Parmenides (Plato)

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It’s not a good feeling you get when you go to the article on this dialogue at plato.stanford.edu and the author says, “This is his most enigmatic dialogue.” Much of it, though, is quite interesting and fairly easy to follow. Plato explains his Forms and the standard responses to his view.

Problem: how can the whole Idea, being one, be participated in by man?

If something participates in an Idea, does it participate in part of the Idea or the whole? The One cannot be a whole, since wholes have parts and the One can’t have parts, otherwise it wouldn’t be One. From here Plato’s interlocutors discuss the metaphysics of the One, which is interesting for Christians on how we gloss God’s simplicity.

The One can’t have beginning or end, since those are limits and it is unlimited. Neither can the One have motion, since motion is a coming to be in one place or another. This is the same reason the One cannot change, since change is motion.

The One is also above time, since it cannot participate in time (as that would compromise its unicity).

This was a very difficult dialogue, but it is mandatory reading for understanding Plato’s metaphysics. It also introduces the main problem against Plato: the Third Man Argument.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Can you explain this Third Man Argument? I quit halfway through Parmenides and went to the Cliff Notes, instead.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Can you explain this Third Man Argument? I quit halfway through Parmenides and went to the Cliff Notes, instead.

Being is one, and anything that partakes of being is many. So far, so good.

Let's say that x is great and participates in the form of greatness (G1). We now have a plurality of two great things (x and G1). These great things must participate in greatness, and G1 is non-self participating. We have a new category of great things: (x, G1, and G2). Repeat process.

That's why Christian theism was so insistent to say that God is his attributes. God doesn't participate in goodness. Likewise, Jesus doesn't participate in deity, and so on.
 
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