restricted access Aristotle's De Generatione et Corruptione (review)
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472 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 22:4 OCT 198 4 character (79). For Zeno's paradoxes are the result of his failure to distinguish naming and meaning or characters from the things characterized (77), and it thus follows that if John is white and a man, then white and man are identical. The theory of Ideas saves the coincidence of characters from a fatal identity. Allen then argues that since phenomena are substantial, the "dilemma of participation " is a plausible way to relate independent entities. "If there is participation, there is participation either in the whole of an Idea or in part of it; there can be participation neither in the whole Idea nor in part of it; therefore, there is no participation" (113). Allen argues that the "dilemma of participation" is fundamental to the arguments in the Parmenides (113). Socrates rejects as logically absurd each participant having the whole Idea in it, and hence if there is participation it mast be in the parts of an Idea. But this will not work because of the infinite series argument at 13za-b, and for other reasons. Largeness is large in the infinite series argument because it is a whole which is larger than any of its parts (134). Young Socrates tries to save participation by construing Ideas as thoughts and then as paradigms, but these attempts fail first because of the dilemma of participation and second because phenomena are thought to be substantial entities which share characters with the Ideas. There is, then, no participation, and the Ideas become separate irrelevancies which we cannot know and which have no effect on the realm of phenomena. Allen persuasively shows how Aristotle also employs the dialectic of the "dilemma of participation" in his attack on the Ideas. The hypotheses in the last section of the Parmenides are, Allen claims, a set of aporiai about Ideas of unrestricted generality, especially the Idea of Unity, which aporiai are designed to stimulate the reader to spot the incorrect admissions which lead to the multiple inconsistencies. Allen also shows how the "dilemma of participation" constantly is employed in these hypotheses. Why did Plato write the Parmenides? Allen suggests an answer to this question which is inconsistent with his usual position. He says that "there can be no doubt that the criticisms are to be understood as directed against Plato's own theory" (96). This seems to imply that Plato at least sometimes was guilty of the wrong admissions, and that the Parmenides corrects previous error. Indeed, I would subscribe to this view, but Allen cannot, for he believes that Plato always subscribes to (0-(3). So why did Plato write the Parmenides? Allen constructs a stimulating theory about how to interpret the texts. But he claims certainty for the truth of his theory, and for the falsity of his opponents' theories (93-94). But this is unjustified. The Platonic texts are too ambiguous, vague, and brief to .support plausibly one and only one theory. HENRY TELOH Vanderbilt University C. J. F. Williams. Aristotle'sDe Generatione et Corruptione. Clarendon Aristotle Series, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982. Pp. xvi + ~39. $29.95, cloth; $13.5 o, paper. Professor Williams's translation (with notes) of Aristotle's De Generationeet Corruptione (GC) is one of the recent additions to the Clarendon Aristotle Series, under the BOOK REVIEWS 473 general editorship of J. L. Ackrill. In his introduction, Williams tells us that Aristotle 's doctrines of substantial change and prime matter represent Aristotle's "attempt to deal with the problem of tensed existence" (xv). That tells the reader rather little about the GC, but a good deal about the interpretive style of the notes and appendix to this translation. A brief review cannot provide a critical analysis of the translation; I'll say only that it is in the crisp style of the Clarendon Series, as opposed to Joachim's elegant paraphrase of the Oxford English Translation, though on occasion the translation seems unnecessarily expansive. The GC is a study of the nature of coming-to-be and perishing and other sorts of change, especially those to which Aristotle's predecessors had been inclined to reduce coming-to-be and...