Troubling Play: Meaning And Entity In Plato's Parmenides by Kelsey Wood

By Kelsey Wood

This new interpretation of Plato's Parmenides emphasizes its remedy of time and language—insights specifically appropriate for these operating within the Continental culture.

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The impasses relating to the metaphor of participation then, are surmountable in some way. Consequently, it is not the fact that there are forms of disclosure in language that is to be thrown into question; rather, it is how this disclosure of being is to be understood that presents difficulties. ), and reveals in a negative way—by reductions to absurdity—how participatory being may not be understood. Parmenides demonstrates repeatedly and in a variety of ways that being—the ontos on— is not reducible to the presence of the eidos: dimensions of irreducible heterogeniety are implicit to the meaning of every representation of sameness in logos.

Consequently, Plato’s reinscription of Eleatic negative dialectic implies much more than the logical method of reduction to absurdity: elenchi are supplemented by irony and other nonliteral uses of discourse, such as Socratic analogy. In Socrates’ image of the divided line in the Republic (509c–511e), modes of disclosure are related both up and down with contrasting modes which serve to contextualize. The icon of the line itself complements the likeness of the good to the sun because orientation toward the good is the occasion for ale mtheia.

No observation of phenomena could falsify such conditions of possibility of intelligible experience. The descriptive, metaphorical notion of participatory being toward the good evokes the situated, goal-oriented character of both logic and sense perception. But the transcendence that is learning is only possible alongside the aporia that is cho mrismos. Logos Toward Itself versus Toward the Other Parmenides’ demonstration will vindicate Zeno by reducing to absurdity Socrates’ attempted solution of Zeno’s paradoxes.

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