Being and Not-Being: An Introduction to Plato’s Sophist by P. Seligman

By P. Seligman

The current monograph on Plato's Sophist built from sequence of lectures given over a few years to honours and graduate phi­ losophy periods within the college of Waterloo. it really is was hoping that it'll turn out an invaluable advisor to somebody attempting to come to grips with, and achieve a standpoint of Plato's mature suggestion. even as my learn is addressed to the professional, and i've thought of on the acceptable locations a great deal of the scholarly literature that has seemed over the past thirty years. during this connection I remorse that a number of the pub­ lications which got here to my discover after my paintings was once considerably accomplished (such as KamIah's and Sayre's) haven't been talked about in my dialogue. As few philosophy scholars these days are acquainted with Greek i've got (except in a couple of footnotes) translated in addition to transliterated all Greek phrases. Citations from Plato's textual content persist with Cornford's admirable trans­ lation as heavily as attainable, although the reader will locate a few major deviations. the main striking of those issues the major observe on which i've got rendered all through as "being," hence warding off Cornford's "existence" and "reality" which are inclined to prejudge the problems which the discussion raises.

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As we might put it, it is not a unified whole. 8 At this point it is important to note that wholeness for Parmenides is not equivalent with a totality of parts. 9 The Stranger next makes the point that if being is not a whole and wholeness itself (auto to holon) is, then being will fall short of itself,lO a conclusion which would be in agreement with ff. VIII, 32 where Parmenides points out that it is not right for being to be incomplete. " The Greek idiom uses adjectives both attributively and in the neuter singular as nouns.

A is analogous to the admission extracted from the materialists. 5 As far as the nature of being is concerned the result is purely negative. The Stranger has considered the definitions put forward by the two parties and found them both too narrow. The Stranger now returns to cognition and expands A by pointing out that both a completely changeless world (Parmenidean) and a world of total change (Heraclitean) would preclude the existence of intelligence. In the former, we may interpret, it would have no place, in the latter no objects.

When the Stranger in our passage puts the five alternatives to Theaetetus as possible characterizations of knowing, the latter thinks that neither of them is acceptable to the friends of the forms, since they would involve them in a contradiction. The Stranger interprets: I see what you mean. They would have to say this: if knowing is to be active, it follows that what is known must be acted upon; and so, on this showing, being (ousia) when known by the act of knowledge must in so far as it is known be changed (kineisthai)2 owing to being so acted upon; and that, we say, cannot happen to that which is changeless (248D1o--E4).

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