CONTEMPORARY ANALYTIC COMMENTARY ON PLATO'S "PARMENIDES": A CRITIQUE

MICHAEL JOHN QUIRK, Fordham University

Abstract

In this thesis I attempt to identify and criticise what I believe are serious deficiencies in contemporary analytic commentary on Plato, and to show how many of these deficiencies stem from a shared analytic "self-image". Analytic philosophers have traditionally seen linguistic analysis as the true method of philosophy, one wherein perennial philosophical problems can possibly be definitively solved. Such a self-image, however, hampers the task of interpretation in that (i) it de-emphasises the all-important literary aspect of Plato's work, and (ii) it neglects the historicity of philosophy, the differences between Plato's philosophical problematic and that of analytic philosophy.^ I focus on the dispute over "self-predication" in Plato's theory of Forms as presented in the Parmenides. I criticise the work of Vlastos, Ryle, Crombie, Strang, and Allen on the TMA insofar as they all indicate a neglect of the literary and historical context of the Third Man Arguments. I argue that the TMA's are best viewed as reductio ad absurdum arguments on self-predicative eide when placed in that context. In support of my argument, I try to show the substantive historical breaks and continuities of Plato's philosophy with Parmenides' "Way of Truth", and the continuing relevance of Parmenidean monism in Plato's later thought. Plato's Sophist, Timaeus, Philebus, and other later works are shown to amplify the reductio conclusions of Parmenides. ^

Subject Area

Religion, Philosophy of

Recommended Citation

MICHAEL JOHN QUIRK, "CONTEMPORARY ANALYTIC COMMENTARY ON PLATO'S "PARMENIDES": A CRITIQUE" (January 1, 1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8506355.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8506355

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