Plato'sParmenides

Plato'sParmenides

TRANSLATED WITH INTRODUCTION AND COMMENTARY BY Samuel Scolnicov
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 205
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnbjx
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Plato'sParmenides
    Book Description:

    Of all Plato's dialogues, theParmenidesis notoriously the most difficult to interpret. Scholars of all periods have disagreed about its aims and subject matter. The interpretations have ranged from reading the dialogue as an introduction to the whole of Platonic metaphysics to seeing it as a collection of sophisticated tricks, or even as an elaborate joke. This work presents an illuminating new translation of the dialogue together with an extensive introduction and running commentary, giving a unified explanation of theParmenidesand integrating it firmly within the context of Plato's metaphysics and methodology. Scolnicov shows that in theParmenidesPlato addresses the most serious challenge to his own philosophy: the monism of Parmenides and the Eleatics. In addition to providing a serious rebuttal to Parmenides, Plato here re-formulates his own theory of forms and participation, arguments that are central to the whole of Platonic thought, and provides these concepts with a rigorous logical and philosophical foundation. In Scolnicov's analysis, theParmenidesemerges as an extension of ideas from Plato's middle dialogues and as an opening to the later dialogues. Scolnicov's analysis is crisp and lucid, offering a persuasive approach to a complicated dialogue. This translation follows the Greek closely, and the commentary affords the Greekless reader a clear understanding of how Scolnicov's interpretation emerges from the text. This volume will provide a valuable introduction and framework for understanding a dialogue that continues to generate lively discussion today.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-92511-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-40)

    Of all Plato’s dialogues, theParmenidesis notoriously the most difficult to interpret. Scholars of all periods have violently disagreed about its very aims and subject matter. The interpretations have ranged from reading the dialogue as an introduction to the whole of Platonic—and more often Neoplatonic—metaphysics¹ to viewing it as a record of unsolved (and perhaps unsolvable) “honest perplexities,”² as protreptic “mental gymnastics,”³ as a collection of sophistic tricks,⁴ or even as an elaborate (though admittedly tedious) joke.⁵

    Part I of the dialogue and especially the Third Man Argument have no doubt received more than their fair share...

  7. PARMENIDES
    • Proem
      (pp. 43-52)

      The pedigree of the story is very carefully established. Cephalus tells us what Antiphon told him that Pythodorus reported of the conversation between Parmenides, Zeno, and Socrates. The other dialogue in which we have such an elaborate framework is theSymposium, and there Plato seems to be very serious about Diotima’s speech, even though the speech must be fictitious. The case could be the same here: Socrates’ conversation with Parmenides is wholly fictitious, and so is Parmenides’ dialectical exercise with young Aristoteles, but the Chinese-box arrangement of the proem focuses our attention on the contents, as opposed to the fictitiousness...

  8. Part I: Aporia
    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 53-78)

      Parmenides reformulates Socrates’ position, stressing the separation of sensible things and forms.

      Xωρίς(130b2, b3, b4), ‘apart’, is used by the historical Parmenides when first introducing (illusory) plurality. (Cf. fr. 8.56.) True, it is Socrates who brings up the term in this discussion, at 129d7—but asoneaspect or mode of the forms’ being. Socrates says he ‘would admire him wonderfully’ who would show formsbothto be apartandto mix with each other. (Cf. 129d7–e2; for wonder as a mainspring of philosophy, cf. above, p. 51. But this is precisely what Parmenides opposes: he will allow...

  9. Part II: Euporia
    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 79-166)

      Parmenides’ method is now applied to his own hypothesis: the one, or (as Plato rephrases it) ‘if (the) one is’.¹ So far, there is no difference between hypothesizing the one and hypothesizing that the one is. We do not yet have the distinction between an object (or the corresponding term) and a state of affairs (or the corresponding proposition). Or, to put this differently: there is as yet no definite interpretation of ‘is’.

      This is what the exercise will clarify, namely the partial ambiguity of ‘is’. As it has already transpired from the description of the method, two modes of...

  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 167-174)
  11. INDEX LOCORUM
    (pp. 175-182)
  12. INDEX NOMINUM
    (pp. 183-186)
  13. INDEX OF GREEK WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
    (pp. 187-188)
  14. GENERAL INDEX
    (pp. 189-193)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 194-194)