Authors
Colin C. Smith
Pennsylvania State University
Abstract
The strange and challenging stretch of dialectic with which Plato’s Sophist begins and ends has confused and frustrated readers for generations, and despite receiving a fair amount of attention, there is no consensus regarding even basic issues concerning this method. Here I offer a new account of bifurcatory division as neither joke nor naïve method, but instead a valuable, propaedeutic method that Plato offers to us readers as a means of embarking upon the kind of mental gymnastics that will stretch us properly in preparation for further, more challenging dialectical work. Considering several interpretive issues, I argue that bifurcatory division is a process of collective inquiry into the common through which an account, both definitional and taxonomical, is discovered. Depending on the level of understanding exhibited by the inquirers, this account may or may not allow for noetic understanding of the object in the deepest sense.
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DOI 10.1515/elen-2021-0014
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References found in this work BETA

Platonic Studies.Gregory Vlastos - 1973 - [Princeton, N.J.]Princeton University Press.
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Plato.Gilbert Ryle - 1967 - In Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: Macmillan. pp. 6--319.

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