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160 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY A PLATONIC PARALLEL IN THE DISSOI LOGOI The Dissoi Logoi or Two-/old Arguments (Diels-Kranz, II, 405-416) is an anonymous sophistic treatise written in literary Doric at some time subsequent to the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404-403.1 As early as 1911, A. E. Taylor wrote that the treatise "must be seriously reckoned with in any attempt to reconstruct the history of Greek thought in the generation immediately anterior to Plato." 2 But scholars have been slow to take up Taylor's challenge. From those writing in English we have had little beyond the summary in Kathleen Freeman's Companion a and the papers of Adolfo Levi4 and E. S. Ramage." There is not even a full English translation in print, s In this paper I shall call attention to one brief passage which seems to me to be of exceptional interest since it offers a solution to a type of sophistical argument which occurs in Plato's Euthydemus. In so doing, I hope to arouse interest in a document much neglected by historians of ancient thought. Dzssoz Loaox, V, 15. With respect to the assertion that the same man both is and is not, I put the following question: "Does he exist with respect to some particular thing, or just in general?" Then if someone denies that the man exists, he is mistaken, because he is treating (the particular and) universal senses as the same. Because everything exists in some sense. GENI~I~AL REMAI~KS.The nature of the solution offered is clearly based on a distinction similar to that made by Aristotle in On Sophistical Re]utations (166b 37 ft.) between expressions used "in a certain respect" and "absolutely." The formulation of the fallacy to which the distinction is intended to be applied, however, is considerably less clear. Is it supposed that the opponent has put forward an argument purporting to demonstrate (a) that the same man both is and is not, or (b) that a particular man, thought to exist, does not in fact exist? This question can best be answered by an analysis of the Euthydemus passage, to which I now turn. EUTttYDgMUS 283b-e: The sophist Dionysodorus inquires of Socrates and his friends whether they genuinely wish their young prot4g6, Cleinias, to become wise. On gaining their assurance that they do, he then proceeds as follows: 1) You wish him to become wise and not to be ignorant (283d 1). 1This terminus post quem is derived from I, 8, in which the author lists a number of victories and speaks of that won by the Spartans over the Athenians as being "the most recent." "The 6,~ao~X6-tot,"Varia Socratica, Fizst Series (Oxford, 1911), p. 128. aCompanion to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, (Oxford, 1946),pp. 417-423. ""On 'Two-fold Statements,'" American Journal o/Philology, LXI (1940), 292-~06. 5"An Early Trace of Socratic Dialogue," American Journal of Philology, LXXXII (1961), 418-424. 6The present writer has cempleted a translation which is to be published in Mind in the near future. NOTES AND DISCUSSIONS 161 2) You wish him to become what he is not, and no longer to be what he is now (literally: what he is now, no longer to be [283d 2-3]). 3) You wish for his death, since you wish him no longer to be (283d 5-6). The obvious way of dealing with this argument is to make precisely the distinction made by the author of the Dissoi Logoi at V, 15: we should say to Dionysodorus, "Your conclusion that the friends of Cleinias wish for his death is the result of an illegitimate step: you went from 'you wish him not to be ignorant' to 'you wish him not to be'. To have made this step is to have ignored the distinction between existence with respect to some particular thing, i.e., ignorance, and existence in general." (A later critic might point out to Dionysodorus that he has confused the copulative and existential uses of the verb "to be.") It now becomes possible to return to the question, which of the two formulations , (a) or (b...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 160-161
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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