Plato's "Parmenides"

Dissertation, State University of New York at Albany (1991)

Abstract
This dissertation is an analysis of Plato's Parmenides based on a new translation of its text. It brings together the features of two earlier interpretations. Just as in Dies's edition, the Greek text and its translation are reproduced side by side. Furthermore, as in Cornford's interpretation, the text is divided into sections each one immediately followed with its commentary. The dialogue is divided into three parts: Difficulties in the Theory of Forms , Concise Statement of the Method to Solve these Difficulties , Demonstration of the Method to Solve these Difficulties . The dramatic and the philosophical introductions are treated as part of the first part. ;In the first part, Zeno's reading of his treatise is seen as setting the stage for Socrates's presentation of his theory of Forms. Socrates's explanation is followed by Parmenides's criticisms of the theory of Forms. Parmenides, however, recognizes that the existence of the Forms is needed if anyone is going to get to the truth. Parmenides suggests that Socrates's mistake was to engage in definitions of the Forms without proper training. ;The second part of the dialogue is interpreted as the presentation of a method to solve these difficulties. Parmenides proposes a training based on a succession of deductions. This program is seen as Plato's approach to dealing with the various entities making up his ontology. ;The third part of the dialogue is interpreted as giving an illustration of this method. Parmenides had stated that we could use any Form for our dialectical exercise, however, when we proceed with the exercise we are not dealing with any single conception of a Form but with various notions of this Form which have arisen in our minds according to the stated procedure. The conclusion to the dialogue is seen as ostensible. It forces the student to go back to the first part, and with his new gained insight in the theory of Forms, to evaluate Parmenides's criticism. ;In each part the interpretations of various commentators are presented and criticized
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