Third men: The logic of the sophisms at arist. SE 22, 178b36–170a10

Topoi 23 (1):33-59 (2004)
This article aims at elucidating the logic of Arist. SE 22, 178b36–179a10 and, in particular, of the sophism labelled "Third Man" discussed in it. I suggest that neither the sophistic Walking Man argument, proposed by ancient commentators, nor the Aristotelian Third Man of the , suggested by modern interpreters, can be identified with the fallacious argument Aristotle presents and solves in the passage. I propose an alternative reconstruction of the Third Man sophism and argue that an explanation of the lines regarding the identity of Coriscus and Coriscus the musician (178b39–179a3) is indispensable for its correct understanding, since they hint at another sophism in some important aspects analogous. Finally, I show that two contradictions concerning spotted by scholars in the passage are only apparent and can be dissolved once the assumption that the anti-Platonic Third Man argument is at stake here is discarded, and once the passage is read in the light of its agonistic context.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Philosophy of Science   Philosophy of Technology
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DOI 10.1023/B:TOPO.0000021382.27269.a5
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