Towards the close of Book V of theRepublicPlato tells us that the true philosopher has knowledge and that the objects of knowledge are the Forms. By contrast, the ‘lovers of sights and sounds’, he tells us, have no more than belief, the objects of which are physical particulars. He then goes on to present us with some very radical-sounding assertions about the nature of these physical particulars. They are bearers of opposite properties, he says, in so thorough-going a manner that (...) we cannot say of them that they are nor that they are not: they lie somewhere between being and utter non-being.This passage of theRepublic still awaits an agreed interpretation and I want to suggest as a reason for this that it is usually interpreted in isolation. I will argue that it becomes easier to understand when seen against the background of Plato's developing thought. To be more precise, it makes sense when taken as a rejection by Plato of one of his earlier beliefs: namely, a doctrine of essentialism to be found in thePhaedo.The greater part of this paper then will be an attempt to show thatRepublicV is a rejection of thePhaedo'sdoctrine of essences. Its concluding part will try to explain why that doctrine was rejected. (shrink)
In this paper I wish to argue for a view that, despite its traditional standing, has not yet in any detail been defended. The view is briefly that in the Republic, at the point where Plato is engaged in contrasting the true philosopher with the “lover of sights and sounds”, he characterises sensible particulars — referred to as “the many” — as being bearers of opposite properties in so radical a manner that they can be said neither to be nor (...) not to be: they lie somewhere between being and utter non-being.There are two related reasons why this traditional view should now be closely scrutinised. The first is that, whatever the outcome, the passage of the Republic in question — 475a-480a — is quite crucial to our understanding of the development of Plato's thought about sensible particulars. The second’ is that it has been suggested recently, and ably argued, that Plato is not in fact talking about particulars at all; rather about types or sorts of particulars. (shrink)
In Cornford's opinion, the theory of Forms as put forward in theParmenides is identical with the theory as stated in the Pbaedo—both of them expressing thethat concrete things are the bearers, simultaneously, of contrary characters. Christopher Kirwan has recently denied this identity, in a paper which, if hisis accepted, will upset many traditions and greatly alter our understandingLthe middle dialogues.
Book Information Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle's Metaphysics. Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle's Metaphysics C.D.C. Reeve Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. 2000 xviii + 322 US$34.95 By C.D.C. Reeve. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.. Pp. xviii + 322. US$34.95.