Animal Sacrifice in Plato's Later Methodology

In Jeremy Bell, Michael Naas & Thomas Patrick Oates (eds.), Plato's Animals: Gadflies, Horses, Swans, and Other Philosophical Beasts. Indianapolis, IN, USA: pp. 179-192 (2015)

Authors
Holly Moore
Luther College
Abstract
In both the Phaedrus and Statesman dialogues, the dialectician's method of division is likened to the butchery of sacrificial animals. Interpreting the significance of this metaphor by analyzing ancient Greek sacrificial practice, this essay argues that, despite the ubiquity of the method of division in these later dialogues, Plato is there stressing the logical priority of the method of collection, division's dialectical twin. Although Plato prioritizes the method of collection, the author further argues that, through a kind of 'domestication' of natural kinds, collection renders natural kinds knowable only by constructing them as implicitly divisible. As a result, the method of collection reflects not the wholeness of being but a constructed unity, the internal multiplicity of which makes possible each subsequent division.
Keywords Animal Sacrifice  Plato  Dialectic  Method  Division
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