Apeiron 46 (1):48-62 (2013)

Greg Lynch
North Central College
In ‘The Limits of Being in the Philebus’, Russell Dancy argues that the Philebus is incoherent because a central concept - that of the apeiron - functions entirely differently in the discussions of the ‘Heavenly Tradition’ and the ‘Fourfold Division’. I argue that a phenomenological reading of the type developed by Hans-Georg Gadamer, one according to which ‘limit’ and ‘unlimitedness’ describe the way entities appear when approached with certain concepts, shows Dancy’s worry of incoherence to be unfounded. On this reading, in both the Heavenly Tradition and the Fourfold Dividsion for a thing to be apeiron is for it to escape comprehension due to its appearing in terms of an indefinite plurality rather than a defined unity. I argue further that this interpretation allows us to properly understand the methodological character of Plato’s discussion. His account aims to help us distinguish the damaging instances of apeiron from the benign and to show how the former can be avoided.
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DOI 10.1515/apeiron-2013-0014
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