Apeiron 51 (2):171-200 (2018)

Authors
Michael Wiitala
Cleveland State University
Abstract
There are only two places in which Plato explicitly offers a critique of the sort of theory of forms presented in the Phaedo and Republic: at the beginning of the Parmenides and in the argument against the Friends of the Forms in the Sophist. An accurate account of the argument against the Friends, therefore, is crucial to a proper understanding of Plato’s metaphysics. How the argument against the Friends ought to be construed and what it aims to accomplish, however, are matters of considerable controversy. My aim in this article is twofold. First, I show that the two readings of the argument against the Friends that dominate the contemporary literature – the “Cambridge Change” reading and the “Becoming-is-Being” reading – lack sufficient textual support. Second, I offer an alternative reading of the argument against the Friends that better explains both the text of 248a4–249d5 and the role the argument plays within the Stranger’s wider project of demonstrating that non-being is. My thesis is that the Stranger’s argument against the Friends seeks to demonstrate that the forms must be both at rest and moved, where “moved” has the sense of “affected.” To participate in a form is to be affected by that form. I argue that since, according to the Stranger, every form participates in some other forms, every form is “moved” in the sense that it is affected by the forms in which it participates. Likewise, I argue that every form is at rest in the sense that its unique nature remains unaffected by the other forms in which it participates.
Keywords Plato  Sophist  forms  motion  rest
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DOI 10.1515/apeiron-2017-0013
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References found in this work BETA

Platonic Causes.David Sedley - 1998 - Phronesis 43 (2):114-132.
The Relation of the Timaeus to Plato's Later Dialogues.Harold Cherniss - 1957 - American Journal of Philology 78 (3):225.
Speaking of Something: Plato’s Sophist and Plato’s Beard.Christine J. Thomas - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (4):pp. 631-667.
Restless Forms and Changeless Causes.Fiona Leigh - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):239-261.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Groundwork for Dialectic in Statesman 277a-287b.Colin C. Smith - 2018 - International Journal of the Platonic Tradition 12 (2):132-150.

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