Is Plato Vulnerable to the Third Man Argument?

Gail Fine

in On Ideas

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780198235491
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597398 | DOI:
Is Plato Vulnerable to the Third Man Argument?

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If Plato is committed to the premises of the Third Man Argument, he is vulnerable to the Third Man Argument. Fine has argued that Plato is committed to self‐predication (in a broad sense); hence, if he is not vulnerable to the Third Man Argument, he must not be committed to either one or the other of the non‐identity assumption and the one over many assumption. Fine argues that since Plato rejects both of these assumptions, in the senses necessary to carry the regress argument, he is not vulnerable to the Third Man Argument. Plato records the argument in the Parmenides, Fine argues, in order to stress the importance of clarifying the sort of self‐predication, non‐identity, and one over many assumptions that are compatible with a theory of forms. Finally, Fine once again explains that this reading does not mean that Aristotle's interpretation of Plato in the Peri Idēon is mistaken; and we can understand how this is so once we grasp Aristotle's argumentative strategy.

Keywords: Aristotle's argumentative strategy; Aristotle's interpretation of Plato; non‐identity assumption; one over many assumption; Parmenides; self‐predication; Third Man Argument

Chapter.  8909 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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