Composition as Identity in the Parmenides and Sophist

Verity Harte

in Plato on Parts and Wholes

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780198236757
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597640 | DOI:
Composition as Identity in the Parmenides and Sophist

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The focus of this chapter is Plato's examination of the rejected model of composition, particularly in the Parmenides, in which the same pattern of puzzle recurs four times in an escalating series, ending in the first and second deductions, to further develop the model's paradoxical implications. The unity of the whole is shown to be problematic in all those puzzles that depend on the rejected model of composition as the identity and share the central premise that parts pluralize, i.e. that a whole is many rather than (or, as well as) one. This same premise and model of composition is then to be found in the Sophist (244b6–245e2) in the dilemma presented to the monists by the Eleatic Stranger. Here, Plato once again associates the rejected model with his Eleatic predecessors, who are lead to it by their desire for ontological innocence.

Keywords: composition; Eleatics; identity; monism; ontology; Parmenides; parts; Plato; Sophist; wholes

Chapter.  29091 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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