Chapter

Composition and Structure

Verity Harte

in Plato on Parts and Wholes

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780198236757
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597640 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198236751.003.0005
Composition and Structure

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Begins with some general considerations about structure and the role it might be thought to play in the constitution of a whole and then turns to Plato's own account of both composition and structure. In the Sophist, structure is the proper object of science, as in mathematical structuralism for example, and it is so because structure is made a basic and irreducible item in its ontology. The same holds true in the Philebus, in which the class of limit captures the structure of things, abstractly conceived, and the unlimited captures the domain of content on which it is imposed, while together these are the two ingredients of the analysis of a mixture, normatively conceived, that is, of a whole. Then, in the Timaeus, structure is characterized mathematically, but, as in the Philebus, wholes may again be characterized as contentful structures.

Keywords: composition; mathematics; parts; Philebus; Plato; Sophist; structure; Timaeus; wholes

Chapter.  45053 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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