historical point of view; it also poses the question of adequacy. Prior to Frege, there was no philosophically adequate theory of predication, and the essay points out the shortcomings (besides aspects that can be viewed as advantages) of each pre-Fregean predication theory considered in it. Frege, in the nineteenth century, brought the philosophy of predication on the right track, but his own theory of predication has its own deficits. The essay ends with the presentation of a theory of predication that the author himself considers adequate. (shrink)
In Plato’s later dialogues, and particularly in the Sophist, there is a general reinterpretation and rehabilitation of the name (onoma) in philosophy. No longer understood rather vaguely as one of potentially dangerous and deceptive elements of everyday language or of poetic language, the word onoma is recast in the Sophist and related dialogues into one of the essential elements of a philosophical language that aims to make claims or propositions about the way thingsare. Onoma, now understood as name, is thus (...) coupled with rhema, or verb, to form the two essential elements of any logos, that is, any claim, statement, orproposition. This paper follows Plato’s gradual rehabilitation and reinscription of the name from early dialogues through late ones in order to demonstrate thenew role Plato fashions for language in these later works. (shrink)
The early Greek Stoics were the first philosophers to recognize the object of normal human perception as predicative or propositional in nature. Fundamentally we do not perceive qualities or things, but situations and things happening, facts. To mark their difference from Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics adopted phantasia as their word for perception.
This study offers a ckomprehensive new interpretation of one of Plato's dialogues, the _Cratylus_. Throughout, the book combines analysis of Plato's arguments with attentiveness to his philosophical method.
In (1991), Meinwald initiated a major change of direction in the study of Plato’s Parmenides and the Third Man Argument. On her conception of the Parmenides , Plato’s language systematically distinguishes two types or kinds of predication, namely, predications of the kind ‘x is F pros ta alla’ and ‘x is F pros heauto’. Intuitively speaking, the former is the common, everyday variety of predication, which holds when x is any object (perceptible object or Form) and F is a property (...) which x exempliﬁes or instantiates in the traditional sense. The latter is a special mode of predication which holds when x is a Form and F is a property which is, in some sense, part of the nature of that Form. Meinwald (1991, p. 75, footnote 18) traces the discovery of this distinction in Plato’s work to Frede (1967), who marks the distinction between pros allo and kath’ hauto predications by placing subscripts on the copula ‘is’. (shrink)
A new reading of Plato's account of conventionalism about names in the Cratylus. It argues that Hermogenes' position, according to which a name is whatever anybody 'sets down' as one, does not have the counterintuitive consequences usually claimed. At the same time, Plato's treatment of conventionalism needs to be related to his treatment of formally similar positions in ethics and politics. Plato is committed to standards of objective natural correctness in all such areas, despite the problematic consequences which, as he (...) himself shows, arise in the case of language. (shrink)
This detailed discussion of the Cratylus aims to explain the function of the long etymological section within the dialogue as a whole, arguing that it represents a Platonic critique of common Greek ideas about names.
This detailed discussion of the Cratylus aims to explain the function of the long etymological section within the dialogue as a whole, arguing that it represents a Platonic critique of common Greek ideas about names.
ONE of the central characteristics of Plato's later metaphysics is his view that Forms can participate in other Forms. At least part of what the Sophist demonstrates is that though not every Form participates in every other, every Form participates in some Forms, and that there are some Forms in which all Forms participate. This paper considers some of the reasons for this development, and some of the issues raised by it.
A major problem in the interpretation of Plato's metaphysics is the question of whether he abandoned self-predication as a result of the Third Man Argument in the Parmenides. In this paper I will argue that the answer to this question must be 'no' because the self-predication assumption is still present in the Sophist.
This paper offers an interpretation of self-Predication (the idea that justice is just) in plato, Given that self-Predication is accepted as obvious both by plato and by his audience, Which entails that "all" self-Predications are clearly, Though not trivially, True. More strongly, It is suggested that "only" self-Predications can be accepted as clearly true by plato. This is to deny that plato had at his disposal an articulated notion of predication, And his middle theory of forms, Primarily the relation of (...) participation, Is seen as his attempt to arrive at that notion. It is argued that his metaphysical and semantical views are heavily influenced by eleatic monism. But this monism is incompatible with the very idea of predication. It is only in his later works, Where he attacks parmenides directly, That plato manages to lay the groundwork for what can be considered as the discovery of predication. (shrink)
In the "cratylus", Plato presents two theories about the correctness of names, I.E., Names are correct by nature and names are correct by convention. In this paper, I argue that plato holds both views because he recognizes that the word 'name' is ambiguous as between type and token. Name tokens (individual strings of marks and noises) are conventional for plato. But name types (the role played by the tokens or the concept expressed by the tokens) are not conventional for plato.
Yet, that the Cratylus is of philosophical significance seems to me to be an assumption we can safely make. Plato rarely discusses other than philosophical problems--and even these other discussions are raised and carried on in the context of philosophical questions. Moreover, he could hardly be expected to write a whole dialogue of no philosophical concern and significance. To understand what the philosophical significance of the Cratylus is in general, and for Plato's thought in particular, we must be clear about (...) the question Plato is trying to answer and the answer he gives to this question. That is, we must be clear about the question of the Cratylus: What is the correctness of names? and the two answers to the question Plato considers: convention, and natural correctness. (shrink)
In Cratylus 385 b-c Plato argues that if statements () can be true or false, names (),2 as parts () of statements, are also capable of being true or false. From Aristotle onwards this view has often been challenged,3 and R. Robinson put the case against it trenchantly when he wrote:4 This argument is bad; for names have no truth-value, and the reason given for saying that they do is a fallacy of division. No one in the dialogue points out (...) that it is bad. … Nevertheless it is fairly probable that Plato saw or at least felt that it is a bad argument, quite different in quality from those he later produces against the nature-theory. (shrink)
"The Sophist seems to be concerned with two things: being and nonbeing, on the one hand, and true and false speech, on the other. If speech is either true or false speech, it seems not even plausible for being to be either being or nonbeing, since we would then be compelled to say that nonbeing is as much being as false speech is speech. If nonbeing, however, is being, then nonbeing cannot be nonbeing, for otherwise the falseness of false speech (...) would not consist in its saying 'nonbeing.' And, in turn, if nonbeing is nonbeing, the falseness of' false speech again cannot consist in its saying 'nonbeing,' for it would then not be saying anything. If we then say that nonbeing is appearing, and appearing is not unqualified nonbeing, being is being and appearing, and we want to distinguish between the strict identity which belongs to being and the likeness of' nonbeing to the strict identity of being. We say, then, 'Here is Socrates himself' and 'Here is a likeness of Socrates.' Everything in the likeness of Socrates that is a likeness of' Socrates himself will generate a true speech of Socrates identical to another speech true of Socrates himself. Everything, how ever, in the likeness of Socrates that is not a likeness of Socrates himself yields a false speech of Socrates. Among the false speeches of Socrates would be, for example, the paint on Socrates' portrait but not the color of the paint that is true of Socrates himself. The paint, then, without the color (per impossibile), is not true of Socrates, but it certainly is not a likeness of Socrates either. The paint must be together with its color in order for it to be both a likeness of Socrates and nonbeing, but it seems to be utterly mysterious how by being together it can be that and by being apart it ceases to be anything of the sort. If every thing then is just what it is and nothing else, it is impossible for there to be any speech, either true or false, for speech is impossible unless something can be put together with something else.. (shrink)