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Plato’s <i>Parmenides</i>

Samuel Scolnicov

Publication Year: 2003

Of all Plato’s dialogues, the Parmenides is notoriously the most difficult to interpret. Scholars of all periods have disagreed about its aims and subject matter. The interpretations have ranged from reading the dialogue as an introduction to the whole of Platonic metaphysics to seeing it as a collection of sophisticated tricks, or even as an elaborate joke. This work presents an illuminating new translation of the dialogue together with an extensive introduction and running commentary, giving a unified explanation of the Parmenides and integrating it firmly within the context of Plato's metaphysics and methodology.

Scolnicov shows that in the Parmenides Plato addresses the most serious challenge to his own philosophy: the monism of Parmenides and the Eleatics. In addition to providing a serious rebuttal to Parmenides, Plato here re-formulates his own theory of forms and participation, arguments that are central to the whole of Platonic thought, and provides these concepts with a rigorous logical and philosophical foundation. In Scolnicov's analysis, the Parmenides emerges as an extension of ideas from Plato's middle dialogues and as an opening to the later dialogues.

Scolnicov’s analysis is crisp and lucid, offering a persuasive approach to a complicated dialogue. This translation follows the Greek closely, and the commentary affords the Greekless reader a clear understanding of how Scolnicov’s interpretation emerges from the text. This volume will provide a valuable introduction and framework for understanding a dialogue that continues to generate lively discussion today.

Published by: University of California Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Tables and Figures

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pp. vii-viii

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

This book has been a long time in the making. It resulted from a growing awareness, over almost twenty years, of the importance of the Parmenides for the understanding of Plato’s mature metaphysics and of the gradual realization that nothing short of a line-by-line commentary could do justice to its intricacies and its far-reaching implications. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-40

Of all Plato’s dialogues, the Parmenides is notoriously the most difficult to interpret. Scholars of all periods have violently disagreed about its very aims and subject matter. The interpretations have ranged from reading the dialogue as an introduction to the whole of Platonic—and more often Neoplatonic—metaphysics1 ...

Parmenides

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Proem

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pp. 43-52

The pedigree of the story is very carefully established. Cephalus tells us what Antiphon told him that Pythodorus reported of the conversation between Parmenides, Zeno, and Socrates. The other dialogue in which we have such an elaborate framework is the Symposium, and there Plato seems to be very serious about Diotima’s speech, ...

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Part I: Aporia

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pp. 53-78

Χωρίς (130b2, b3, b4), ‘apart’, is used by the historical Parmenides when first introducing (illusory) plurality. (Cf. fr. 8.56.) True, it is Socrates who brings up the term in this discussion, at 129d7—but as one aspect or mode of the forms’ being. Socrates says he ‘would admire him wonderfully’ who would show forms both to be apart and to mix with each other. ...

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Part II: Euporia

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pp. 79-166

Parmenides’ method is now applied to his own hypothesis: the one, or (as Plato rephrases it) ‘if (the) one is’.1 So far, there is no difference between hypothesizing the one and hypothesizing that the one is. We do not yet have the distinction between an object (or the corresponding term) and a state of affairs (or the corresponding proposition). ...

Bibliography

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pp. 167-174

Index Locorum

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pp. 175-182

Index Nominum

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pp. 183-186

Index of Greek Words and Expressions

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pp. 187-188

General Index

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pp. 189-194


E-ISBN-13: 9780520925113
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520224032

Page Count: 205
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Joan Palevsky Book in Classical Literature

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Subject Headings

  • Socrates.
  • Parmenides.
  • Zeno, of Elea.
  • Ontology -- Early works to 1800.
  • Reasoning -- Early works to 1800.
  • Dialectic -- Early works to 1800.
  • Plato. Parmenides.
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