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Plato's Parmenides

Text, Translation & Introductory Essay

Arnold Hermann
Translation in collaboration with
Sylvana Chrysakopoulou
Foreword by
Douglas Hedley
Las Vegas I Zurich I Athens
Las Vegas I Zurich I Athens
2010 Parmenides Publishing
All rights reserved.
This edition published in 20ID by Parmenides Publishing
in the United States of America
ISBN hard cover: 978-1-930972-71-1
ISBN soft cover: 978-1-930972-20-9
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
[Parmenides. English & Greek]
Plato's Parmenides: text, translation & introductory essay I [edited and translated by]
Arnold Hermann ; translation in collaboration with Sylvana Chrysakopoulou ; with a
foreword by Douglas Hedley.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN (hard cover) - ISBN 978-1-930972-20-9 (pbk.)-
ISBN 978-1-930972-60-5 (e-book)
1. One (The One in philosophy) 2. Form (Philosophy) 3. Parmenides. I. Hermann,
Arnold. 11. Chrysakopoulou, Sylvana. Ill. Tide.
Greek text reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of the Loeb
Classical Library from PLATO: VOLUME IV, Loeh Classical Library Volume
167, translated by H. N. Fowler, 1926, pp. 198-330, Mass.: Harvard
l;niversity Press. Copyright 10 1926 by the President and Fcllmvs of Harvard
College. The Loeb Classical Library is a registered trademark of the President
and Fellows of Harvard College.
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Foreword The Legacy of the Parmenides
Prefoce and Acknowledgements
The Uniqueness of the Parmenides Dialogue 3
Format, Setting, Characters. Timeline. and Motive 7
Sensibles and Intelligibles 17
The Being of One 29
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 41
Separation and Interweaving-Tentative Solutions for Interpreting
the Second Part 55
First Argument 107
Parts/Whole; Limited/Unlimiud; No Shap" Neither In ltuff, Nor In
Anoth"-Nowh,,e; Motion/Rest; SamelDifformt; Like/Unlik<: Equal/
Unequal; Time-Older, Younger, Same Age; Conclusion
Second Argument 127
Parts/Wbole-OneIMany; DijftrenaIOtberness, Generation Of Numbers:
Limited/Unlimited-Compresence a/One And Being; Shape-Beginning.
Middle. End; In Itse!fllnA'lOther; Motion/Rest; SamelDiffirent; Like/Unlike;
In Contact/Not hI Contact; Equal/Unequal-Largeness/Smallness
Tim,-Old", Young", Sam, Ag'; Conclusion: R-sults Of Arguments I And
11; Coming-To-BdCwing-To-&; Th, Instant; Passing Through Neith,,/Nor
Third Argument 179
Part/Whole; Limiud/Unlimited; Likmm/Unlikenm; All Qualifications
Fourth Argument 187
Othm Lack Onmm; Final Conclusion: '!fOne Is'
Fifth Argument 193
Diffirmu; Lik,/Unlik-.- Equal/Un,qual; &ing/Not-Being; Motion/Rest;
Alte"d/Not Altered
Sixrh Argument 205
Absmu Of &ing; No Chang', Mov,mmt, Rest, Or Oth" Qualifications;
No Relations
Seventh Argument 209
Oth" Than Each Oth,,; Doxa
Eighth Argument 215
No Qualifications; Final Conclusion
Bibliography 219
Index Locorum 235
General Index 241
Foreword: The Legacy of the Parmenides
by Douglas Hedley
... frequently all things appear little ... the universe itself-
what but an immense heap of little things? ... My mind feels
as if it ached to behold & know something great-something
one & indivisible.
-So T. Col<ridge
Why should we read Plato's Parmenides today? It does not possess the
dramatic charm of the Symposium or the Phaedrus, the somber power
of the Phaedo or the Apology, or the evident relevance to contemporary
concerns of the 7heaetetus or the Republic. lr is, furthermore, a deeply
puzzling and aporetic dialogue-a reductio ad absurdum of Eleatic
thought in which some of the most paradigmatic Platonic tenets are
challenged and problems are left unresolved. The twentieth-century
interpretations of Ryle, Owen, and Vlastos have reinforced an ancient
view of the dialogue as a set oflogical exercises in dialectic or a "dia-
lectical business" (negotium dialecticum).' In this essay, however, I wish
to reflect upon that most vigorous strand in occidental culture that has
maint ained that the Parmenides of Plato is perhaps the pivotal document
of Western metaphysics. The legacy of Par men ides of Elea as interpreted
by Plato is of momentous significance for the history of thought, even
if we accept the merits of the exercise theory as a reading of the text.
The questions of the Parmenides, which deal with the central issues
of Platonic metaphysics such as the one and the many, parts and wholes,
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Coll<eted Lmm, edited by Earl Leslie Grigg
(Oxford: r:Iarendon Press, 1956), I 209.
2 Gilbert Ryle, Collwd Papm, Vol. 1 (London: Hutchinson, 1971), 1-44; G.
E. L. Owen, Logir, Scimu and Diakctic: Coll<eted Papm in Gmk Philosophy,
edited by Martha Nussbaum (lthaca, 1986); Gregory Vlastos, Platonic
Studi" (1973).
VIII Plato's Parmenides
the scope of ideas, the idea of participation, and the exact relation
between marerial items and immaterial forms, present a locus classicus
of metaphysical speculation. The question of unity is one of the core
metaphysical questions. Is the universe primarily a unity or a plurality?
(It is significant that we use the language of a universe.)
Science operates with fundamental constants that remain identical
throughout time and space (for example, the atomic mass of oxygen).
We presuppose uniformity in order to explain the universe, a fact that
is puzzling when we assume that the cosmos is a radical plurality. If the
universe evolves and declines, is abour 14 billion years old and is subject
to entropy up to its future demise, it is puzzling that scientific laws
should be thought of as eternal verities. Perhaps such 'laws are in reality
approximations of laws which help us to operate in the world but not
grasp its real nature. It is striking that David Hume's radical empiricism
and agnosticism regarding our capacity to perceive real connections
in nature led to his profound skepticism on such basic issues as causa-
tion or induction. Perhaps the moral of Hume's untenable skepticism
is that without presupposing an underlying metaphysical unity in the
universe, we have no noncircular empirical reasons to expect uniformity
or law-like structures. The relation of the One and the Many is lying
behind some of the most fundamental questions concerning the mind
and the world and the structure of the physical world.
Astrophysicists since the sixties of the last century have reflected
upon the vast improbability of the emergence of intelligent life and
the 'fine tuning' of the universe for life. The astronomer Fred Hoyle
strikingly asserted that the statistical chance of the emergence of
life was less than the fluke construction of a Boeing 747 by a hur-
ricane passing through a scrap-yard! He was referring to the very
narrow parameters within which life can emerge. The initial condi-
tions required to produce carbon in order for life to be possible; the
remarkable coincidence of facrors that permitted life to evolve seems
prima focie highly improbable. Why has the universe turned out to be
so harmonious and opportune for life? The British Astronomer Royal,
Sir Martin Rees invokes the idea of a 'multiverse,' an infinite number
of possible universes, as an explanation of why this world has exactly
the highly improbable features conducive to life, to avoid invoking the
idea of a unifying transcendent creator. But many thinkers have been
impressed by the idea of a supreme source of unity and harmony-the
idea expressed beautifully by Dante as the unifying force of the Divine
Intellect unfolding its goodness "multiplied through the stars, itself
wheeling on its own unity":
Foreword: The Legacy of the Parmenides IX
Cosll'intelligenza sua bontate
Multiplicata per le stelle spiega,
girando se sovra sua unitate
Consider evolutionary biology. Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay
Gould uses Darwin against Plato in insisting upon "unpredictability and
contingency." He observes, "in Plato's world, variation is accidental, while
essences record a higher reality; in Darwin's reversal, we value variation
as a defining (and concrete earthly) reality, while averages (our closest
operational approach to 'essences) become mental abStractions.'" Across
the Atlantic, Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiol-
ogy at Cambridge, argues that it is a convergence of different paths toward
intelligence, rather than contingency, that distinguishes the evolutionary
evidence. Conway Morris and Gould are working in the same domain
of paleobiology, yet Conway Morris emphasizes the simplicity of the
basic materials and laws as well as the elegance and "sensitivity" of the
complex processes that generate sentient life. He sees inevitability in this
evolutionary process. Atheism, in his view, commits us to completely
improbable coincidences that conflict with "life's almost eerie ability to
navigate to the correct solution, repeatedly.'" The disagreement between
these distinguished paleobiologists is a debate about data and theology.
Bur it is also a debate abour the One and the Many.
This debate concerning the One and the Many is rooted in Eleatic
thought, predating both Plato and Aristotle. It is a parr of the tradition of
those Presocratic philosophers who present theology in the Greek sense as
an attempt ro explain reality in terms of a supreme principle. Parmenides
and Heraclitus were founding figures of European metaphysics, but they
were also demythologizers of the brute plurality of warring and scheming
deities of Greek mythology and popular piety. The poem of Par men ides
presents an opposition between truth and appearance. Language and the
senses are presented as inadequate to obtain knowledge of true Being.
This Eleatic monism presents Being in opposition to Becoming. Motion,
time, and plurality are contrasted with the reality of Unitary being.
Plato was clearly deeply impressed by Parmenides, and in Theaetetus
3 Dante, the Divine Comedy 3 Paradiso. Italian text with translation and com-
ment by John D. Sinclair (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939),38-39.
4 StephenJay Gould, Full Hous<." TbeSpread ofExallmcefi"om Plato to Darwin
(New York: Harmony Books, 1996),41.
5 Simon Conway Morris. Lifts Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely UniverSt
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), frontispiece.
X Plato's Parmenides
183 we have a reference to Parmenides as "venerable and awesome."
In contemporary thought. Richard Rorty's Philosophy and the Mirror
of Nature criticizes the Parmenidean-Platonic ideal of moving beyond
appearances to the intrinsic realiry of the world of Being. In rhe wake
ofNietzsche and Heidegger, Rorry sees the contrast between the realm
of appearances and true being as a banefullegacy. The transcendental
and foundaTional drive ofPlatonism savaged by Nierzsche is diagnosed
by Heidegger as the source of mankind's forgetfulness of Being and the
insatiable and destructive obsession with technological mastery. Being was
reified as a result of Plato's ocular image of knowledge as the perception
of form (eidos). This fateful construal of knowledge as vision ushered in
the metaphysics of the Christian era that identified the supreme object
of Being as God: esse ipsum.
The Eleatic Legacy within Platonism
The Fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the transmission of Greek
manuscripts to Western libraries, both preceding and in the wake
of the Turkish conquest, triggered a rediscovery of Plato in Greek.
Marsilio Ficino recognized the Platonic core of much of the scholastic
inheritance, and views St. Thomas as an ally for, not as an enemy
to, his own Platonic cause. Indeed, the tradition of Neoplatonism
remained continuous, and the influence of the Platonic Parmenides
was greatest in the early medieval period from John Scot Eriugena
(810-877 AD) to Meister Eckhart (1260-1327 AD) and Nicholas of
Cusa (1401-1464 AD). Plato's Parmenides had an enormous influence
through the (supposed) pupil of St. Paul, Denys the Areopagite, until
it became directly known through the medieval translation ofProclus'
commentary on Plato's dialogue by William of Moerbeke. Raymond
Klibansky, for example, discovered in Bernkastel-Kues Nicholas of
Cusa's copy of Proclus' commentary on Plato's Parmenides, which
included the following remark by the Cardinal:
How important is the notion of the transformation of the
rational approach into a notion which recognizes the limits
of reason and the coincidences of contraries in the One, the
supreme principle.'
6 Wayne Hanker, On< Hund"d Y<ars of N<oplatonism in Franc< (Leuven:
Peeters. 2006), 219.
Foreword: The Legacy of the Parmenides XI
In the modern period, the Eleatic obsession with unity, this
Neoplatonic-Parmenidean motor of metaphysical speculation, did not
abate. Leibniz's monadology is a philosophy of unity. All substances
are living mirrors of Divine unity, unified toralities. and inferior ful-
gurations of their transcendent source, and knowledge requires Divine
illumination. And Hegel represents, albeit in substantially modified
form, the last great version of a Neoplatonic theology of the Absolute.
The Parmenides is for Hegel the ''grojte Kunstwerk der alten Dialektik,"
(greatest creation of ancient dialectic) and its second part in particular
constitutes the true revelation ("die wahre EnthUllung'') and the positive
expression of the Divine Life (,positive Ausdruck des gottlichen Lebens'').'
Whitehead had justification for speaking of Western philosophy as
footnotes to Plato, but it was especially the deeply Parmenidean Plato of
Neoplatonic provenance that formed the core of the "Western" tradition.
William James divides philosophers into the "tender minded," who
are inclined to monism, and the "tough minded," who are pluralists."
Yet James' division is somewhat misleading. Spinoza is an instance of a
philosopher who is clearly a monist. He atracks those pluralists who main-
tain a manifold of substances. Consider the Aristotelians, for whom the
world is constituted by a set ofindividual substances, wholes composed of
matter and form, unities that can be further classified according to genus
and diffirentia (which kind it belongs to and the distinctive characteristic
within that kind). Spinoza is developing a distinctively Eleatic argument
when he claims that this falsely attributes ptoperties to individuals. For
Spinoza, these properties are properly understood as modifications of
attributes of the one infinite substance "Nature or God." Spinoza argues
that only one substance can exist. If a substance is that which exists in
itself. and if this is an infinite being consisting of infinite attributes, there
cannot be more than one. Further, because all that exists, exists in itself
or in another, if anything is, then God must exist as that which exists in
se and on which the rest of realiry depends as a finite modification. Here
Spinoza relies, however strongly modified by the intervening tradition
and his own particular genius, upon the Eleatic-Platonic principle that
"if the One is not. then nothing is." Yet this is far from being a cheerful
"tender-minded" doctrine. Because God is the immanent and infinite
cause of the universe and Divine action is strictly necessary. all finite
actions are correctly understood as determined. Hence Spinoza denies
7 Georg W. F. Hegel. Gesamm.!t< W"k< (Hamburg: Rheinisch-Westf:ilischen
Akademie der Wissenschafren, 1980),9:48.
8 Willi.m James, Pragmatism (New York: Dover Publications, 1995).
XII Plato's Parmenides
not only freedom and contingency but also evil. The appearance of evil
in the world is a product of puny anthropomorphism and the failure to
attain philosophical insight into the StrUCture of reality as opposed to
finite imaginings.
Spinoza is a tough-minded monist and a profoundly modern thinker.
Jonathan Israel has demonstrated Spinoza's pivotal role in the European
Enlightenment.' When Einstein claimed that "God does not play dice
with the universe" and Freud polemicized against religious prejudice in
Tb, Futttre 0/ an Illusion, both these seminal twentieth-century writ-
ers were following Spinoza's path. The Eleaticism of the Parmenidean
tradition runs down through not only the "tender-minded" monists
such as the Romantics but also "rough-minded" pluralists within the
radical Enlightenment and beyond.
Parmenides and the History of Metaphysics
Ens or Unum: Being or the One?
One might see Western thought as marked by a [ension between a
broadly Aristotelian ontology of rhe "scholasrics" and an Eleatic henol-
ogy of certain philosophical "mystics." For Aristotle, the meanings
of "unity" are as maniFold as the meanings of "being." But "unity"
is not an entity beyond concrete instantiations of unity. It means
"continuous" or "the whole," individual or universal. Unity does not
exist apart from being, and the being of any item is characterized by a
kind of unity. Aristotle rejects the hypostatizing of the Parmenidean-
Pythagorean-Platonic tradition. The scholastic dictum that ens et
unum convertuntur expressed the Aristotelian doctrine. Nicholas of
Cusa developed his docta ignorantia and theory of the coincidence
of opposites against the "inveterate tradition of Aristotelianism."lO
For Platonists like Nicholas, the mystery of the One beyond being
had eluded Aristotle. For Nicholas of Cusa, God as one {unum} is
radically different from all instances of being (ens), hence ,m"m is
to be preferred to ms.
The Eleatic-henological tradition, which asserted the priority of the
One, was always present to some degree or other in the early medieval
9 lonathan Israel. Radical cnlightenmelll: Philosophy and the Making of
Modernity, 1650-1750 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 230ff.
10 Raymond Klibansky, The Continuity of rile Platonic Trodition During the
Middle Ages; togerh" with. Plato! Parmenides in the Middle Agts tlnd the
Renaissance (New York: Kraus, 1981),312.
Foreword: The Legacy of the Parmenides xiii
West, such as in John Scat Eriugena. However, it was powerFully revived
through the translation of Proclus' Parmenides Commentary and his
Elements o/Tbeology into Latin. Meister Eckhart asserted confidently
that being is founded and made possible by unity. Klibansky observes,
"For the tradition stretching from Eckhart to Hegel [he Parmenides and
its Neoplatonic descendants seemed welcome allies in their struggle
against the fetters imposed on rational thought by the principle of
contradiction."11 Yet this was not just the case in Germany. Samuel
Taylor Coleridge said, "Plato's works are preparatory exercises of the
mind. He leads the mind to see that contradictory propositions are each
true-which therefore must belong to a higher Logic-that oFIdeas.
They are contradictory only in the Aristotelian Logic."u In another
passage, Coleridge remarked, "Plato discovered the insufficiency of
the Understanding indirectly, by contradictions." I; Paul Shorey diag-
nosed this version of dialectic leading to the coincidentia opposito",m
as contaminating the great Victorian translator of Plato into Engli sh,
Benjamin Jowett. "This Coleridgean poison," he thundered, "has been
widely diffused by Jowett, who attributes to Plato a Hegelian Logic of
the fueure-which is the polar antithesis of the true Platonic dialec-
tic . . .. The higher logic is to philosophy what the higher law is to a
criminal court-an evasion of responsibility."14
Yet if the Parmenides and its Neoplatonic descendants permeated
the mind of much of the nineteenth century, a powerful reaction set
in. Nietzsche's dionysiac Will to Power was the strident assertion of
Becoming over Being. Subsquently Martin Heidegger's diagnosis of
the epochal forgetting of Being could be viewed as a forgetting of the
Parmenidean-henological component of that tradition. His aCCount
of the failure to maintain the "ontological difference," to distinguish
between Sein (Being) and the Sein des Seienden (the being of beings) and
the consequent reificarion of being in the tradition of "ontotheology"
constitutes a procrustean reading of that tradition and an effective mar-
ginalization of the central tenet of the entire Parmenidean-henological
tradition, the NeoplatOnic vision of metaphysics in which the gu lf or
11 R. Klibansky, The COllli,,"ilY of the Platonic Tradition. 329.
12 S. T. Coleridge, Table Talk 11:981 (Princeton: Princeron University Press,
1990), 98.
13 S. T. Coleridge, The Norrbooks V:5495 (Princcron: Princeron University Press,
2002), 5495.
14 Paul Shorey, Platonism. Ancient and Modem (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1938), 224-225. I am grateful to James Vigus for this reference.
XIV Plato's Parmenides
rupture between the One as supreme principle and the being of beings
is decisive.
The period of the third to the sixth century AD, an age of Pia ton ism
as theology and the Parmenides as the key to Platonic theology is
decisive for the Hellenic legacy in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
The closure of the Platonic school in Athens in 529 AD by Justinian
did not, in fact, put an end to the Neoplatonic tradition. Instead, it
thrived within the Christian and Islamic worlds. The translations of
Plotinus and Porphyry by Marius Victorinus formed the basis of the
Platonism of St. Augustine. Philo of Alexandria and St. Augustine are
quite explicit about their debts to the Platonici. The God of Abraham
and Isaac, who told Moses "I am who I am" (Exodus 3.14), was
translated into the Hellenistic milieu as the God of the intelligible
world presiding over the inferior realm of becoming. The battles
between the apologists for the new religion of the Roman Empire,
after Constantine's edict of Milan, and the diehard pagans were often
conflicts between varieties ofPlatonism. Even after the closure of the
Platonic Academy, Platonism continued to exist, albeit in an of ten-
camouflaged form in Christian theology and among the remnants
of the Platonic school in Persian exile. The development of Muslim
philosophy (jalsafo) is of particular note. The great expansion from
the Arab peninsula between 632 and 750 AD was not attended by
any interest in philosophy. Yet with the politically and ideologically
motivated translation activity of the newcomer dynasty, Abbasids,
between 750 and 1050 AD, Platonism exerted a formidable force. The
huge ambition of translating Greek philosophy into Arabic was a way
of asserting (and establish ing) the cultural supremacy ofIslamic culture
over the moribund anti -intellectualism of Byzantine Christianity. The
theology of Aristotle was a central part of this translation process, and
this theology was effectively a paraphrase of Plotinus (205-70 BC).
Islamic thinkers from Kindi (d. 866 AD), to Alfarabi (d. 950 AD), to
Avicenna (d. 1037 AD) were deeply Neoplatonic. The rediscovery of
Aristotle in the West through Islam revealed a markedly Neoplatonic
Stagirite. It was thtough Islamic philosophy that Neoplatonism came
to Jewish philosophers like Maimonides or Solomon ibn Gabirol.
Hence this Parmenidean-Neoplatonic tradition is a vital strand not
only in occidental Christian metaphysics but also within Islam, and
even crossing the sectarian boundaries of Shiite and Sunni Islam. AI
Ghazzali (d. 1111 AD), Suhrwardi (1191 AD), Ibn Arabi (d. 1240 AD),
and Mulla Sudra (d. 1640 AD) all operate within a Neoplatonic scneme
of descending and ascending unity. Talk of the Abrahamic faitns tends
Foreword: The Legacy of the Parmenides xv
to disguise the fact of a common philosophical tradition shared by
Rome and Tehran, Athens, and Cairo."
Plato's Parmenides as Theology
There is a historical reason for the pivotal position of the Pamlenides
within the occidental philosophical tradition, providing a common
intellectual framework for the three great Abrahamic religions. Plotinus,
perhaps the greatest philosopher of the period between Aristotle and
Descarres, saw the Parmenides as the key to Plato's philosophy. This was
established by E. R. Dodds in his classic article, "The Parmenides of
Plato and the Origin of tne Neoplatonic One'." 16 Thus, the Parmenides
becomes a theological text. One could describe the period of thought
commonly designat ed as Neoplatonism (from the third to the sixth
century AD) as disTinguished from the Middle Platonism of the first
and second centuries AD as a paradigm shift from the model of the
Tima,us to that of the Parmenides. This shift corresponds to a move
from Platonism as primarily a philosophy concerned with questions
of cosmology to Platonism as a theology of the transcendent absolute.
Here we find the doctrine of the One itself as a quasi object, as opposed
to the various problems associated with unity and multiplicity. Does it
exist? What is the One? What is its relation to Being? This Parmenidean
theology of Plo tin us is clearly expounded in EmltadV 1, with particu-
lar reference to both the writings of Parmenides and [Q Parmenides as
he is represented in Plato's eponymous dialogue. The "Parmenides in
Plato," Plotinus insists,
distinguishes from each other the first One, which is more
properly called One, and the second which he calls "One-
Many" and the third, "one and many." In this way he too
agrees with the doctrine of the three natures.
Plotinus' reading of the Parmenides was linked to an ambiguity in
the Republic 509 regarding the Good as "beyond Being." Does this mean
that the Good is rhe most distant form, or does it postulate a rupture
between the Good and the forms? Plotinus insisted upon the latter,
15 Ganh Fowden. to Commonwralth: tif Monothtinn in
Latt Antiquity (Princecon: Princecon University Press, 1993).
16 E. R. Dodds, "The PanrunitUs of Plato and the Origin of the Neoplatonic
'One'," Classical Quarterly 22 (1928): 129-142.
XVl Plato's Parmenides
viewing the Good as the transcendent causal source of the realm of
forms and identifying the Good beyond Being with the first hypothesis
of the Parmmides. The metaphysical reading of the Parmmides was not
unique to Plotinus; the Neopythagoreall Moderatus had expounded the
hypotheses as metaphysical truths. The Tiibingen School of Platonic
scholarship has laid emphasis upon those aspects of Neoplatonism
that were among the "unwritten doctrines" of the Academy, notably
the ideas of the One and the indefinite dyad. Yet it was Plminus who
bequeathed the shape of this metaphysical consrrual of the second part
of the Pamlmides for the rest of Antiquity and, to a significant degree,
the shape in which it was interpreted up to Hegel.
Hence. when Plotinus presents the One as ineffable and approach-
able only through negation, he uses the words of Plato's Parmmides
142.A3-4 in Etmead VI 7.41, 37-38 quoting:
Therefore "There is neither discourse nor perception nor
knowledge" because it is impossible to predicate anything
of it as present with it.
The modern reader may find the link between the "Good beyond
Being" of the Rtpublic and the first hypothesis of Plato's Pamlenides
extremely tenuous, bur Plotinus assumed an underlying systematic unity
to Plato's thought revealed by his somewhat imaginative exegeSis. The
second part of Plato's Parmenides was seen as providing an ontology
for the three hypostases of intelligible reality: the One, the One-Many,
and the One and Many. The One, Intellect, and Soul respectively
form descending levels of immaterial being. The ineffable One is the
transcendent principle of all being, with the intellect and the soul
envisaged as concentric circles around the OneY In these lower phases,
nothing is separated from the presence of the One. In the pithy phrase
of Nicholas of eusa, the One is non-other (non aliud).
From Elea to Alexandria
Recent debates about occidemal and oriental culture tend to ignore
an essemial aspect of this formative phase of Western thought: the role
of Alexandria. Nineteemh century German historiography habitu-
ally referred to Neoplatonism as quintessentially "the Alexandrian
Philosophy" (die Alexandrinische Philosophie). Plotinus himself trained
17 Plotinus, Enn,ad V 19.5,30.
Foreword: The Legacy of the Parmenides xvu
in Alexandria, even if he wrote in Rome. Alexandria was a meeting
point of East and West, and it replaced Athens as the cultural center of
the Hellenic world. Many of the leading Neoplatonists were products
of the Hellenic Eastern Mediterranean. Of course, Alexandria, a great
cosmopolitan cemer, was named after Alexander the Great, a pupil
of Aristotle, whose empire included Persia and extended beyond the
Hindu Kush into the Punjab. The view of Brehier that the thought
of Plotinus exhibits a strong Asian (and non-Greek) component in his
philosophy has been largely rejected as fanciful." Sankara, the Indian
Plato, lived some centuries after the death of Plot in us, and we are clearly
not looking at any direct influences.
But Plotinus clearly knew rumors and talcs of Zoroastrians,
Brahmins, and Buddhists and possibly met some. We know from
Porphyry that Plotinus embarked upon an unsuccessful expedition to
learn about the philosophy of the Persians and the Indians. And the
Philosophy of the One, which Plotinus derived from Plato's Parmenides.
provides a genuine analogy with the monism of the Upanishads and
the later system of advaita Vedanta of Sankara. The Vedic poet sings
of the supreme Unity beyond being:
There was not then what is nor what is not. There was no
sky, and no heaven beyond the sky. What power was there?
Where? Who was that power? Was there an abyss offathom-
less waters? There was neither death nor immortality then.
No signs were thete of night or day. The ONE was breathing
by its own power, in infinite peace. Only the ONE was:
there was nOthing beyond. J')
Fromthe ancient songs of the Vedas (1200-1000 BC) to the Sanskrit
Upan ish ads (800-400 BC), the ascent from the many to the One was
expounded with increasing sophistication. Sankara's theory of advaita
(non-dualism) in the eighth century AD is a rigorous philosophical
explication of the more poetic insights from the Vedic scriptures and
Sanskrit spiritual teachings; the structural affinities are temarkable.
Ironically, although the Parmenidean legacy is often attacked as the
18 Emile Brehier, Th. Philosophy uf Plotinus. translated by Joseph Thomas
(ChiclgO: University of Chicago Press, 1958); A. H. Armstrong, "Plotinus
and India." C/assiCdI Qtumerly 30 (1936): 22-28.
19 Rig V,da X.129. Tra n, l.nion by Juan Mascaro in Tb, Upanishads (London:
Penguin. 1965).
XVlll Plato's Parmenides
basis of an aggrandizing philosophy of idenrity (e.g., Adorno), in fact
it has afforded the basis lor real dialogue with the great intellectual
tradition of South Asia. The European" discovery" of Indian monism
in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was prepared for by the
Romantic-idealistic rediscovery of the Eleatic tradition and vigorously
propagated by Herder and F. Schlege!. Perhaps the most significant
fruit of this was the work of Arrhur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who
presented a strident metaphysics of the ideality of the Many and its
source in one cosmic 'Will'. Wagner, Nietzsche, Hermann Hesse,
Thomas Mann, C. J. Jung, Freud and Wittgenstein all were influenced
by Schopenhauer's potent 'Indic' revision of Parmenides.
The enigmatic nature of the world's very existence, being and
becoming, universals and particulars, the problem of human origins and
goals, and the problem of evil and freedom are questions that constitute
our spiritual oxygen. Whether in Athens or Jerusalem, Alexandria or
Tehran, on the banks of the Ganges or the Rhine, wherever the force
of such questions is felt, Plato's Parmenides will continue to wield its
unique sway.
Douglas Hedley
Reader in Hermeneutics and Metaphysics
University of Cambridge, 2009
Preface and Acknowledgements
The origins of this present work came about in a somewhat com-
plicated but fortuitous way. My first encounter with Plato's Parmenides
dialogue predates my abiding fascination with Parmenides of El ea, and
was initially prompted by a few remarks by Hege!. Hoping to better
grasp the finer technicalities in Hegelian dialectic, I consulted the
Parmenides; failing to make sense of it, I fatefully turned to the poem
of the historical Parmenides for further elucidation. The experiences
that followed are best likened to the old adage, "from the frying pan
into the fire." Although exasperation and perplexiry became my stead-
fast companions in ,he search, I was bitten by the bug; I have been
captivated by both works ever since.
I went on to write two books on the Eleatic: To Think Like God, a
juxraposition of the Pythagorean and Parmenidean approaches, and
a yet-to-be-published monograph on Parmenides' Poem called The
Naked Is. The latter has remained unpublished for a reason. I became
convinced early on that the full impact of Parmenides' thought on
philosophy in general (both ancient and modern) had never been
fully documented. To remedy this perceived deficiency, I conceived
of a series of nine books that would begin with the pre-Parmenideans
and end with Wittgenstein, and perhaps modern physics, quantum
theory, and so on. In some sense, I wanted to portray the history of
philosophy-especially its metaphysical, logical, and epistemological
inquiries-as a discussion of Parmenidean (or Eleatic) ideas andlor
their consequences spanning rwo-and-a-half millennia.
The first book of the series was reserved for the M ilesians,
Pythagoras, Xenophanes, and Heraclitus. But certain Archaic poets
who I felt might have influenced Parmenides were also meant to be
included. The Naked Is, on Parmenides' object of inquiry, was planned
as the second installment of the series, followed by a third on the post-
Parmenidean Presocratics, a fourth on the Sophists and early Plato,
xx Plato's Parmenides
and a fifth on Plato's P,lmJellides (including an examination of Plato's
other "Eleatic" dialogues) called Above Beillg. The sixth book was to
address Aristotle's rather thorny relarionship with the Eleatic (and
focus largely on the Metaphysics), followed by the seventh on the Neo-
Pythagoreans and NeoPlawnist" with the eighth and ninth volumes
dedicated to thinkers like Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Berkley, Kant,
Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Meinong, Russell, and Wittgenstein.
As I was finishing the first two volumes, however, WaIter Burker<,
who had reviewed early versions of the manuscriptS, advised me to
merge these for the purpose of contrasting Pythagoras (or rather, the
"Pyrhagoreans") with Parmenides within the same book. I subse-
quently dropped the Milesians, the Poets, and Heraclitus from the
exposition, and also eliminated substantial sections dealing with both
Pythagoras and Parmenides-if only to avoid havi ng the work balloon
to a weighty, BOO-page tome. The removal of a I i ne-by-I i ne interpreta-
tion of Parmenides' Poem-together with some chapters on specific
interpretative issues-necessitated the rearrangement of !he Naked 1s.
Once the resulting work To 7billk Like God was published, I resumed
writing and researching, focusing now on the historical Parmenides and
Plato's Parmenides dialogue side by side. However, I became increasingly
convinced that a number of the available translations of the dialogue
skewed some of the more important issues to one degree or another.
There was a certain amount of inconsistency in regard to terminology,
which, when dealing with such an exceedingly technical work as the
Parmenides, can be an impediment to securing a coherent interpreta-
tion. (Regrettably, Samuel Scolnicov's Plato's Parmenides was not yet
available at the time. Scolnicov's translation of the dialogue is, in my
opinion, remarkably faithful, coherent and clear.)
Around that time I asked Sylvana Chrysakopoulou-in view of
her philological background-to join me in going through the Greek
text of the di alogue line by line and word for word. The project, which
initially started in Athens, Greece, was eventually completed in Pisa,
Italy, under the supervision of Glenn Most of the Scuola Normale
Superiore. The general idea was to bring about a new translation that
could be both accurate and consistent, while still retaining a certain
sense of transparency and accessibility-one that would hopefully
also appeal to the non-specialist. In addition to the translation, my
publisher was interested in bringing out a volume that, for the first
time in decades, would juxtapose the Ancient Greek with the Modern
English as a useful tool for students. I was to prepare a brief introduc-
tion and commentary, without unnecessarily burdening the reader with
Preface and Acknowledgements XXI
an all-too-elaborate exposition of interpretative issues. In contrast, a
more detailed interpretation of the dialogue was to be included in the
upcoming book Above Being.
To write concisely about the Parmmides is the mOSt difficult chal-
lenge I can imagine. It is therefore not surprising that while working
on this abridged introduction and commentary, I became ever more
aware of the necessity of yet another book, one I have tentatively titled
Plato's Eleatic Project, to focus on Plato's Eleatic dialogues. The impetus
for this new project came from my conversations with Mitchell Miller,
who graciously agreed to edit an early version of the introductory essay.
The ensuing back-and-forth discussion forced me to take a sharper look
at some of the issues in question, and I became increasingly convinced
that the Parmenides and the Sophist were complementing each other in
ways not fully explored by scholarship (with the exception perhaps of
works by John Palmer' and, most recently, Charles Kahn'). Moreover,
I wanted to establish both dialogues firmly on the foundation provided
by Parmenides' Poem. I spent the following year working on Plato!
Eleatic Project, while at the same time putting together an improved
introductory essay for the presel\t book-to conform to my current
research. Gerhard Seel was kind enough to examine the updated result
(and his wise suggestions have also helped me with Plato's leatiL" Project).
The Above Being manuscript has nOt been abandoned. I hope to be
able to release it after Plato's Eleatic Project, and to have it substantially
reworked so as to include a historically broader comparative approach
to Eleatic metaphysics and epistemology. J n a sense, Above Being will
offer an abridged version of the original nine-volume series, or at least
tackle the subjects and themes that have remained unaddressed. Does
this mean thar I aim to bring out a total of three different works that
deal with the PamIe1zides dialogue (whether exclusively or in comparison
with other dialogues or works)? Yes, I confess to this intention. The
Parmenides, in my view, is sufficiently rich and inspirational to sustain
not only the aforementioned inquiries but many more to boot. The
rather unique exercises brought to us by the Parmenides have become
pivotal for my understanding of philosophy in general, and I know
that in some way or another I will be dealing with this dialogue for
as long as I live.
I n our translation of the Parmmides, we have focused on the
Greek text of the Harvard Loeb edition, Plato IV. This is also the text
1 Palmer, Platos Reccpuon ofParmrnidn
2 Kahn. Parmtnidfs chapttT (a work in progress on Plato's later dialogues).
XXII Plato's Parmenides
reproduced in this volume. I am grateful to the publishers and the
Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library for rheir permission to reprint it
here. For comparative translations. we have relied principally on Gill.
Plato: Parmenides; R. E. Alien. Plato's Parmenides; Sayre. Parmmides'
Lesson; Cornford. Plato and Parmmides; Turnbull. The Parmenides and
Plato's Late Philosophy; and Scolnicov. Plato's Parmenides. Additionally.
with an eye to interpretative issues. I have depended on Miller. Plato's
Parmenides; Palmer. Plato's Reception of Parmmides; Meinwald. Plato's
Parmenides; Brumbaugh. Plato on the One; Brisson. Platon Parmenide;
Kahn. Essays on Being (as well as a chapter on Parmmides from an
unpublished manuscript on Plato's later dialogues); Koumakis. Platons
Parmenides; Rickless. Plato's Forms in Transition; Guthrie. llu Later
Plato and the Academy (HGPV); Sayre, Plato's Late Ontology; Wundt,
Platons Parmenides; Beets, Gmesis, A Companion to Plato's Parmenides;
Apelt. Untersuchungm ub" dm Parmenides des Plato; and Schudoma,
Platom Parmenides. (For additional works and articles, see the biblio-
graphy.) Unless otherwise specified, all passages and quotes from Plato's
other dialogues are borrowed from Cooper (ed.). Plato: CompUte Works.
Having arrived at the end of this journey. I feel quite humbled and
somewhat relieved, but more than anythi ng else. there is a tremendous
sense of gratitude. The conttibutions to this effort have been legion,
arising in a multitude of forms and from many quarters. For the
rranslation, I am much indebted to Sylvan a Chrysakopoulou for the
almost superhuman effort that was required for this task-the long.
dogged, ten-hour days. months on end, filled equally with desperation
and elation. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to Glenn
Most for his insight, guidance. and patience.
A special thank you is due to Douglas Hedley for his thoughtful
contrihution to this volume. I envisioned an essay focused on the
historical aftermath and influence of the Parmmides, rather than its
metaphysics. serving as an introduction to the translation. As Reader in
Hermeneutics and Metaphysics in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge
University, Douglas is uniquely qualified to write such an introduction.
Mitchell Miller's input has been invaluable. and I have gladly
accepted his corrections and suggestions. Mitchell's understanding
of the Parmmides is profound. and he is always an inspiration. I also
owe a huge debt of gratitude to Gerhard Seel for agreeing to edit the
final draft and for his kind mentoring on critical issues. Gerhard is a
good friend, and we have been d issecti ng various issues related to the
Parmmides for years. We have gone over the whole dialogue line by line
Preface and Acknowledgements XXIII
numerous times-once, even. at the University of Bern, where Gethard's
last class before his retirement was dedicated to the dialogue. Another
time we participated in a reading and discussion of the Parmmides in
Abu Dhabi. United Arab Emirates. I have learned much from Gerhard.
but most of all, I appreciate rhe humor and wit he brings to philosophy.
I am extremely grateful to Charles Kahn, who has generously pro-
vided me with a chapter from his latest work (in progress) on Plato's
later dialogues that gives his own commentary on the Parmmides.
Charles Kahn's summation of the Eight Arguments of the Second
Part of the dialogue is utterly masterful in its clarity and coherence. It
will no doubt represent a milestone in interpretation and I can hardly
wait for its release.
I am thankful to Vassilis Karasmanis for the conversations we have
had about the Parmmides and Plato's arguments, and also for inviting
me to the weekly seminars at the Department of Humanities of the
National Technical University of Athens. I extend the same sense of
gratitude to Katerina letodiakonou for inviting me to atrend her and
Michael Frede's seminars and discussions at the Department of History
and Philosophy of Science of the University of Athens. I have learned a
lot from these experiences, and am particularly grateful to Michael for
opening my eyes regarding a few related issues in the Sophist, which.
as I found Out, could also be used to resolve certain difficulties in the
Parmenides. I also want to thank George Karamanolis. whose sugges-
tions on specific issues regarding the Greek text have been vety helpful.
I would like to state my appreciation to the following scholars:
Costas Macris for his occasional input regarding the translation, and
Spyros Rangos, who made me aware of the similarities found between
several key passages in the dialogue and formulations used by Gorgias.
I should also mention how helpful I found discussions with Russell
Re Manning, David Leech. Russell Hillier, Geoffrey Dumbreck,
and Elizabeth Disley. all of whom had come to Athens for a summer
workshop on the Pannmid" that was co-organized and sponsored
by Cambridge (in coordination with Douglas Hedley) and the Hyele
Above all, I am most obliged and grateful to my wife. Sara Hermann,
the publisher of Par men ides Publishing, for her advice. encouragement,
understanding, and spiritual and material support-not to mention
her unending patience and persistence. This work would simply not
exist without Sara.
A heartfelt thank you is reserved for my assistanrs, Barbara Meier,
Laura Dobler and Petia Prisadnikova, for their long hours. their constant
XXIV Plato's Parmenides
availability, and their help in general. J very much appreciare the
unceasing support provided by rhe staff of Parmenides Publishing,
particularly that ofEliza Turellier (who is an excellenr managing edi-
tor), Gale Care, Susanne Waldburger, Derryl Rice, Karen Succi, Jeff
Crouse, and Christie Stark. I really appreciate the hard work pur in by
my copyeditors, Jennifer Morgan and Deborah Nash.
Last but not least, I want to express my gratitude to the following
Starcom staff for their dedication and commitmenr: Stefan Schrott,
Mats Scholz, Regula Surer, Reno Schiin, Denise Senn. Cornelia Frieden.
Jutta Geisenberger, Claudia Schiin. Claudia Zanvit, Moni Sauerteig,
Sandro Hodosy, Tom Karaiskos, Simon Viigele . . . and Zoe; and also
to Meagann Parson for her insatiable questions.
P.S.: Thanks, Plato, for keeping me really busy.
Arnold Hermann
Athens. Greece, 2010
The motivation for the presenr translation came from Arnold
Hermann's desire to provide readers of his forthcoming book, Plato"s
Eltatic Project. with a new reading of the dialogue from an Eleatic
viewpoinr. Our shared interest in Parmenidean thought, irs origins and
reception, was a primary reason for our collaboration, and I thank him
for this unique opportunity. I worked under the insightful supervision of
Professor Glenn W. Most. thanks to whom I received my post-doctoral
scholarship from rhe Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa for the academic
year 2005-2006. I also owe special thanks to my colleague George
Karamanolis, whose perri nem remarks on the translation have proven
helpful. Last but nOt least. I am grateful to my friend, Douglas Hedley.
whose inspiring Foreword provides a new perspective on rhe reading
of Plato's Parmenides, by tracing its legacy throughout history. from
its origins in Ancienr Greece all the way inro our times.
Dr. Sylvana Chrysakopoulou
Researcher at the Hellenic Parliament Foundation
Athens, Greece. 2007
The Uniqueness
of the Parmenides Dialogue
Can che very same (hing be boch known and unknown, be boch
nameable and unnameable, have shape and be shapeless, be in motion
and ac resc, and be neicher in motion nor at resr; indeed, borh be and
not be? Questions like these beset the student of Plato's Parmmides,
regardless of how well acquainted he or she might otherwise be with
the rest of the Platonic corpus. Plato himself quite tellingly frames the
excent of our predicament when he lets his protagonist, Parmenides
of Elea, admit that only an ingenious person can cope wich notions
such as na being itself by itself." or chat someone even more remarkable
is needed to teach it to others-and can succeed only if these orhers
are already proficient in handling these kind of difficulties (135b). As
Plato further reveals, a "dangerous and vast sea of arguments" must
be negotiated if one is to comprehend all the possible ramifications of
fundamental issues and achieve true insighc (136e-137a).
Sure enough. the attempt to follow the deductions thac make up
said "vast sea of arguments" of me so-called Second Part of the dialogue
(137c-166c) can be a vexing experience. Often, just when we think we
have grasped something concrete or believe we are keeping track of a
particular line of reasoning, the very next sentence will turn everything
on its head, demolishing our tenuous confidence and forcing us to
realize that we have grasped nothing.
Acguably, no orher philosophical treatise has had quite the capacicy
of the Parmenides to make its reader feel so hopelessly lost, confused,
and, indeed, witless. The work is avoided, and at times feared, by even
the most seasoned among scholars. Nonetheless, as shown by Douglas
Hedley's Foreword to this present translation, the Parmenides is one
of the most influential works on record, its Significance reaching far
beyond the austere halls of philosophical inquiry. The catechismal
4 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
snucture, together with some of its debatable conclusions, has found
its way into a variety of theologies.' Viewed by many as a rigorous dia-
lectical exercise it has become a model for similar subsequent efforts in
some ways heralding the so-called scientific approach. Its themes have
become timeless, preoccupying generations of thinkers; topics such as
the One and Many ptoblem, or the proper understanding of Being, or
the nature of abstracts versus physical things, or what the prerequisites
are for something to be known or understood.
The biggest riddle of the Pl1rmenides is how to make sense of it from
a modern perspective.' [s it a methodological exercise? A model of self-
criticism and retrospection? A profound metaphysical exploration of
mystical proportions, even "the greatest work of art in philosophy""
Or something else altogether-a riddle without answer, a practical
joke even, played by Plato on his students? A satirical jab at philosophi-
cal argumentation gone mad?' In the past twO centuries, all of these
positions have been argued for by scholars, adding to the difficulty of
making sense of the work. Such disagreements appear strange from the
point of view of antiquity. The Pl1rmenides dialogue was not judged
by the old commentators as being somehow outside of Plato's body of
work, and least of all was it considered to be antagonistic to one of his
main teachings, the Theory of Forms."
Most modern scholars, however, have come IQ characterize the
Pl1rmenides as a self-critical work. Many think it represents a watershed
It is hard to imagine the emergence of Negative Theology in Western culture
and religion without the resulrs of Argument 1. See also Reynard. "The
Influence of Plato's Parmtnides upon the Cappadocian Fathers" ; Runia, "Early
Alexandrian Theology and Plaro's Parmmidd'; Edwards, "Christians and
the Pannmid(s."
2 Speiser. Ein Parmtnitkskommtntar, 5: "[Parmtnid.sl can be called the beauti-
ful prelude to Western philosophy."
3 See Annas, "What Ace Plato's 'Middle' Dialogues in the Middle OP." 13.
4 Liebrucks. "Zur Dialekdk des Einen und Seienden in Plarons Parmmid(s,"
5 According to Taylor. Plato is satirizing the Megarians (7h( Parmenides of Plato,
10-12. 128; Plato. th. Man and His Work. 351); Fry. considers the dialogue
a joke (Plato, 28); Burnet, Gruk Philosophy I, 253-270. See Koumakis
for an exhaustive survey of the various categories of interpretation (Plato1"
Parmenides, 23-32).
6 The ancient commentarors seem to have had a more uniform view ofPlato's
work. See Annas. "What Are Plato's 'Middle' Dialogues in the Middle
Of?" 13.
The Uniqueness of the Parmenides Dialogue 5
moment, forcing Plato ro either overhaul his Theory of Forms or
demote it to a rank oflesser importance, or even to discard it altogether
in favor of newer approaches.' These positions belong to what has
come to be called the Developmentalist View. This general take on
Plato'S work takes notice of doctrinal differences among his dialogues
and accounts for these as indications of Plato's own philosophical
development, spanning as much as five decades.' Much effort has
been spent organizing the various dialogues on chronological lines,
giving us today's Early, Middle, and Late classifications. It appears
that, presently, the majority of scholars belong to the Developmentalist
group in one form or another.
By contrast, those who di sagree with the above view are called
Unitarians. Taking a substantially more unified pOSition on Plato's
teachings, this group has sought to isolare a single, internally coherent
philosophy spanning all of Plato's work. Scholars who suppOrt this posi-
tion don't accept the chronological distincdons as binding dogma. They
also reject the pOSSibility that Plato may have been forced to carry Out
dramatic changes in his work, or that he rescinded entire pordons of it.'
Of the Unitarians who have commented on the Pl1rmenides, the more
radical among them have opted to find fault with its arguments rather
than with the Theory of Forms, and they have been more inclined to
7 Burnet notes (incorrectly) chac the Forms are not mentioned after the
Parmmid(s. except once in the Tima(us; thus, he thinks that Plato abandons
the Theory of Forms (Gruk PhiloJophy l. 155). See also Ryle for asimilar take
(Platos Parmenides. 132-135). Owcn enumerates substantial changes in the
Theory of Forms. suggesting that the Parm(nid(s (together with 7heflt'fftus)
represems a fresh stare fat Plato. He also maintains that the Parm(nidn
exposed fallacies in the Theory still perpetuated by the Middle Dialogues
("TIlC PJace of the rima/us in Pl aw's dialogues," 337). Bostock states, "The
late dialogues OpCIl with a recognition that someching has gone wrong. In the
first part of the Pflrmenidcs PlatO shows himself aware that [he (heory of forms
is not after all the panacea for all problems, but involves serious difficulrit',<;
ofirs own. This is a severe blow to all [he great theories of the middle period,
and it appears that everything is now back in the melting-pm again" (Plllfos
TheaetelUs, 13-14).
8 For a useful exposition of [he various views. including [he distinction between
Devdopmc:: malist and Unitarian, sec Brickhouse and Smith, "Plato," Th(
Inurn" Encycloptdia of PhdoJoph)'.
9 Noteworchy Unitarians tnday (or at least skeprics of a dogmatic chronology)
include Kahn. Plato and , he Socratic Dialogue; Cooper, Plato: Compltte
Works, xii-xviii; and Annas ..... What Are Plato's 'Middle' Dialogues in the
Middle OP."
6 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
dismiss the dialogue itself as a negligible or frivolous exercise.1O However,
this particular reading, while still widely popular in the early part of
the 20th century, is largely disappearing, giving way to a consensus,
upheld even by latter-day Unitarians, that accepts the Parmenid.s as a
serious philosophical exercise worth paying accention to. Hence, mday,
most scholars seem m accept the dialogue as a critical investigation of
Plato's Theory of Forms, in spite of the fact that almost everyone has
a different take on its outcome."
We do not know why Plato alternated between approaches, pi ck-
ing one for a particular task and retiring it in turn for anorher, only m
resurrect it again for a different purpose; we can only guess. To a great
extent, the Platonic dialogues function as demonstrations." Perhaps
Plato meant to show us that there are a variety of ways of approaching
problems that deal with intelligible things. As the Pt/rmenides attests,
even the proficiency of the audience, or its size, can be factors that
influence one's choice of method (135b, 136d, 137a).
Considering the profundity and timelessness of its themes, it is
safe to say that the Parmenides represents a significant, unparalleled
contribution to general philosophy and an equally significant landmark
in Plato's overall approach.
10 C Cherojss, "The Re!a<ion of the Timaeus co Placo's Later Dialogues,"
373-375; Shorey, The Unity ofPlato's Thought, 36 (162), 58 (184). Chemiss
and Shorey uphold [hat Placo did noc improve or alcer his Theory of Forms;
the arguments of the are ponrayed as intentionally deficiem, and
not to be taken seriously.
11 My own position is one of a cautious Developmemalist who has remained
uneasy with the given chronological distinctions, particularly if they are used
to sciRe certain themat ic or merhodological comparisons.
12 Gerhard See! has brough[ CO my accemion [hac the claim "the dialogues
function as demonstrations" seems somewhat questionable, pointing Out thac
the early dialogues are considered elenchic, and to what degree the middle
and later dialogues funcdon as demonstrations is rather disputed. With this
caveat, I will hold on to my claim, extending the definition of
tions if we must. Plato, in my view, as a student of both the Eleatics and the
Pythagoreans. is clearly seeking to reproduce a probative approach-noc unlike
[he one claimed to be reserved for (he Mathemacikoi. in Pythagoras' case. or
[he kind of methodological argumentation which distinguishes Eleaticism.
from, lee's say. Heraclicus.
Format, Setting, Characters,
Timeline, and Motive
The Parmmides dialogue is made up of two parrs of unequal length.
The shorter First Part stretches from 126a to 137c (Stephanus pages);
the Second Part picks up at 137c and concludes at 166c. In the First
Part, rhe main interlocurors are Socrates and Parmenides of El ea, with a
brief exchange between Socrates and Zeno of El ea near the beginning;
in the Second Parr, the dialogue takes place strictly between Parmenides
and the youngest attendant, Arisroteles (nor the philosopher).
Placo presents the dialogue as related to us by Cephalus of
omenae, who is otherwise unknown," as is Cephalus' intended
audience. Some scholars have made much of the fact that C1azomenae
is also the place of origin of Anaxagoras, the known Presocratic thinker.
The speculation is that Plato introduces a fictional Clazomenaen as
a plot device ro bring to mind Anaxagoras' teachings." However, the
Parmenides is not geared as a distinctive response to Anaxagoras, nor
are Anaxagoras' ideas given special consideration by its author. As noth-
ing more substantial than the conjecture itself is ever offered, there is
nothing to add to this quesrionable theory.
Cephalus claims to have heard the dialogue from Antiphon, who
had learned it by heart as a young man, having heard it in turn from
13 Bu[ see also Miller (Plato; Parmenides, 18-25), who connects [he Cephalus
of the Pannmid" co [he Cephalus of the Republit as one of the links between
the two dialogues. Compare also Thesleft who makes similar connections
(cf. Platonit Patterns. 306).
14 Brumbaugh, Plato on the One, 14,28-29, 51; Miller, Plato's Parmenides,
26-28. Sayre regards this cheory as dubious. but he recognizes a certain
symbolism here, chinking that Pl ato links these two journeys, one from
Elea and the other from Clazornena<::,. to create an impression of a significam
philosophical encouncer (Pannenides'Lesson. 58).
8 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Pythodorus, an acquaintance of Zeno, who was historically deemed
as Parmenides' closest pupil. According to Pythodorus, the meet-
ing took place at his home in Keramikos, not far from the Agora, or
marketplace, a quarter otherwise known for its pottery workshops
and ancient cemetery, as well as for harboring the Holy Gate on the
Sacred Road to Eleusis. The occasion is marked by a reading ofZeno's
book, a controversial work that the author, we are told, had brought
to Athens for the first time. Age differences seem to be a factor in
Plato's account thus, the ages of the principle interlocutors are pre-
served as follows: Parmenides around sixty-five; Zeno approaching
forty; Socrates "very young" (he was likely in his early twenties); and
Aristoteles "the youngest," probably still a teenager. This information,
and the fact that the Eleatics were visiting Attica for the purpose of
the Great Panathenian Games (held every four years ftom the end of
July to mid-August), allows us to pinpoint the date of this gathering
fairly accurately as 450 BC.
The most difficult date to reconstruct is the date of the dialogue's
composition. Researchers cannot even agree whether it was written in
one piece. Some have speculated that the First and Second Parrs were
composed at different times, perhaps even years or decades aparr."
A tentative accord has emerged in recent interpretation that places it
after 370-365 BC, thus setting the work among the earlier of the late
dialogues.!' Without a doubt, the dialogue is a later work, yet how late,
or in what order its parts were written with respect to other dialogues,
remains the sruff of conjecture.
A Meeting Between Parmenides and Socrates: Fact or Fiction?
We have no way of knowing whether Parmenides and Socrates ever
met as depicted in the Parmenides, although Plato made additional,
if very cursory, references ro such an encounter in the Sophist and the
Some scholars take this as an indication that the Parmmides
15 Noted also by Lee, Zmo ofEI<a. 5.
16 Cf. Allen, PlatO, Parmenides, 72-74; Nails, Tb< People of Plato, 309.
17 See Ryle. Platos Progress, 288-291; Sayre, Parmenidcs' Lmon, xi, and Plato,
La" Onrology, 16,256-267 (Appendix B); and Ledger, R<-Counting Plato,
for further disc. ussions of this issue.
18 See Thcslelf, Platonic Paturru, 382.
19 Sophist, 217c; 7/"a<l<lUJ, 183e.
Format, Setting, Characters, TImeline, and Motive 9
was written before these dialogues.'" Yet, in themselves, passing refer-
ences such as these do not prove very much." If the encounter was
indeed a historical reality, it could have been common knowl edge in
the Academy. Consequently, references to the meedng could have
made their way into the Theaetetus and Sophist not as a refl ecri on of the
Parmmides but as a statement of some information or opinion that was
common to all." Thus, although many have tried to resolve the issue,
it is impossible to tell on this basis how these particular dialogues stand
in a chronological relationship with each other.'; This is especially dif-
ficult in regard to the Parmenides and the Sophist. Conventionally, the
Sophist is taken to be rhe later of the two, partially due to the reason
stated above, and also because of its critical treatment of the issue of
Not-Being, commonly considered by many as a more accomplished
approach than the one offered in the Parmenides. Indeed, Plato's pred-
icative approach to the question of Not-Being, as opposed to a strictly
existenti al and thus "Elearic" take,24 is generally valued as an innovative
and well-timed contribution to philosophical discourse.
20 Cr. Ryle, Platos Progms, 289; Frede, D. Comments on Julia Annas," N<w
Pmp.ctiv" on Plato, 35n8. But see also Thcsle/f, Platonic Paturns, 304jf
2l For example, I disagree with Thesleff's approach CO the problem, which in
my view perfectly exemplifies the before Sophist" view based
solely on the fact that the Parmenidcs-Socrates meeting is also recoumed in
the Sophist. With this read. the possibility that it may be a historical reality is
fully discounted, that we view Plato's reference to it as nothing
more than a dramatic device. However, Plato may have simply offered a fact
that was well known ro the other members of [he Academy. To do justice [0
Thesleff. I reproduce here his exact words: "For ooce, in addition
[0 the various allusions in the Sophist, the almost explicit reference co che lacer
pan of in Sophist 217c where Socrates asks the Elean Suanger
whether he prefers to give a continuous lecture (cf. or to use a
tioning method such as Parmenides once used 'when I was present as a young
man, and he was very old'" (Platonic Patt<rm, 343). Again, this ignores the
possibility that Socrates may have actually witnessed such a demonstration
(not. of course, about the Forms) regardless of whether Plato opted (Q also
use it in the Parmrnidrs. IfPlaro had "invented" the '\Iuest iollil lg" method,
why would he have Socrates anribure it co Parmenicles in the Sophisf, and (Q
Zeno in the
22 Sce Ryle, Platos l'rogms, 289-290, who also toys with this possibility.
23 My view is restricted to COntent, and not based on stylometric or linguistic
compa risons. But see Kahn's exposition of the various possibilities
ing Campbdl 's results) that have been explored regardi ng the
("On Platonic Chronology:' N<w Pmp.ctiv" on Plato, 93-108, 126-127).
24 "Existential" only according to Plato's apparent take on Parmenides in the
Sophist. not ac('ordillg to my interpretation of the Eleatic; cl. To 7hink [jJu God.
10 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
But the historical Parmenides was not as strictly existential-and
thus, not as exhaustively non-predicative in his use of QUX <O"!:LV (Not-
Being, literally "is not,")"-as most modern readers would like him
to be.'" Nor is there sufficient indication that Plato actually thought
that he was, but only that he held the Sophistic movement responsible
for illegitimately appropriating and thus distorting the old Eleatic.27
Because I can come up with an equal amoum of arguments for the
chronological precedence of either dialogue, I have opted to think of
them as composed around the same time. But this, like everything else
we can say about the matter-including any other thematic studies
or linguistic comparisons that have been conducted on the subjects,
stylometric or otherwise-is speculation." No approach is conclusive
enough to be deemed fully reliable.
One thing, however, seems beyond dispute: if a meeting between
the Eleatics and Socrates did in fact take place, the discussion could
not have been about the Theory of Forms, which had not yet seen the
light of day. (It would be another twenty-five years or so until Plato
would be born.
) Indeed, Plato offers us a fictional account only of the
subject discussed-an importam derail that would not have escaped
his audience. This does not necessarily imply that the meeting itself
should be taken as fiction." Even Pericles (495-429 BC), the leading
Athenian statesman at the time, reportedly attended such a reading
25 Cf. Hermann. "Parricide Or Heir? Plato's Uncertain Relationship To
26 Even Plato's observations in the Sophist-the source of the exisrential. oon-
predicative take on Parmenides' Nm-Being-have a measured. tentative [One,
which occasionally goes out of its way not to stir up an unjust impression of
the Eleatic.
27 Palmer suggests that the Sophist aims to dissociate Parmenides from
some SophiSts or eris[ics who hijacked his teachings (Platoi Rtuption of
Parmmidu, 16).
28 However, cake note of Kahn's cataloging of these issues ("On Platonic
Chronology," New Perspectives on Pinto. 93-127). No less important i,
Griswold's response (,'Comments on Kahn," Ntw PtrsptctivtI on Plato,
\29-141). I find my,elf rather attracted to Gri,wold', words of caution in
respect to obsessions with chronology, which might prevent us from
ing Plato's philo,ophical ingenuity and uniqueness (137, 139) or m"'Ing the
import of the dialogues' fierive chronology (1 41). See al,o Thesleff's exhaustive
treatment of the issue (Platonic Patttrns, 213jf.).
29 I have no reason to assume that the Theory of Forms. as we know it, is not
Plato's own. At any rate. around the date of the alleged encounter, Socrates
was far toO young to have done any sort of "preliminary" work on the subject.
30 Al,o AlIen, Plato; Parmenides, 74.
Format, Setting, Characters, Timeline, and Motive 11
by Zeno, but whether this took place around the same time cannot
be determined." If the account is reliable, it is at best a separate con-
firmation that Zeno gave one or more public lectures, conceivably in
Athens, a distant 1,000 km by boat from his Eleatic home in southern
Italy, at an unspecified time. We certainly cannot infer from this that
the great Athenian statesman was one of the two unnamed attendees
(of a total of seven) placed by Plato at the event in question" (129d),
although the idea is naturally tempti ng.;;
As for the secondary characters of the dialogue, it is difficult to
second-guess Plato's intentions for choosing these identities over others.
Based on actual people, whose inclusion may suggest some historical
significance that eludes us, the characters themselves do not appear
indispensable for the dialogue's contents or aim, at least from our per-
spective. Yet the names of Pythodorus (. wealthy aristocrat and senior
general in the Sicilian campaign), Aristoteies (a prominent politician
and future member of the infamous "Thirty Tyrants," whose bloody
rule terrorized Athens), and Antiphon (Plato's half-brother), must have
all been well known to Plato's intended audience. Perhaps using these
characters allowed Plato to create an aura of plausibility or authenticity
for the events he describes, if nor for what actually transpired between
the interlocutors-provided, of course, rhat rhere was a historical basis
for such an encounter.
A Question of Motive
Why did Plato choose a young, inexperienced, and cocky Socrates
to defend what are arguably his most important teachings? And why
did Plato elect such a "reverend and awe-inspiring figure"." as the
inscrutable Parmenides to be the dialogue's namesake and lead, if only
to have him demolish, according to some, rhe shaky beliefs of young
31 Plutacch, "Pericle,," Livu. IV. 3. Cf. Bowra, Peric/,an Ath,m, 69-70.
32 Was one of the unnamed parricipants Callias. son of Calliades, mentioned
together with Pythodoru, in Akibiad<s, See Ostwald, From Popular
SOVl'rt'ignty , 313.
33 It would make more obvious one racher carefully concealed aspect of the
dialogue, namely the political. After all, four of the five main characters the
dialogue names have eventually suffered severe pl' rsccurion, or even death.
due to their involvement in politics. A likely volu ntary involvement we can
establish in the cases of Zeno. Pychodorus and Aristoteles, as opposed to
Socrates. whose involvement, by :111 accountS, was involuntary.
34 Plato, 7h'detftus, 1830.
12 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Socrates-particularly if these beliefs were a true tepresentation of Plato's
ideas? These aspects have been considered a ploy, perhaps the first acr In
some grand scheme spanning other dialogues," that eventually would
allow Plaro to turn the tables on "father" Parmenides by punching holes
in rhe Eleatic's own theories. such as his claims regarding Being and
Not-Being.'6 Thus Plato's Sophist, which some of these issues,
is often considered rhe answer to the Pannmides." But why would Plato
seek to sertie scores with himself? Parmenides was long gone before
Plato was born. and the Eleatic's work, a hexameter Poem containing
the principal teachings, did not pose much of a threat. Indeed, Plato
borrows from the Eleatic mind-set as much as he can and, as confirmed
by other dialogues. remains unwavering in his high regard for the elder
thinker. Moreover, I see no reason for holding Plato culpable for the
infamous "parricide" alluded to in his Sophist, which has captured the
35 Taylor supposes that Plato's Theory of Forms, as in was
subjected to unfair attacks by an "El('.uil.: quarter," which he
the Megarians. and that Plato t hought of paying them back by sanflzlOg
rheir 'spirirual farher" (Th, Parmcnides ofPlatn. 10-12, 128; cf. also Plato,
tl" Man and his Work). See also Burnet, GruR Philosophy I, 253-270, and
above all, cf. Koumakis for a listing of anti-Eleatic interpretations (Platom
Parmenides, 25). My take is more along the lines ofRyle, "Plato's Parmmid,,";
Beck, "Plato's Probkm in the Parmmidd'; Gill, Plato: Parmenides (generally
as to Plato's motive, but I reject her claim that the overall conclusion of the
Arguments is a false one [po 106 on 166c]);
(again on motive, but I disagree that Placo murdered the Elcanc lO the
Sophist and that the weapon was readied in the Parmmid" [8]); !ood,
Troubling Play (but I disagree with the proposal that the di alogue IS an IroniC
comedy" [1B]); and Rickless, Forms in Transition. One of the best
works on the Parmmida is Palmer. Platos Racplion ofParmmidn (however.
1 have some issues with his read of [he historical Parmenides). Noccwonhy is
Miller, PlatO! Parmenides, which Is very deep and continues to give much
food for thought.
36 Cf. Tarlor, 1h, Parmenides of Plato, 10-11; Guthrie, A History ofGruk
Philosophy (HGP) V, 135, 152-154; Cornford to a certain degree, Plato and
PannmidtS. 106, 115, and throughout.
37 Cordero. G" "El dialogo Parminidts dentro de la sistemadzacion filos6fica
de Platon"; Chroust, "The Problem of Plato's Parmmid"." Guthrie supposes
that "to defeat the Sophist Parmenides himself must be called in question"
(HGPV, 136); see also Cornford, Plato and Pannmid". 240, 241-243, on
Parmenides' purporr cd limitations. For a thorough exploration of the issues.
see Wiggins, Meaning. Negation. and Plam's Problem of
Being." Cr. also Ambuel, Imag' and Paradigm in Sophist, xiv-xv, 4,
Format, Setting, Characters, Timeline, and Motive 13
imagination of an earlier generation of scholars:" Only a very narrow
reading of both the Sophist and the Poem of Parmcnides can tempt us
to think that Plato has grounds, much less motive, to take issue with
the Eleatic's claims, particularly with those that describe our inability
to intellectually grasp or convey "Not-Being."" But aside from the fact
that this is not the Achilles' heel in Parmenides' Poem" (and we have no
indication that Plato thought that it was), there are no real justifications
to project a tit-for-tat sort of approach upon the Parmmides dialogue.
In my opinion, Plato and Parmenides are far more in agreement on the
subject of Not-Being than conventionally thoughr."
38 Plato, Sophist, 241d. See, for example, Guthrie, HGPV, 56, 123, 135-136;
also the more modern Turnbull, ?he Parmenides and Platos Lau
139. and Scolnicov, Platos Parmenides. 8. Comra: Palmer thinks the Sophhls
aim is to save Parmenides from improper Sophistic appropriation (Plmo's
Rtuption ofParmmitus. 16), er. also Hermann. "Parricide Or Heir? Plato's
Uncertain Rd ationship To Parmenides."
39 ParmeDides, OK 2BB2.S-8, B6.J-2, B7.1-2, B8.8-9, BB.17. Plato, Sophist.
241d, 256e-259a, 260a-261a.
40 This I have argued more exhaustively elsewhere (To 77Jink Like God: also in
"Parmenides' Melhodology: The Unity of Formula" and "Negative Proof
and Circular Reasoni ng"). The gist is that Parmenidcs allows Nor-Being
to be as a name in Mortal naming: "Which is why it has been
named <l !I things, that morrals have esrablished, pcrslladtd that they are
true: 'coming-ta-be' and 'passing-away', '[0 be' and 'not rro be]', 'to change
place', and 'to alter bright color' (B8 . .>H- 41, reading onomastai)." With this,
ParOlcll ides sidesteps (he common criticism rhat while claiming that speaking
ofNoc-Being is impossible because there is no object co be expressed (B2.7-8,
6.1-2,7.1-2. 8.17), he unwiningly objectifies Not-Being by about
it. (See Plato, Sophist. 241d, 257h- c. 25Bb-2S9b; also demomtla{cd in the
Parmmid", 160d-e, 162a. Similarly, Gorgias, OK B2B3.) Obviously, if the
"IS" is all there is, it must serve as the object of naming, even if the name
used is "nor-being." So when Monals say "'[0 be" or "nor [0 be." chey are
unaware chat in both cases they have no choin' but to point [0 the "IS." Also,
IS NOT has no simata. so if simata are used, we must be pointing either to
Being, jf the simata are homogeneous (see B8.3-6), or (0 Light and Night
in the Ooxa, which have hererogeneous simata (BB.SS-59). "IS NOT's" Jack
of simara absolves Parmenides of se1fcontradiction. But compare also the
general discussion of expressing "what is nor" or "nor-being" in Woodbury,
"Parmf' nicies on Names," "Parmenides on Naming by Mortal Men"; Furth,
"Elements of Eleatic Ontology."
41 Contra Cornford, for whom the Second Parr is a refutation of Eleaticism
(Plato and Parmmid", 106, 110, 115 passim). However, Cornford speculates
that Plato's real rCl l get is Parmenides' Monism (which begs (he question).
42 Cf. Hermann. " Parrtc. ide Or Heir? Plaw"s Uncertain Relationship To
Parmenides" and the forthcoming Plato's Eleatic Prajtct.
[4 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Moreover, it is Placo himself who seems co be putting his signature
Theory of Forms on trial. If this impression is accurate, the act alone
would elevate Placo well beyond the realm of the common philosopher,
marking him not only as terrifically courageous and sincere, but also
as a man without ego. Arguably driven by a selfless pursuit of truth,
Placo appears unworried that his carefully constructed demonstrations
may expose fatal flaws within his own theories. Indeed, he seems
determined co unmask as many such flaws as possible, even ifhis life's
work is in danger of becoming somewhat damaged in the process. Or
so conventional wisdom tells us. But is this the whole picture? The
dialogue's apparent impenetrability invites a few rroubling questions.
Why did Plato write the Parmenides in the first place? Who was hIS
intended audience? Why would he attempt to deconstruct a theory
that constituted the heart of his teaching?
A Challenge ofthe Theory of Forms?
To attempt to answer the above questions as objectively as possible,
we need to first dispel suggestions that deem the Pannmides as some
sort of devious Eleatic attack of the Theory of Forms:' and second, do
away with the idea that the Forms themselves were the target. Perhaps
the initially combative tone of young Socrates, which soon gives way
co increasingly defensive remarks, makes us think that the veracity
of Plato's ideas are somehow the issue. But let us compare what the
dialogue's Parmenides eventually concludes about the Forms-" if
someone ... will not concede that there are Forms ... he will destroy
the power of discourse" (135b-c)-with what the Eleatic says about
Socrates: "you are trying to define prematurely ... each one of the
Forms, before you are properly trained" (135c). Clearly, Parmenides
has not the Forms in his sights but young Socrates' rather amateurish
grasp of the copic," possibly made worse by his patronizing and self-
congratulatory attitude. If Plato conceived the Parmenides as a defense
of the Forms, then one aim could have been co shield them against a
crude, simplistic, and perhaps romanticized take on the subject." Plato
43 We have no grounds for accepting Taylor's comemion that Plato is paying
back the "Eleatic" Megarians for their purported attacks on the Theory of
Forms as preserved in ,he Phado (The Parmenides ofP"'to, 10-12, 111, 128).
44 Cf. Alien, Plato; Parmenides, Ill; Gill, P"',o; Parmenides, 2, 50.
45 An attitude perhaps encouraged by an earlier, less thought-out Theory of'
Forms, like ,he one offered, for example, in Phaedo (see Cornford, Pla,o and
P,zrmmidt!, 70, 100-101).
Format, Setting, Characters, Timeline, and Motive 15
may have had in mind certain naIve misreadings of his Theory of Forms,
prevalent among some of his pupils. Perhaps in using young Socrates,
Plato gives us a glimpse of such a student-passionate, outspoken,
even impudent at times, but also a bit blue-eyed, disposed occasionally
co oversimplification. It has been argued that Socrates' defense of the
Forms is su bpar and that Placo would have been equipped with better
means to safeguard his Theory against Parmenides' probing than the
arguments he provided for Socrates.'
However, as demonstrated by the Second Part of the dialogue, there is
far more at stake here than averting oversimplification and flippancy. On
a nuts-and-bolts level, the Theory of Forms seems to have undergone some
considerable growth and sophistication."lt may even have matured CO a
point that it could be subjected to the severest of tests, and the Pamzenides
appears CO be the venue Plato finds most suitable for carrying out such a
weighty and elaborate procedure. What better way to test your theories
than to expose them to the best and mOst widely accepted beliefs of your
forerunners and peers? What better candidate than the father of disproof,
Parmenides, co carry out such scrutiny? But Placo does not openly resist
the teachings of ochers; he quietly incorporates these, thereby submitting
them co the same test of intelligibility and consistency that he applies
co the Forms. He Opts to combine various ideas without having CO risk
singling out who said what to whom, or why-particularly if some of the
more contentious opinions were launched by his detractors. Moreover, it
would also defeat the purpose of an impartial examination of the issues
at hand-which, after all, is a test meant co trace the consequmces of
hypotheses and ideas 035e-136c)-ifhe did not also expose rhe potential
fallibility of their various advocates by emulating, and even co-opring,
their own means. We also find the Second Part functioning as an al most
encyclopedic hodgepodge ofPresocratic ideas.
As we become acquainted with the range of subjects covered by the
dialogue, we may be reminded of the words of Parmenides' mentor,
the unnamed Goddess who plays such a cemral role in his Poem. She
pledged to him that he, Parmenides, would learn all things, both the
well-counded Truth, and the opinions of mortals (BI.29), so that he
46 Cornford, Plato and Parmmidt!, 95; Alien, Plato; Parmenides, 76-77, Ill;
Meinwald, Plato; Parmenides, 9-10; Weingartner, The Unity of'he Platonic
Dialogue, 198.
47 Cr. Ans<:ombe, "The New Theory of Forms," 403, passim; Meinwald, P"',o;
Parmenides, 172; Rickless. Platos Forms in Transition, 4-8, 248-250 passim,
on the "high theory of forms" (although I disagree that the Parmmidcs may
prove rhat Forms are sensible things),
16 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
may not be bested by Mortal Belief(B8.61). In rurn, as the Parmenides
dialogue demonstrates, Plato did not allow himself to be bested by the
varied speculations of his predecessors or peers. To borrow another
phrase from the Eleatic, Plato was no less a "man who knows" than
Parmenides himself (B 1.3).
But PI am's exceptional erudition should not come as a surprise. A
careful srudy of the Parmenides will soon reward the attentive scholar
with a treasure trove of meritorious Presocratic propositions that have
subtly entered Plato's language. To leave these issues unaddressed would
have had dire cosmological and epistemological consequences for any-
one's theories, even Plam's. The works of his precursors had saddled him
with a legacy of restrictions and obligations that had m be responded
to-a liability that must have weighed heavily on Plato's mind. As his
Theory of Forms matured, it seems to have been gradually exposed
to a broader and more discriminating audience. Anyone sufficiently
versed in Eleatic, Heraciitean, Pluralist, Sophistic, and even Socratic
teachings (Antisthenes or Aristippus, for example) would have been
capable of formulating quite pointed questions, perhaps eventually
raising the notion that Plam's ideas were not more than half-baked.
Indeed, the latter is precisely the (wrong) impression one gels when, in
the First Part of the dialogue, young Socrates' gushy adul ation of the
Forms withers away under Parmenides' unrelenting inquiries. Thus,
the subject choices made by Plato are not coincidental. Any serious
investigation of the Forms had to tackle these issues sooner or later.
Sensibles and Intelligibles
Whereas the Republic gives an imagisric discussion of the relation
of participant thing and form and the Sophist and Statesman give
a conceptual discussion of the imerreladons of the forms. the
Pllrmenides alone gives a conceptual discussion of the relation of
participant thing and form.
-Mitchell Miller"
. One larger questions that figures prominently in scholarly
Interpretation IS how to relate the socall ed rwo parrs of the Parmmides
to each other: Are they be seen as complementary, rhar is to say,
are rhe quesnons posed m the First Parr actually addressed or even
resolved in the Second Parr? Or are these parts, perchance, separare
works composed at different times for unrelated purposes,
and only Jomed afterward for some yet-to-be-derermined reason? My
own of the work-and of the commonly available interpreta-
tive srudles rhat have examined it-have left me convinced rhar the
rwo parrs are not only related, but that the Second Parr constitutes
a to illuminate rhe difficulties raised by the First,
provldmg us with some interesring if occasionally unsellling results.
Wc shall rerum to these results at the end of this survey, but first we
should rake stock of rhe issues addressed. The questions that follow
seek m oudine the central difficulries touched upon by the First Parr
of the dialogue (or extrapolated from the conjectures of the Second
Parr)-difficulties that must beset any rheory that seeks to reconcile
rhe sensible with the intelligible:
What is the actual nature of the relationship between things
Ihat are entirely intelligible (like the Forms) and their physical
48 Miller, Plato! Parmenides, 22.
18 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
correspondents?" Is the relation itselflike one or the other, or in a
different class altogether? Indeed, is the relation itself a Form, or,
to put it differently, are there "relational" or "relative" Forms?'"
Are there Forms only for [he individual (hence, tangible) [hings,
or are there also Forms for Forms? In other words, do concepts
that stand for a property shared by the individual things have,

In turn, concepts In common.
49 Parmmidu. 131a-133., passim (panicularly 133a5-6, with its call for a
cogent way to explain panicipar ion). Sce Aristotle. /v/ctflph)'Sics. 987b7-13.
for his critical remark: "buI what the participation ... of rhe Forms could be
they left an open quesdon."
50 Cr. Aristotle. M"aphysia. 990b15. and Parmmidu. 133c, See Ra,s' dis-
cussion, Plato, Theory of Ideas. 170-171; Cornford. Plato and Parmmides.
72, 81. For an important investigation of Forms and relations, sec Sed, "Is
Placo's Conception of che Form of [he Good Contradictory?" Particularly
noteworthy is this conclusion: "The unchangeable beings are of four kinds:
essences, mathematical enricies, relations of essences and mathematical
encicies and finally propen ics of relations. Both, the changeable beings and
the unchangeable beings, form a system of relations. However. while rhe
relations of the former are .dways changing, risk losing their balance and
ace only subjects ofbeJief. the reialioll!i among the latter are stable. balanced
and subj ects of knowledge" (193-194).
51 Not a reference to the 1hird Man. which only tangentially addresses the
issue. Compare rhe general concepts invesrigatcd by the Second Part of the
Parmtnidts that do nOt stand for, or are shared by, the individuals, i.e., Forms
that say something of other Forms. Cr. also R'p"hlic, 596a. according to
which for every common name there is a Form (ef. also 435a), vs. Aristotle,
MetaphYSiCS. 987b8-10: "[he sensible things ... are called after [the Formsl;
for the multitude of things chac have the same name as rhe Form exisc br
participation in it." (See R055, Plato, Theory of Ideas. 172-173.) Noteworthy
is Laws. 88ge, with its allusions to the false belief (according to Plato) that
"the gods are artificial concepts. corresponding [0 nothing in nacure, char
chey are legal fictions." Instead, they are to be treated the same as "beauty
and justice and all such vital concepts" (890b5-8), namely as existing, and
the law governing such things is, like them, "pan of nature," and not less
existing. being itself a "creation of reason" thus brought about by an equally
"powerful agency' (890d). (Cf. R055. 175.) Seel makes an interesting case
regarding the Form of the Good and its relation ro ics "consriruenr forms"
("Is Plato's Conception of rhe Form of the Good Contradictory?" 194).
Commenting on Philcbus, 65a (the Good is apprehensible only as a union
of the Forms Proponion. Beauty. and Truth). Sed remarks: "The predicate
'good' cannOt be applied to something that does not consist of relations, and
it can be applied to something only in so far as ir consists of relations. Ics role
is [0 distinguish good and bad relations or good and bad mixtures."

Sensibles and Intelligibles 19
How, in Plato's opinion, do Forms and participants" interact"?
Can One affect the other, and thus Our understanding of both?
Or is our understanding of both only affected by the way we
think about them?"
I f the Forms are entirely absolved from change or from being
affected, how can there be any socr of link between them and
the things that do change or are affected?" Isn't a relationship.
any relationship, a two-way sreeet?"
Do Forms have actual existence, or are they mere thoughts of
thmgs that have actual existence, that is, the sensibl es?"
Where can such Forms or Ideas be found?'" Are we to look for
them within the things themselves, or within the thinker of
such things. or even outside of both? After all, as young Socrates
observes in the dialogue, a genUine Form has to be "itself by itself,"
and being "in" something defeats this requirement (133c)."
On the orher hand, does not the very requirement "itself by
itself' already prohibi[ allY SOrt of link or relationship with ocher
things, be they tangible participants or even other Forms?" (And
52 See Parmenides. l30c-d. 132b5, 133b, 135a3. 135b5-c3. 135e5. 140a-b.
147c. 148a. 148c. 158e. 164b.
53 See also Plato, Phi/ebus. 15b-c. Cf. Shorey. Th. Ul1ity of Plato , Thought. 36.
S4 Compare some of rhe results of the "relational" of che Second Pan.
parti.cuiJrly certain conclusions of Argument 11 which map the interaction bur
also ttmTdepcn<kncy of One and Being. 042d-e, 143b-c. 144c. 145 etc.)
55 Parmwides. 132b.
56 They certainly do not belong to "the things amongst us," (I33d-e. I 34.-e).
The question, of course, is not meanr to presuppose that Forms have a physi-
callocation. Yet location in a broader sense, such as is one of the
possibilities Plato investigates; see "in our mind" (132b) or "in nature" (132d)
or the "in itself or in another" possibility addressed in 138a and 145b.
S7 am to Mitch Miller for pointing oue in a commemary on this
IOtroductlon that a Form has the capacity of remaining "itse!f.by-ilself"
of whether it is associated with another thing, be this Form or
pafllClpa nt. However. Gerhard Sed has pointed out (hac "as the Second Pan
the Pnrnf(:nidl 'S and the !htanuus show, there are no Forms completely
Isolated from other Forms. J agree, bur only in regard to whether or nor
they are Forms in complete isolation cannot be known as Parol!,
much less called by such a name-nor even be claimed to exist. In my view,
to tha[ existential claims are not Simply applicable to
[he Itself-br-Itself In orher words, thac such "Forms" cannot be associared
;:Vith the Form of as that would violate the "itself-by-itself" proviso.
58 How can we brmg [he absolute into intelligjble relation with the rela-
tive?" asks Shorey (The Unity of Plato, Tboug!". 36). But see also Fine
on the question of separation (Plalo on Knowledge and Forms. 252-300),
20 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
would not a new twist on the theory-the so-called" interweav-
ing of Forms" as heralded by Plato's Sophist dialogue-constirute
an annulment of the "itself by itself" provision?")
Which of the above possibilities creates the least difficulties for
a theory that must maintain that abstracts and tangibles are
somehow linked, yet irreconcilably different?"O
Furthermore, can something come to be from something that did
not come to be, and would not the act of coming-m-be suffice
to make both things come to be something that preViously they
were not? That is, that which became generated came to be from
a former state of being nOt (yet) generated, and that which did
not come to be (because it already was) did nonetheless come
m be as something that it was noc before, namely a generator of
some other generated thing?"!
What about truth? Do we have to accept that there are [Wo
kinds of truth, one for the realm of the intell igible and divine,
and the other for the physical and mundane?"2
Or is there really only one truth, the intelligible kind, while what
passes for truth in this wotld "among us" is at best a watered-down
approximation, or at worst a complete falsehood and deception?63
How can we, as denizens of the transitional realm, ever get to
recognize the onc actual truth, and if we cannot, how can we
know or communicate anything?'"
And most important, if truth is such a restricted commodity, how
can we convince anyone of anything regarding the Forms-or
indeed, in regard to any other intell igible or abstract thing-if
particularl y 276-278 on whether a Form has to be considered separate to
be auto kalh' haulo.
59 Sophist. 250ejf, 2533, 254c, 2593.
60 er 129J-1 30a, and 135e.
61 The question. as posed. also alludes (0 the distinction between existential
and predicadve srarcmems muched upon in the Sophist. See [he Parmtnidts.
Atgument I, n, and the Coda, for the "One, Being and M.ny Problem"
(commonly. if incomplcrdy, stared as the "One vs. M any Problem"), viz. the
One in the absence of Ot hers/Many (which also includes "Being" in rhe sense
rhar ir is "orher" than [he "One," 142e) h.s no B<ing (l4le). Conversely, a
One rhat has a relationship with Others/Many also has a relationship wirh
62 PIlrmmid<s, 134a-b, d-e.
63 Xenophanes, OK 21B34; Parmenides' Oox . See .Iso X.niades, [he
64 Parmmidts, 135b-c.
Sensibles and Intelligibles 21
that person chooses either to deny that there are such things in
actual fact or argues that if Forms really existed, they are none-
theless unknowable by human beings?'" In either case, Plato, or
the adherents of his theory, could believe whatever they wanted
regatding the Forms, bur rhey could never convince anyone else.""
The Parmenides proves thar Plato took questions like the ahove very
seriously, and tha< he was acutely aware of rhe possibility that there
were unknown booby ([aps in his designs. Moreover, as arrested by the
dialogue's language and themes, Plato's audience was highly sensirized
by a wide variety of ideas put forth by other thinkers, the Eleatics
included. They knew how to reiare these issues to Plato's precursors,
and what solutions, if any, had been oFfered so far.
The Question of a Preplatonic Legacy
[n one form or another, the various difficulties listed above can be
found in the Parmenides or derived from it (this also applies, muta-
tis mutandis, to the Theaeutus and the Sophist). But some may raise
objections in view of the Presocratic context I have been alluding to,
claiming that the subjects I am addreSSing were exclusively Plato's
own, and that they represent notions still unknown to those quaint,
antiquated Presocratics.? And yet the idea that Plato had invented the
"intelligible" or "abstract" single-handedly, or that he was the first to
differentiate between tangible and intangible, while still quite popular,
cannot withstand a thorough examination. Not all of the Presocratics
were die-hard physikoi, cosmologists, or indeed materialists, certainly
not to the extent pomayed by 19th- to early 20th-century scholarship.
In light of the abundant discoveries that have distingUished the field
oFPresocratic studies in recent years, the time has come to take a look
at Plato's perhaps most enigmatic work from a new vantage point.
65 Parmmid<s, 133b, 1353.
66 For further questions in [he same vein. see Sborey, Tht Unity o/Plato; 7"ought.
67 Like other writers. I am obliged to use the designation "Presocratjc" racher
loosely (raking my lead from Diels/Kranz). Ir remains an unfortunate mis.
if understood as a chronological distinction. Among the
later Prcsocratl cs are several who were actually Socrates' contemporaries.
Of some were born after Socrates andlor outlived him (e.g . Gorgias.
DemocCllUs. Philolaus. Prodicus. Hippias. Archyras, erc.).
22 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
However, my imemion has been to keep this commentary as brief as
possible; neither do I want to stack the deck at this point with toO much
advocacy." ]' d rather have the reader discover independently which
arguments, if any, reflect or expand upon Presocratic positions. Hence,
the subsequem listing oflikely influences-or better yet, "incemives"
for why the Pllrmenideswas written in the first place-should be taken
as an invitation to explore the material from different perspectives.
Obviously, all the Eleatics (including Xenophanes) were very much
on Plato's mind as he wrote the Pllrmenides during a time when his
Theory of Forms appears to have been subjected to a barrage of extended
attacks and misrepresentations (carried out, arguably, by some of the
followers of both the Sophists and Socrates, who seem to have misap-
propriated a number of Eleatic ideas and used them against Plato's
theories). Following a twofold strategy, Plato aims not only to inoculate
his work against the advances of his detractors but also to deprive them
of their ammunition.
It seems that for Plato, the teachings of Par men ides and his follow-
ers could pose a serious threat, but only when distorted by those who
pursue a dubious agenda. Plato cannOt simply dismiss these teachings;
the respect he shows for the Eleatics is genuine. Plus, their reputation
among his contemporaries seems to have been very high; otherwise,
the Sophists would not have tried to hide their machinations under
the blanket of Eleatic authority." Thus, Plato takes the only path he
can under the circumstances, that is, to embrace the Eleatics while at
the same time seeking to liberate their ideas from those who would
misuse them?" The Parmenidts dialogue ends up being a kind of hom-
age to a general Eleatic mind-set; this is also arrested by the prominent
role Plato assigns to the arguments of Zeno of Elea, the follower most
associated with Parmenides. In fact, he attributes the methodology used
in the Second Part exclusively to Zeno
(135d-136c). It is also quite
evident that Plato does not refer to Eleatic positions from memory; he
must have reacquainted himself with both the Poem and Zeno's book
shortly before assembling the dialogue."
68 More detailed investigadons and proofs are reserved for my forthcoming
book, Plato i /Mtk Projtct.
69 As the Sophi;t artem.
70 See Palmer, Platos RtClption ofParmtnidtS. 16.
71 e Miller, Piatos Parmenides, 78: "prescndng audience with Zenonian
72 Tarlor (lht Parmenides of Plato. 5) eomend, that Plato had [he text of Zen 0"
work before him when he wrote the particularly its Second Part.
Sensibles and Intelligibles 23
.A different kind work is Gorgias' treatise on Nor-Being,
which seems to play a role 10 some parts of the dialogue (e.g., Argumem
V)." Noteworthy also are Gorgias' writings on Uncerrainry, Opinion, and
Persuasion. In addition, there are echoes in the Pllrmenides of Pro tag Ore an
skepticism and relativism, and their detrimenral effects upon thinking
and speaking. (le is plausible that Protagoras and his followers make up
part of the detractors of Par men ides' teachings cited in 128c. Additionally,
the techne of matching up opposing arguments or logoi is subsumed by
Plato under dialectic.)" There are aim hims in the dialogue ofProdicus'
contradistinctions and synonymics in rhe work, and of Epicharmus' jabs
at Eleatic teachings (including Zeno's retorts). Then rhere are allusions
to Pythagorean number theory; Theodorus of Cyrene's investigations of
irrational roots ("unlimited multitudes in which oneness is not present");
Heraditean Flux doctrine (in particular, its epistemological repercus-
sions); a Euclidean (as in Megarian) approach of attacking conclusions
rather than premises; and a peculiarly Megarian exploration of change.
The dialogue reveals also substantial affinities with the exercise known
as the Dissoi Logoi, or "Contrasting Argumenrs" (whose true author
has remained unknown). A few passages appear to make reference to
Anaxagoras' "seeds," while others call to mind the immanence of Forms
in tangible things (held also by Eudoxus); also Antisthenes' predicational
(or nominal) monism and his rejection of Kinds or general concepts (a
critique that appears even more pronounced in Aristippus of Cyrene);
and, as it seems, Polyxenus' version of the Third Man (as opposed to
Aristotle's), meant as a critique of the Forms, and even Isocrates' dismissal
of rhe pursuits of the Academy as "idle talk"-to name some of the ideas
that have much in common with the issues explored in the dialogue?'
AU other thinkers whose ideas resurface in the are not mentioned
by name.
73 For a expose on Gorgias and the see Palmer, Platos
Rtctption ofPamu' ,,;des. 108-117 (al,o 66-75). Palmer speci fically associates
Gorgias with the result of Argument I (111-117). See Gorgias, OK 82B3, on
Not- Being; ef. Argument V (I60cff.. especially 162a-b) and Bll (Praiu of
on rhe power of logos. er also Brumbaugh, who associates Gorgias
with the fun-makers of Par men ides (l28d) (Plato on tht Onto 21).
74 "The Rrpublic may constitute an t'xceptioll, according ro Seel, c, "Is Plato's
Concepcion of the Form of the Good Contradictory?"
75 Hippias, Xeniades, Democricus, Diogenes of Sin ope. (t he laner may bechrono-
have been cited as possible influences andlor targets
of the J armcmdes and Plato s defense of [he Theory of Forms. For Proragoras,
as ro "relativism" and "subjecrivism," see ZiJioli, Pro/a ... e.OrtZS and Chai/olge of
Rrlativism. 38-41 passim (for Protagoras' attack of Oneness, 84. and reaction
24 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
As can be seen, not all of those enumerated can be classified as
"Presocratic" in the conventional sense, as treacherous as the term itself
against (he Elearic, 85). and Aristippus can also be cDumed
the opponents ofbmh Parmenldes and Plato; see C,f. I '!dID S
Rtaption .fParmmidts. 104-105. 116n36. on the Soph,," c enemies of [he
Elearics (also 102, on Zeno's "compl.,tiri vc argument "). (In my view, this type
of argument is used by Plato in t he: to draw unfavorable
parisons to ProtJgoras, if only to elevate Zeno's exercise-and
his own approach- hc:yond mere erisric.) Further on Protagoras. see FIDe,
Plato on Kllowledgt and Forms. 132-159, 198-202. 205:212
"relativism" and its relevance to Prolagoras, setdmg on tnfallablhsm as more
proper); also Corey. "The Greek SophiSlS: Teachers of Virtue," 28-30 . 38.
On Prntagoras and "eristic," see Ryle. Plato; 113-115. Gn \.rodlcus.
Classen. "The Study of Language amongst Socrates Contemporaries. 33- 49;
Navia. AntisthtntS of Athms, 57-58; Palmer. Plato; Reccption ofParmmidtS.
126-128; Corey, "The Greek SophiSts: Teachers of Vinue." 42-45. On
Epicharmus. cr. Diogenes Laertius (D.L.) Ill. 1-17; Demand. "Epicharmus
and Gorgias." 453- 454. 459-463; McDonald. "Was Plato Acquainted with
the Writings of Epicharmus and Sophron?"; A1varcz, "Epicarmo e la Sapienza
Presocratica." and "Epicharmus and Pre$ocraric Wisdom," an English synopsis of
the above. For Pythagoreanism and the Parmmitks. see a Pythagorean approach
to the generadon of numbers. er. 144d-145a the in
Argnment VU. see Coraford. Plato and ParmmUks. 241); cf. ScoIDlcOY. What
Is P),lhagoras Doing in Plato's Panntnirks?" 197. and Plato; Parmenides. 106;
and generally Brumbaugh. Plato on t/It On<. For Theodorus of Cyrenc and
irrational roots (cr. the wording in 158c and 164e with 1h<at"tus. 147d- 148b);
on Heraclirean Flux and "relativity of properties," see Adomenas, in
Flux. 74-175. 179-180. 185. On Megarians. see Brumbaugh, Plato on tht Onto
21-; on the Megarian version of change thrUl lgh instantiation vs.
Parmmides. 152b-d4. see Owen. "The Place of the fim",:us in Plato's Dialogues."
324; on Megarian attacks of the Forms. see Stallbaum. (Apelt) &imige. 45;
Taylor. Parmenides afPlato. 10. 128; ef. also Plato. Man and Work.. On
Anaxagoras. see also Aristotle. M<taphysics. 991a13; MIller. Platos ParmeOldes.
25-28; Anaxagoras. OK 59BI. vs. Arguments VII and V11l. cf. Scolnicoy.
P/4to; Parmenides, 38.101; and Meinwald. Plato; Parmenides. 14. On Eudoxus.
e.g., 131a-b. sec Cherniss. Aristotle; Criticism of Plato and tht Acad",,)'. 525.
536; Schofield. "Eudoxus and the Parmtnid." 1-19; Brumbaugh. Plato on
tht On<, 19-21. 19n2. 23. passim (see also MUleis note in Plato; ParmeniJes,
222n55). However. Allan. D. J . suggests that Eudoxus is reacting to Plato
("Aristotle and the Parmmides," 143), Dancy that the "reaction ques-
tion" is irrelevant. as Eudoxus' objections would not have been news for (he
Academy (Two Studi in tht Early Academy. 20-21). For Antisthcnes. s.ee
Aristotle. M<taphysics. 1024b32; Simplicius. in Cat. 208, 28-32; Guthne.
HGP V, 114-115. 114n3-4. 115nl; Fuller. History ofGmk Philosophy 11 .
103-105; Palmcr. P/4to; Rtctption ofParmmides. 56-59. 171-ln (re: Argument
IV); Mobr, "Some Identity Statements in Plato," 9; Dc Vries. Antisthmes
Rtdivivus. 64. On Aristippus. see Fuller. History ofGmk Philosophy 11. 123;
Sensibles and Intelligibles 25
is; some thinkers can be linked to Socrates either as friends or erstwhile
followers. Plato. himself a pupil of Socrates, who has presented the Theory
of Forms as a natural consequence of Socratic teaching. may even have
felt particularly vulnerable against criticism from such quareers. After all.
he elects a young Socrates [Q be the gallant standard-bearer of the Theory
of Forms in the dialogue, so confident of its innate rightness that he is
unafraid to take on such luminaries of argumentation as Parmenides and
Zeno. Bue as it turns oue. the dialogue's Parmenides is himself an eloquent
defender of the Theory. deeper in his insight and more seasoned than his
young challenger (whose remarks typify an earlier. less-examined. draft
of the doctrine) because he has already figured ou! the Theory's hidden
vulnerabilities. In a powerful summation of the issues, Parmenides warns
against those who "will not concede that there are Forms" because they
"will not have anything to turn thought to" that is a stable concept or
value, and in doing so they will "completely destroy the capacity of dis-
course" (I 35b-c). This verdict can be taken as a blistering attack against
the apparently still prevalent relativist. subjectivist and solipsist teachings
promulgared by the likes of Protagoras, Prodicus. Gorgias. Antisthenes
(who was a pupil of both Gorgias and Socrates), and Aristippus (who
followed Protagoras and Socrates, eventually borrowing from both). ' 6
Gutbrie. HGP Ill. 491-498; Navia. Amisthm of Athens. 12. 13-14. 55-59.
61-63. On 142e-143a. and critique of all "atomism." see Scolnicoy. Plato;
Parmenides, 101. Argument VII may also be an attack on the Aromisrs' "unlim-
ited in multitude" take on atoms (er. 164dff.' and Aristotle, On
[Simplicius, Commmtary on Aristotle; On [he Heavens. 2951-22 = 68A37 and
67A 14 J. also Shorey. 1ht Unity of Plato; 7J,ought. 34-35). similarly Cornford.
Plato and Parmmirks. 240-241. On Polyxenus. Taylor has a unique read of
P.'s Third Man Argumelll. viz., not as a "regress" argument ("VI. Critical
Notices." 354-355); noted by Kerferd. "School of Aristorle." 130; Cornford
disagrees (Plato and Parmtnid<r. 89. 101); c also. Chroust. 7ht Prohlml of
Plato; l'armenides. 393. On lsocrates. see Brumbaugh. Plato on tht Onto 22.
For H ippia>. see Palmer. Plato; Rtc<ption ofParmmUks. 60-66. and Xeniades.
129. On Xeniades as Parmenides' see Hermano. "Parmenides versus
Heraclitu.s?" On Diogenes. D.L. VI . 24. 52-54; Ross. Plato; 7htory 0/ Ideas.
172; NaYla. AnflSthm<r of Athens. 61. On Dissoi Logoi. see Ryle. Plato; f'rog"",
213-214; Robinson, "The Dissoi Logoi and Early Greek Skepticism."
76 Cr. D.L. V[. 1-2. on Antisthenes. and D.L. n. 65. on AriStippus. See Fuller.
History of.Grk !'hilosophy 11. 118-119.120.123-124; Nayia, Antistlmm of
Athms. VIII, 6-7. 11-14. 55- 58. 61-63; Burnyeat. "The Material and Sources
26 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
I have included opponents of the Theory of Forms in my collection
of possible influences upon the Parmenides dialogue to certify that I am
not suggesting Plato indiscriminately embraced the theories in ques-
tion only because they show up in his investigations. Some he clearly
criticizes or disproves; others he relegates to his treatment on appear-
ances and opinion (see Arguments V and VII). What I am suggesting
is that. as a whole. the Parmenides is a reckoning with the past. but only
insofar as it is a set rling of still pressing issues affecting the Theory of
Forms. It focuses on difficulties that have remained unresolved by other
Platonic dialogues. kept alive. perhaps. by continuous discussions in
and around the Academy. Thus. rhe Parmenides is a well-researched.
carefully thoughf-out work aimed at a sophisticated audience. Moreover.
this audience is well defined in the dialogue. portrayed as a select group
of thinkers who have already acquainted themselves very thoroughly
with the difficulties it investigates (135b)." Arguably. this could include
Eudoxus and his pupils after their merger with the Academy. In any
case. Plato opts ro challenge his most advanced readers. providing
them with a tapestry of interlocking arguments that rely heavily on
the threads others have spun but need not be specified individually by
name or contribution.
The above observations on external influences are not meant to
reduce Plato's genius or originality. Nor do I want to take anything
away from his monumental epistemological and metaphysical contribu-
tion of the Theory of Forms. But Plato did not operate in a vacuum.
He drew on ideas rhat suited his purposes and constructed something
better with them. making the result original and distinct from the
elements that found their way into the doctrine. Some of the essential
notions thar ended up in Plato's Theory were explored not only by the
Presocratic rhinkers-who wound up experimenting with the notion
of pure elements like fire. water. and air-but also by the Archaic
of Plato's Dream." 106, 108, 117. passim. See also Aristotle's remarks in
M,taphysics, 1043b24-28. regarding Antisrhenes and his followers and their
belief that "what" a thing is cannot be defined in the absence of some other
thing that was similar to it, and to which the first thing could be likened.
Suggestions of epistemological dependencies-decided by one's approach-are
found in both parts of the Parmtnides.
77 This may suggest that ,he dialogue is intended largely for the members of the
Academy; cf. Miller, Platos Parmenides, 21.
Sensibles and Intelligibles 27
Poets who preceded them." True. these various endeavors were not yet
recognizable as explorations of the abstract. Nonetheless. in conjunction
with Xenophanes' and Parmenides' distinctions between what is divine
and true on one hand and whar is mortal. ignorant. and deceptive on
the other. a historic division took hold. a division that was first and
foremost epistemological, and not natural or physical per se." If we add
ro this a theory of mixture like Parmenides' Doxa. which relies jusr as
heavily on the use of semata or signs (as in "distinguishing character-
istics") to express a heterogeneous representation (logos) of changeable
things as does the homogeneous object of his reliable Aletheia part-not
to mention some of the unique functions Parmenides associated with
mind and thinking-and the ground is set for further inquiries into
things rhat may be exempt from physical influence or dependency. RO
78 "The image of pu re qualities. for example, subsisting separately and unmixed
in an unworldly or divine realm, is as old as Homer, sec Iliad. 24.529: "For
[WO urns are set on Zeus' floor of gifts that he gives, the one afills, the mher
of blessings. To whomever Zeus, who hurls the thunderbolt, gives a mixed lor,
IS30J that man meets now with evil, now with good" (rcans. Murray. Iliad,
Books 13-24), Of course, I don't imply that Homer considered the content
of the urns as abstracts. Noteworthy is also Aristotle's remark on first cause:
"Pherecydes lof Syrus, early 6th century BC]. and some ochers. make the
original generating agent the Best" (M"aphysics. 1091b6-1O).
79 Certainly Aristotle did not consider the Eleatics "students of nature" (On tht
HMvms. 298b18).
BO Compare Parmenides 8B.2 with B.55. See Reinhardt on Parmenides being
the f i r ~ t to introduce a theory of mixture, one that was essentially logical and
metaphysical, nor physical. but which became the undefl)inninos of subse-
quem physical theories of mixture (Parmenidts 71, 74, 75. 77). For mind
(\160;) and thinking, see 84.1, B.34-35. Furthermore it was Aristotle who
equated Doxa's Light and Night with physical principles, not Parmenides per
se (M"aphysics. 984b2. 986b30). I am aware ofTheophrastus' testimonia that
Parmenides associated death with cold and silence, etc., hut the claim was
that a corpse ptTCeivcd the cold because fire had left it. This is immediately
followed by the statement that Parmenides taught that "everything had some
measure of knowledge" (DK 2BA46). This is one further example that shows
that Parmenides' teachings were meant primarily as epistemological observa-
tions. Noteworthy also is Anaxagof<ls' adoption of mind as a causal principle
that was independent, unmixed, alone, and by itself, and accordingly non-
material-requirements that could also apply to Plato's Forms (Anaxagoras,
DK 59BI2). Cf. Guthrie on Anaxagoras' lack of adequate vocabulary to
express Mind's non-material existence, which necessitated him to describe it
negatively as not being matter (HGP 11, 277).
The Being of One
The "Simple": A Naked Concept
The term "itself by itself" has a central role in the Parmenides. As
in other dialogues, it often appears in conjunction with rhe term for
Form." But in the Pamlenides, more than in the other dialogues, ir is in
effect a technical term by which Plato aims ro distill or isolate the very
essence of his object of inquiry. The idea is to behold a concept alone
in its puresr, totally unmodified state-not qualified, not dependent,
not related to anything: naked. If we apply this requirement to a Form,
we must assume we are dealing with rhe Form completely on its own,
that is, without taking into consideration the question of participation
or relations to other Forms. A telling reference for this approach can
be found early in the dialogue, when Parmenides addresses young
Socrates for the first time:
Do you yourself draw the distinction you speak of, separar-
ing on one hand certain Forms by themselves, and on the
other rhe things rhar partake of rhem? And do you think that
"likeness" itselfis something [entirely} separate from the likeness
th'lt we share? And also "one" and "many" and all the [other]
things you heard JUSt now from Zeno?
And of the following, too, there is a Form, itself by itself,
of "just" and "beautiful" and "good" and everything of rhat
kind? (I30b; emphasis added)
81 er. Plato, Symposium, 211a-b; Timaeus, 51c-d.
The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Accordingly, rhe Form of Likeness "irselfby itself' is disti ngui shed
as being different from a participated or shared likeness." In the first
case, there are no relations whatsoever; in the second, there are reiatlons
both to oneself and to other things." As the subject is broadened by the
dialogue's Parmenides to include other Forms, the ensuing back-and-
forth discussion with Socrates aims [0 emphasize in the strongest way
the "itselfby itself' distinction. It is created like a State entirely different
from the state of being shared. The larrer is sometimes referred to as
a state that we share "among us," which can also include things that
belong to all of us. See, for example, the passage around 134b, where
Parmenides concludes: "Wouldn't the knowledge amongst us be of the
truth that is amongst us?" (See also rhe entire exchange in 134c-e:)
How do we do just ice to someth ing that is in a state of not bemg
shared by or related to anything? In other words, how do we describe
a concept thar cannot be associated with anything else, not even wirh
a contrary-indeed, not even with itself? How can we say what it is,
if we cannot even say that it is? By saying thar it is, obviously, we are
relating it to some other thing, to a concept other than it, in this case,
to the concept of "existence" (I42c-d). As the appropriate arguments
in the Second Parr show time and again, a concept "itself by itself'
is to be sought "by itself," and not in conjunction with anything else,
not even together with the concept of "being."
The term "simple" can be useful when speaking of the" itself by
itself."" When Plato mentions "beauty" or "justice" or "rhe good"
82 Mohr suggests that "a form is the thing that is 'itself its very self to itself"
("Some Identity Statements in Plato," 7).
83 Similarly, Natorp, Piatos 235, 236-250 pa::im; Liebrucks,
Platom EntlUicklung zur Dialtktik, "Ubcr den !'llI'/dcmdes, 169-255, and
"Zur Dialekrik des Einen und Seienden in Phuons 249. 251.
253; Brocker, Piatons Gespriic/u, 410,412,417,430,433,435,439. N.mrp,
Liebrucks and Bracker distinguish che One of the Argumems with "negaI iVl:
resules" as "without reference," or "nonpcelational," in contrast to the One of
che Arguments with "positive resuits," where it or "tcia:
clonal." This is also the main point on which I differ With MelDwald (Platos
Parmenides, especially 46-75). 1 do not reject Meinwald's "pros heauto"and
"pros la a/la" distinctions per se, but I think that they both apply (0 the obJect
uf Argument II and its like, not to the object pursued by Argument I, et al. See
also Mohr for a rebuttal of Meinwald's position ("Some Identity Statements
in Plato: An Old Puzzle in the Sophist and a New Sense of 'To Be"').
84 See Miller's Plato! Parmenides for a similar tcnninolngy and the notion of
an isolated One in Argument I. Palmcr calls such a "simple" a "predica-
tional Monad" (PiatOJ Reception of Par mm id", 252). ef. also Mobr, "Some
The Being of One 31
in this way, he attempts to secure each notion at its most plain, most
unadulterated form, that is, independent of another concept. A "simple"
is the opposite of a "compound" or "complex."" It is not "whole" like
the concept of "One Being" in the Pannmides, which is made up of two
individual concepts or "parrs," namely the concept of "One" and the con-
cept of "Being" (compare I42d-e). The object of Argument I represents
a perfect example of such a "simple": the idea of "One," "itself by itsclf,"
unadorned or accompanied by anything else (141e-142a)."' This result
stands in opposition to the object obtained by Argument 11. The latter
is not a singular but a compounded concept, the aforementioned "One
Being," whose constituents are "One" and "Being" (142b-e, 143a-c,
My juxtaposition of the terms "simple" and "complex" in this par-
ticular context may remind some readers of a passage in the Theaetetus
"S ' 0 "R' I h I
nown as aerates ream. n t e passage, P ato has Socrates
expound a theory th" tries to differentiate between those things that
can be expressed by means of a logos, or a reasoned account," and those
that cannot. Of the "simple" according to this theory, nothing can be
said (except its name), because any account of it would have to employ
additional concepts to describe it, concepts that, as themselves, are dif-
ferent from the "simple" concept we are trying to captute "as itself."
On the other hand, "an account," the Dream explains, is "essentially
a complex [literally, "an interweaving"] of names" [ovofL,h",v Y"'P
, ' , , ' "]
aU!J.1tAOx(1)V E!.V!Xt. AOYOU ouO'!.ocv
There has been some debate among scholars whether the theory
explored by the Dream originated with Plato, or whether he borrows
here from the Sophistic canon, specifically from Antisthenes' teach-
ings.'" That question I cannot resolve. However, the passage itself can be
Idemiry Sr;lcemems in Placo:' 9. McCabc disringubht"s an "austere mode"
for the "simple," and a "generous mode" for the "complex" ("Uni(y in (he
Parmtnid"," 39).
85 Miller makes similar distinctions (Platos Parmenides, passim). See also Ryle,
Platos Parmenides, 119-120.
86 See also 143a, p.6JQV )<,,1)' "all alone by itself."
87 77uaetetus, 20IdlO-202c6.
88 I think it's a bit premature to understand logos as a "definition" of SOrts.
89 See Burnyeat, "lhe Material and Sources of Plato's Dream," 1970,
101-122; McDowelI, Plato: Theaetetus, 234, 237. Guthrie, HGP V, 114;
Chappell, Platos Theaeterus, 204-205. Compare Aristotle's account
of Antisthenes' teachings vs. (he claims in "Socrares' Dream"
1043b28). Socrates presents the doctrine only as advanced by some unspeci-
fied other "people."
The Pormenides: An Introductory Essay
ofimerest co the reseaccher of the Parmmides. or indeed che Sophist. as
some ofics specifics may parallel certain conclusions in boch dialogues.
There ace a few caveats co be considered:
The "simple," as presented in the Dream. noc treaced as :
Form. or even a concept, bur specified as che pnmary element
[rtp.,-'ov a"toeXELov] in the "composition" of things. .
The "primary element" in the Dream can be named, while
the approach in the Parmenides is at least as radical as chat of
the Sophist. where a thing and its are sho;:vn co very
different things.'" Thus, in the Parmemdes, the Simple must
relinquish its name."
The "primary element" is said co be perceivable by tbe sen.ses.
wbile "simple" in tbe Parmenides is not an object of perception.
Aside from tbese differences. the parallels between che "element"
in the Theaetetus and tbe "itself-by-itself' object in che Parmenides are
striking, and it is justified co classify botb as "simples." Here is tbe
passage in question:
Socrates: In my dream. [00, I thought I was listening CO people
saying that the primary elements, as it were. of wbicb we and
everytbing else are composed, have no account. Eacb of
in icself. can only be named; it is nOC possible [0 say anythtng
else of ic. eicber that it is or that it is not. Thac would mean
thac we were adding being oc noc-being co it; wbereas we must
not attacb anything. if we ase CO speak of that tbing itself
alone. Indeed we ougbt not [Q apply [Q it even sucb words
as "itself' or "that," "each," "alone," or this," or any other
of che many words of this kind; for these go the round and
90 Plato, Sophist 244d. This suggem that either the Pamunid" and the Sophist
arc more t houghr-oll t than the 7hMtUtus, meaning thac may
composed at a later dare. or that the theory preserved. in Socrates
origi nated with someone other than Plare. Be that as t[ may. all chronologI-
cal observations arc first and foremost specul ati on. Nor have we anyway of
knowing whether Plato was the author of the theory. and :hus it was
his idea to maintain the object's connection to its name, Without reahzmg the
difficulties involved. .
91 I do not agree with Ambud that while in both the Sophist and the Parmemd"
the names are removed. they are removed on different grounds (lmagt and
Paradigm. 100).
The Being of One 33
are applied CO all things alike. being otherrhan the things co
which they are added. whereas if ic were possible CO express
the element itself and it had its own proprietary accoum, it
would have [0 be expressed wichouc any other ching. As it is.
however. it is impossible chac any of che primaries should be
expressed in an account; it can only be named, for a name
is all that it has. But with che things composed of these. ic is
another matter. Here. just in the same way as the elements
themselves are woven together, so their names may be woven
together and become an account of something-an account
being essentially a complex of names. Thus the elements are
unaccountable and unknowable. bur they are perccivable.
whereas the complexes are both knowable and expressible
and can be the objeccs of true judgment."
Among che important considerations tbat surround tbe Dream's
"simple" is the proviso chac 110 account can be given ofit. The Parmenides
advances che same claim for the "itself-by-icself" objecc explored. for
example. in Argument I (142a). Indeed, cbe Dream noc only emphasizes
chac an accoum. or logos, cannoc express the "simple," bur che logos icself
IS portrayed as che contrary of che "simple." defined as a "complex of
names." a formulation that artracced Wittgenstein's attention.'3 This
differentiation allows us co distinguish two disparate states for our
object. either as inexpressibly alone. or as communicable in concert
witb other concepcs. In this section J have tried co focus and thoroughly
isolate tbe firsc option so that we may be successful in disringu ishi ng
It from the second. To train the ability to tell the two apart is one of
the aims of tbe exercise in the Second rart of tbe dialogue.
What specific means does Placo employ [0 arrive at the "simple"?
He makes use of the criteria introduced by Parmenides as part of bis
method. Witb an eye to Parmenides' Poem. Placo must first address
92 Theaewm. 20ldlO-202b8 (Burnyeat, Plato: Complete Works. ed. Cooper.
[fans. Levett, revised), See Burnyeat, "The Material and Sources of Plato's
Drea,:,," 10 1-122: Bostock. Plato s Theaetems. 202jf. and Cbappell. Reading
Platos Theaetems. 203jf: Sedlcy. Tbe Midwift of Platonism, 153-168. for
93 See Wittgenstein's detailed examinations of some of the issues raised in
I?ream, particul arly of [he rerms "simple" vs. "complex" (Philosophical
lnv"ttgattons, 21-25. 46- 51). Wittgenstein likens the "primary elements"
mentioned by Plato to his "objects" in the Tracratus Logico PhiloIophicus, or
Russell's " individuals" ( 46).
34 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
and then remove all of Parmenides' semata-"ungenerated," "whole,"
"immovable," I'complete," "now," and so on-from his "One," until
none are left but the bare concept.''' However, this baseness is absolute-
deprived of all relations, including to itself; all manner of participations,
whether to others, or of others to it; all identity; and all names, makmg
any sort of knowledge or opinion of it impossible. This is the gist of
what transpires in Argument I and is repeated in other correspondIng
Arguments, also aimed at obtaining the "simple" (lV, VI, VIII), if only
to show that, without relations, it remains inconceivable.
A Question of Method: "Neither/Nor," "Both,"
"Either," and "Or"
Don't we know that the Eleatic Palamedes [Zeno] has such an
art of speaking [-rixv?) hEron",] that the same things appear
[cp"'[VEOl)",,] to his listeners to be both like and unlike, both
om and many, both at rest and i1l motion?" (emphasis added)
In light of the strategy pursued in the Second Part of the Pannenides,
the passage above is not to be taken as Plato's censure of Zeno of Elea,
whom he playfully associates with the mythical Palamedes, the cunmng
arch-nemesis of Odysseus,% but as an affirmation of respect. To make
the same thing appeas "both like and unlike," "both and
"both at rest and in motion" renders precisely the bluepnnt observed In
the relational Arguments n, Ill, V, and VII. What may have originally
arisen out of a refurative approach developed by the Eleatics-an early
evocation of the Principle ofNon-Conrradi crion- turns in Plaw's hands
into a veritable exhibition of how Forms can "interact" or "associate" with
each other, referred to also as me "weaving together of Forms" [-r';w dSwv
truf.L1thOy.-i)'] in the Sophist" (reminiscent of me "interweaving of names" in
me Theaetetus, above). Reconciling Hesaclitus with the Eleatics, Plato turns
mutually exclusive opposites into compresent complementasies, without,
94 All [he Parmenidean simata can be found in the Arguments of the Second
Part, except for "continuous" (BB.6, auvEx.i;) and. naturally. hm or One,
which is the object of inquiry.
95 Pha<d",s, 261d.
96 Paulys R<almryclopddic. 2500jf; D<r N<u< Pauly 9.
97 Sophist, 254bjf, 25ge. Cf. Ross, Platos 7h<OrY of ld<ar, 104-105, 112-114;
Palmer, Plato; R<c<ption ofParmmid<r, 180-181.
The Being of One 35
however, evoking the orherwise unavoidable relativism.' This is a truly
Herculean feat that is utterly essential if we are to have an epistemologically
sound Interplay of Forms or concepts. If we must have Forms associate,
even contradicring ones, in order CO provoke or preserve understand-
ing-without, on the other hand, lOSing them in the process-then this
"interweaving of Forms" is the only conceivable solution. Obviously, not
only do the sensible things have to partake of a multitude of Forms, but
the Forms themselves also have to be associated in some manner with other
Forms, including their opposites, if they are to be intellectually grasped
and expressed. The clues to a proper epistemological differentiation and
association are found in Parmenides' Poem. Essentially, both the differ-
ences and similarities in approach between Parmenides and Plato can be
reduced to these four fundamental aspects:
In the Reliable Account (the Aletheia) of the Poem, Parmenides
associates corresponding-thus non-opposing-semata or
characteristics with his object of inquiry, while rejecting char-
acteristics that are in conflict. (Primarily B8)
In the Doxa (the Opinions of Mortals), on the other hand,
Parmenides associates two sets of contradictory semata or char-
acteristics-each set belonging to a separate principle-with
"all things" enumerated by t he Mortal Account. The principles
themselves stand in opposition to each other, and are named
Light and Night.
In Arguments I, IV, VI, and VIII, Plaro shows that he can
accept neither the semata of Par men ides' Reliable Account, nor
their opposites for his object of inquiry. His demonstrations
reveal that, as distinct concepts, all oth" characteristics are
incompatible with the concept of "One," if the latter is sought
"itself-by-itself," thus in its "simple" or unassociated state.
In Arguments 11, llI, V, and VII, however, Plato associates all
Parmenidean simata-togecher with their opposites-with
98 I am nor suggesting that Plato considers thar the Principle ofNonMContradiction
does nQt apply to the realm of the Forms. And yes, we should distin ouish
Gerhard Sed advised me to clarify my
posItIon on thiS pOint, addmg: Cont radicrory Forms are interwoven, because
they stand in the relation of contradiction, but they do not participate one in
because one. canom be predicated of the other," I obviously agreE'
IS not always consistent in his terminology, deKribing
One and BCIng, for example, nOt speCifically as "interwoven" when they
make a "whole," hut as partaking [Q a "whole" as irs "parrs." (142d, 144e)
36 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
his objecr of inquiry, by approaching ir nor as a "simple" this
time around, but as a "complex" rhar is both parricipating and
parricipared in. It is rhe objecr of inquiry viewed through rhe
lens of its associations.
In this contexr ir is best to keep in mind the logical relations of predi-
cates at issue in these demonstrations, that have as a consequence the
distinction of "either/or," "neicher/nor," and "both.'''''' If two predicates
are contradictory rhen only one can be, i.e., either the one or the other,
and accordingly, only one is to be predicated of a given subject; if two
predicates are contrary, it is possible that neither is predicated of a given
object, but it is impossible that both are predicated of it. If rwo predicaces
are compatible with each or her, both can be predicated of a given object.
Let's reverse the above order and take up the Arguments of the
ParmmkUs first in our exemplification, where we find Plato's methodology
systematically worked out and conspicuous. Accordingly, for the "itself
by itself" Arguments (point 3, above) only "neither/nor" is applicable
regarding the simata and their contraries. This means rhat our objecr
can "neither" be associated with a particular characteristic "nor" with
irs opposite. Here is a sampling of conclusions taken from Argument I:
If the one is to be one, it will 1Ieither be a whole nor have
partS. (137d)
The one has neither beginning nor end, it is limidess. (137d)
It is neither straight nor round. (138a)
The one, then ... is neither at rest 110r in motion. (l39b)
(emphasis added)
However, in Plato's "relational" Arguments (point 4, above) the
determinant is "both":
Whatever is one both is a whole and has a parr. (I42d)
The "one being" is somehow both one and many, both whole
and parrs, both limited and unlimited in multitude. (l45a)
The one must be both in itself and in another. (l45e)
99 Compare wi,h Shorey, who singles out "bo,h and neither," linking ,hem to
,he eristic demonstrations of the Euthydemus (7/" Unity of Plato; ThQug"').
100 I am graceful for Gerhard Seel 's concise advice on these c1arificarions.
The Being of One 37
The one, since it itself is always in itself, as well as in some-
thing different, is necessarily always both in motion and at
rest. (l46a) (emphasis added)
I have composed a diagram at the end of this section, that shows
the organization and employment of simata according to the "neither!
nor," "both," and "eicher/or" distinctions.
By contrast, Parmenides' approach is Significantly different from
Plato's in what it does with the simata. Fragment 8 of the Poem shows
that all the simata of the Reliable Account (point I, above) can be
predicated of the object of inquiry, and their opposites cannot. Here
the "eirher/or" distinction appl its. Generally, when searching for the
characteristics for Our object of inquiry, we Can class it
'!lther as or as generated; either as imperishable or as per-
Ishable; either as complete or as incomplete; either as immovable or as
,?ovable, and so on. But, according to the Reliable Account, only the
f"st series of simata Can be predicated, thar is, the object of inquiry is
"ungenerared," "imperishable," ucomplere."
Parmenides' Doxa however (point 2 above), is governed by a different
rule, onc that more closely matches Plato's "relational" Arguments, as
we find the simata in question can be "borh" predicated of the object.,"1
In Parmenides' words:
[Mortals) have differentiated contraries in form and assigned
simata to them apart from each other. (B8.55)
Yet since all things have been named Light and Night and
these accord ing to their powers [have been assigned) to
one and the other, all is full of Light and obscure Night
together, both equally, since nothing has a share in neither.
(B9, emphasis added)
The Doxa, in much the same way as the relational object in Plaro's
correspondlllg Arguments (H, 1II, V, VII), must reconcile certain sets of
contraries with each orher. The difference is rhat in Parmenides' Poem,
the doxastic shnata constitute an enumeration of pb)'sical properties, for
e I
"fi' " "I' h " "d "
xamp e, lenness, Ig [ness, enseness. "darkness," "heaviness."
101 leas,( is [he morcai opinion. which, obviously, is as logically flawed as
I[ IS utllnaflan.
38 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
"hot," "cold," and so Ofl,1
2 whereas in Plato's Pannenides, as we can see,
the semata used are those of Par men ides' Reliable Account, albeit together
with their contraries (which, naturally, have no place in Parmenides'
homogeneous approach).103 However, in both cases, (Le., Ooxa and the
Second Part) the scmata maintain compresence without mutual annihila-
tion, observing an uneasy truce that seems always on the verge of collapse.
We must also note that in the case that "both" semata are predicable, Plato
goes beyond a mere juxtaposition of twO contraries and indudes whenever
applicable a third characceristic. So, for example, regarding the question
of "shape" in Argument n, Plato cites "beginning," "end," and "middle"
(l45a); in regard to "size," he brings up "large," "small," and "equal" (J51b).
102 Parm.Did .. BB.56-59. On "hot" and "cold" in Parmenides, see Theophrastus,
D.5fnsib"s, 1.3 (DK 2BA46).
103 'Ungenerared," BB.3, and 138e, for example; or, "Whole," B8.4, 8.22, 8.38,
and 137c: or "Immovable," B8.4, 8.38, ,,,d 139a; or "Complere," BB.4, B.32,
and 137e, 157e. Indeed, pracrically all rhe Parmenidean s""ata are used in
rhe Second Parr. (See nore 94.)
The Being of One 39
The Diagram of the Characteristics (semata) of "On "
and "Others"
Parmcnidean Simata
Objec{ of Knowledge
In Itself
"Simple" One (Itself by Itself)
In RestlIn Motion
The Same/The Other
The WholelA Parr
In Irselflln Another
An Object of Knowledge/Opinion
(Arguments I IV VI VIlli
(The Reliable Account)
DOIastic Contraries
Object of Opinion
In Another
"C I "0 "
omp ex ne- One Being" or "One That Is"
Like/ Unlike
In Rest/In Modon
The WholelA Part
The: Same/The Other
In ItseJfIln Another
Object of Knowledge, Opinion, Perception
(Arguments IT III V (appear VII))
C'The Things Amongst Us"/Doxa)
The Eight Arguments plus Coda:
Results of the Survey
Argument I: The One as Simple
The first exercise demonstrates that the object of inquiry-in our
case, this is hen or "One" {also "Unity")-when examined "itself-
by-itself," has no property at all. It should not-indeed it cannot-
be predicated as having relations to anything-not even to itself.IO<
Consequently, it has no place in an ontological hierarchy, as it is not
even relatable ro Being. It is the ultimate ultimate that may serve when
unitized with Being-as in Argument II-as the "Unit ofIs" crown-
ing the ontological hierarchy. Bur when approached itself-by-itself, we
cannot even say that the object of inquiry is a "Unity" or "One" or
anything, because the "is" in this proposition would allow Being in
through the back door. Lacking relations to Being, it does not persist
through time; thus, the object of inquiry without reference must be
treated as atemporal. Whatever we may claim "it" is-due to the inad-
equacies of our language, which force us to use a referent-" it is" not
an "is"in respect to Being. Moreover, "being" neither Like nor Unlike,
Same nor Other than itself or another, renders it independent of an
ontological or epistemological framework, because anyone of these
cases would denote it as something that has relations and therefore is.
In summary, by not being the object of comparison or reference, it is
nor an object of knowledge, identity, name, number, sense, or opinion.
If we allow the object of inquiry to have relations ro itself, we make it
be something for self, and thus we allow it to associate with Being. Yet
104 Contra Meinwald, Plato I Parmenides, 46-75. (See note 83.)
42 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
according to our exercise, whenever we say that something is, or has
being-as long as we differentiate Being as a different concept than
the concept we are investigating-we are speaking of something that
has relation to another concept, and "is" therefore not "itself-by-itself."
(See, for example, the complementary observations in Argument I I.)
What has relation always has it mutually, and it is only this requisite
condition that denotes something as "being."
Here are the results of the survey of Argument I, that is, the con-
sequences that ensue for the "One" in regard to itself, when we seek to
investigate it as a "simple" or "itself-by-itself' by differentiating it from
everything else. (The qualifier is "neither/nor," e.g., neither at Rest nor
in Motion, neither Like nor Unlike.)
Consequences derived from the proposition "ifit is one" (J37c):
1. The one would be something other than many. (J37c)
2. lr will neither be a whole nor have pares. (J37d)
3. lr would neither have a beginning, nor an end, nor a middle.
4. lr is limitless. (137d)
5. Ir is without shape. (137d)
6. The one is nOt anywhere, neither in itself nor in another. (138b)
7. The one is immovable in regard to any kind of change/motion.
8. The one is neither at rest nor in motion. (I39b)
9. The one cannot be different than nor the same as itself or
another. (J 3ge)
I O. The one can be neither like nor unlike either another or itself.
11. Ir will never be equal ro itself or anorher, nor be greater or less
than itself or another. (l40d)
12. Ir has neither something to do with time, nor is it in any time.
[atemporal] (14Id)
13. The one in no way is. (J4Ie)
14. Ir is not even in such a way as to be one, for ifit were, it would
already be that which is and would partake of being. (J 41e)
IS. The one neither is 'one' nor 'is' [in any temporal sense}. (141e)
16. It is not named nor spoken of, nor is it the object of opinion
or knowledge, nor does anything among the" things that are'
perceive it. (142a-143a)
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 43
Argument 11: The One as Complex-A Weaving Together
of Concepts
This exercise reverses the above results. Instead of isolating the
concept epistemologically "itself-by-itself," it is associated with other
concepts, concepts that allow or facilitate relevance. The "one that
is"-. -if it ."is".to be "one".-must be two things: One and Being. The
object of has to everything that is, meaning everything
that has a place In the hierarchy of Being. To have or not have relations
is the key. The "one with relations to being" (142e) represents the Unit
of Is at the head of this and any other hierarchy, whether of knowledge,
name, number, or anything else. It is the unity in virtue of which all
other. are, and a.realso unities. Hence, it also facilitates plurality.
It IS hke Itself because It IS a unity, and unlike itself because it is also in
others,. as a unity. Whatever it is, it is in every respect what Being is,
Being can only be expressed as it. It is the source for Identity and
Difference for every echelon of the ontological hierarchy.
summary, [his "weaving together" of nOne" and C'Being" facilitates
the Interweaving of additional concepts such as "Other," "Difference,"
"Wh I )I up II "B h" up . ""M "
o e, arcs, or. aIr, any, "Multitude," HNumber,"
"Odd," "Even," "Unlimited," and so forth (l42dff.).
But It all beginS with the attempt to elicit the "Unit ofls" from a fusion
of Oneness and Being.
Here are the results of the survey of Argument n, that is, the con-
sequences that ensue for our object of inquiry, "the One," when it takes
part in Being. (The qualifier is "both," e.g., both Like and Unlike, both
in Motion and at Rest.) (Of course, these contrary predicates should
be understood as holding in different regards, otherwise the Principle
of Non-Conttadiction would be transgressed.)
Consequences derived from the proposition "if one is" (l42b):
"One being" constitutes a whole, of which "one" and "being"
are its parrs. (J42d)
Each of the two parts also possesses oneness and being, that is,
they are composed of at least two parts, and endlessly, whatever
part comes to be always possesses these two parts, since oneness
always possesses being and being always possesses oneness. (l42e)
Since by necessity [the "one that is"] always comes to be two,
it is never one. (142e)
44 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
4. "If one is," there must also be number. If there is number, there
would be "the many," and an unlimited multitude of "things
that are." (144a)
5. The "one being" is somehow both one and many, both whole
and parts, both limited and unlimited in multitude. (l45a)
6. It would have a beginning, an end, and a middle. (l45a)
7. It would partake of some shape. (l45b)
8. It must be both in itself and in another (Le., it has location).
9. le is necessarily both in motion and at rest. (l46a)
10. It is different both from the others and ftom itself, and the
same as the others and as itself. (147b)
I!. It is both like and unlike the others, and both like and unlike
itself. (148c-d)
12. le is both in contact and not in contact, both with the others
and with itself. (149d)
13. It is equal ro, and larger and smaller than, both itself and the
others. (151b)
14. It will be equal, and more, and fewet, in number than itself
and the others. (ISle)
15. Something could belong IQ it and be of it (i.e., properties,
charactets). (155d)
16. There would be knowledge and opinion and petception of
it; a name and an account belong ro it, and it is named and
spoken of. (155d-e)
17. As many of such [attributes} happen to pertain to the others,
they also pertain ro the one. (155e)
The Coda (151e-157b):
The Coda at the end of the investigation of Argument [] lays out
an additional survey of the temporal ramifications that ensue when the
object of inquiry is made complex with an (existential) conceptualiza-
tion of Being. The objective is ro account for transitions, including the
transition between a non-ontological and an ontological state, meaning
it is ontological when in time, and non-ontological when atemporal.
(Thus, in this exceptional case, the qualifier is "neither/nor" and "both,"
and, accordingly, we are mapping out the object of inquiry both with
and without relations, that is, "with relations" equals "in time,"
out relations" corresponds ro "not in time.") Furthermore, we have the
proper elicitation of the" instant" as the gateway to change.
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 45
. for rhe One from a temporaUatemporal perspective,
includ ing Lf Lt Comes-ro-Be One and Ceases-ro-Be One, that is, if it
changes from Being One ro Not-Being One:
The one partakes of rime if it partakes of being. (152a)
The one itself is and comes to be older and younger than itself
and the others, and it neither is nOr comes to be either older or
younger than itself or the others. It "was" and "is" and "will
b "d" . b"d" b"d"ll e, an was comIng to e an comes to e an wi come
ro be." (155d)
Since it is one, it sometimes partakes of being, and in turn, it
sometimes does not partake of being because it is not [one}.
4. It partakes at one rime and does not partake at another, for
onl y in this way could it both partake and not partake of the
same thing. (155e)
5. There is a [given) time when the one takes part in being, and
when it relinquishes it. [Thus) it is able at one rime ro have
the same [thing) and at another time not have it, because it
sometimes both obtains it and releases it. (156a)
G. The one, as it seems, when it obtains and releases being, comes
ro be and ceases ro be. (156b)
7. Since it is one and many and comes ro be and ceases ro be,
when it comes to be one, its being many ceases to be, and when
it comes ro be many, its being one ceases ro be. (15Gb)
8. Since it comes to be one and many it must be separated and
combined. (l56b)
9. Whenever it comes ro be like and unlike, it mUSt be made like
and unlike. (156b)
10. Whenever it comes ro be larger, smaller, and equal, it must be
incteased, decreased, and made equal. (15Gc)
11. Whenever, being in motion, it comes ro rest, and whenever,
being at rest, it changes to moving, it itself must somehow be
in no time at all. (l56c)
12. There's no time during which a thing can simultaneously be
neither in morion nor at rest. (l56c)
13. It does not change without changing. When does it change?
Neither when it is at rest, nor when in motion, nor when it is
in rime. (156c)
14. The one changes in an instant. The instant sits between morion
and rest-being in no time at all-and into it and our of it
The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
what moves changes to resting and what rests changes to
moving. (l56d)
IS. The one, if it is at rest and in motion, would change in each
of two directions, for only in this way could it do both. But
in changing, it changes in an instant, and when it changes,
it would be in no time at all, and then it would be neither in
motion nor at rest. (156e)
16. Whenever the one changes ftom being to ceasing-to-be, or
from not-being to coming-ta-be, it comes to be between certain
motions and rests, and then it neither is nor is not, and neither
comes to be nor ceases to be. (156e-157a)
17. When it goes from one to many and from many to one, it is
neither one nor many, and is neither separated nor combined.
And when it goes from like to unlike and from unlike to
like, it is neither like nor unlike, and is neither being made
like nor unlike. And when it goes from small to large and to
equal, and vice versa, it is neither small nor large nor equal,
nor would it be increasing or decreasing, nor being made
equal. (lS7a-b)
18. The one, if it is, would undergo all of the above. (l57b)
Argument Ill: The "Other Than the One" Complex
The method now shifts to the "Other than the One." If the One is
a Unit ofIs, the Others are Units ofIs. Thus, the Others are like it in
this regard. Vet the Others are also unlike the Unit ofIs, because they
are nOt the Unit ofIs by virtue of being units. They are not the One.
The Others are like Others as they are also Units ofIs. The Others are
also unlike Others because they are not those Other Units of Is, nor
the Head of the Hierarchy, the One again, by virtue of which they are
Units ofls. But whether Like or Unlike, the Others are Units ofIs, and
have a relation to Being and the One, plus a relation to all other things
that have being, and consequently, they have a place in the ontological
hierarchy. What has afforded them this place, however, is the limitedness
that the One imposes upon them when they obtain Unity/Singleness
from it. All that the Others can contribute is their "non-Unified" or
"natural" state, that is, their unlimitedness (IS8d). It is the One that
separates them from this amorphous state bur also from one another,
by granting them limits in respect to each other. This entire Argument
is most akin to Philolaus' observations regarding the interrelation of
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 47
limiters and unlimiteds. The implication is that without Oneness or
limit, the Others cannot partake of Being.
Accordingly, the objective of this exercise is to elicit "the Others
than the One" in their relation to the One as a Unit of Is. The Onc is
ontologically superior in respect to the Others, because the Others are
depe.ndent on it for both Unity and distinction. As for the question of
relations, to the One they have relations both as Unities and as "Other
than the One"; to each other, only as Others. (The qualifier in respect
to the One is again "both," as in Like the One and Unlike the One.)
.. for the "Other than One," derived from the propo-
smon If One IS (how and in what sense may the Others be Like or
Unlike the Unit ofIs):
If they are "other than the one," the others are not the one. (lS7c)
Yet the others are not utterly deprived of oneness, but partake
of it in some way. (I57c)
The things "other than the one" must be one complete whole,
which has parrs. (IS7e)
Things partaking of the one will be "other than the one" while
parraking of ir. (Things that possess unity are different from
the unity they possess.) (I58b)
Things "other than"the one" would be many, for if the things
other than the one were neither one nor more than one, they
would be nothing. (158b)
come. to take part in oneness must be already
unbmlted 10 mulnrude. They are multitudes in which oneness
is not present. (158b-c)
It follows for things "other than the one" that from their tak-
ing part in the one and in each other, something different
comes to be in them that provides a limit for them in relation
to each other. But by themselves, their own nature provides
lack of limit. (I58d)
The things "other than the one," taken both as wholes and
part by parr, are both unlimited and partake of a limit. (I58d)
The others would be both likes and unlikes of both themselves
and of each other. (I 59a)
The things "other than the one" are both the same as and
different from each other, are both in motion and at rest, and
have undergone all the opposite qualifications. (159a)
The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Argument IV: The "Other Than One" Simple
The Others cannot provide for their own ontological relations or
status. Argument III shows that the Others cannot impose limits
themselves and hence save themselves from amorphous anonymIty.
If the One is non-ontological, the consequences for the Others are
that they are also non-ontological. There is nothing to make them
Units ofls and thus Like and Unlike anythIng. For the Others to be
in an ontological order, they must be placed there by the "One that
Is." Excluding that, the Others cannot even be Many. As the survey
showed, "it was impossible for what could not partake of anyone
thing to partake of any two" (160a). Moreover, to be other than each
other they must be Units ofls, but that still does not make them the
Unit of Is; hence, they can be the Others only when the "One
Is" is available to be other than. If it is not available, then all relation
or reference is missing. Nor can the Others have direct reference to
Being in order to be Others, without the One. This, in essence, shows
the consequences of being "weaved together." If the Others One
become intertwined with Being, the One must also be present In the
mix. The ontological dependency upon the One, together with its
unavailability for participation or relationship, relegates the Others to
amorphous masses. (The qualifier again is "neither/nor," e.g., neIther
the Same nor Different, neither in Motion nor at Rest.)
Consequences for the Others derived from the "if
is" (Le., the Others as not intertwined with the One plus BeIng
complex of Argument Il):
The one is separate from the others and the others are separate
from the one. (159b)
The one is neither in the others as a whole, nor could parts
of it be in them, if it is separate from them and does not have
parts. The one and others are never in the same. (159c)
The others could in no way partake of the one, neither par-
taking of any part of it, nor partaking of it as a whole.
no way are the others one, nor do they have any oneness In
themselves. (159d)
Neither are the others many. If they were, each would be one
part of a whole. (159d) .
Things "other than one" are neither one nor many, neIther
whole nor parts. (159d)
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 49
6. They are neither two nor three, nor is two or three present in
them, if indeed they are entirely deprived of the one. (15ge)
7. The others themselves are neither like nor unlike the one, nor
is likeness and unlikeness in them. Hence, they are neither
like, nor unlike, nor both. (15ge)
8. They are neither the same nor different, neither in motion nor
at rest, neither coming to be nor ceasing to be, neither grearer,
nor less, nor equal. Nor do they have any other qualifications
of this sort. (J 60a)
9. If the others are subject to any qualification of this sort, they
will also partake of one and two and three and odd and even,
but it is impossible for them to partake of these things, since
they are in every way utterly deprived of the one. (160a-b)
The preliminary conclusion halfway through the Arguments estab-
lishes the One as the pivotal head of the ontological hierarchy: "Therefore,
'if one is', the one both is all things and is not even one thing, both in
relation to itself and, likewise, in relation to the others." (160b)
Argument V: The "One That Is Not" Complex
In contrast to the sequence introduced by the previous group of
Arguments, it is the complex "One that is not" that is now investigated
first. The consequences elicited here do not regard the non-ontological
One, "if it is not," as the latter has no reference whatsoever to Being.
That aspect will be taken up by Argument VI. Thus, our inquiry regards
the Not-Being of rhe Unit ofls. Only the latter can serve as the object
of inquiry, if the objective is to ascertain a reference to Being. What is
missing is missing in reference to a temporal continuum. Plato intends
to prove that if the One that serves as a component in the Unit of Is is
absent, this absence still has reference to Being. Simply put, Argument
V aims to elicit the ontological status of a One thar "is not," if this lack
of being may be unitized somehow in regard to Being. Curiously, the
One that "is not" has properties thar nonetheless are. Hence, it seems
to be able to be unitized to a point of sufficient semblance to a Unit
of Is that it shares some of its ambivalence, that is, it is both at rest
and in motion, comes and does not come to be, ceases and does not
cease to be. The main difference to the Unit of Is (Argument Il) is that
it is not like the Others in any way. In summary, (he objective is to
ascertain whether a One that" is not" may nevertheless have reference
to Being and therefore a place in an ontological order. (The qualifier
50 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
is "both," but contingent, that is, Like Self but Unlike Others. It has
borh "Being" and "Not-Being.")
Consequences derived from the proposition "if one is not":
I. There is knowledge of it; otherwise, it would not be known
what is meant whenever someone says "if one is not." (160d)
2. "Difference in kind" belongs to it in addition to knowledge.
For when someone says that "the one is different from the
others," he refers to its difference in kind, not to that of the
others. (160d-e)
3. It partakes of "that," "of something," "of this," "to this," "of
these," and of all others of this sort. (l60e)
4. It cannot be, if in fact ir is nor, but nothing prevents it from
parraking of many [notions]. It must, in fact, do so, ifindeed
it is that one and not some other [one] that is not. (l6Ia)
5. It would also have unlikeness, in relation ro which the others
are unlike it. (l6Ib)
6. But likeness must belong to the one in rega rd ro itself. (l6le)
7. The one, even if it is not, would partake of equaliry, largeness,
and smallness. (l6Ie)
8. It must also in some way partake of being. (l61e)
9. "What is," if it is completely to be, partakes of being in order
to be a thing that is, and of not-being in order not to be a
thing that is not. "What is not," if it is completely not ro be,
partakes of not-being in order to not be a thing that is, and of
being in order to be a thing that is not. So, too, the one, SInce
"it is not," muSt partake of being in order not to be. (162a-b)
10. [Thus] the one, "if it is not," also has being . . . and also not-
being, if indeed it is not. (162b)
11. The one, "if it is not," is both at rest and in motion. (162e)
12. The one, "if it is not," is both altered and nor alrered. (163a)
13. The one, "ifit is not," both comes to be and ceases to be, and
neither comes to be nor ceases to be. (163b)
Argument VI: The "One That Is Not" Simple
This exercise reconfirms the integrity of the non-ontological One.
As the survey of Argument I did in regard ro the One itsel f- by-itself,
or Argument IV esrablished regarding the O ~ h e r s "themselves-by-
rhemsclves," so Argumenr VI addresses this precIse lack of relationshIp
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 51
in regard to Being-if"to be not" implies, as in V, a reference to Being.
The fully non-ontological object is not affecred by not having a refer-
ence to Being, conrrary to the object of inquiry of Argument V. As
already esrablished by rhe consequences of Argumenr I, and reconfirmed
here, rhe "simple" is atemporal. As nothing can stand in relation to ir,
including its not-being, it has no character whatsoever (obviously, nor
even "its own"). This is important, as it proves in concordance with
Argument I that it cannot have relation or reference of any kind, not
even to itself If it did, it could not avoid bcing two, and consequently,
it would be. Accordingly, the non-omologic.1 One, be it in Argumem
I or VI, by "not being in any state," is always "is not" whenever there
is any him of reference. There are simply no relations. (The qualifier
is "neither/nor.")
Consequences derived from the proposition "if 01le is not":
1. "What is nor" could neither be, nor partake of being in any
other way ar all. (163d)
2. The one, since it in no way is, must neither have, nor relinquish,
nor take part in being in any way. (163d)
3. The "one that is not" neither ceases ro be nor comes to be, since
it does not partake of being in any way. (163d)
4. Neither is it altered in any way. For [then] it would both come
to be and cease to be. (l63d)
5. "What is not" is not ever at rest or in motion. (l63e)
6. Nothing among the "things that are" belongs ro it, for by
partaking of "this, that is" [i.e., anything that is], it would at
once partake of being. (163e-164a)
7. Neither largeness nor smallness nOr equaliry belong to if. (l64a)
8. Neirher likeness nor difference in kind would belong to it,
neither in relation to irself nor in relation to the orhers. (l64a)
9. The others can nor be related to it, if, by necessity, nothing
belongs to it. (l64a)
10. The others are neither like it nor unlike it, neither the same as
nor different from it. (l64a)
11. The following do not pertain ro "what is not": "Of that," "to
Ihat," "something," "this," tlof this," "of another," "to another,"
or time past, or afrerwards, or now, or knowledge, or opinion,
or perception, or an account, or a name, or anything else among
the "things that are." (164a-b)
12. The one, "ifit is not," is not in any state at all. (l64b)
52 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Argument VII: The "Other Than One" Complex,
Absent the One
The Argument begins by trying to preserve some sense of factuality
for the Others, in the face of the absence of Unity. However, as soon
as characteristics are evoked, all consequences are rendered as "seem-
ing" or "apparent," not factual. The Others, deficient in Oneness,
seem to have limit, and seem to be One. They appear like and unlike,
in motion and rest, and so on. Ergo, the Others are good copies of the
Others of Argument Ill, also seemingly modeled after the Unit ofIs
in Argument II. But in reality, lacking a reference to a "One that Is,"
they only appear to partake of Being, without actually doing so. Just
as with the object of inquiry of Argument V, what cannot be a Unity
cannot really be a Duality, and consequently a Plurality. If there is some
notion here of reference to Being, then it is only in a doxastic fashion.
In summary, there are no reliable consequences here, as all is seeming,
appearance, and deception. Indeed the ontological dependency is falsely
self-referential. Something seems to have reference to Being, but it is
only a matter of amorphousness to amorphousness. (The qualifier is
"both," but again contingent because only apparent.)
Consequences for the Others derived from the proposition" if one
is not." (What, in such a case, is still true of the Others?):
1. They must somehow be other, for if they were not even other,
one would not be speaking of "the others." (164b)
2. If the others are to be other, there is something of which they
will be other. (164c)
3. They will not be other than the one, "if it is not." So they are
other than each other, since that is the only possibility left, lest
they be other than nothing. (164c)
4. They each are other than each other as multitudes, for they
could not be so as ones, "if one is not." (164d)
5. As it seems, each mass of them is unlimited in multitude. (l64d)
6. There will be many masses, each appearing one, but not being
so, if one is not. (164d)
7. They will seem to have [some] number, if in fact each is also
one, though they are many. Some of them appear even and
some odd, without truly being so, if one is not. (164e)
8. Each mass will appear to have a limit in relation to another
mass. (165a)
The Eight Arguments plus Coda: Results of the Survey 53
9. In relation to itself it has neither beginning, nor limit, nor
since whenever someone grasps something in thought as
If It were any of these, before the beginning another beginning
always appears, and after the end a different end remaining
appears, and in the middle others more in the middle than the
middle [appear] but smaller, because it is not possible to grasp
each of these as one, since "the one is not." (l65a-b)
10. others must each appear both unlimited and as having
hmlt, and both one and many, "if one is not" but the "other
than the one, are." (I65c)
11. These masses must appear both like and unlike both themselves
and each other. (l65d)
12. The masses mU$[ appear both the same as and different from
each other, both in contact with and separate from themselves,
both moving in all kinds of motions and in every way at rest,
both coming to be and ceasing to be and neither, and as all these
kinds of things somehow, "if one is nor" and "many are." (l65d-e)
Argument VIII: The Others Considered as a "Simple"
Without Oneness
First hinted at in Argument I, and then elaborately argued in
Ar.gument II, it appears that having relations to Being is the key to
beIng. Thus, the impression is that regardless of the presupposed
Oneness .?f object inquiry, Being is the kingpin of ontology,
a SOrt of cleannghouse for a place in the ontological order. What
partakes in it is; what does not partake in it isn't. Yet in the end of the
p:r.ticularly way of the Arguments concerning the
One s not-beIng, It becomes Increasingly evident that Oneness is as
much a factor in what can be considered being as Being is. In fact,
Argument VIII leaves no doubt that without the One, there would
be no ontological order of any kind, because such an order would
have no participating members. Clearly, things mU$[ have some sort
of reference in order to be, but it is the One or Unity that facilitates
that reference. Being cannot establish that reference for itself or the
Others, or else the Others would be; they need Oneness to be dis-
tinct from, that is, to be other from what is other. Being might be
the canvas the participants are painted upon, but Unity is the paint
as well as the stroke. Without it, the canvas remains blank. (The
qualifier is "neither/nor.")
54 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Consequences derived from the proposition "if one is not," but the
"others than the one are":
1. The others will not be one. (165e)
2. If oneness is not present in the others, the others are neither
many nor one. (166a)
3. Nor do they appear one or many. (166a)
4. The others are not in communion in any way at all whatsoever
with any of the "things that are not," and none of the "things
that are not" pertain to any of the others, since "things that
are not" have no share [of anything]. (166a)
5. Neither opinion nor appearance regarding "what is not" per-
tains to the others, nor is "what is not" conceived in any way
whatsoever by the others. (J 66a)
6. "If one is not," the others neither are nor are conceived to be
one or many. (166b)
7. [They are] neither like nor unlike either. (166b)
8. They are neither the same nor different, neither in contact
nor separate, nor anything else that they appeared to be in
[Argument VII]. (166b)
9. If one is not, nothing is. (l66c)'U'
The summary of all Consequences shows that One and Being have
a reciprocal relationship, and only within the scope of this relationship
can things actually be, may they be One or Other than One. Being
may be the unlimited, bur Oneness is the necessary limiter. We might
say that Being facilitates that things participate, but Oneness facilitates
how things participate, that is, what they participate as. Thus, the final
and overall conclusion of the Second Part exercise leaves no doubts
regarding the question of ontological priority:
If"one is" or if "[one] is not," [then] it and the others both
are and are not, and both appear and do nOt appear to be
all things in all ways, both in relation to themselves and in
relation to each other. (166c)
105 Gerhard Sed has reminded me here of Quinc's famous "No entity without
identity" statement, already presaged in this conclusion.
Separation and Interweaving-Tentative
Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part
For the epilogue, I would like to revisit some of the known dif-
ficulties associated with the Parmenides. These may have particular
relevance for those trying to reconcile the Parmenides with itS cousin
dialogue, the Sophist. I will focus on the following issues:
What is the relationship between the First Parr and the Second
Part of the Parmenides? Does the second complete the first,
that is, are the difficulties showcased by the First Part actually
addressed by or even resolved by the Second Part?
Does the Second Part solve the Form vs. participant dilemma,
or does it at least offer us a major advance in how to account
for or speak of intelligible things, whether we deem rhem as
interacting with each other or with sensible things?
How do the Pannenides and the Sophist relate to each other?
Does the Sophist represent a major course correction for Plato's
Theory of Forms, whose shortcomings had to be exposed by
the "Eleatic" protagonists of the Pannenides? Is the Parmenides
norhing more than a dead end in Plato's development, a branch-
ing off that led nowhere, only to be summarily replaced by the
"interweaving of Forms" doctrine heralded by rhe SoplJist?
What is the object of inquiry in the Second Part? Are we dealing
with one object of inquiry or two? If the object is indeed EV, or
"one," tben in what regard or context is it to be understood as
(fone"? Is ir existential, predicadve
numerical, monadic, nomina-
tive, or perhaps mystical?
Which of the objects of inquiry in the first rwo Arguments quali-
fies to be deemed a Form per the conventional Theory of Forms
as espoused by the Early and Middle dialogues? If the object
56 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
of inquiry in Argument I is not partakable or relatable-which
could foster the view that it is not a Form according to the clas-
sic Theory-then by default we should consider the object of
Argument I1 as Plato's paradigm for Form. However, the One
of Argument II has magnitude, has positions in both space and
time, moves, changes, and so on (J45b, 145e, 146a, 150e, 151'!ff.),
all conditions or attributes that go against the classic definition
for Forms. Can this dilemma be resolved?
Should we view the Parmmides as yet another installment apper-
taining to the popular preoccupation with the One-Many
Addressing these points in the order listed above would not be very
productive, nor would changing the sequence improve things. To check
off each point, as on a grocery list, would create much redundancy
and unnecessary repetitiveness, as a number of topics are obviously
intertwined. My exposition will be more of a holistic approach, that
is, while tackling one subject or another, I will seek to bring to the
forefront other considerations and reflections as called for. Some topics,
like the Developmentalist view of Plato's work versus the Unitarian
view, always come up when we speculate whether Plato ever revamped
his Theory of Forms in any substantial way-perhaps even so far as to
relegate the doctrine to the sidelines of his inquiries. These are subjects
that have been vigorously debated for decades among specialists; they
.are much too multifaceted, too convoluted, to be done justice to here.
And I am not sure whether the question of Plato's development can
ever be resolved in a satisfactory manner, particularly with an eye to
the Theory of Forms.
One apparent inconsistency that has created numerous headaches
is related to the treatment of the One in Argument 11. I have men-
tioned above that if we cannot consider the object of Argument I a
Form capable of being participated in, we would have to turn to the
object of Argument II, which indeed allows all kinds of participations
and relations. However, if this is our new model for Form. we must
scrap the original Theory that requires a Form not to change or be in
motion, much less to have a temporal or spatial position. Or we could
abandon the idea that the Second Part aims to give one who inquires
into such things the requisite preparation for distinguishing rhe Forms.
But what are we to make, then, of the way the exercise is introduced.
that is. as the proper training for defining "the beautiful," and "just"
and "good." "and each one of the Forms" (135c-d). or that such inquiry
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 57
should not be about "the visible things. but be about those things one
could apprehend best by reasoning. and could regard as Forms" (135e)?
Scholars have been all over the map on these issues.
Samuel Rickless. for example, considers the Parmenides a fateful
watershed moment for the Theory of Forms, after which Forms are
divisible. subjected to contrary properties. and perhaps even sensible.
but in the process they have become more capahle of being accurately
defined. compared to the Forms of the earlier Theory.IQG
For Mitchell Miller. the object of Argument r is the bona fide
Form of the general Theory, which accordingly does not need any
SOrt of modifi cari on or "tuning." The simple "One" represents the
distinguished Form. isolate-deservedly cut off from name, knowl-
edge. speech. opinion, and sense-perception. to which only temporal
things are subject.
The object of Argument 11. on the other hand,
represents the parricipar ing thing as it relates to the Form. Hence
for Miller, Arguments I and 11 represent an exercise that needs to be
worked through in order to gain "a conceptual distinction between
form and thing."IQ'
For Charles Kahn, the notion of Form of the classical Theory is
not directly addressed in the Second Part of the Parmenides, provid-
ing in the main only a background to the overall exercise (according
to hiS latest work, still in progress, on Plato's Later dialogues). The
claim of Argument I and II-denied elsewhere in Plato's work-
that all being is temporal confirms. in Kahn's view. the impression
that "the Forms of the classical theory are not under consideration
here." 10' Argument I is characterized by Kahn as a self-refuting
exercise that implodes by denying its own premise, "that the One
is or has being." also caused by the attempt to deny plurality to the
"One," which, consequently, prevents it from combining with other
Forms. According to Kahn, being "One" should not exclude being
"Many"; citing rhe Sophist. he concludes that "concepts like being
one cannot function in isolation." 1I0
Naturally, I have not done justice to the above scholars, citing only
snippets from their thoughtful elaborations. My purpose was to show
that the relationship between the Theory of Forms and its purported
106 Rickl.ss, Plato; Forms in Tramition, 94,249-250 and passim.
107 Miller, Plato; Parmenides, 100-101, 111-116, 153, 158.
108 Ibid., 111-112.
109 Kahn, chapter (a work in progress on Placo's later dialogues).
110 Ibid.
58 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
treatment in the Parmenides is not a closed book: there are many
thought-provoking ways to approach the subject, which regrettably I
cannot fully catalog here.
Having voiced my caveats, I will nevertheless attempt t ~ a?dress
the remainder of the above-listed issues as best as I can with m the
limitations of this work. My obligation was to provide an introductory
survey of the critical issues involved, if only to assist anyone advenrurous
enough to seek access to what has been touted as the m ~ s t strenuous
and arcane of Platonic dialogues, or even as the most difficult work
of all time. But my intention, first and foremost, was to make it easier
for the reader to srudy the translation and hopefully to gain insight
into Plato's train of thought. The dialogue itself, Plato's wording or
text, is obviously more important than anything I have to say. This
is also the reason why the English translation is provided together
with the Ancient Greek text. In the previous chapter, I enumerated
the general results of the inquiry that we call the Second Part, b ~ t
questions remain: Does taking stock of the consequences of the van-
ous Arguments give us a better understanding of how the twO parts
of the dialogue relate to each other? Is the Second Part successful as
a demonstration, inasmuch as we know more about (a) the difficul-
ties involved when Form and Form are associated with each other (or
Form with participant) and perhaps even (b) how to navigate around
said difficulties? It has taken me considerable rime to come up with
adequate answers to these questions, answers that are demonstrable
and sufficiently internally consistent, I hope, to permit me to venture
an affirmative, even optimistic, response.
There are twO critical factors in my view that are essential for our
understanding of the Parmenides. The firSt regards the "meaning" or
reference of our statements, that is to say, what object do we have in
mind when we say something, or in what sense we are saying it? This
can include certain required differentiations, such as a predicative versus
an existential/ontological understanding of a concept, which relates
to its function in a statement, question, or hypothesis. The key ques-
tion is "What do we mean when we say . .. ?" Next is the idea of the
bundling or intertwining of concepts or words when putting together
an account or definition of a thing or a term, including the possibility
that the formulation is presented as a hypothesis.
The first factor will become clear if we attempt to reduce all the
difficulties explored in the dialogue, to one basic question: What
do we mean when we say "one" (taken either in isolation or inside a
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 59
Technically, the question represents the gist of the Second Part of the
dialogue: however, it can be easily reformulated to accept other objects of
inquiry, including "other than one," "being," "not-being," "many," "like,"
"unlike," "same," and "different." It can also address values like "just,"
"beautiful," and "good," as well as subjects like "human being," "fire,"
"water," and also "hair," "mud," and so on, and it can even be extended
to include "Socrates," "Parmenides," "Hamlet," or "God." The question
entices us ro conceive additional inquiries-for instance, are we point-
ing to one specific thing when we speak of the above subjects, or are we
speaking of a bundle of things-attributes, qualities, and the like-none
of which are the object we have in mind, but which are nonetheless there
to help us express what we mean by it when we refer to it.
Even the hest description or definition is not the thing described or
defined, unless by "thing" we mean a term or concept. Every individual
component that makes up what is said about the thing itself.-every
noun, verb, adjective, etc.-is not specific or exclusively proprietary to
it.lll This means that the words we use to give a true account of a thing,
object, or entity can also be used in regard to other things, objects, or
entities. Nothing that can be said about something belongs exclusively
to it, with one exception-namely, what we mean when we say it. And
here's the catch-this is where the gap, or the disconnect, in under-
standing occurs. What we mean may not be reflected by what we say:
thus, what we say may not be what we mean. If the elements-that is,
the words that make up the "bundle" of terms that we use to commu-
nicate what we mean-are not unique, would then the "bundle" itself
be unique, so that only one specific meaning becomes conveyed and
received? If that is the case, then the only chance we have of improving
the conveyance of what we mean is to create better "bundles." I have
tried to use non-scholarly terminology to communicate the subjects at
hand, if only to check myself. Can I replicate some of Plato's concerns
without taking refuge to technical terms that all too often hide more
than they reveal? Experts, of course, will have recognized the issues
presented as topics also explored by other dialogues, such the Theaetetus,
Cratylus, Sophist, and others.
The issue of " bundling" concepts or words brings me to the second
factor mentioned above. It is Plato's idea of the "interweaving of Forms"
(TOW doc;,v aUfL1tAoxT)V), conventionally associated with the Sophist.
However, it also makes a telling appearance in the First Part of the
III The exception is, of course, names, definite descriptions, or in general. Singular
60 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
Panrzenides, toward the end of a prolonged monologue by Socrates. We
find bim complaining about the difficulties inherent in the separating
and combining of intelligible things whenever we speak about them,
as compared to the ease of our approacb regarding the sensible things:
If someone attempts to show that the same things-such as
stones and sticks and the like-are [both] many and one,
then we will say that he demonstrates these to be many and
one, and not that "the one" is many, nor "the many" one ....
But if someone first distinguishes the Forms, tbemselves by
themselves, separately from the things I have JUSt mentioned
[i.e., stones, sticks]-such as "likeness" and "unlikeness,"
"n1uhitude" and "oneness," "rest" and "motion," and
tbing of tbis kind-and afterwards sbows tbat in tbemselves
these can be combined and separated [cruyy.ep.xwucr1)cu. y.oi
lk"'xp(vecrl/",,], tben I would be very much astonished. [Thus]
I would be ... amazed if someone were able to demonstrate
that this very same difficulty-wbich you and Parmenides
went through on behalf of the visible things-is also illter-
woven ill omnifarious ways 1t).,EY.0flv1jv] in
the Forms themselves, and thus in things that are grasped by
reasoning. (129d-130a, abbreviated version, empbasis added)
What is the difficulty Socrates speaks of that poses no problem
when speaking of sensibles bur can signify the death knell for any
tbeory regarding abstract or intelligible things? It is the notion that
intelligibles, like Forms, can have contradictory attributes. In response
to Zeno's demonstration in the beginning tbat "if the things that are"
are many they would be both "like" and "unlike" -wbicb is taken to
be impossible (127e)-Socrates shows quite effortlessly that the dif-
ficulty does not apply to visible things. These can be both" like" and
"unlike," depending on the co1ltext in which we are speaking regard-
ing such tbings. Therefore Socrates, as a man, can be one thing but at
the same time display a variety of parts, and thus also be a multitude
(l29a-d). In a sense, Socrates is saying, "If you have a problem witb
conflicting attributes in the visible things, Zeno, you are barking up
tbe wrong tree. Raise your sights higher to the inrelligible tbings, where
such concerns would be more appropriate."
Although Socrates is not calling for Zeno to defend tbe Forms
against the threat ofinherent plurality and the danger of being subjected
to contradictory attributions-in the manner, as the dialogue contends,
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 61
that Zeno was moved to defend Parmenides' object of inquiry-there
is nonetheless some insecurity in Socrates' voice. Yet he plunges ahead
and includes even Parmenides in his challenge of the Eleatic apptoach.
It is almost as if he is worried that if two thinkers of this magnitude,
who were so bold to take on the visible world in defiance of the mOSt
common beliefs, were to put their heads together, they could come up
with all kinds of flaws and inconsistencies regarding the Forms. Still, as
certain as Socrates claims to be of the integrity of the Forms "rhemselves
by themselves," he is prescient enougb to realize tbat some genuine dif-
ficulties emerge when one combines tbem. Socrates does not yet realize
that the danger is not only apparent in bow we combine or intertwine
the Forms, but also in how we take such combinations apart, if we are
to obtain tbe simple "itself-by-itself" attribute. As Socrates will find
out in the Second Parr of the Panrmlides, our understanding of many
familiar concepts will change substantially, depending only on how we
associate them with each other. But be will be much more taken aback
by bow rho roughly we will lose our grasp of the Forms if we insist that
they be disassociated to the point of being "themselves by themselves."
It is lessons of this kind that Parmenides proceeds to demonstrate to
young Socrates throughout the remainder of the dialogue.
Yet the dialogue's Parmenides is neither a foe of the Forms not of
disassociation per se. It is he who brings up the need to differentiate
between sensibles and intelligibles, as when he lauds Socrates for not
allowing "inquiry to wander around the visible things, nor be about
them, but be about those things one could apprehend best by reasoning,
and could regard as Forms" (l35e). The Eleatic has taken up not only
the challenge expressed by Socrates at rbe outser but also rhe mantle
of tbe Forms' most proficient champion. Ir is rhe same Parmenides,
afrer all, who points out to Socrates:
If someone ... will not concede that there are Forms of "the
things that are," and will not define [op"''''''] a Form for each
one [of them], he will not have anything to turn his thought
to, since he won't allow that for each of "the things that are,"
there is a concept that is always the same. And by doing this
he will completely destroy the power of discourse. (l35b-c)
Thus Parmenides sets the agenda for the philosopher's inquiry,
fueled by the need to distinguish the Forms from the sensible things.
This helps define them in their own right as classes for things, and not
as belonging to the things themselves-the word for "define" used
62 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
by Parmenides, can also express "divide," "separate," or "mark
off." Only when we perform such marking off of the Forms from the
sensible things do we stand a chance to, as Parmenides then says, "dis-
allow inquiry to be ab our rhe visible things, but be about those things
one could apprehend best by reasoning." In this way the agenda is set,
and upon Socrates' acceptance ofit, Parmenides lays out in detail the
rwofold strategy that will be pursued in the Second Part.
While marathon-like in scope and labyrinthine in layour, the exercise
itself is basically a clear-cur ex h ibilion of what happens to our under-
sta nding of the Forms dependent on whether we combine or untangle
them. That there are many lessons along the way, some quite cogent,
others less so, touching upon a variety of subjects and docrrines-many
of which have been already spouted by some Presocratics-seems
unavoidable, considering the breadth of the enterprise. However, rhe
main message remains that contingent upon how we approach the object
of inquiry, we come to speak differently of it, and whether desired or
not, its meaning is subject to change. Again, it is not the Form that
changes, but the meaning it has for us, particularly the meaning we
are conveying in each individual case, which, once more, depends on
how we associate or disassociate things-including the possibility of
disassociating something radically or completely.
The Sophist picks up the idea of "destroying the power of discourse"
mentioned above, not only brought abour by a failure to distinguish
a "concept that is always the same" from the transient sensible things,
but also-exempli fi ed in the Second Part of the Parmenides-as the
outcome of complete separation:
To disassociate each thing from everything else is to destroy
evcrything there is ro say. The weaving together of Forms
is whar makes speech possible.
Now, the First Part of the Parmenides shows us a variety of examples
of difficulties encountered when we radically separate the Forms, as we
must, from their participants. The devastating epistemological effects of
a complete severing of the divine from the mortal "things-amongst-us"
realm is but one example, which ends up with the conclusion, quite
alarming for Socrates, that God is incapable of knowing human affairs
{134a-e}. However, the dissociation referred to above (from the Sophist)
is fat more consequential, as the Second Part of the Pam/mides shows,
112 Sophist, 25ge.
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 63
because, if successful, it leaves us with nothing to say, name, or know.
The fOCUSing on concerns rh at address intelligibility and the ability to
express what be grasped is part of the reason I consider the Sophist
and the Pa.rmenldes.as complementary rather than opposing works. They
both prOVide solutions for each other, but in di fferen t ways than are
often imagined by other interpreters. While a key to both dialogues is
the notion of an "interweaving of Forms," the strategy must go hand in
hand with the requisite differentiation of singular Forms by themselves
xcx.S' oclJ't'a).1l
. The dialogues complete each other as to how they tackle these two
Issues, yet what in the Sophist is copious but necessary theOrizing (for
the sake of capturing the cunning quarry, the Sophist) emerges in the
Second Part of the Parmmides as an exhaustive, unrepentant demon-
stration. Arguments I, IV, VI, and VIII, as we have seen, are devoted to
the pursuit of the simple, the unrelated, naked, concept. But Arguments
II, III, V, and VI! comp.lete the exercise by shOWing how the necessary
aSSOCIation and teordeflng of concepts offer a new understanding of
them. Argument JJ, in particular, is nothing less than a paradigmatic
exemplification of the principle of weaving togerher individual notions
including those which plainly contradict each other, and which, withou;
the groundwork established by the dialogue, would have contentious
results, if nOt outright ridiculous conclusions. It is all a matter of context,
on from what perspecrive we are approaching the object or,
1t1 rhe language of the Sophist, how we speak of it: whether we mean
something in one way or in a different way.
But even the general idea of contextualizing concepts-meaning
order to aVOid explicit contradiction when dealing with contrary
qualities we must differentiate when rhe referent is "spoken of in one way"
as opposed ro being "spoken of in a different way"-was not the break-
through in composing a logos some associate with the Sophist I "-unless we
113 Sophist, 250e6ff.; 251d; 252b6ff.; 253al, d; 254b6ff.; 255cl2, e5; 259.5, e4;
262d4. Parmmid", 128e, 129d- c; 130.-b; 137cff.
114 Sophist. 256all: "When we say that [change] is the s.me or not the Same
we aren't speaking the same way. When we say it's the same, that's because i;
shares in rhe same in relation to itself. Bur when we say it's not the Same, that's
because of its associacion with the different." (See also 259c-d; furthermore.
256c. 257b, 258.-259a.) Guthrie argues that the realization that a word can
be used in morc than onc sense is perhaps the Sophist's great contribution to
general (HGP V, 152). See also Srotmnorl, 283e. regarding the
Great and Small: Wc speak of them in one way as connected to each other
and in anochcr way as connected [0 due measure."
64 The Parmenide5: An Introductory Essay
assume that it precedes the Parmenides chronologically. The Arguments
of the Second Part offer us an exacr roadmap of how context change
can be performed so thar what conventionally would be a contradic-
tion is, in fact, not. All we have to do is to see ir in the appropriare
context; in other words, we must aim for the intended meaning of a
given account. .
Plainly, as an object of inquiry, the One of Argument I IS spoken
of differently when compared with the One of Argument 11. Even the
way the basic hypotheses are introduced in rhese twO arguments seems
to suggest rhat we should expect not quite the same approach to our
object, meaning we should anticipate different results. In Argument
[, the hypothesis is expressed as the predicative "if it is One" (et EV
i:crnv), in contrast to the exisrential "if One is" et icrnv) hypothesis
of Argument n.'" Charles Kahn-who also proposes "ifit is one" for
rhe Firsr and "if one is" or "if there is one" for the Second-considers
this primarily a rhetorical, as opposed to a logical, distincrion:
The difference is that rhe larer formula, by placing tv "one"
before rhe if-clause, identifies the One as subject and shifrs
acrcncion to the predicate eo't'[.\I, "is." By concrasc, the word
order of rhe hyporhesis in Deduction 1 encourages us to
consrrue "is one" as a predicare wirh no subjecr specified.
Hence one way to undersrand Deducrion I is to see ir as
positing being one as an attribute alone, wirhour connection
h b
'b 116
to any ot er su Ject or arm ute.
For Plato, the spelling out of a definite subject at the onset of the
Second Part is also made redundant by his distinctively "Eleatic"
introduction of the overall object of inquiry. JUSt a few lines before
Argument I starrs, Parmenides frames this object as follows: "I shall
115 Gill also differentiates between et EV ea",v (137c3), and EV El <a",v (l42b4),
also translaring che first as "if it is one" and che second as "if one is" (Plato:
Parmenides, 141, 147), as does Kahn, chapter on the Parmmid" (a work in
progress on Plato's later dialogues), Ross is a ?f those
who opt for a strictly existential take on the object of Lnqulry (Platos Thtory
of ItkOJ); Sayee does not differentiate, "if there is one:
(Parmmides'Lmon, 17,23). Alien translates If unity IS for both (Platos
Parmenides, 17,25); Turnbull has "if one is" for both (Tb. Parmenides an1
pu.to's La" Philosophy, 51,71); Scolnicoy, "if the one is," for both (Platos
Parmenides, 80, 95).
116 Kahn, chapter on the Parm",i"'s (a work in progress on Plato's larer dialogues).
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 65
begin with myself and my own hypothesis, hypothesizing about 'the
One'itself, whether it is one or not one, and rhe consequences thar must
follow [in each case)." (137b) When almost immediately afterward he
launches the demonstration with the words" if [it) is one" and so on,
ir is clear that he is still speaking of the subject he had just identified
as part of "his own hyporhesis," namely "rhe One itself" vac; (1U1:oG).
Subsequently, the rest of Argument I traces rhe consequences nor of
rhe ontological "One plus Being" cOnstrucrion of Argument 11, bur
scays rrue to rhe original sripulation of rhe "One" sought as a simple
attribute "alone," precisely as Kahn describes it, "withour connection
to any other subject or attribure."
We have seen how this straregy is applied rigorously throughout
Argument I. The individual property in question must be isolated
even to rhe point of disassociating it with its own name before we can
worry abour any existential and referential implicarions. Why even
its name? Because as Argument I contends, not hing can really belong
to something when it is nor imertwined wirh Being, and therefore is
not-not even a name. To this requiremem we can add the comple-
mentary observation found in the Sophist that a thing and its name
are not rhe same; they are nor one thing, but two, yet a name without
referent is a name of nothing.
Furthermore, the name for a thing
is not securely tethered to it. lr is, in the words of the Sevemh Letter,
"not firmly fixed" (ooili:v ... tC;"LV), being always liable to be
replaced by a different designation, including a contradicting one.1I8
Taking all this into consideration, there Seems to be no legitimate way
for Plato ro allow a property to keep its particular name whenever it
neither refers to anything nor is possessed by something else. I \9 I have
been astonished by the number of interpreters who seem to overlook
the main motive necessitating the kind of radical disassociation of rhe
object of inquiry that we find in Argumem I: a predicare without refer-
117 Sophist, 244d.
118 Lttur VII, 343b. The genuineness of the Lener, in this context, is beside the
point. I agree with the majority that it is either authentic or sufficiently close
chronologically and contextually [0 being so that the issue does not have [Q
be belabored. See also 7htatutus. 208l!ff., on the instability of definitions.
119 Now, if Plato had the possibility of self-predication in mind, I don't see how
he could have argued for [he loss of name. Clearly. considering the arguments
against same/different and like/unlike (l39b-140b), the conclusion cannot
be reached that (he One partakes of itself
66 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
ent can in turn not have anything for which it itself is the referent. In
simple terms, if it does not refer to anything, nothing else refers to it.
This is confirmed by Argument IV, which represents another attempt
to isolate the simple "itself-by-itself," in this case the non-referential
"Other than One." In reviewing this particular approach, we might
be struck at first by what seems to be an inconsistency in that parr of
the wording referring to the One. We find it to be the same as that in
Argument n, rather than that in Argument l, namely v El oO'm, which
we have [[anslated as "if One is," in contrast to the "ifit is One" (El ev
EO'w,) hypothesis of the First Argument. However, both Arguments
I and IV attempt to isolate the simple unrelated object, hence, nOt
some ontological "Object plus Being" composite, but merely the naked
property. Yet as a matter of content, the inconsistency is only apparent:
the "Other than One" will also behave as a "simple" if approached as a
predicate without reference, particularly if "Other" fails to have reference
to the complex, multifarious One of Argument II-which is why Plara
cons[[ues Argument IV's hypothesis precisely around Argument Irs "if
One is" proposition. This is soon confirmed by the Argument itself, as
we arrive at the question of plurality. There, the conclusion preserved
in 159d7 reiterates forcefully that the "Other than One" concept is not
intertwined with the "One plus Being" complex-which is taken as the
root of "the Many" according to Argument II (144a-e). Accordingly,
any possibility for plurality must be ruled out:
So neither are the others many, for if they were, each of
them would be one part of a whole. But as it is, the things
other than one are neither one nor many, neither whole nor
parts, since they in no way partake of it. (l59d)
Naturally we can ask ourselves, what can "Other than One" mean
if not Many, if it does not mean One? But that is not the poi nt of
this particular exercise, namely, to situate the Many against the One.
120 I am not going (0 expand the discussion here regarding self-predication.
Against Meinwald et al.. I have yet to see convincing argumenrs that Plato
had any inkling about what we mean by "self-predication." NO[ even the SOrt
of "Pauline predication" (as proposed by Sandra Peterson, "A Reasonable
Self-Predication Premise for the Third Man Argument," 458) works in regard
to the result of Argument I. "Charity," in Sr. Paul's Epistle, allows itself to be
associated with both "Suffering," and "Kindness," while keeping its name,
obviously. The object of Argument I. on the other hand. cannot be associated
with anything not even its name.
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 67
That, rather, was the point of Zeno's demonstrations, as Plara has his
Parmenides reIl us in 136a-after Socrates is introduced to the idea of
lacking adequate training in such matters. I suggest that the Second
Part should not be taken as yet another exploration of the ubiquitous
?ne. Many prob!;m, but of the mOte straightforwardly analytical
Object versus the Other than the Object" juxtaposition-even if
occasionally the "Other than" concept becomes equated with the Many.
the than for example, could be distinguished
as the Not even One and stili not give us, strictly speaking, a "plural-
ity of things" concept.
On general grounds, we can accept Plato's argument that it is
necessary to learn how to separate the Forms from the sensible things.
But why should we feel necessitated to distinguish a Form from other
quiteso drasrically, including from Form bundles, or complexes?
Setnng conSiderations from earlier dialogues aside, Socrates never makes
con;incing case as to why a Form needs to be separated "itself-by-
Itself apropos other Forms. Moreover, we can separate, according to
the Second Part, the concept to the point of being unable to speak
of it, further. To what benefit, One can ask. We are only told that we
won t know the Form, much less be able to express it. We won't even
have a justification to voice irs name unless, quite obviously, we start
with other concepts. But then it was never actuall)'
Itself-bY-ltself as would be required, according to Socrates, for our
edification in its true nature. Is there some benefit to carrying OUt an
exerCIse that, If successfully complered, may rob us of the ability to
know or to articulate anything at all? Well, keeping the notion of "inter-
weaving" in mind, we may attempt the following thought experiment.
Let us we are trying to create a rational aCCOUnt of something
that IS nothmg more than a coherent intertWining of concepts, intended
[0 express the meaning we intend to express. In a sense, we are creat-
ing a :ecipe for the 'purpose of obtaining and conveying a very specific
meanmg and nothing else, certainly not something less or other than
whar we have in mind. But if we must create such an exacting reCipe,
we should be able to know precisely what our ingredients are, and how
they affect each other as well as how they affect the whole. That is how
we avoid unwanted side effects, one of them being that we did not create
the recipe originally intended-reflecting the meaning we wanted to
convey-but a different one. A good example is the attempt to define
the term "sophist" in the Sophist. Accordingly, the identification of
each ingredient prevents redundancy or insufficiency, both
of which could cause unintended alterations of purpose. In this sense,
68 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
it is understandable that Plato requires the Forms to be isolated and
stripped bare of any and all association before attempting to recom-
bine them. It is only when this disassociation is performed as drastI-
cally as in Arguments I. rv. VI. and VIIl that in the end we have lost
connection with our objects. including nominally-if. as the Sophist
contends. the thing and its name are two different things. Therefore.
we should seek to distinguish the ingred ients carefully without fully
disassociating them.
However. having the object elude our grasp when we push it all
the way to "itself-by-itselfness" is not necessarily an unsuccessful. and
thus redundant. exercise. Quite to the contrary. it would allow us to
properly identify other pertinent Forms together with which a particular
"weaving-together" comes about. How do we come to identify these
other Forms? The answer is quite simple and straightforward. If the
concepts were capable of being removed in the first place-as demon-
strated. for example. by Argument I-then we have proved to ourselves
that they were not the specific concept we were after. but that we were
still dealing with some SOrt of "weaving together" as representative of
the idea itself. (See. for instance. how the idea "that there is One" in
Argument 11 comes to stand for the concept of "One." when in fact.
as the Argument shows. we are dealing with a composite notion that
has "One" and "Being" as its constituents [142b-eJ.)
In the end. everything that is not the concept we are after must be
disassociated; the complex must be taken apart if we have any hope of
not only putting it together again. but perhaps of putting it together
again in a better way. The disassembly as an exercise allows us room
for experimentation to imptove the bundling. so to speak. and hence
the overall account. or defin ition. Our goal. evidently. is to improve
discourse. not to destroy it. To destroy it-and in this the Pawlenides
and the Sophist are of the same opinion-is to lose. or to be deprived
of. philosophy.'" And who would want that to happen?
In summary. the main lesson that should be retained from both the
Parmenides and the Sophist is that a "weaving together" goes hand in
hand with a "taking apart." Socrates' powerful plea calling for some-
one to demonstrate how the Forms can be distinguished. themselves
by themselves. separately from the "visible things"-if only to also
show how the very same Forms" in themselves. can be combined and
separated" (129d-e)-is so cogent and well-articulated that it SCtS the
121 Parmmidts, 135c; Sophist. 260 .
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 69
whole dialogue in motion. The enterprise is given a clear direction. a
goal. and a mandate. Parmenides' ensuing exchange with Socrates has a
preparatory character. Plainly. the aim is nOt to embarrass Socrates-the
Eleatic's tone is genial throughout-but rather to provide a multifaceted
survey of problematic areas. After reviewing the various problems of
participation that make up most of the First Part. but before enun-
ciating the need for Forms "if we are to have meaningful discourse."
Parmenides issues an ominous warning-one that goes to the heart
of the separation question:
These difficulties are necessarily involved in the Forms. and
still many more besides them-if these are the concepts for
the "things that arc" and someone delimits each Form as
"something by itself" Thus. whoever hears about them is
confounded and disputes whether they exist. or that. even if
they do indeed exist. they mUSt necessarily be unknowable
to human nacure. (I 35a)
Without a doubt. the results of the non-relational Arguments I. IV.
VI. and VII[ do demonstrate that when "spoken of in a certain way." an
object "itself-by-itself" can indeed be denied to exist or to be known.
And yet there is a difference between the approach of a Sophist like
Gorgias-whose style seems to be knOWingly mimicked by the above
remarks-and that of a thoroughly trained philosopher who recognizes
both the traps that result in the unintelligible and the need for reliable.
unconditional concepts or values. We should not forget that whatever
else may have separated the Eleatics and Plato. they had one common
enemy: the type of epistemological relativism preached by the likes
of Protagoras and Gorgias. Aware of this natural kinship. Plato has
reserved h is strongest defense of the Forms for a very dramatic moment
in the dialogue. endOWing. it seems. the most fearsome. larger-than-
life. philosophical figure of his day. Parmenides-in whose shadow
even the cunningly glib Sophists were trying to hide-with his most
potent arguments for Forms.
It is also Parmenides whom Plato trusts to handle the separation
question more competently than the somewhat superficial-perhaps
even carefree-young Socrates. First. the Eleatic asks Socrates whether
he has distinguished (titilP'I)CJoct) for himself the Forms. "themselves
by themselves." from the things that partake in them (BOb). Not
waiting for an answer. Parmenides proceeds immediately to the next
question: whether Socrates thinks or supposes (oax.') that a concept
70 The Parmenides: An Introductory Essay
like "likeness itself" is something entirely separate from "the likeness
that we share." (Notice the subtle change in how the separation issue
is approached in the second question. It seems to water down, in my
view, the strong distinction S'ilP1)C1OC' ["dividing," "distinguishing"]
to the weaker So".iv ["thinking," "supposing," "opining"].) Socrates
affirms that he does think in this way, and when asked also about
"the beautiful," "the just," "the good," he only ventures a short "yes."
But when asked about" fire," "water," or "human being," he admits
freely that he is often puzzled (iv about these things, followed
by a telling statement-one that once again draws on the distinction
that has been touted as the Sophist's greatest breakthrough-namely,
whethtr to spMk about them in t/" Sa17,. way as he speaks about the
others above, or differently (l30c).
However, when Socrates treats things like "hair," "mud," and so on
as not even worth distinguishing as Forms "themselves by themselves,"
it is obvious that his preconceived notions have gotten the better of him.
He seems to have only ophled this, that, or the other about the Forms,
but never really set out to prove anything by rigorous demonstration,
certainly not by anything even remorely comparable to the Second
Part. The prejudiced remark earns Socrates a cutting reproach from
Parmenides, who points out that he is still young and that philosophy
has not taken hold of him yet, as it surely will once he stops belittling
these kinds of thi ngs.
But apparently, the larger point that Socrates has missed is that when
a concept is not JUSt claimed or thought to be separate "itself by itself,"
but actually becomes disassociated by means of a skillful demonstration
from everything that is other than it-including the other Forms-he
will have lost it completely. And it is not just lost as something that can
be known, spoken of, named, and so on, but also as something that
can be participated in-which leaves the Theory of Forms in limbo.
When in the remainder of the First Parr Parmenides proceeds to show
Socrates that some of his favorite ideas about the Forms, when put to
the test, result in aporiai, or perplexing difficulties, the young man feels
intimidated. The feeling is deserved in the end, because it shows a lack
in the kind of training that merits being called philosophy. The point
is simply this: he should not satisfy himself with just thinking about
things; rather, he should put what has been thought to the test. Socrates
only shows that he has not yet learned to come up with alternative ways
of how what is said abour certain things might be understood so that
difficulties can be avoided. He has not yet learned that it takes more
to achieve what, for example, the Eleatic Visitor (in the Sophist) deems
Tentative Solutions for Interpreting the Second Part 71
as the most worth pursuing, an occupation that is "both difficult but
at the same time beautiful": '"
We should be able to follow what a person says and scru-
tinize it step by step. When he says that what's different is
the same in a cerrain way or that what's the same is different
in a certain way, we should understand JUSt whar way he
means, and the precise respect in which he's saying that rhe
rhing is same or different. (259c-d)
viewed as a call for a discerning methodological approach, rhen
Plato s sagacIous words, comIng to us by means of rhe Sophist, are, in
my opinion, the final clue to rhe enigma that is the Parmenides.
122 Sophist, 259c.
- ---
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2 't' Stepbanus: 'tE !-lot T: p.oL 8.
Cephalus, Adeimantus, Antiphon, Glaucon, Pythadorus, Socrates,
Zena, Parmenides, Aristoteles
[Cephalus narrates]:
When we arrived in Athens from our home in C1azomenae, we ran
into Adeimantus and Glaucon in the marketplace. Adeimantus took
me by the hand and said, "Welcome, Cephalus, let us know if there is
anything here you might need that we can provide."
"Indeed, I am here far that very reason," I replied, "to ask something
of you."
''Tell us what it is," he said.
And I ;eplied, was the name of your half brother on your
mother s stde? I don t remember it. He would have been a child when
I came here from Clazomenae before-and that is now a long time
ago. His father's name, I believe, was Pyrilampes."
"It was, indeed," he said.
"And his?"
"Antiphon. But why exactly do you ask?"
"These men here are fellow citizens of mine," I said, "keen philosophers,
and they have heard that this Antiphon used to meet frequently with a
friend of Zeno's called Pythodorus, and that he has often heard from
Pythodorus the conversation that Socrates, Zeno, and Parmenides once
had with one another and can recite it from memory."
"That is true," he said.
"Well," I replied, "we would like to hear it all."
"That should not be difficult," he said. "When Antiphon was a young
he practiced it diligently, though recently, just like the grandfather
he s named afrer, he devotes mosr of his rime to horses. But if you so
wish, let us go to his house. He has juSt left here to go home; he lives
nearby in Melit;;."
Plato's Parmenides
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Text and Translation: 127a-e
Having said this, we began walking and found Antiphon at his
home, giving a smith a bridle of some kind to work on. When he
discharged the smith and his brothers told him why we had come, he
recognized me from my earlier visit and greeted me. And when we
asked him to repeat the whole conversation, in the beginning he was
unwilling-claiming it was a lot of trouble-but eventually he began
narrating it.
So Antiphon said that he was told by Pythodorus that Zeno and
Parmenides once came for the Great Panathenaea. Parmenides was
already well along in years, quite white-haired, but of distinguished
appearance, about sixty-five years old. Zeno was then approaching
forty, a tall and graceful sight-it was said he had been Parmenides'
favorite pupil.' Antiphon said that they were staying with Pythodorus,
in Keramikos, outside the city wall, and that Socrates had come there,
together with many others, wishing to hear a reading of Zeno's writ-
ings, which he and Parmenides had just brought to Athens for the
first time. Socrates was then very young. Zeno himself read to them;
Parmenides happened to be outside. The reading of the arguments was
almost over, Pythodorus said, when he came in from outside together
with Parmenides and Aristoteles-the man who later became one of
the Thirty-and they listened to what litde remained to be heard. But
Pythodorus himself had heard Zeno read it before.
When the reading was over, Socrates asked Zeno to read the first
hypothesis of the first argument again, and when it was read, Socrates
said, "Zeno, what do you mean by this: 'if the "things that are" are
many, they must then be both like and unlike, but that is impossible;
for neither can what is unlike be like nor what is like be unlike'? Isn't
that what you are saying?"
"It is," said Zeno.
"So, ifit is impossible for the unlike to be like and the like to be unlike,
then, is it not also impossible for either of them to be many? For if they
were many, they would be subjected to many impossibiliries. Is this the
gist of your arguments, to maintain-despite everything that is [com-
monly] said
-that the 'many are not'? And do you think that each of
your arguments is a proof for just that, so that you suppose you have
3 The word paidika in this context may indicate that Zeno was not only
Parmenides' favorite pupil. but also his lover,
4 Cf. "what is commonly said" with Parmenides' ta dokounta. B1.31. and
the principal aim of a dialenic exercise to target an opinion that is generally
Plato's Parmenides: 127e-128d
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7 't'cxu't'oc Schleiermacher: 't'ocu't'oc B: om. T.
Text and Translation: 127e-128e
provided as many proofs that 'the many are not', as you have written
down arguments? Is rhis what you are saying-or did I misunderstand?" 128
"No," Zeno replied. "Quite the contrary, you have grasped well the
general intent of rhe work."
"Parmenides," Socrates said, "I understand that Zeno here wants to
associate himself with you nor only in friendship but also otherwise
with his writings. For he has, in a way, written the same thing as you,
but by reversing it he tries to deceive us into thinking he is saying
something different. You say in your poems 'the all is one', and you b
provide excellent and fine proofs of this. He, in rum, says that 'it is not
many' and he himself also provides a vast number of very great proofs.
So while the one says 'one', and the other 'not many'-and though
you almost say the same-you seem in this way to have said nothing
of the same. Thus to the rest of us, it seems that what you have said
is quite beyond us."
"Yes, Socrares," said Zeno. "Still, you haven't fully perceived the truth c
about my work, even though you track down its arguments as the Spartan
hounds do, following their traces swiftly. First, you have missed this point:
the work does not pride itself on having been written with the intent
you have ascribed to it, namely, disguising itself from people, as if that
were some great accomplishment. What you have mentioned is merely
accidental. The truth is that rhe work provides support for Parmenides'
argument against those who try to make fun of it by claiming that 'if d
it" is one', many absurdities and contradictions follow that argument."
My work speaks against the advocates of the many and pays them back
the same and more, since it aims to show that their hypothesis, 'if ir is
many', would, if someone examined it thoroughly, suffer even more
absurdities than those suffered by the hypothesis 'iflO it is one'.h was out
of such love of combat," while I was still young, that I wrote it. Someone
stole it after it was written, so I did not even have a chance to consider e
8 "If the all is one," see itOCV above in 128a.
9 Compare Socrates' claims regarding (in 12Ba-b) to Zeno's "if it is one" (d
g:v ea'n) in 128d. and "it is one" (EV E:!voct., also 128d) [Q Parmenides' "whether
it is one (or not one)" (E('t'E V EaT(.v) in 137b and what must be considered the
standard formulation "ifit is one" (d e.'J EO't'!.V) in 137c, the exprc5sed object
afi nquiry at the beginning of Argument I. (Sce also Gill, Plato: Parmenides,
66; Kahn, Parmmidrs chapter [a work in progress on Plato's latcr dialogues].)
10 Although it is only implied in the Greek, we have retained the "if' clause of
the hypothesis in order to remain true to previous formulations, instead of
adapting "that it is one," Le., a more modern form of presenting a hypothesis.
11 The word philondkia literally means the 'love of quarrel'.
Plato's Parmenides
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d1"' CXI)1;O .LC; 1"0 ,!,Ole; Etn 1"CXU1"'Il
't "\ (\ 1 ,. ..,. " i ' '" ,.
QU\! O'E: I\CXVv(XVEr.., W OTt OUX uno "EOU <pLlI.o\ILXLOCt; OLEr.. O:.U't'O
YEYPc<cpl)CX', OCAA' uno npEa{3u1"ipou '!',AonflLcxc;' EnEL, OTtEP y' erno".
ou xcxxidr; cbtdxcxao:c:;."
" 'AAA' ci1toSiXOflcxL," cpOCVClt. 'to" " xext i}youP.CXf. WC:; ).iYE:!.t;
>I 'l}' ". 'Y " ., n'"
EXS!,V. 't'OQE DE: f.LOL. e:L1tE:' OU Er..Vet(. (XU't"O XOC17 cx.U"tO et.OOr; 't't.
O{J.ot.O"C1)"COC;. xai OCU OC)..AO "Lt. iW1..v't'Lov. 0 eO''t't.v civo{J.OtOv
1"OU1"QCV Oe: ouoev ono'" xcxt Epi: XCXL O'e: XCXL ,<aAACX eX (1) noAAiJ. XCXAoufl
XCXL '<'" fle:v TIle; 0flo,6'<'tJ,<0e; 0flo,cx
yLyv.al)cx, '<CXU1"'Il ". xcxt xcx'<'" ,<oaoG1"OV 6aov av flE'<CXAcxflf3OCvn, '< ...
oE '<ije; OCVOflO'01"'tJ"oe; OCVOflO'cx, '<'" oE ocflcpon:p">v OCflCP0'<EPCX; Et oE xcxt
nocncx EvcxnL",v QV '<"'v cX.fl'!'o,<ip"'v xcxt "a'" 1"<i> flE,<ex
aP.cpOLV op-moO:. -rE XelL OC\lop.Ot.oc CXtl't'oc IXU't'otc:;. 'tL Dau!Loco't'ov; EL (J.EV ya.p
cxtrt'cX, '('0:. ofLot.oc "Cf.; OC7tE<pCXLVEV ci.vof1o('cx yt.yvofLtvOC ij 't'cX. cbn>fLOLcx ollo['oc.
,<epcxe; av, oIflCX', 'ljv' d oE ,<<1 '<ou'<"'v flE1:exov,<cx afl'!'o,<ep"'v OCfl,!,O'<EpCX
cX.1torpaLvE[' 7tE1tov.so-ccx. oUSbJ !Lo[.ye. W OCTonov Soxd eIvcx[.. oUSi
ye EL EV I17tCXV'tCl ci1toq>o:LvE[' 'tU; (J.E't'EXe:t.V TOO xat 't'av't'oc 't'aO't'!X.
7tOAAOC -rcjl1tA1j-SOUC; ClO ocAA' 0 eC1'ttV e'J. !X.U't'O TOU't'O 7tOAAOC
xcxt CXU '<'" nOAA", (1) EV, '<001"0 l)cxuflocaoflcx,. XCXL nEpL ,<",v
a.AAfiW cX1tOCV't'WV OOO'OCU't'WC;' EL llEV lXU't'O:. 't'OC yiV1J 't'e: xcx.t e:r8." EV
oc1tocpocLvot 't'cX.vo:v't'Lcx 't'CXU't'Cl 1tOC.&r, 1tOCO'XOV't'cx.. et 8'
Efl< ev 'ne; QV'<CX "CXL nOAAoc, 1"L l)cxuflCXO''<ov, Aey"'v, 01"CXV flEV
noAA'" ano'!'cxL""" Wc; hEpcx fl&V '<'" ent floU Ea,,"v, g'<epcx
8E: 't'OC E1tt ciP['OTe:p, XClt E't'e:po: fJoEV TO:. 1tpeO'De:v. 't'EpOC 8E: 'to:. 07tl.oSev,
\ v \' r' ,,\,' n \ T ,,, t', ..
XOC[. cxvw xcx.t XOCTW W(1C1U't'trlC;' 1t1'l.1J'lTOUC; ya;p. OL!L!X.[.. O't'OCV oe: e:v.
EPe:'t we; E:7t't'O:. QV't'wv de; EYW d!l-t tlvSPOO1tOc; XC1L 'tov Eve:;'
Text and Translation: 128e-129d 81
whether or not it should see the light. So in this way you have missed
the point, Socrates: you think it was wrirren not out of a young man's
love of combat, bur our of a mature man's love of honors. Still, as have
1 said, you portrayed it quite well."
"I accept," Soctates said, "and 1 believe it was as you say. But tell me,
do you not think that there is a Form, itself by itself.
of 'likeness',
and in the same way, another Form opposite of it thar is 'unlike', and
that in these two, you and 1 and the other things we call many, par-
ticipate? And do things that participate in likeness become like in the
manner and to the extent that they participate in [likeness]. whereas
those that participate in unlikeness become unlike, and those that
participate in both become both? And even if all [things] partake in
both in spite of being opposites, and if by participating in both they
are borh like and unli ke themselves, what is astonishing about that?
Bur if someone showed that rhe likes themselves come to be unlike or
rhe unlikes like, now that would be a wond rous thing in my opinion.
Ifhe shows, however, thar the things that partake in both of these [the
like and unlike] are subjected to borh, for me there is nothing strange
about thar, Zeno-not even if he shows that all things are one by
participating in the one, and that the same [all things] are also many
by participating in multitude. Bur if he demonstrares that that which
is one is itself many, and in rum that the many is one, then 1 will be
astonished at that. And likewise for all the other things of the same
character: ifhe showed that the Kinds and Forms in and by rhemselves
would be subjected to these opposite qualifications,13 this would merit
astonishment. But if someone should show that [ am both one and
many, what is so astonishing about that? When he intends to show
that I am many, he says that my right side is different from my left,
and my front different from my back, and likewise with my upper
and lower parrs-for, 1 believe, I do partake of multitude. But when
he intends to show that I am one [thing], he will say 1 am one man
among the seven of us; since I also partake of oneness, he therefore
proves both to be true. So if someone attempts to show that the same
things-such as stones and sticks and the li ke- are [borh] many and
one, then we will say thar he demonstrates these to be many and one,
12 Cf. Parmenides B8.29.
13 Pathos is translated here as 'qualification' instead of [he literal bue obsolece
'affection'. W,e choose chis noc an anempt co evoke Aris[Oceiian cerminology
bu[ [0. establish. as as possible. a rendering in English [hac. while being
both hceral and conSISteflC. also reflects modern English usage.
Plato's Parmenides
WU,(E ciA1)IHi ci1toepotLvEL ci[,-epO,(EPot. i,xv ouv ,(L<; '(oLoti}rot E1tLXELPil
Y.<xt &v 't'o:trra: clnocp(X.LvEt.V. At,&OUC; Y.<xL x.aL "CO: 't'OI.ClU'tCl..
IXtJ'rov 1to)..)..oc V.o:.L ev a,1tOOe:LY..VUVO:t.. DU 'to ev 7tOAAOC ouoe 'to: 7tOA)..a EV.
OUO" n l}otU['-otU'(OV MyELv, ciAA' ((1tEP iiv mxv,(E<; O['-OAOyOt['-EV' E"'V S"
,(L<;, 0 vvv /)i} Ey!.> eAEYOV, 1tpo,'(OV ['-v /)LotLpij'(otL X,,:pt<;
'('" "'/)1), otov O[,-OLO'(1)'(cX ,(E xoct ciVO[,-OLO'(1)'(OC X_OCL EV
xo:.L O''t'cXcn.v XOCL xLv"tJO't.v XCXL 1tlhrrC1 1:'0: 't'o!.o:.frrlX, Et."t'1X e:v 't'ocu'toc
/)UVcX['-EVot UUYXEPcXWUUl}OCL Xott /)",'XpLVEUl}otL ci1toepocLvn, iiv
'" "l}otUIJOCu'(o,r,;:' ZY,VWV. '(OCV'<'" 8E: civ8peLw, ['-EV 1totVU
eyooy, "'T"- r "!I " , ,
1)yOV['-otL 1tE1tPOCY['-OC'(EVUl}otL' 1toAU ['-"V;' .18,<
ciyo:o-9d'f)v. et Exo!. 't-f)v r:J.tJ'r1'j'1 't'CXtrt"ljv OC7tOP!.!X.V e:v
1totv'(08ot1to" 1tA<XO['-"V1jv, WU1t<P iv '(ot<; OP"'[,-EVOL<; OL1jAl}<', ou'("'<;
Xott iv '(ot<; AOYLU['-<!J
Aiyov'Co<; 81), 0 nul}08",po<;, '(ov '(otv:ot
['-E:V iiv" otEal}otL <ep' bc.oca,<ou .xx.!}Ea!}"'L '(0'1 '<E notp['-EVL81)v y.otL
'rQV 'tou:; oe: 1tavu 'n: 1tpOOEXE!.V 'rev '10UV xaL SOCf.LO:
ciA).1)).OU<; [,-EL8LOCV 6>, ciyot['-EVOU<; '<OV Q1tEP OU'I
xext 1tctuO'O:!J.ivQU ClU't'OO EL,1tEL\I 'rOV no:p(J.EvLor,v ..
" 6><; .xE;LO<; Et .xYOCUl}OCL '<-ij<; op['--ij<; '<-ij<; E1tt '<OU<; AOYOU<; . XotL [,-OL E",E,
otU'<o- UU OV'<'" 6><; MyEL<;, x"'pt<; [LE:V d81) ocu,<,x ocnoc, x."'pt<; 8E:
., "., ,
'C'" '<CI"'WV otU ['-E'<EXOV'<ot; xotL 'CL aOL 80XEL ELVotL OCU1:1) O[,-OL01:1)<; X"'PL<;
1)['-"<; O[,-OLO'(1)'<O, eXO['-EV, xoct ev 8i} Xott 1toA).,x xoct 1tcXv'<oc QUot VVV
8i} lJ
<;; "
I \ 't" '
.. "E(J.ot.ye," CPOC\lIXt. 'to\l ","wxpoc't1J. ,
" 'H xoct '<'" '<oLcX8E," .c1tetv '<0'1 notp['-EvL81jv, " otov 8LXotLOU n EL80<;
ocu'to Ked)' o:u'to K!Xt K!XAOU KCXt ciycxS.ou KOCt 'TtO:\I'tW\I !Xu T:w'V 'tOtOu'tw'V; "
.. Na.t," cptX'V!Xt..
14 u.v add. Burnet.
Text and Translation: 129d-130b
and not that ' the one' is many, nor 'the many' one, nor that he is saying
anything astonishing, but rather what everybody could agree to. But
if someone first distinguishes the Forms, themselves by themselves,
separately from the things I have JUSt mentioned [i.e., stones, sticks]-
such as 'likeness' and 'unlikeness', 'multitude' and 'oneness', 'rest' and
'motion'," and everything of this kind-and afterwards shows that in
themselves these can be combined and separated, then, Zeno," he said,
"I for one would be very much astonished. Now, I believe you have
dealt with these matters quite boldly. But, as I say, I would be much
more amazed if someone were able to demonstrate that this very same
difficulty-which you and Parmenides went through on behalf of the
visible things-is also interwoven in omnifarious ways in the Forms
themselves, and thus in things that are grasped by reasoning."!6
While Socrates was saying this, Pythodorus said, he himself thought
that Parmenides and Zeno would become irritated with each word;
instead, they both paid close attention to Socrates and frequently
exchanged glances and smiled as though they admired him. In fact,
when Socrates had finished, Parmenides said: "Socrates, how admirable
is your zest for argument! But tell me: do you yourself draw the distinc-
tion you speak of, separating on one hand certain Forms by themselves,
and on the other the things that partake of them? And do you think that
'likeness' itself is something [entirely] separate from the likeness that we
share? And also 'one' and 'many' and all the [other] things you heard
JUSt now from Zeno?"
"Yes, I do," said Socrates.
"And of such, too, there is a Form, itselfby itself, of , just' and 'beauti-
ful' and 'good' and everything of that kind?"
"Yes," he replied .
15 Plato uses kinisis or 'change' here instead of pherestha; 'change of place' (er.
138b-138e). Bur as the relevam arguments demonstrale (cf. Parr 11), 'motion'
is the proper coumerparr [0 'rest', nor 'change'.
16 By asking for a demonstration of combining and separating rhe qualificatiom/
qualifiers/Forms, Socrates is requesting a kind of demonstration that, as it [Urns
our, only the Eight Arguments of the Second Parr ean offer; c A rgument I,
IV, VI, and VIII for 'separadng' (Le., 'nei,her/nor'), and II, Ill, V, and VII
for 'combining' (i.e., 'both'). lhis is one of rne clues to the link between tne
so-called First Parr of the dialogue and [he Second. Thus. the problems posed
by [he First Parr are answered by the Second.
Plato's Parmenides
" Tl S', cX.vltpC:mou dSot; X"'PLt; 1]fLwV XO'.L ,wv orOt 1]fLEit; EafLEv
rra.'J"C'w" (1u't'o "C't. dooe; civ-Spw1toU i] Kat uOOC"C'OC;; "
.. cbtopLq.," <pa.voct. , .. 1tOAAo:'XtC; 31). 7tEpt (lU't'wv
yeyovO'., ,,6,epO'. X(1) <pOtVOCt wcf1tep 1'epL ""el,,,,v 'ry AA"';."
.. 1H ;tat 1tEpt "Cwvoe:, 6, :EWXPO:"C'Et;. & Kat. yeAoLoc v
dvO'.t, orov ltPL!; XO'.L 1'1)ADt; "O'.L {lemot; AAO Tt Te ,,,O'.L
q>exu'f..o't'cx:tOV, cbtOpE'LC; ehe: XP-ft cpocvoct. Kat "C'ou,'tW\J
X"'plt;, QV OCAAO O'.U TWV 6JV
etTe xo" _
" Ou3CfLW;," <pOtvoct TOV l:",xpa...1), " cX.AAit. Toc;hO'. fLev ye Ihcep OP"'fL
"C'cx.U"C'CX XOCL ElVOCL' dooe; Si 't'f. ol:fjSijv(Xt. dVOCL ALcx..., -n
-ij01) fL&VTot "oTe fLe XOCL fL'ij Tt n 1tepL "OtVT"'V TOCUT6v' ':1tet:oc
OTOCV TOCUT71 GTW, <peuy"'v otxofLOCt , :"1] ,1'OT: dt;
<pAuocploct;I' EfL1'eG.,v Otoc<pltocpw' hEiGe 0 ouv OC"VUV
'MYOfLoV d01) 1tOPL exCvoc 1'pOCYfLOCTeuofLovot; "
.. Neo'- yelp El "C'('," cpocv(Xt. 1:0\1 nOCp(-LEvi.OYJV, .. W kOOX.POC-re:c;. xoct. OU'1tW
aou ocvn[A'/)1'TOCt <ptAOGo<ploc wt; ht OCVTtA1]<YETOCt "oc,' EfL1)v 06l;ocv, on
ouoEv oc.;,wv OCTtfLOtaett; ' VUV oE ht 1tpot; cX.vltpW1t"'V 061;oc;
iltit. '1)v
T60E ouv fLOt et1ti. OOX"' GOt, Wt; <piJr;, elv"" d01) oc't'toc, 6JV TOtOE Tit.
a.AAcx. "C'OCC; e1tW"U(.LtlXC; o:u-rw"
fLEV 0fLOtOC, fLeyiltour; oE fLoyaAoc, xaAAour; oe XOCt
otxocwauv1)t; olxoctOt TO xaL xocAit. ylyvOGltoct; "
' , \ '(" ,
.. avu YE," 'PcxvOCt TOV """'''pa,,/). ,
.. OUXOUV 1)Tot OAOU TOU doou; fLepou; """"'TOV TO
i] OCV iJ.,OtA,/)<ytr; XWPLt; TOUT"'V yivotTO; "
.. Ko:t 1tW; IXV; e:l7tEV.
,. TIO't'EpOV ouv oox.d (JOt. 6).0\1 "to doo; EV dVClf. -r;wv 1(0)..)..00'.1
E\I QV, ij 1tW;: .. l'
.. Tt ya.p X.W/..UEL;' cpcivoct -r;ov . .. ..
" "Ev ocpa QV XOCL TOC';,OV EV 1tOAAoct; xat oumv OAOV OCfLO'.
\.. "t _ \ " "
E'JEO"'t'IXL. x.cxr. OU't'wt; o:.u't'o a,U'fOU XWPLC; ocv E(.11-
17 tIll t,,, Heindorf: cx'll't'(dV i) 61'.1 BT.
18 Par. 1836, Proclus (CD), Sycne,;u" Origines: BT.
19 Schleiermacher: b etvocl. HT: sed. Burnet.
Text and Translation: 130c-131 b
"What abour a Form of'human being', distinct from us, and all those c
like us? Is there by itself a Form of 'human being', or of 'fire', or else
of 'water'?"
Socrates said, "I have indeed often been puzzled about these, Parmenides,
whether I should speak about them in the same way as I speak about
the others [above] or differently."
"And what about these, Socrates, things that might appear ludicrous,
like 'hair' and 'mud' and 'dirt', or anything else altogether worthless
and base? Are you puzzled whether or not you should say that there is d
a distinct Form for each of these also, one which is again other than
anything we can grasp with our hands?"
"Not at all," Socrates answered. "These things are indeed precisely
what we are seeing. But to even suppose that there is some Form for
them would be utterly absurd. Still, I am troubled at times whether
the same [principle] shouldn't apply in all cases. I then get stuck at
this point, only to scurry away fea ring that I might fall into a pit of
nonsense and come to harm. Bur when I return to the things we just
said have Forms, I abide there and devote myself to them."
"That is because you are still young, Socrates," said Parmenides, "and e
philosophy has not taken hold of you yet as, in my opinion, it will in
the future, once you stop belittling any of these things. Now, though,
you still care about other people's opinions because of your age. Bur
tell me, do you think that, as you say, there are certain Forms, from
which these other things, by participation, derive their names, as, for 131
instance, by partaking of' likeness' they become' like', by partaking of
'largeness' they become 'large', by partaking of ' beauty' and 'justice',
they become ' beautiful' and 'just?"
"Certainly," Socrates replied.
"So does each thing that partakes of a Form partake of the whole
[Form] or [only] of part of it? Or could there be some other means of
partaking aside from these?"
"How could there be?" he said.
"Do you believe, then, that the Form as a whole-since it is one-is
in each of the many, or what?"
"What is to prevent it from being in [each], Parmenides?" said Socrates.
"So, being one and the same, it will be, as a whole, simultaneously in b
things that are many and separate, and consequently, [the Form] would
be separate from itself."
Plato's Parmenides
' " " ,,' .. 'f' 20' J -'1' \ r , , "
" UX OCV, L Y, OLOV "l]fLepoc fLLOC XOCL "I] <lU"t"l] OUa<l
OCfL<l ea"t, X<l' OoSOV n fLtiAAOV OCU"t-i] OCU"t"ijl; xwpL<; ean et
OU"CW XOCL EXCXeJ"COV 'tW'V doG)'} ev f.V OC!J-OC "CO:ll'tOV e:Xl}."
.. rHaiw:; YE," cpOCVOCt., ., t1 'J 't'IXU'tOV !l!J.(J. 1COAAOCXOU 1tOt.Lt;.
oia') d [O'-rL<:l XOC"COC7tE:-rOC(]'OCC; 7tOAAOU:; cX.'JapW7tOU:; EV f.7tL itO)"Aot:;
dVClL 0)..,0'1. -f) OU "Co "'COWU'tOV AYEt.V; "
.. "law:;," cpocvcx.t..
"H .,. ",\ "r' ,.',," "', 'A " .......
OUV 01\0') Ecp e:X.OC(]'''C<:l TO LCJ't'tOV Et:'} (t.V, 1] (.LEpO:; OCUTOU 0:.1\11.0
E1t' "

U Mept.a't'cX a.pOC," cpOCVClt., " W ea't't.v o:.u't'cx 'tcX dOlJ. x:xt 't'oc
ocu't'W'J cX.'J P-E'tEXOI.., xcr:t OUXE't'l. E'J OAO'J. ckAAO:
exoca'tou ocv dlJ"
. cl>octve'toct. OU'tW yE:'
.. "H OOV eSeA-fJaEl.;, cpcX'JOCI.. 'to E'J doo.; 't'ji
fLpl(ealt<l', XOCL en EV la"tocL; "
.. e:l.1tEtV.
.. "Opo:. ycip, qJlivo:.L' .. et. o:.\.)"t'o 'to (.LeyeSo.; xocL txcr:O''t'o'J 't'W'J
1tOAAWV fLeyoltou; fLopeL afLLxpo"topl{' ocO"toO "toO fLeyoltoU/;
," '1" '''i ....
fL&YOC ea"tOCL, ocpoc oux
.. nlivu y', "ecplJ.
" TL So; "tOO taou fLopo<;12 "xOC(J"tov afLLxpov n
EAcX.'t''t'OVl. OV"t'L a.u't'ou "CoO to'ou 't'0 EXO'J raov eO''t'ocl..; "
.. i\n,x "tOO afLLXpoO fLEPO<; n<; 1)fLWV "tou"tou SE: ocu"tou "to
a!J.l.Y..pov e:O'-rCXl. a.-rE EctU-rOU ov-roC;. x,ocL ou-rw Si) ClU't'O
"to ea"tocL' 8' av 1tpoa"r&ltfJ "to ciq>OCLpel>Ev, "toO"to
eO''t'oct. a.'),f.' DU ij 1tp[v."
20 olov BT: olov Proclus.
21 lJfLepoc "11 BT: sed. Heindorf.
22 fLopo, Proclus: BT (corr. cl.
Text and Translation: 131 b-131e
"No, it would not," he replied. "At least not ifit were like the one and
same day, which is in many places simultaneously, without at all
being separate from itself. If it is in this way, each of the Forms toO
one the same in all things."
How nIcely, Socrates, he said, you make one and rhe same thing
be In many places at the same time' It is as if you were to spread a sail
over many people, and then claim that one thing as a whole is over
many. Or is this not the sort of thing you suggest?"
"Perhaps," he replied.
"Now, then, would the sail be, as a whole, over each person, or part of
it over one and another part over another?"
"So the Forms themselves are divisible, Socrates," he said, "and things
that partake of them would partake of a part; and no longer would a
whole [Form] be in each thing, but only a part of it."
"It does appear that way."
"Well then, Socrates, are you now willing to assert thac the one Form
is in trurh divided for us, and [then] will it still be one?"
"In no way," he replied.
"For consider this," Parmenides said. "If you divide 'largeness' itself,
and each of the many large things is to be large by virtue of being a
pa:t of 'largeness', which [in turn] is smaller than 'largeness' itself-will
thiS not seem nonsensical?"
"It certainly will," he replied.
about this? Will each thing that has received a small parr of ' the
equal. that makes it equal to anything else, when
what It has IS less than the equal' itself?"
'That is impossible."
"But suppose that one of us will have a part of 'the small'. 'The small'
itself will be larger than this part, since the latter is a part of it, and
'the [itself] will be 'large'. Bur if what was taken away [from
the small] IS added ro anything, that will be smaller, and nor larger
than it was before."" '
23 aims to demonstrate that one cannot apply physical criteria to abstracts.
as before he showed that abstract criteria cannot be applied to tangible
Plato's Parmenides
.. Oux. oc'Y yi-vOl:tO," cpoc'Y(x(., " 't'ou't'o ye."
.. TLvcx. ouv 't'P01tOV," d:7tEtV, .. 6J 't'WV Elawv (jOr. '('eX.
IlAACl. XCl.'t"oc flEp1) XCl.'t"oc OACl.
" OU !-leX. -r:ov tlLoc," cpocvoct., " au fLOt aOKd e:uxoAov elVOCL 't'o 't'owu't'O'Y
OUOCl.flW, Owpleret.crSCl.'."
" Tt OE:: Si); 1tpOc;; 't'oae: 1tw:; XEtc;;; "
.. Tb ltOLOV; ..
OiflCl.l ere ex 't"ou 't"owuoe Ev "xCl.er't"ov doo, oteerSCl.' dvCl.' o't"Cl.V rtOAA'
&'t''t'1X !J.EyocAOC O'Ot dvoct, !J.Lo:. "C'tC;; to'u.c;; aoxe:t [Sia. Tj ocu't'iJ dVOCL E1tt
1tcX.v't'oc i36v't'1., oSe:v e\l 'to !J.EylX i)yd dvcx.r.."
" :A.A1)S"ij AEYec,," 'P"'-VCl., .
TL 8' ClU't'O 'tQ (.Liya. xoct .. AOC 't'cX. I-'-EYOCAOC, EO:.'Y wacx.u't'wc;; 't'n tUx-n
E7tt 1tOCv"Ccx. rone;;. DuXt EV 't'f.. ocO [.LEyll. c.poc'Je:t't'ocr., 't'cx.U"C'O: 1tcbrroc OC'lliyx,1J24
fley"'-ACl. 'PCl.lveerSCl.'; "
.. "Eot.x.e:\I."
" 'i\AAO IlpCl. doo, flEYESOU, rtCl.p' Cl.U't"O 't"e 't"o
iJ.Eyd}oc;; yeyovo:; xoi 'to:. (.LE't'EXOV"C'OC IXU-rOU" xocL E7tt 't'ou't'Ol.C; oco n:eXcrt.V
," " , e '
"C'EPO'Y. i;) -rocu't'oc 1tOCV't'oc lJ-EyOCAI1 eo"t'cu: XCX,L OUXE't'l. O'Yl ev xocO''t'ov 0'0(,
't'wv ef.aWV O''t'ocr., a.AA' tX1tE!.POC 't'O
,. 'A'A'A6..," cpocv!X.!., iil ll!X.pf1.EvLa1j." 't'ov .. 't'wv
"XCl.O"'t"ov 't"ou't""'V V01)flCl., XCl.l OUOCl.flOU Cl.u't"0 eyylyvEerSCl.'
IlAAOS, 1] ev tjluXCl."i:, OU't"'" yocp ,xv gv ye gXCl.O"'t"ov e(1) XCl.l oux ,xv h,
1tOCOX0!. & VUV EAEYE't'o." ,
" TL oov; " cpocv!X.!., " EV XOCO't'OV O''t'!. 't'OOV VO"l)p,o:'t'wv, v01jf1.!X. aE
ouaevoc;; "
&:auvIX.'t'ov," Ebtetv.
" "AAACt 't'L voc;; "
" NexL"
24 o.VIiYK"IJ om. B.
25 1tpOlTiJKlI Produs: 1tpOITiJK.' BT.
Text and Translation: 131e-132b
"This could not happen," he said .
''Then in what way, Socrates," he said, "will the other things partake of
your Forms, if they cannot partake of them either as parrs or as whales?"
"By Zeus!" Socrates said. "This sort of thing seems to me not entirely
easy to determine!"
"What then? And what do you think of this?"
"Of what?"
"I suppose you believe that each Form is one for the following reason: 132
whenever a number of things appear to you to be large, it would seem
that the one and the same concept applies to all of them; therefore,
you would presume that 'the large' is one [Le., a singular concept]."
"What you say is true," he said.
"Yet what about 'the large' [itself] and the other rhings that are large?
If you regard all things the same way in your mind's eye, will not yet
again one large [thing] make its appearance by which all those [things]
necessarily appear large?"
"So it would seem."
"So another Form of'largeness' will appear again alongside the 'large-
ness' that has come to be and the things that partake in it; and, in b
addition to all those still another [will appear] by reason of which all
those will be large. So each of your Forms will no longer be one, but
unlimited in multirude."26
"But, Parmenides," said Socrates, "perhaps each of the Forms is [sim-
ply] a thought [about these things], and it would not be proper for it
to occur anywhere else but in our mindsY In this way, each of them
would be one and no longer would be affected by what was just said.""
"What then?" Parmenides asked. "Is each of these thoughts one, but
yet a thought" of nothing?"
"No, that's impossible," he said.
"Of something, rather?"
26 I.e.) an indefinite number.
27 Noetic part of the soul; cf the Phaedo.
28 ef. Parmenides B4: "(hings ... securely present to the mind," not affected
by being" dispersed n or "gathered."
29 I.e., the thought itself
Plato's Parmenides
c " iJ DUX. Q'V't'O';; "
.. "Ov't'O!;."
, . I ., , \ - .,.., \ I .' ,.., I
" uX EVO; 't'l..VOC;;, 0 E7tt. 1tocat.v EXEt.VO -ro 'Vo"f}l.Loc e:1tOV VOEt.,
't'(.',IOC oucnxv r.Siocv; "
" NaL"

. ,..", ., . \"" \ \
" !:t'OC DUX E[.QOC;; e:o"''C'OCt 't'ou't'o "to VOOUI.LEVOV EV EtVCXL, (lEt OV 'to CW't'O
E1t1. 1tOCCn,v; "
"l\VOCyKfj cx.O CPOCLVE't'OCt.,"
.. TL OE 01); " e"tEtv 'tov nocPflevLo1)V, .. oux civocyx"{} 'taAAoc 'PiJ<;
't'OO'V Er.O<itV (J.E't'XEt.V oaxe!: 0"0[. ex. 'Vollp.a:t'wv ex.ocO''t'o'V dvoct xal1tocv't'(l
cl VOEL'V, iJ ov't'OC ocvo"tJ't'oc Etvcn; "
.. "AAA' DUDe: 't'ou't'o," cpOCVClt.. " XEt )..6yov. a.AA', w ITOCP!1-EV[0"tJ.
L<1'toc "floLye xoc'tOC'Poc[ve'tocL 6,oe "XeLV 'tOt flEV eto1) -r:a:O'toc w(mep
7tocpocoe:Lyp.oc't'oc EO''t'OC'VOC[' EV 't'-n cpuae:t. -roc oe oc"AAr.J. 't'ou't'ot.C; EOLXVOCt. XOCI.
eLVOCL 0flOLWfloc'toc, XOC, 1) OC'.l-r:1) 'to,<; liAAOL<; yLyvecr&ocL 'tCiN ",OON
oux liAA1) 'tL<; dXa:cr&1jVOCL ocu'to'<;."
" Er. ouv 't't.," ecp"t) ... Em,xEv 'n'!l ErSE!., oI6\1 1;'E exe:ivo 't'o dooe;
o[J.o[.Qv dv(Xt. 't'41 dKcx.aSiv't"L. xocS' 00'0\1 ocu't"t? 1) ea"C'[. "C'[.r;
, '" ,.,., ,.."
fl1)XOCV1) 'to 0fLOLOV fl1) 0flOL'Jl 0flOLOV eLVOCL;
e u oux. ea't[.."
" To 8 ofLo[.O\I ap' ou E\lOr; 'tau ocu"t'ou
e'L8our; fLE"t'iXE[.\I; ..
" 00 8' Ci\l "t'OC OfLO['oc fLE"C'EXO\l"COC O(.1.o['oc oUX. ex.Et\lO ea"C'oc[. o:.u"co "Co
.. nOC\l"CO:1toca[. fL\I 00\1."
" Oux lipoc orOV 'to 'tL 'to doeL 0flOLOV dvocL, ouoE 'to doo<; liAA'Jl
El. 8E p.,-I), 1tOCpOC 'to d80r; cid a.AAO cX.\loccpOC\l-l)aE"C'oc[' e:l80c;, Kill Ci\l ex.Et\lO
33 0(.1.0[.0\1 "cEpO\l etU, Y..OCL ou8bto"CE 1tOCUaE"Coc[. cid x.oc[.\lO\l E180r;
YLyvoflevov, eOtv 'to eLoo<; 'to 1:ocu'toO flE'toXOV'tL 0flOLOV yLYV1)'tOCL."
30 Ibtov voe:'L Proclus (Cod. B): 1[0'01 vodv T: e:L1[OV voe:!.v B.
31 WaddeIl: B: T: EL Proclus.
32 -nl'lj BT.
Text and Translation: 132c-133a
"Of something that is, or of something that is not?"ll c
"Of something that is."
"Is it not of some one thing which that thought thinks as appertaining
to all cases, by being some single idea?"
"Then will nor rh is thing that is thought to be one-and always the
same with respect to all cases-be a Form?"
"Th . "
at seems necessary, agaIn.
"And what about this?" said Parmenides. "Given the necessity by which
you say the other things partake of rhe Forms, do you think that each
thing is composed of thoughts and all things think, or that, although
they are thoughts, they are unthinking?"',.
"But that, too, is nor reasonable, Parmenides," he said. "No, what seems d
most likely to me is this: these Forms are like patterns set in nature, and
the other things resemble them and are likenesses [replicas] of them.
For the other things, this partaking of rhe Forms turns out to be no
different than being likened to them."
"Then if something resembles the Form," Parmenides said, "can that
Form not be like what has been likened to it, to the extent that the
thing has been made like it? Or, rather, is there any device by which
'the like' is not like irs like?"
"No, there is not."
"And must not of necessity 'the like' partake of one and the same e
Form, as its like?"
"It must."
"And will that in which 'the like' are [made] like by participation, not
be the Form itselP."
"Therefore, nothing can be like the Form, nor the Form like anyrhing
else:" Otherwise, another Form will always appear alongside the Form,
and if that Form is [also] like anything, yet another [will appear]; and 133
a new Form will never cease coming to be, if the Form comes to be
like that which partakes of it."
33 ef. Parmenides B8.16.
34 The adjective dnoetos can be interpreted either as 'unthinking' or as 'unthought',
depending on its form-real, potential. active, or passive, respectively.
35 An argument for the 'metaphysical bookend', which cannot be vet another
book. See Hermann, "Above Being" (work in progress) for detai'ls.
Plato's Parmenides
" 1\Al]aEcr-rCX-rCX AE!'W;."
.. Oux "pcx ofLa,on;n -riXAAcx -r';'v do';'v eXAM n "AAa
OE;: <i>
.. "EOLY..EV."
"t ., t , ,.. "3
.. ouv," cpOCVIXt., .. f.l) LlWXpCX"CEt; . 00-1] -I] OC1tOPf.O'. rJ.V Tt.; (I):; et -'I
" ,. (\" \ 'y. . "
ov-roc (Xu't'ct. X(X17 OCl.rnx. ot.Opt":o"fJ"COCt.,
.. Kcx.t !J.o:'Aoc."
.. Eo 't'Ot:vuv laSt.," cpci:VOCL, .. Q"C't WC; E1tO:; d1tEL'J ou8i1tw 1l.7t'tE:t. (Xu-die;
o<J1j Ead.v cbtopLcx.. d EV elSa:; exo:O'''Cov 'CWV ov't'wv rid Tt.

" 8-1): " e:l.1tELv.
" naAAOt [!E:v xcxt "AACX," 'P"vcx" " fLEy,cr-rav OE -roo.. EL n; 'P"Ll]
7tpacr-l)xeLv cxu-rOt y'yvwcrxEcracx, Qv-rcx -ra,cxv-rcx at" q>CXfLEV OE;:V dvet, -rit
dOl], -r0 -rcxv-rcx Myavn aux iiv EXa, n<; on ljiEUOE-rCX', d
7taAA';'V fLEV -rUXa, I:fL7teLpa<; o,v 0 xcxt "q>u-l);, taEAa,
oE 7t"VU 7taAAOt xcxt 7tOppWaEV 7tpetYfLcx-rEUafLEVau -rav EvIlE,xVUfLEVOU
"'0. ... .. "y' ," "
e:1te:aSocL, OCAA OC1tL17OCVO:; t."f) 0 a:yvwO''t'(X (I.')rx!'XIXSCiJ'V cx.u'tcx E!'VClt.
" n1j 0-1), w ncxpfLevLol]; " 'P"vcx, -rOV l:wxp,,""IJ'
-, "t.." ...... i.. ,.
.. "O'n, 1:tI>Y..pcx."Ce:c;, Ot.!-LOC!. exv xcx.t. CJe: x(X.t (1.1\.1\0\1, oO''tt.c; a.U't'f)V "CLVO:
xo:&' XOC(J'tOU ouaLllv -rUh;"C<lt. dvIX!.. O!J.oAoyi]mxL OCV 1tPWTO\l !LEV
fLl]OefLLcxv cxu-r';'v Elvcx, EV -I)fL;:v."
.. TIw:; yocp &\1 xcx&' 'CL e(1]; .. tpocvcx(. 'Cov LWXpOC,,[,IJ
.. KCXAW; My"<;," EL7tE;:V ... ouxovv xcxt ocrcx, -r';'v tOE';'V 7tpo<;
el.O't .... OCL e[O'(. ..... IXU,,[,OCL IXU'CrtC; ouO'[cxv exouO'(.v, OCAA' ou 'Ca
7tCXP' -I)fL;:V EhE OfLO',"fL<X"'" EhE 07tn 0-1) etu-rit -rLae-rcx" WV
.Ivcx, <xcxcr-rcx E7tOVOfL<Xl:;OfLEaCX' -rit OE 1tCXP' -I)fL;:V -rcxv-rcx
O!J.WVUfLCX QV't'OC !Xu't'OC CXU elU't'oc icr"['(.v OCA")...' OU 't'Cl dS1j,
\. _" " I " ,., .y " "
Xel(' EOCU'CWV ('LAA oux. ex.E(.VWV OO'('L elU OV0!J.IXI.,E't'IX(. OU't'W';.
" nwe; ).eYE(.C;; " cpOC .... OCL "['QV
Text and Translation: 133a-d
"Very true."
''And so. if it is not by [way of] likeness that the other things partake
of the Forms. then we must seek some other [way] by which they
partake." 36
"So ir seems.
"You see then, Socrates," he said, "how great the difficulty is if one
singles out the Forms as things by themselves?"
"Certainly, I do."
"Be well aware." he said, "that you have not yet grasped, if I may say b
so, how great the difflculty is, if you postulate a single Form every time
you make a distinction between each of the 'things that are'."
"How so?" he asked.
"There are many other difflculties as well." Parmenides said. "but the
greatest one is this: if someone were to say that the Forms-such as
we claim they must be-are not even fit to be known. one would be
unable to prove him wrong, unless the disputer happened to be widely
experienced and not unintelligent. and also willing to follow the proof
through numerous remote arguments. Otherwise. the person who
requires that they be unknowable would remain unconvinced." c
"How so. Parmenides?" Socrates asked .
"Because, Socrates. I believe that you or anyone else who postulates
for each thing some [sort of] being. itselfby itself. would agree, first of
all, that none of these is in us."
"For [if it were.] how could it then still be itself by itself?" said Socrates .
"Well said," replied Parmenides. ''And so those Forms. which are what
they are in relation to one another. have their being in relation to them- d
selves, but not in relation to the likenesses that are amongst us-or
as whatever one may establish them-and by partaking of which we
come to be named after them. And these things amongst us. though
they bear the same names as the Forms. are in turn what they are in
relation to themselves. but not in relation to the Forms; and again,
they receive their names after themselves and not after the Forms."
"What do you mean?" Socrates asked.
36 Is 'likeness' here suggestive of an inferior epistemological approach. as is
suggested by the Parmenidean Doxa, i.e .. nO[ truth but an approximation of
Plato's Parmenides
.. Olov," cpilvoc, -r:ov OocPfLEVl8'1]v, .. EL 'CCr; -IjfLOlV -r:ou 8E(mo-r:'I]r; 1) 800/..6;
ea't'l.'V aUx. (lU"COU oeO'7to-rou 81) 7tov. 0 EO''t't OEO'1tO't'1]r;. ExdVQU oou)..6:;
, ' , ' 'J...J...'
eO'''C'Lv, ouaE Cll)"C'OU OOUAOU, 0 Ea'n, oouAo:;. OeCT1tO't'"f]e; 0 oeO"1to't'7jC;. a.
ocvltp"mor; iJ,v civltp':mou cifLcpo-r:EpOC -r:ocO-r:il oCI-r:lv' ocu-r:ij 8. 8ECI1tO-r:elOC
oouAeL!lC; ECTt'LV 6 EO"n, XCXL oouAe:Lcx WcrO:UTWC; OOUAELcx o:u'
OE(J'1to-rdo:.c;. OCAA' QU 'toc EV 1tpOC; EXEtvOC 'CTjv QUvo:!J.t.'J EXEt QuaE
EXEtVO: 1tpOC; 1)(.1.&:;, OCAA'. 8 )..iyw, ocu-rCt. rJ.,\yr;wv XOCL TIpo:; octrco:' exdvoc 'rE
ea'n. XOCL 'to:. n:cx.p' wcrocu-rwc; 7tpaC; E:Cllrrll.. ou [.LClVaOCVEtC; 0 AEyW; ..
.. TI6:....,u y', "d1tELV 'T;()'I) LlJ)XpOC't'"t) ...
" OUx.oGv xc):L E1t!.O''t'1j/.LTj,'' cpocvoc(" .. o:U-c-fJ tJ.EV 0 EO'''C't'J E1ttO"'t'-I]!J.7J
o eO''t'[.v oc'V exe:L'IJ"1]C; eh] E:1ttO'-r1j!J.1J; "
" TIocvu ye."
.. tEx,6:cr't"fj oE O:U "COO'V E1ttO'''C1J(J.wv, eC1't'IN, exoca't'ou 'tWV QV't'wv, 0
eO''t'!.v, Et1) Civ E1t!.CJ't'1jP.1)'1j Ou; "
" NocL."
" 'H 8. 1tOCP' -IjfLtV /;mCI-r:-IjfL'I] ou -r:'ij<; 1tOCP' -IjfLtV IXV ciJ...'I]ltEloc<; EL'I],
X.'XL OCD eY..ocCJ't'1j 7tOCP' E:1t!.CJ't'-I]lL"iJ 't'W\I 1tOCP' -f)p.t\l QV't'wv ex.cX.CJ't'ou
Ci.\I E7t!.CJ't'1jP."IJ e:l\loc!.; "
" f\.vocyx."IJ."
.. i\f.."Ail fLijv ocu-r:il yE -r:a. E,8'1], w; 0fLO},OYEtr;, OU-r:E EXOfLEV OU-r:E 1tOCP'
-f)(.LtV oIo\l 't'E Elvoc!.."
,. Ou yocp OD\I."
"r'YVWCIXE-r:OC' 8i yi 1tOU {m' oclhoO -r:oO d80u<; -r:oO -r:'ijr; omCI-r:-IjfL'I]r;
ocu'toc 'toc yE\I"IJ &. ECJ't!.\I ex.ocCJ't'oc; "
" NocL."
" "0 yE -f)I-'-EtC; OUx. X0(.LE\I."
" Ou ycX.p."
.. Oux. '*poc tmo yE -f)p.wv y!.yvWo"X.E't'OC!, 'twv EL8w\l OU8EV, E:7tE!.8-1}
E:1t!.O"'t'1jl-'-lJC; OU (.LE'tEX0(1.EV."
" Oux. O!.X.EV."
t \ \ i \ .,,, \
" 1\y\lwO"'to\l a.poc 1)(1.t'l EO"'t'!. Y..OC!. ocu'to 'to x.OCr..O\l 0 Eo"'t'!. x.oc!. 'to 0:; ...,.iI
X.OCL 1tOC\l'toc &. 8-1) wc; LOEOCC; ocu't'OCC; ouaocc;
" K!.v8uVEUE!. ...
Text and Translation: 133d-134c
"For instance," said Parmenides, "if one of us is someone's master or
slave, he is certainly not a slave of 'master' itself-of what it is to be
master-nor is the master a master of ' slave' itself-of what it is to be
slave. Rather, being a human being, it is of a human being that he is e
both [Le., master or slavel. Yet 'mastery' itself is what it is in relation to
'slavery' itself; likewise, 'slavery' itself is slavery in relation to 'mastery'
itself. But the things amongst us do not have their capacity in relation
to the Forms, nor do these have theirs in relation to us, bur, as ] say,
the Forms are what they are of themselves and in relation to them-
selves, and, in the same fashion, the things amongst us are what they 134
are in relation to themselves. Or don't you understand what] mean?"
"Certainly," Socrates said, "1 understand."
"So, too, knowledge itself," he said. "Wouldn't what it is to be knowl-
edge be knowledge of that which is truth itself?"
"And, in turn, each particular item of knowledge that is, would be
knowledge of some particular thing that is. Or not?"
"But wouldn't the knowledge amongst us be of the truth that is amongst
us? And again, wouldn't each particular knowledge amongst us be b
knowledge of each of the particular things amongst us?"
as you agree, we neither possess the Forms themselves, nor can
they be amongst us."
"N h " 0, t ey cannot.
':And the Kinds themselves, what each of them is, are known somehow
by the Form itself of' knowledge'?"
"Which we do not possess."
"No, we do not."
"Then none of the Forms is known by us, since we do not partake of
'knowledge' itself."
"It seems not,"
"So 'the beautiful' itself, as it is, and 'the good', and, indeed, any of the c
things we consider to be ideals" in themselves, are for us unknowable."
"] am afraid so."
37 The word ideas is here rendered as 'ideal' in the sense of 'idea or archetype'
(see the definition of ' ideal', Oxford English Dictiona>y. A La, and its Platonic
connotation), in the belief that it comes closest to what Plato had in mind.
Plato's Parmenides
"Opoc E"Cf. "t'ou't'ou OEtVO"CEPOV 't'68e:."
" To 7tOLOV; ..
""', '" JR <01 " " I , 1 i \ "
.. ocv TtOU. EL1tEp ECJ't'f.V CX.U't'O "(I,. itOI\U OCU't'O
dVCtL 1) 't'-frJ 1tCXP' E1tLO't'-t,tL'f)'J, X.CX;L 11:.0:),,1.0; Y.IXL -ra,)"Aa
1tO:\I't'oc ou"('wc;,"
U Ncx.L."
" Ouxouv d7t'p 'n OCAAO ",u-dje; i7t,a-r1JIJ:tle; fL,-reX'" oux OCV 'nVIX
fLliAAOV 1] S,av rplXl"I<; txECV ma-r1JfL7JV; "
"j\p' au" cx.u eO''t'!XL 6 -Sea; 1tlXp' 1)!J.iv yLyVWaXE:LV ocu't'1}V
.. TL yap OV: ..
" "On," e:rp7J 6 " WfLOAOY7J-rIX' 1JfLi:v, W kWXp",-r,<;, fL1J-r'
eXElVOC 't'tX eiol'j 1tpo:; "'COC 1tIXP' -f}l-'-lV e:x.EL, !J.lJ't'E "t'tX
7tIXP' 1tpo:; tXElVa:. ocAA' IXU"'CtX 1tpo:; OCt)'t'O:. :xa::rEpoc."
" 'QfLOAOY7J-r"" yOcp."
" OOxouv d 7tIXPa. -r0 S'0 IXU-r"I &a-rtv
xoct OCUTJ} -Yj ou1" exv ij OEO'1t01'ELa: 1) EXELv(a)'J
1JfLOlV 7to-re 0.. ou-r' o.v &7t,a-r1JfL7J yvol7J n OCAAO
-rwv 7tIXP' 1JfLi:v, ciAAa. OfLolw<; 1JfL,i:e; -r' xdvwv oOx OCPXOfL'v -rn 7tIXP'
1JfLi:v cipxfi y,yvwaXOfL'" -rou S,lou oullev -rfi 1JfL,-repQ; 7t,a-r1JfL7I,
exelvoL "'CE OCO Y..Cl't'O:. 't'o'J !Xu"t'ov AOYOV Qu't'e dO'Lv OlJTE
y,yvwaxoua, -ra. ciVSPW7tECIX 7tpocYfLIX-r", S,ot ov-r'e;."
.. 1\AAa ALOCV," E<pl'j. " SIXU{.LIXO''t'O; 6 EL '(ov aee)')
a,1tO<it'epl}O'EL 40 't'OV ElOVIXL,n
"TIXu-rIX fLEV-ro" W kWXPIX-r,<;," e:rp7J 6 nIXPfL ..
XIXL E'n &'AAOC npec; 't'OU't'OL'; 1taVU 1tOAAa. ri:VClYXlXlOV E.XELV 't'0:. ero),]. d
"., ... " \.... I , I..
wa"CE OC7tOpelV "C'S: 't'ev OCXOUOV"CCX XlXt w:; au"C'e to''t'L 't'IXU"t'OC,
,r -r, on fLO:A,a'ClX ""I, civocYX"I ",u-ra. .IvIX' -rfi civSpw7tlv71 rpuaEC
a.yVtMJ't'Cl XIXL "C'ClU't'1X AEyOV't'OC oaKELV 't"t 't't AiYELV. KocL, 8 ap't'L EAiyo!-L
w:; OuO'cx.va1tELO'ToV dVClL. y.cxt ci.vopor; 1tavtJ !-LEV turpuoG:; TOO
ouv"t}O'oflivou I-lcdh:tv oor; t(1't'L yi-vo:; 't'L e:KOC(J't'OU xoct oU(JLIX IXU't'-f] xoca'
IXO-r1JV, e:n oe SIXufLlXa-ro'tepou -rou ,op1Jaov-ro<; XIXt OCAAOV
-rIXU-r1X 7tOcV-rIX lxlXvw<;
38 7tOU T: ii ov B.
39 '1. add. Heindorf.
40 Stephanus: OCitOOTEp'ijO'Et.E BT.
Text and Translation: 134c-135b
"Now consider something even more dreadful than this."
"What is it?"
"You would admit, somehow, that if in fact there is such a Kind as
' knowledge' itself, it is much more exact than the knowledge amongst
us. And likewise with ' beauty' and all the rest."
"So, if anything else partakes of knowledge itself, wouldn'r you admit
that God more than anyone else possesses the most exact knowledge?"
"Then again, will God, who possesses 'knowledge' irself, be able to d
know the things that are amongst us?"
"Yes. why not?"
"Because," Parmenides said, "we have agreed, Socrates, that neither
do those Forms have their capacity in relation to things amongst us,
nor do the things amongst us have theirs in relation to the Forms, but
each of the two Kinds [has it] in relation to itself."
"Y: d'd " es, we I agree.
"Well, if this most exact mastery itself and this mOSt exact knowledge
itself belong to the divine, then their [i.e., the gods] mastery could
never master us, nor their knowledge know us nor anything else that is e
amongst us. Just as we do not rule over them by the rule that is amongst
us, nor know anything of the divine by means of our knowledge, so
they, in turn, by [he same reasoning, are neither our masters, nor, being
gods, do they know human affairs."
"But surely," he said, "if God is to be deprived of knowing, our argu-
ment would be too strange."
"And yet, Socrates," said Parmenides, "rhese difficulties are necessarily
involved in rhe Forms, and still many more besides them-if these are 135
the concepts for the 'th i ngs that are' and someone delimits each Form
as 'something by itself. T hus. whoever hears about them is confounded
and disputes whether they exist, or that, even if rhey do indeed exist,
they must necessarily be unknowable to human nature. In saying this,
he seems to be saying something [reasonable], and thus, as we have
just said, he will be extremely diffkulr to persuade otherwise. Only
an ingenious man will be able to understand thar for each thing there b
is some Kind, a being itself by irself, but only someone even more
remarkable will be able to discover it and teach it to another who has
[already] thoroughly examined all these difficulties."
Plato's Parmenides
"LUyXWpw O'Ot," eqrf), "6J nC):pI-Lv[0"fJ," 6 "1tcXVU ylip !-'-Q(,
}(a:ti \100',1 AiYE{'(;;."
" 1\AAcX I-LEV"C'O(.;' e:L1tEV 6 nCXp!LEVt01jC;. " Er yE ne; w LWXPCX"Ce:c;, cxu
icXae:r. 41 E'L01) -r;:wv <'hrcwv dvcxt, de; 1tcXv"Coc Ta. vDv olj X.OCL a.)."AOC 't'OLCXU't'OC
l-''tJilo Tt 42 opLe':,IXL dilo<; I:voC; ExOCCJ"',OU, ouilo 07t71 TIjv
O(.cX\lo[.o:.\I !.I.lJ .wv i.oiocv 't'WV QV't"WV EXOCO''t'OU -r-t,v cid dvcxl.,
XlXt oumc; TOO ilLIXAOyeC1&IXL M'JIXI-'CV 7t1X'JTOC7tIXC1L OLIXq>&epet. TOO
TOLOlJTOU I-'OV OU'J I-'OL ilOXeL<; XlXt I-'ciAAOV iJC1&'ijC1&IXL."
" l\A'tJ&'ij AoyeLC;," q>OCVIXL.
" Tt OUV 7tOL1jC1eLC; q>LA0C10q>LIXC; 7t0PL; 7t1j OCYVOOUI-'0VOlV
't'ou't'tilV; "
.. Qv 7tOC\lU fLOt ooxw xo:Soptiv ev ye: 't'ijl1tOCPOv'tt.."
.. ycXP'" e:btE:'iv, " 7tpLV 6J LWX.pOC"t'EC;.
'1tt.Xe:t.pe:tC; XOCAOV 'rE 1;'[. xoct S[x.cxt.Ov X.OCL ocyocSov Y..lXt EV ex.ocO''t'ov -r:wv
evevo'tJC11X yelp XlXt 7tP<i>'tJv C10U OCXOUOlV oLIXAey0l-'0vou ev&ocoe l\PLC1ToToAeL
't'ijloe:. !J.:v 00\1 X.CXL ,se:tl1, EO '0'31., oPfL-f} E:7tt 't'ouc; )..ayoue;'
dVOCL xcxt Y..OCAOU!-'-EV"1jC; U7tO 'tW\I 7tOAA6)'J ciooJ..e:CJXtOCc;, EWe; E't'(. d et
ilo 1-'1j, C10 1j ocA1j&eLIX."
" 00'11 0 cpocv(X(., " C1 TIexP(J.e:VLO"t/, "
" e:t1te:Lv, " OV1te:p 1tAY)V 't'oo't'o ye crou xext
1tpOC; 't'ou't'o'J e:i1tov't'oc; O't'(. oux e:texc; EV 't'oLc; OpOO(J.EVO('C; ouoe
1te:pt 't'!X.U't'!X. 't'y)v 1tAOCV"lJV E1t(.O'iW1te:LV, OCf..)..OC 1te:pL EXELVCX &. !Jh:A('O''t'oc 't'(.C;
cXv xlXt etil'tJ &.V 1jy1jC1IXLTO etVIXL."
" LlOXEL yocp (J.0(.," Ecp"t/, " 't'CXlJ't'TJ ye: ouoEv XCXAe:1tOV Eivcx(. xcxL o(J.o(.ex
xcxL &'110(1.0(.(1 xexL OCAAO O"CwOv 't'OC Ov't'(1 1tO:O'Xov't'ex OC1t0CPCXLVe:(.V."
" KexL X.CXAWC; y', " Ecp"tJ ... oE xcxL 't'OOE E't'(. 1tpOC; 't'ou't't:J 7to('ELV,
(J.TJ f1.ovov EO''t'(.V e:X(XO''t'OV u1to't'(.De/-LEvOv O'X01te:'iv 't'OC EX
"C"ijc; U1tODeO'EOOC;, &AAOC xexL (.Ly) EO''t'(. "Co exu't'o 't'oO't'o u1to't'LDEO'SCX(', e:i
l-'iiAAOV YUI-'VIXC1&'ijVIXL."
.. TIwc; AEYE(.C;; .. cprtvoc('.
41 ",an BT.
42 "'T) Shc B: ","8' on T.
Text and Translation: 135b-136a
"I agree with you, Parmenides," Socrates said. "What you say reflects
very much what I think."
"But, on the other hand, Socrates," said Parmenides, "if instead some-
one, fixing his attenrion on all the present issues and others of the same
kind, will not concede that there are Forms of 'the things that are',
and will not define a Form for each one [of them], he will not have
anything to turn his thought to, since he won't allow that for each of c
'the things that are', there is a concept that is always the same. And by
doing this he will completely destroy the power of discourse. But you
seem to me to have perceived that quite well."
"What you say is true," Socrates said.
"What, then, will you do about philosophy? Where will you turn, if
these things remain unknown to you?"
"At the moment, I don't seem to see at all."
"Socrates, that is because you are trying to define prematurely what is
'beautiful', and 'just' and 'good', and each one of the Forms," he said,
"before you are properly trained. I realized that the other day too, when
I heard you conversing with Aristoteles here. Be assured, the impulse d
you bring to discourse is noble and divine. But train yourself while you
are still young; drag yourself through what is commonly considered
useless, which most call idle talk. Otherwise, the truth will escape you."
"What manner of training is that, Parmenides?" he said.
"The one you heard Zeno practice," he replied. "Except for this: you
told Zeno something that delighted me very much, that you would not e
allow inquiry to wander around the visible things, nor be about them,
but be about those things one could apprehend best by reasoning, and
could regard as Forms."
"It seems to me," Socrates said, "that in this way, it is not at all difficult
to show that [visible] things are both like and unlike, and affected in
any other way whatsoever."
"You are quite right," Parmenides answered, "but in addition to that,
you must also do this: examine the consequences of each hypothesis- 136
that is, not only hypothesize' if a thing is' but also' if that same thing
is not'-if you want to be trained more thoroughly."
"What do you mean?" he said.
Plato's Parmenides
O[ov," ecp"t). U d 1tEpt U7tOSecrEw;, Z-i)VCiJV
u"eSo-ro. EL "OAAcX ean. ,[ XPTJ x"'L"")"o,:; ,0':; "OAAO':;
1tpOC;; IXU"CcX. XCXl. 7tpO; 'to EV XCXL kvt "rE a.U'tO XCXL 1tpo:; 't't:l1tOAAa.
xa.t (xU El. fLl) Eo"n 1toAAcX.. rtcl:AtV aX01tELV, 'ri. Ked. 't41 E\lt
, , " , '''''I. '\ . '\ '''Cl 't"
XOCL 'rote; 7tOAAOi; XOCL npoc; (Xu't'oc XC(L 1tpOr; (l1\1I.1}I\OC' xext. (Xu ea.v
U1to&ll. d Em!.v op.m.o-r1JC; Et. O''t'(., d ecp' EX!X't'EPOC; u1to-9icrew:;
x"'L"";'o':; '0':; u"o,eSe,aL x"'L ,0':; &AAOL:; x"'L "po:;
",u,,,, x"'L "po:;
Ked. avo(.l.o[ou 0 cxtrroc; Aoyoe; xa.t rrEpt xt.vljcre:wC; xa.t O''t'ocaEw:;
XCXL 1tEpt ye:VEO'EWC; xex!. cpSopciC; xo:t 1tEpt a,u't'ou -rou dVlXt xcxi "'roD
'1 , , , "'I ' \...., 0. A' ., r,... ou v
e:tvCX,r: xcxt. EVt I\OY<:J. 1tEpt O't'OU ClV exEt U1tO'O'fj OV"C'O., XIX!. W., h .,
X"'L onoilv &AAO "ocSo:; "ocaxov,O:;, oe, axo".ov ,'" "po:;
",{no X"'L "po:; ev h",a,ov ,.,v &AAOlV, 15 n iiv "POEA'(J. x"'L "po:; "AdOl
Text and Translation: 136a-c 101
"Take, if you like," Parmenides said, "Zeno's hypothesis, according
to which' if ir is many','.I whar consequences ensue both for rhe many
in relation to rhemselves, and in relation to the one, and for rhe one
in relation ro itself, and in relation to the many. And conversely, 'if it
is not many', you must again examine whar consequences follow for
both rhe one and rhe many, in relation to rhemselves and in relation
to each other. And again, should you suppose, 'if it is like'" or 'if it is
not [like]', what will rhe consequences be for either of our hypotheses:
both for whar we have hypothesized, and for the others, both in rela-
tion to themselves and in relation to each other.
The same apptoach" appertains to 'unlike' and ro 'motion' and to 'rest' b
and to 'generation and corruption' and even ro 'being' irself and 'not
being'. In shorr, for wharever you hyporhesize as being or not being,'"
and as subjected to any other qualification;' you must examine the
consequences [that will follow] in relation to itself and in relation to
each and everyone of the others-whichever you may choose-and
in relation to more than one, and in relation to all in the same way. c
In rum, you must examine the others, both in relation to themselves,
43 We have here the same ph rase e:i. 7to).).ci EcrTL as in 128d. le is ofren translated
as "if chere are many" but could also be rendered as "if (things) are many,"
or "if(somcrhing) is many," or, what seems moS[ likely in (hi s comext, "if
(the object of inquiry) is many." As appealing as "if there are many" might
seem to us today, it creates an inconsistency with other passages (e.g., 128b,
128d) where we had [0 translate the phrase as "if it is many"-the "it"
referring back to Socrates' claim (I 28<1) that Parmcnides says with "the all
is one" in his poems. Thus, we are assuming that here (136a) Parmenides
is referring to the same Zenonian hyporhesis introduced earlier. The "it,"
therefore, can stand for "'rhe all," as well as for the "one," if the Zenonian
proposition is meant [0 debunk [he notion of" it being many," as part of
an :Hl empl [0 defend Parmenides. MO$[ likely, the "it" in "i f it is many"
refers [Q "rhe one." It is also the "one" that is positioned as counterparr of
"the m;my" throughout the exercise ment ioned above. Sce also Gill, Plato:
Parlllcnides, 139n21.
44 To be consistent, the same rendering must be followed here as well: El.
oy.mo't'YJ; = "ifit is like," insread of "if likeness is."
45 The use of logos here seems akin to its use in Parmenides' Poem (e.g., B8.50),
namely, as an ordered and sysremalic 'account', a 'way', 'procedure', or 'method',
46 Cf. Parmenides B8. 15- 16.
47 For example. the simata of Parmenides B8.2-6.
102 Plato's Parmenides
XOCl. rrpo::;; OOOClU-rWC;' xcx1 "tell-Aa:. !Xv rrpoc; ocu't'O: 't' xat 1tpOC;
oc)..)..o 0 Tt, iiv 1tpOClt.Pll oce:.L, Ul'J't'E 00::;; QV U7toSll 8 tntE't'LDeO'o. ea:v't'E wc;
fJ--f) ov, EL YUfJ-vo:mifJ-vo, Ototocri}o:t 1:0
" 0'1'1], " Myw;, a. no:pfJ-v[01], 1tPO:YfJ-O:'rE[O:v, xo:, ou
O'cpoopo: fJ-o:vi}ocvw. <inoc fJ-Ot 1:[ ou U1toi}EfJ-VO, 1:t, C"O:
fJ-anov xO:1:O:fJ-oci}w; "
" nOAU EpyOV," cpocvoct, " i1 rrpoO''t"cX't''t'EtC; wc; 't'1JAt.xc$8e:."
" l\AAa. en)," e:L1tELV 'to\! . ,r[ OV "
Kocl. 't'ov Z1jVCiJ'JOC Ecp'f/ yeAo:aocv't'oc cpoc'JOCl." .. ocu't'oG, 00 I:WXpo:'t'EC;,
OwfJ-i}o: no:pfJ-v[oou. fJ--f) yocp ou cpo:OAOV YI 0 AEyt .. OUX
00'0\1 e:pyov rrpoo"'C'oc't''t'Er.C;; (.LEv ouv 7tAeLoU::;; aux OCV
OtO'i}o:t <i1tp1t"ij yocp 1:OC 1:0to:01:O: 1tOAAWV .VO:V1:[OV Mytv <lAAW, 1:
XO:'1:1]AtXOU1:'P' <iyvooOO'tv yocp at 1tOAAO' 81:t <lVEU OtOC
1tOCV1:WV 'rE xo:, <iOUVO:1:0V SV1:UXQV1:O: 1:0 <iA1]i), voOv
crxdv. eyw fLE:V ouv, i1 nOCpP.EV[01J. 1:WXpOC't'Ef. O"uvoio[J.C(t. LVOC xcxi elUTO::;;
Oto:xouO'w OtOC xpovou."
To:01:O: o-f) 1:00 0'1'1] 6 'AV1:tcpwv cpocvo:t 1:0V
nui}oowpov, O:U1:0', 'rE OtO'i}o:t 1:00 no:pfJ-v[oou Xo:, 1:0V 'AptO'1:01:EA1]
0 MyOt xo:, fJ--f) 1tOt'V. 1:0V ou')
no:pfJ-v[01]v' " o:vocYX1]," cpocvo:t, " 1tdi}O'i}o:t. XO:[ 1:Ot OOXW fJ-Ot 1:0 1:00
L7t7tOU 1tE1tOv.f}eVocl., {fl iXe:LVOC; OC.aAlj't'n Ov't'l.
6'1" <XPfJ-o:1:t fJ-EAAOV1:t <iyW',,tO'i}o:t xo:, Ot' sfJ-1ttp[o:v 1:PEfJ-OV1:t 1:0
p..EAAO\l, EClU't'OV cX.1tEtX6:l:WV cXxoov ecplj Kat OClrnJC; OUTW
wv et.; 't'ov e:pW't'Cl te:vcx.t xciyw p..ot Soxw
fJ-OCAO: XP-f) 1:1]Atx6vo ono: OtO:VOO'o:t 1:ow01:0V 1: XO:,
1:00'001:0V 1tEAo:yo,8 My."J' 01: OL yocp E1ttO-f) XO:[,
48 1tEAo:.yor; Stephanus (fr. Ficinus), and Proclus seems to have had this reading:
1tAijl)o, BT.
Text and Translation: 136c-137a
and to anything else you may choose, whether what you have hypoth-
esized you assume as being or not being. All this you must do, if, after
completing your training, you are to discern the truth with authority."
"You speak of an impossible undertaking, Parmenides," Socrates said,
"and I don't quite understand it. Why don't you go through it for me by
hypothesizing something yourself. so that I may comprehend it better?"
"That is a big task to assign to a man of my age, Socrates," he said.
"Well then, what about you, Zeno?" said Socrates. "Why don't you go d
thtough it for us?"
And Pythodorus said that Zeno replied, laughing, "Let us ask this
of Parmenides himself, Socrates. For this is not a light matter that he
speaks of. Or don't you see how great the task is that you are assigning?
Indeed, if there were more of US present, it would not be proper to ask
him-it is not suitable, especially at his age, ro speak of such matters
when many are present. For most do not know that unless we go through e
a comprehensive and circuitous inquity9 we cannot encountet [what
is] true and achieve insight. And so, Patmenides, I join Socrates in this
request, so that] too may listen to your teaching, after all this time."
Antiphon said that Pythodorus told him that when Zeno had said
this, he toO, along with Aristoteles and the others, asked Parmenides
to demonstrate what he meant and not to refuse. Then Parmenides
said: "] must comply. Bur I feel like I am suffering what Ibycus' horse
suffered, that old fighter, who, at the start of a chariot race, trembled
from past experience at what was to come. Comparing himself to the 137
horse, the poet claims that he too, unwillingly, and being so aged, is
being compelled to enter the contests of Love. Thinking back, I roo,
seem to feel very afraid of how to traverse at my age such a dangerous
and vast sea of arguments. All the same, ] must oblige you, especially
since, as Zeno says, we are amongst ourselves."
49 Cf. Parmenides BS: the circuitous journey of his Goddess' approach, as
opposed to the aimless wandering of stupefied mortals in 86.
Plato's Parmenides
o so ZTjvwv AiyeL, IXU,O[ i:crfLev. 7to&ev ouv /i-lj XIXC ,[ 7tPW'OV
(molhjcrofLe&IX; E7teLoTj7tep ooxe, 7tpIXYfLlX,eLwor, 7tIXLOLtXV
tX7t' E!l-OCU"C'OO Y.OCL -dle; !1-IXU't'oi) U7to,seO'Ewc;. 7tEpt "CoO
EVOC; ocu't'oO VirOS-eIl-Evo:;;, e:t't'E EV EO''t't...., e:t't'E ev, d XP-IJ ..
"TI' \ -;" I 'z'
cx.vu [LE\! OU\I, cpa:voct. -rov
.. 00',1; " d7tEEv ... P.OL &1tOXPLVEL't'OCl.; 6 VEt.'l't'OC"C'Oc;; "(ocp
eX... 1tOAU1tpocYfLoVOL, XOCL &. otE't'OCL .. t' Civ OC7tOXp[VOL't'O' xt)i ocfLoc ep.oL
, I "I.... r " ..
OCVOC1tOCUI\OC ocv e: 1J "IJ eXEl.VOU OC7tOXPtO't.c;.
.. "E't'oqJ.oc; O'm" w TIocPfLEVLS'Ij," cpOCVOCl., " 't'oU-ro." "C'ov 1\pc.o"'C'o-rE:kl)'
.. EI-'-E ytXP AEyE!.:;; TO'J VEW"rrx:roV AEYCiJV' OCAA' epw't'oc wc; OC7tOXptVOU!-'-EVOU,"
50 0 Bekker: 6 BT.
Text and Translation: 137b-c
"Well, then, where shall we start? What shall we hypothesize first? b
Since we have determined to play this laborious game, I shall begin
with myself and my own hypothesis, hypothesizing about 'the one'
itself, whether it is one or not one, and the consequences that must
follow [in each case].'I"
"By all means," said Zeno .
"Then who will answer me?" he asked. "The youngest, perhaps? For
he would waste the least time, and would be the most likely to reply as
he thinks; meanwhile, his answer would allow me to catch my breath."
''I'm ready to do that for you, Parmenides," Aristoteles said. "For you c
speak of me when you speak of the youngest. Ask, then, and I shall
" answer.
51 Cf. 128b, 128d, and 137c. See also nore 9. There have been suggestions to
emend the text (e:L't'E: EV Ecrnv d't'E ev) to "if one is, or if one is not" in
order to avoid conflicts with the aU-too-common reading that the Second
Pact delves only into the question of the one's existence or nonexistence. Yct
such a reading ignores the possibility that the Second Part is exploring the
differences between a oneness itself-by-itself. versus a relational onc. However,
that is precisely the kind of examination Socrates demands in 129d-130a.
Particularly, Socrates is most interested by the interweaving of Intelligibles
(Forms), not some merely existential proving (BOa, ef. also 135e). At issue
are the consequences that follow from "the one's" availability or unavailability
to partake and be partaken in, or generally (with a view [Q the Sophist), [Q
be intertwined with. However, the attempt to emend 137h4-5, and thus to
cast an existential spin on all the main hypotheses of the Second Part, can-
not work, as it severs the connection between crucial passages. and results
in inconsistencies. The sense preserved in 137b4-5 is in some way related to
that expressed in 128b. E'J ... TO itliv, which states that "the all is one"
and not "the one much less "the one exists as all." The only difference
here is that this time around, the subject is not specified as "all" hut. as the
text states, "the one itself" (EVOC; !7.:tJ"t'ou).
106 Plato's Parmenides
.. Elev cpocvcx.t:
.. et ev EO''t'L'J, OCAAO "n DUX liv EL1J 1tOAArx 'to ev; "
.. yocp ocv: "
.' OU't'E ocpcx. !J.EpOC;; cx.U't'ou OUTE oAOV o:.trro SEL e:lV(Xt."
.. Lt 31j; "
" 'Co 1tOU OAOU '52 :cJ'dv,"
" No:L"
Tt Se 'to OAOV; auXt QU a.v (.LEpor; (.L1Joev OC1tfj. OAO') I1;V Eh/: "
" 1tOCVU ye."
&(.LCPO't'EpWC; OCpCl 'to v ex !J.EpWV OCV eh). OAOV 're: QV Kill p.ep"f) exov."
" c1:vO:YX1J."
" OC(J.CPO't'EpOOC; av ocpcx. QU"C'WC; 't'o EV 1tOAAOC er'l), ocAA' OUX ev."
.. &A1JIHj."
" SEL Se ye: itOAAtl ocAf.: EV cx.trro elvcx.L,"
.. oeL"
" '" ""I" " , !!t:' ",,, , " "
"ou't' expo:. DADV EO''Coct OU't'E p.e:p"f) EsEt, Et EV eO""C'CX,t -ro EV.
.. QU yocp."
.. OuxoOv EL p:lJoev eXEt. !J.EpOC;. ou-r' ClV a.PX-ftv oiJ-re: 't'EAEU't'lJV QU-rE
iJ.iaov .. xo, iJ.ip"I) YOtp IlV OCU1:00 1:Ot 1:0,11.01:11. et"l]."
52 OAOU B: !J.e:po:; OAOU T.
Text and Translation: 137c-d
"Well then," said Parmenides, "'if it is one'," would not the one be
something other than the many?"
- "How could it be [many]?"
"Then, there must not be a part of it, nor can it be a whole."
"For a part is presumably a part of a whole."
"But what is the whole? Wouldn't that from which no part is missing
be a whole?"
- "Certainly."
"In both cases, then, the one would consist of parts, since it would be
whole and would have parts."
- "Necessarily."
"[n that way, in borh cases the one would be many, rather than one."
-"True." cl
"Yet it must not be many, but one."
- "It must."
"Thus, if the one is to be one, it will neither be a whole nor have parts."
- "No, ir won't."
"Then, if it has no part, it would neither have a beginning, nor an end,
nor a middle, for these kind of things would be parts of it."
53 "Onc" (ev) can also be translated as Oneness, or Unity. For "if it is one," as
above, compare also Gill, Plato: Parmenides, 141, and also Kahn, chapter
on the Parmmidrs (a work in progress on Plato's later dialogues). However, EL
ev ecrnv here has also been rranslated as "if there is one," "if the one exists,"
and "if one is" (compare with 142b), and some scholars consider the wording
sufficiently ambiguous to allow both versions. Yet if we compare other passages
that mention hen as object ofi nquiry (for example 128b. but especially 128d
and 137b). it becomes clear that the hypothesis in Argument I should be taken
not in an existential sense but in a predicative one, in contrast ro Argument
II and its hypotheSiS "if one is" (ev d e<1't'1.'J), which, as the Argument shows.
focuses on results of the existential inrerrwining between Onc and Being.
See also Gill, Plato: Parmenides, 65ff., for a lengrhy discussion of the issue.
Compare also note 9.
Plato's Parmenides
.. opSwC;."
.. xex, f1"ijv 1:EAEU'r1j ye xex, hli<f1:ou."
.. 8' au; "
" " .. ,."" .... \" ..
.. ocrcecpov ocpoc 1:0 EV. El f1r,1:E ocpX'lV 1:EI\U1:l]V EXEl.
.. tX7tEt.POV."
Y..oct OCVv <xpo:' othe: yocp ')4 ?iv O""CpOYYUAOU QUTE e:uaiac;
t.. 'i;"
.. 7tw:;; ..
.. o"C'POYYUAOV yi 1tOU EO''t't. TorreD, 00 ?iv "CtX 1tOC'J't'ocx-n chto TOU
!J.EO'OU rcrov cbtixn"
.. vocC"
.. XCXL EUSU YE, OD ri:v 'to !J-EC1QV OC!J.cpOLV -rOLV f.crx.IJ.:COf..V E1tt,7tpOaSe:'J

.. OUXOU'J t-UP1J av EX0t. TO ev XCXL 1tOA/..' a..v d'fJ. the: EuS-ioe;
ElTe: nEpt.rpepouc; (.LETEXot ....
" 1tavu (.Lv auv,"
138 .. OU1:E ocpoc eu&" oUTe E<f'ttV, E1teLrcep ouoE f1Epl] eXEl."
.. opSw:;,"
KCXL TOWCl'rOv ye: QV ou8ocf.LoO ?iv Ell)' othe: yocp e::v QU't'E
ev EOCU't<i) e:t1'j." ., 7tWC; Si); "
'E " .... "'1 ,... '.... ... , "" 1?'" 56
.. V ex"''''IfII-'-EV ov XUX"'1fI itOU rJ..V 7tEpt.EX01,:t'O U1t EXEt.VOU E'" ':> EVEt.'!}.
XrJ..L 1tOAAa.XOO Civ o:.u't'oD a.7t't'Ot.'t'O 7tOAAot,;' 'toO SE 'tE XO:L
xoc, XUXAOU f1-r, f1e1:iXOVTO<; ciOUVOCTOV TCOAAOCxil XUXA'!' "rc'tea&ocl."
"1\8UVCl-rOV," i\)"AO:. l1u'to ye: ev eo:.u'tc.j> ov x.Civ E:tX.U'Lt!) "i7 Er'/} 7tEpt.exov
1...............' S8 " , ,. , l' ,
OUX OC""O r, OCU1:0, emep XOCl ev eOCUT'!' el'r,' ev 1:,!, yocp 'tt e"OCl f1r,
.. &8uvct't'ov ya.p."
54 BT: yo.p iiv vulg.
55 p.r;'C'iXEf. Produs: P.E't&ZOf. BT.
56 tVe:L'tJ Hcindorf: IX'I e'l e:L'tJ B: IX eL'tJ T.
57 tctlJT4'l B: !:ctlJ'to T, Proclus.
58 ctlJ'tO Diels: ocu'to BT, Proclus.
Text and Translation: 137d-138b
- "Quite righr."
"Furthermore. 'end' and 'beginning' are the limit of each thing."
- "How could they not be>"
"Therefore, if the one has neither beginning nor end. it is limitless."
"And consequently, it is without shape; for it partakes in neither round
nor straight."
- "How so?" e
"For the round is presumably that whose extremities are everywhere
equidistant from its center."
- "Yes."
"And straight is that of which the middle stands in between both
.. .,
- "So it is."
"So the one would have parts and be many, if it were to partake in
either a straight or a round shape."
- "Certainly."
"Therefore, it is neither straight nor round, since it has no parts either." 138
- "Correcr."
"Furthermore. being of such a kind, it would be nowhere, because it
would be neither in another nor in itself."
- "How so?"
"If it were in another, it would presumably be surrounded all around
by that in which it would be contained, and it would be in contact
with this thing in many places with many parts. But since it is one
and without parts, and since it does not partake of all-aroundness, it
cannot possibly be in contact all around in many different places."
- "It could not."
"Yet, conversely, ifit were in itself, what contains it would be no differ-
ent than itself, if indeed it were in itself, for it is impossible for a thing b
to be in something that does not contain it."
- "Impossible indeed."
"So the comainer itself would be one thing, and the contained another,
because the same thing as a whole will not be able both to undergo
Plato's Parmenides
. OUKOUV ('TEpaV a.v Tt et"fj 1:0 TCEptiXOV. E"C'EPO'V oe: 'TO
TCEptEXOf.LEVOV QU yap 0)..0'1 ye 'tCl.trco'l &!J.OC xoo. 1tot-f}a:l.:
xo:L OUT&> TO EV DUX. iv eX'f} E't'{. EV <1:).) ..0: ouo,"
, , '? ..
. OU ylXp ouv.
.. Qlix a.poc iO'TLv TCOU 'to EV. f.Ll}TE EV e:o:u't't:> ev EVOV."
.. DUX EO''t'tV.''
.. "Oper. exov d oIbv 'rE EO''t't.V EG-rcXVIXL ij xl.vdaDoct,"
.. "('t. yocp au; ..
.. O't[. XtVOUf.LEv6v ye')') t:pipm:ro it OCAAOtot-ro &''1' Cll)''C'a.L ya:p !J.OVcu.
.. vo:."
.. OCt..AOLOU/-lEVOV OE "['0 V OCU"COU c1:0UVIX't'O'J 1tOU EV E't'f. dVClt."
.. a.ouvo::ro\l."
.. aux tipoc Y..a:r' cXAAOLCM1LV ye Y..t.VEt't'(xL."
.. QU CP!l.tVE'TClL."
.. OCAA' a.poc tpEpe:a.socr.; ..
.. raw;."
.. xocL fL-trol EL cpipm:ro 'to EJ.l]'t'Ot EV cttJ'r0 a.v 7tEptcpipOl.:ro
!,-<"ClXAAocnoL Xc:,plXV hiW'J hiplXt;."
.. civciyxYj."
,. OUx.ou'J 1tEptcpEpO!J.EVOV :1tt cX.vocyx"1J. xc>:t
"CIX It<P' "Co !'-EC10V 'l'<P0!'-EVlX OCAAlX flip" EXm elXu"CoO. cjJ 8E: !'-1]"C< !,-iC1ou
!'-1]"< !,-EPWV "CLt; !'-"tJXlX'J-I] "C00"C0 lto"C' elt, "CoO !,-iC1ou
.. OU8E/-L[CX."
.. <XAAIX 8-1] Xc:,plXV OCAAO"C' OCAI.oIlL yLyv<uc XlX' OU"C'" XLvd"ClXL; "
.. Et1te:p yE 81)."
u ouxoOv dvclt Jl.EV 1tOU E'J "t'tVt ciSuvc>:"t'o'J icpO:.v1): ..
.. 'loci.. ..
, n '.
U c>:p OU'I YLYVE(J'\JOCl E't"t ocouva:t'W't"EpOV;
59 y. b, Proclus al.: TE BT. Stob.eus.
60 81": ClU"t'O vulg.
Text and Translation: 138b-d 1lI
and to act at the same time. And so the one would no longer be one
but two."
- "It would not."
"Therefore the one is not anywhere, neither in itself nor in another."
- "It is not."
"If this is the case, consider then whether it can be at rest or in motion."61
- "Yes, why not?"
"Because if it were in motion it would either change place or alter its
character, since these are the only motions."("
- "Yes."
"But it is impossible fat the one to alter itself and still be somehow one." c
- "Impossible."
"So it does not move by altering its character."
- "Apparently not."
"But by changing place?"
- "Perhaps."
''And yet if the one moved spatially, then it would either revolve around
itself or change from one place to another."
- "Necessarily."
"Well, if it revolves around itself, it must be poised in the center, and
have other parrs of itself revulving around the center. But by what d
means can that, of which it is not firr ing to have either center or parrs,
revolve around the ccnrer?"
- "There is no way."
"But by changing place, does it come to be here at one time and there
at another, and thus move?"
- "If it moves at all."
"Was it not shown that it is impossible for it to be anywhere in
- "Yes it was."
"Then it is even more impossible for it to come to be?"
- "I do not understand how."
61 Whenever appears in relation to stasis we have opted to translate it as
'motion'. Whenever it appears CO point at a different state than 'morion' or
'rest', we have preserved the more generic sense of kinisis, namely 'change'.
62 er. Parmenides B8.41.
Plato's Parmenides
.. aux EVVOOO Oit1),"
, " ., , I '" "l "
.. Et EV 'rep 1;'(. ytYJ'tGtt.. QUX. IXvIXYX1] fJ."t)'fE 1tW EV ELVcx.t. E"t'L
iyytyv6!J.EVOV, J,J.1}-r' En ix.e:L'JOU 7tOCv'C'cl7to:.aLv. e:L1tEp iyyLYVE'trJ.t: "
e .. cX.'Jci.yx."y)."
" " , ..' _ <1<' , 1" "
EL o:poc Tt. OC).AO 1tE:LO'E'tOCL 'rOUTO. Exet.vO a.v f-l0VOV 1tocaxot OU fJ.e:pY)
, . ." , ".. . aE: u.Yl
TO f.l.EV ya.p OCV Tt. iXU'tOU 1JO'1j EV "(0 oe: ESW E!.1j OCI-LCX: TO "1
EXOV l-'-ep"fJ DUX otov n: TrOU EO''t'tX.t. 'tP01t'l> ouae:vt OAO') OC!-,-IX p;/j'tE ev'toc:;
", , I .. r ..
WIOCL nvo<; [J.:t]'t"E o"w .
.. ocA:t]&1j."
.. ou aE: [J.1)'o der, DAov ,uYXrxvoL QV, ou 1tOAU En
ocauvoc"hopov iyy[yvoer&oc[ 1tOU, [J.1)'o XOC"CI" [J.1)To l<OCT<X I5Aov
139 iYYLYVO[J.ovov;
.. cpOCLVE,,-(lt. ...
.. ou't" TrOt. l.O\l XCXL EV yt.YVOfJ.EVOV xwpoc'J riA)..ci."t''t'EL. OtJ-r' EV 't'0
oc,)T0 1tEpL<pEPO[J.oVOv OUTE ocAAoLou[J.0VOV."
.. aux EOl.:X.e:V."
.. KCl't'O:. 1ttiO'Cxv XLV"fjO'f.V 'to EV cbd.v"fj't'ov."
.. ax.tvYjToV."
.. ciA).oc fJ-l]V Kat e:tVClL yi tpOCP.EV .v 't'(.V(. a.u-ro a8uvoc'('ov."
.. ,!,oc[J.E:V yrxp."
ou8' ocpoc 1to't'E iv 't'4i ocu't'4i E(]''t'(.V.''
" 't'L 8i); "
.. O't'(. (Xv (,'01 EXEtV!p et"lj. EV 't'!l cxv't'c{l ;(],"'C('V."
" 1tcXVU f.LEv OUv."
'v ' . ." v , v,\ '\ 'f' <t - ('\"
b .. aAA OU"'CE '01 EOCU"'C!p ou'('e E'J 01.0'1 'rE "fj'J EVELVIXL . .
.. ou yocp OOv."
.. OU8E7tO't"E ocpoc ia't"L 'to EV EV (XU't(!>."
" cX:AAa. 'to ye f.Lr,8bto't'E EV 't'c{l DV OU't'E OCyEL ou,o.'
OU yocp oIov 't'E."
.. '['0 EV lipt'{. EO('Y..V. ouS' EO't'y,XEV ou-re X('VEt't'IXL."
v , , "
.. ouxouv <pocLVe,ocL yo.
63 e'.l,dVlXL b: EV BT.
Text and Translation: 138d-139b 11}
"If something comes to be in somerhing, isn't ir necessary thar ir not
yer be in that something-as it is srill coming to be in it-but neither
rhar it is still entirely outside of that something if it is already coming
[0 be in it?"
- "Necessarily."
"So if anything is to undergo rh is [type of change], only thar which has e
parts could undergo it. because some part of it would already be in it,
and at the same time some orher part of it would be outside. But it is
impossible for that which has no parts to be somehow simultaneously
either wholly inside or ourside something."
"And isn't it srill more impossible for that which neither has parts nor
happens to be a whole to come to be in somerhing anywhere, since it
can come to be in it neither as a part nor as a whole?"
- ''Apparently.''
"Therefore, it does not change its place either by going somewhere,
nor coming to be in something, nor by revolving in the same place, 139
nor by altering its character."
- "Apparently not."
"Then the one is immovable in regard to any kind of change/motion."'"
- "It is immovable."
"And yet we also say that it is impossible for it to be in anything."
- "We say so."
"Then it is [also] never in 'the same'."
- "Why is that?"
"Because then it would already be in thar same in which it is."
- "Certainly."
"But it was impossible for it to be either in itself or in another."'"
- "Indeed."
"So. the onc is never in the same." b
- ''Apparently not."
"But that which is never in the same is neither still nor at resr."
- "No. Le cannot be either."
uThe one, then, as it seems. is neither at rest nor in motion:'
- "No, apparently not."
64 This being the summary of the observations of 139al, both 'change' and
'motion' apply.
65 Two lessons here: and JUri wc have chosen
Plato's Parmenides
.. OuSe: f.1:i)v 'tCXlJ'tO\' ye: ouS' OUTe: a-t(X.t.. ou8' (XV E'tEPOV
." ..
Qu'tE: exu't'ou QUTE E'tEpOU GoV Etl).
" IT7J- ..
, ."... " ......" pi "
.. E't'EpOV I-liv 7tOU E!XU"roG QV EVOc; E:'t'EpOV ocv E{,.'"fj XClt. CUY.. OC'J Et"t] E'V.
l'jv'l , .. " "
,. xext 't'ClU'tOV ye: QV Exetvo Civ dl). cttr'C'o 0 OUY.. Cl" Et."tJ' wO''te:
ouo' a,v d1J 07tEP cJ'nv, ev. OCAA' E'tEPOV
, , , ,."
ou ylXp OUV.
.. 't'cxu'to'J !J.E:V eXpel E't'EpOV EClU'tOU aux EO''COCt. ...
.. ou yeip,"
., 'l! ,,'" ,I , r' porrny.Et. E'dn/'\
"E-t:EPOV OE yE E-repOU OUX .er-rIXL, ew.:; IXV 'n ev. OU '(IXP eve IT _.,. n-
't't.VOc; dvcxt.. clAAcX. E't'EpOU, OE ouoe:vL"
" T4i fJ.tV a.pex E\I dva,t. QUY. 0''t'Cl.1.. 'tEpOV' OtEt.; .,
.. QU O'Il't'cx."
.. ! ..... et. f-l-1) 'tOUT':>. OUX eIXu't'ti> ecr"Coct.. E:i. Oe: fli) OUOe: cx.U-rO
IXI)-ra f.L"'lOlXflfi QV E-rEPOV O,;OEVa<; "ernL E-t:EPOV."
.. op&wC;."
.. ou8e: EO''to:t,''
.. 1tWC; 8' OU: ..
.' 1 t '66 ,.... OU"
.. OUX l)1tP VOC; CPUO'tC;. CX,U't""fJ O"fJ1tOU Xo:t. -rOU 'CO:U't ,
.. 'tL ..
.. chI. oUx., E1tEtOOCV 't'OCU'tov yv"fJ't'ocL 'tt., EV YLY'JE'tlXt,"
.. cXAArt cL fL-fJv; ..
, I I 3- 'AA"
.. -roi:, ITOA}.Oi:, -r1X,;-rav '(EVOflEVOV ITOAAIX IXVIX'(Xl) yLyvEer IXL. IX OUX
"'A S-"
<X. 1). , " ,
.. aAA' d TO EV xa.t TO T!1U'tOV tr'l0Ct.f.L-n utO:<pepEt. 01to-re: Tt TtXU't'OV
iytyv't'O. ciEL cl ... EV iyLyve:-ro. x.a.t OrrOT i .... "C':J.u-r:ov."
66 ClV-ril Proclus: ClU'O) B: au't"lj T.
Text and Translation: 139b-d
"Further. the one cannot be the same either as another or as itself, and.
again. it would not be different either from itself or from another."
- "How so?"
"If it were somehow different from itself it would be different from
'one', and it would not be one,"
"Yet. if it were the same as anorher, ir would be thar other, and it c
would not be itself. Therefore, in rh is way it would not be jusr what it
is-one-but would be orher rhan one."
"Q' " - une so.
"Accordingly, ir will nor be rhe same as anorher nor different from irself."
- "No, it will not."
"Nor will it be different than another, as long as ir is one. For it is nor
fitting for the one (Q be other than something else, but only for [what
is] 'other' to be other than something else. and for nothing else."
"Consequently, the one will not be different by being one; or what do
you think?"
- "Of course not."
"But. if it is not [different] for this reason, then it will not be [different]
by being irself, and if not [different] by being itself, it will itself not be
[different]. And if it is by no means different from anything. it will be d
different from nothing."
"Th . h "
- ats ng t.
"Nor will it be the same as itself."
-"Why nor?"
"The very nature of the one is certainly not also that of the same."
"Because a thing does not become one whenever it comes to be the
same as something."
"That which comes to be the same as the many must come to be many.
not one,"
_ uTrue."
"But if the one and the same do not differ in any way, whenever
something came to be the same, it would always come to be one, and
whenever it came to be one. [it would always come to be] the same."
Plato's Parmenides
.. rccl',1U ye,"
.. El cipa: 'to EV e!Xu'ti;> 'tCXt)'{OV EeJ't'C1t., OUX EV eaTa.t. Y.ClC. Oth-Cl) '1
QV oUx. E'J EG'tCl[. !XAAfl TOU'tO yE ti8uvClTov' cl:OU\lc(''C'ov <XPil. xcxL
E:VL E:'t'EPOU ETEpOV e:l'J<Xt. 't'a:trrov."
.. Ol.h'w 81j ETEp6v ye 't'OCtl't'ov 't'o EV OUT' OCV OUT' exv Et"fj."
.. OU ycx.p cuv."
.. Ouoe: op.at.av 't'LVL a'tOCL OUO' OCV0f.10f.QV ouf}'eCluT<i> ouB-
.. TL Si); ..
.. o'n 'rO -rClU'tOV 1tOU 01-'-0[,0\1,"
.. vexL"
.. 'tou Si ye: EVOC; XUlpL; icp6:,'/l') cpUCTt.V "t'O 't'ocU'tOV."
.. ErpcXV1j yeip."
.. oc)..).. J.L1)'J El Tt 1tE1tovD 'tOU EV Elvat. 'to tv. rrAe:tw 0:'1 elv(X(.
nE1tovDoL iJ ev. 'tOUTO Se ciOUVI1:'CO'l.H
.. vaL"
G't't.v ocpoc -rOCt)''COV e:Lval. 't'O EV OLJ-r'g ouD'
.. ou tpC):[VETc):t.."
.. ouoE o(J-ot.ov ocpa: ouvo:'t'ov O:UTO dvoct. aUTE iAt.tp outr ECXU-rtil ..
.. aux EOt.Y..EV."
.. ouoE E-re:p6v ye: rcE1toVSe:V e:LwJ:[' -ro EV' KClt ya.p athw itAdw ocv
1tE7to'lDot. Eivcx[. iJ EV."
,. 7t)...'''' y<xp."
.. 't'O yE E"Ce:pOV 1tE1tOVSO; ij EOCU't'OU 1j tX.AAOU cb6(J-ot.ov OCV ELl) ij eocu"(4)
ij a.AAf{J. Etrcep 1'0 't'ClU't'O\l 1te:7tovSO; op.ot.Qv."
.. 't'o oi yE EV. Eot.KEV, E't'EPOV cXVOfLOt.ov
gaTt.v ouS'
.. QU yOC? OOv."
.. OU't'E cipo: oihe cXvop.ot.ov ouD' E't'Pf{J OU't'E E:OCU-r4) a.v gL-i) -ro EV,"
Text and Translation: 139d-140b
- "Of course,n
"Accordingly. if the one will be the same as itself. it will not be one
with itself. and thus. being one it will not be one. But this is impos-
sible. Thus. it is impossible for the onc to be other than the other. or
to be the same as itself."
- "Yes. that is impossible."
"Thus. the one can neither be different than nor the same as itself or
- "Indeed, ir cannot."
"Furthermore. it will be neither like nor unlike anything. whether in
regard to itself or to another."
- "Why?"
"Because 'the like' is that which is affected somehow in the same way."
"But it was shown that the same is guite separate in nature from the
- "Yes, this was shown,"
"But if the one is affected by anything apart from being one. it would
be so affected as to be more than onc. and that is impossible."
"Therefore. by no means can the one be affected so as to be the same.
either as another or as itself."
- "Apparently not."
"Conseguently. it cannot be like another or itself."
- "It seems not."
"Nor can the one be affected so as to be different. for in this way it
would be so affected as to be more than one."
- "Yes, more than one,"
"Surely. that which is affected in a different way than itself or another
would be unlike itself or another. if indeed what is affected in the
same way is like."
"R' h "
- 19 t.
"But the one. as it seems, since in no way can it be affected as being
different. is in no way unlike itself or another."
- "It is not."
"Conseguently. the one can be neither like nor unlike either another
or itself"
Plato's Parmenides
.. QU tpcx.l.VE't'CXt."
.. KocL 't'Of.Oll't"OV yE QV OU't'E taD\, QV"!'E ocvtaov EO'TOCt. QU't'E
.. 1tj); "
" , ... _ , _ , " , '14" "'1 "
.. LaD\' fiEV OV 't"wv a.U't'WV f.LE'tpWV EO'"t':;{t EY..ELV<:l CJ,l a;v taQV TJ
.... nx.L"
Si 1tOU <Aocnov QV. 0', fL1:v 50'1 TW" fLE:V
i:.Aoc,,6wN 1tAd", fLiTpoc TWV 81: i:.Atl"w,"
.. or, S' 50'1 cruflfL<Tpov. TWV fLEv crflLY.pOTipwv. TWV S1: fLOTPWV
.. 1tWC; ya:p ou; ..
.. OUY-QU", &:Suva:rov 1'0 !J.E't'EXOV "CoO !Xv"rou (J.E"CP(iN -r;w" cdrt'b:N e1V(7.[.
a.AAWV WV't'!.VWVOUV 'twv ocu't'wv; ..
.. ciSu\lCf.'t'ov."
.. raov !-LEv lipoc OU't" a:v ErJ.u't'0 OU1'E a.AACJ,l e:L1J 'toov ocu-rwv !J.t-rpwv Ov."
"othwuv tpaVE't'o:.l. YE."
"ciAA&: !J.';rJ ;CAe:t.OVWV yE !J.E't'PW'J QV 0" EAa,l"'COVOOV. OO'WV1tEP !J.e""CPW'J.
TOO'QU't'oov ){tXt !J.EpWV !Xv eLl]' XO:L ou't'w; cxu OUK'n EV Eo"t!xL. eXAA&'
't'OGOCU't'oc OGOCitEP X!lL 't'oc (J-E't'pa:."
" opth7l;."
.. E[ Si yE EVOC; p,E:'t'pou Et"lj. to'OV av Y[YVOL't'O 't'ou't'O OE
"i 67"""
ClOUVOC't'OV EcpCXVlj. f.aOV !lU't'O ELVCXL.
.. EcpftVlj yftp."
" " t" ''' ...... v ' .... I "
OU't'E ClpOC EVO!; tJ.'t'pOU OU't'E; 1[OI'\.I\WV OUTE Ol\!.ywv, OUTE 't'O
1tOCpftTrOCV 't'ou ocv't'OU !J.ETix.ov, OUTE 1tO't'E, WC; Em.xEv, tG't'!l!. rao',
Qu't'e ouD' Cl\) ouoE EAClT't'O'l OU't'E E!lU't'OU OU't'E t't'epou."
.. ' '"''''
1tOC"'t'OC1tOCO't. OUV ou't'W.
Text and Translation: 140b-d
- "So it seems."
"Furthermore:. being such. it will be neither equal nor unequal to itself
or to another.
"Being equal, it will be of the same measures as that to which it is equal."
"And being somehow larger or smaller in regard to things with which
it would be commensurate. it will have more measures tha n those that
are smaller. and fewer than those that are larger." c
- "Yes."
"And. in regard to things with which it is not commensurate. it will be
of smaller measures in the one case, and of larger measures in the other."
- "Of course."
"So. is it not impossible for what does not partake of sameness to either
be of the same measures or possess any other characteristics that are
the same, whacsoever?"
- "It is impossible."
"Therefore, it would not be equal either to itself or to another. if it is
not of the same measures."
- "Apparemly nor."
"But whether it is of more measures or smaller, it would consist of just
as many parrs as of measures. And thus, again, it will no longer be one d
but will be JUSt as many as its measures."
- "Right."
"But. if it were of one measure. it would come to be equal to that mea-
sure; yet it was shown to be impossible that it be equal to anything."
- "Yes, this was shown."
"Therefore, since it does not partake of either one measure or many or
few, nor does it partake at all of what is same, it will, as it seems, never
be equal to itself or another. Nor again will it be greater or less either
than itself or than another."
- "Absolutely so."
Plato's Parmenides
.. Tt oi; vE,irt"Epov EXE'V ,0 EV
80xd 't'':l(,f! OU'Joc't'ov dVOCL; "
.. ,l 0-1] ov; "
.. o"n. ']tou (LE:V 't'-fJv EXOV ocu"t'0 OCAAtp tao"n}"roc;
Xpovou XOCL O/-LOLO't'1}'t'OC; 6lV E:Aiyo!J.EV ou 't'0 k.'y[, QUO'
o(J.Oto't'"fJ't'o:;; OU"CE t.cro-rl)'t'oc;."
" EAiyo[.LEV yocp 00'1,"
.. !l:;r'J XOCL o't't &vo!J.Qw't'"fJ't'OC; 't'E xo:i ou !-LE'tEXE!.. XOCl.
,oiho eAiyoI-'EV."
..' \ ..."
.. 00\1 0[6\1 't'E eO''t'c(!. 1; VEW-re:pOV el'JOCL 't'-fJv
CltJ"C1jV -fJAI..XtOCV EXEt'J "CO(.QU't'OV QV; "
" ouooc(J.wC;."
.. aux. ap' OC\l ELl) Ve6l't'EpoV ye: QuSe: ouoe: LT!") -ijAtXtOCV
EXav "Ca EV ou-rE OClrc'<!) QU't'E rJJI.A':l."
.. ou CPOCtVE"COCI.."
.. ap' 00\1 ouoe: ev 1:'0 1tOCPOC1tOCV OUVOCI.'t" iiv eLvoct. 'to v, Et. 't'otOU-cOV
EL7j: aux. OCVOCYX"f), iocv Tt EV XpO'J6!, lid o:.u't'o I1U't'OU
ylyvEal}",,; "
" ouxoOv ,A yE lid vE""ipou "
.. ,l "
" 't'o EI1U't'OU ytYVO!J-EVOV xo:!. VEOO't'EPOV EI1U't'OU OC!J-11
ylyvE't""'" Et7tEP l-'iAAEC EXE'V O,OU
.. "
" @8E o""popov e't"Epov E't"ipou ouo1:v OEC ylyvEal}"" f,0"1J OV,O, o'''''Popou.
,00 I-'Ev f,0"1J ono:; f,0"1J EtV"'" ,00 01: YEYOVO,O:; yEyo'liv"'" ,00 01:
!J-EAAEtV, 't'OU oe ytYVO!J.EVOU OU't'E YEyovevocL oiJ-re: !J-EAAEL'J
OU't'E dVI1L 1tW Otoccpopov, OCAAOC yLyve:a&ocL XI1L oux e:iVc(L."
" civocyx1] yocp."
.. I-'-I]v ,A yE O'''''POPO'"1J:; VEOl't"ipou Ea" x",t OUOEVO:;

68 BT.
69 BT.
Text and Translation: 140e-141c 121
"What abour the following: do you think that it is possible for the one e
to be older or younger than, or the same age as, anything?"
-"Why not?"
"Because presumably, if it is the same age as itself or another, it will
partake of equality and likeness in regard to time, [but,] as we have said,
it does not belong to the one to parrake of either likeness or equality."
- "Yes, that's what we have said."
"And furthermore, that it does not partake of unlikeness and inequal-
ity, we also said this."
- "Certainly."
"Then, if it is like this, how will it be possible for it to be older or 141
younger than, or of the same age as, anything?"
- "In no way."
"So the one would be neither younger nor older than, nor the same
age as, itself or another."
- "Apparently not."
"So, if it is like this, could the one even be in time at all? Or isn't it
necessary that if something is in time, it is always coming to be older
than itself?"
- "Necessarily."
''Then is it not always the case that the older is always older than the
- "Of course."
"Then, what comes to be older than itself at the same time comes to b
be younger than itself. if indeed it is going to have something to come
to be older than?"
- "How do you mean?1l
"I mean this: there is no need for anything different to come to be
other than another if it is already different;70 rather, it must now be
different from what is now different, have come to be different from
what has come to be different, and be going to be different from what
is going to be different. But what is coming to be different neither has
become [different], nor will be becoming [different], nor is [already]
different, but it is coming to be, and nothing else."
- ((Necessarily.I'
"But surely 'older' constitutes a difference from 'younger', and from c
nothing else."
70 Principle of Sufficient Reason; ef. Parmenides 88.9-10.
[22 Plato's Parmenides
.. lan y<Xp."
.. TO lip/X e/xUTOU YCYVOjJVOV a.V<XYXl) )!./Xt veWTepov &.fi/X
"/xUTOO y[yvea&/xL."
.. a.AA<X x/Xl 7tAel., eIXUTOU y[yvea&IXL XPOVOV eM"."
a.AAOC TOV taov XPOVOV xIXt y[yvea&IXL "IXUTt;; xIXl LVIXL )!'IXl yeyavEvIXL
.. civocYXlJ 00\1 xcx1 "t'o:u't'oc."
.. ava.YX1J cipo: ea'dv. wc:;; eOLKEV, OGC.t ye: EV XpOVCJJ Ea't'L XOCL fJ.E't'EXEt. 'toO
EKOCO"'t"OV ClU't'WV 't'ltv 'rE octrC'C) exlrri;l EXEt" X.OCL
Te IXI)TOU &'fiIX XIXt veWTepav y[yvea&IXL."
.. a.AAoc Tt;; ye "vl r:wv TOLOUr:WV TC/Xitl)fi<XTWV ou8<v
.. DU YO:p
.. ouoe: apa. Xp6vou !-lE"tEO .. tLV, QUO' e:o"nv EV 'tt-VI.
.. ouxouv ye 0 AOYOC:;; CXLpEi."
.. Tt OU\I; TO Koi 'to yi-YOVE XOCl. TO EyLyVETO OU xpovou
80xet al)fi/X[veLV Tau 7tor:< y<YOVor:OC;: "
.. X.OCL !J.OCAOC ...
.. Tt. oe; 't'o CT'tClt. XOCL 't'o xcxl 't'Q DU 't'OU E1tEt:t'rX.
.. vocL"
.. 'to OE:: Si) ecr't't. XOCl. 't'o yLYVEi:r.1.L DU 'toO "uv 1tClPOV'tOC;: "
.. 1tcXVU !-lE" ouv."
.. et lip/X r:o ev 1ll)8IXfi-n fiTeXEL xpovou, o':lT< 7tar:< yeyov<v OUT
" '1 ' ,1.. I v '" VI" '"
EyLyVE't'O OUT "IV 1tO"t'E, Dun: VUV yEyOVEV OU"tE yl.yVE"'t'lX.l.. OU"'t' EO"tI.V, OUT
ETtEL"to: ytV-f)O'E't'o:l.. OU't'E YtV1]-91)OE't'CXI. Ou"c' EO''t'(xL,''
.. ocA1]3icrtlX.'t'cx,"
'" .,. , I .." , ",,\ i .. " ..
e:O"tLV ouv OUCft,ru; f.1.'J 't'l.. f1ETcxO''Xm. OCfl.fl.W; l'j X(x;'t'f.1. "tOU't'W'I "tl..;
.. OUX ECirLV."
.. a.poc "to EV ouO'Lru; (J.'t'XEI.."
71 ! 7'tL'ta.1tOU G. Hermann: e1tL't!X. 'tOU BT.
Text and Translation: 141c-e (2)
- "Yes, it does."
"So that which comes to be older than itself must also, at the same
time, come to be younger than iISelf."
- "Apparently."
"But neither can it come to be for a longer time than itself. nor for a
shorter; rather, it must 'come to be' and tbe' and 'have come to be' and
'be going to be', for a time equal to itself."
- "That is also necessary."
"Thus it is necessary, as it seems, for each thing that is in time and
participates in this kind of thing, to be the same age as itself and.
simultaneously, come to be older and younger than iISelf."
- "Very likely."
"But the one had nothing to do with such qualifications."
- "No, it had not."
"Then it has neither something to do with time, nor is it in any time."
- "It has not, as the argument shows."
"Well. doesn't the 'was' and the 'has come to be' and the 'was coming
to be' seem to signify participation in time which has come to pass
- "Of course."
"And, then, does the 'will be' and the 'will come to be' and the 'will
have come to be' signify participation in time which will come to be
"And does the 'is' and the 'is coming to be' signify participation in
time now present?"
- "Certainly."
"Therefore, if the one does not participate in time in any way, it has
nor ever 'come to be', nor 'was cumi ng to be', nor 'was' ever; it has not
now 'come to be', nor is it 'coming (0 be', nor 'is it'; nor hereafter 'will
it come to be', nor 'will it have come to be', nor 'will it be'."
- "Most true."
"Is it possible that anything could partake of being in any other way
than in one of these?"
- "No, it is not."
"Therefore, the one does not partake of being in any way."
- .. It seems not."
Plato's Parmenides
.. auy. OLKEV."
.. ouoocp.wC; tipo: eO''t't -ro ev."
.. ou CPOCLVE'''W.t.''
" ouS' lipoc ou't'WC; ean,\! waTE EV elvocLo d"1J ya.p ocv eN XOCl. ouatocc;
142 !-LE't'EXOV" rxAA' 00:; Em-x.:. 'to EV OU't'E E'J EO''t'tV OUL'E eCJ't'Lv, EL SeE -r4l
)..,oYri} 1ttO''t'EUEl.V.''
" Xtvouve:uet."
" Q Se: eCJ''t'L. 't'ou't'<:l -r0 Qv't't d"t} av Tt ocu't'0 octrroO: "
XOCl. 7tw::;; "
" ouS' ocpoc Q'Vo!J.(l ea't'tv ocu't'0 QuSe: )"oyo::; QuSe "'C'r.c; ouSe:
octalhl,n, ouoe:
.. ou cpoctVE't'OCt."
.. ouo' &poc ouoe: AiYE"t"oct ouoe: ouoe:
ytYVWO'XE't'OCL, ouSi 't'L 't'W\I QV'tWV ocu't'oO ocla&6:.vE't'OCt.."
" DUX. EOtY..e:V."
.. SUVCl't'OV ouv 1tEpt 1."'0 EV ou-rwc; EXEI.;V; ..
.. OUX.OUV E!-Lotye: OOX.EL."
Text and Translation: 141e-142a
"Therefore the one in no way is."
- "Apparently not."
"Therefore it is not even in such a way as to be one, for if it were, it
would already be that which is and would partake of being. But, as it
appears, the one neither is 'one' nor 'is', if we are to trust this sort of
- "Quite likely."
"If something is not, could anything belong to it, or be of it?"
- "How could it?"
"So no name belongs [Q it, nor is there an account, nor any knowledge,
nor perception, nor opinion of ir."
- "Evidently not."
'Therefore, it is not named nor spoken of, nor is it rhe object of opinion
or knowledge, nor does anything among rhe 'things that are' perceive it."
- "Apparently not."
"Now, is it possible that these things are true of the one?"
- "I do not think so."
Plato's Parmenides
.. SOUAEl ouv 1tL TitV tntolkc1Lv 1ta.ALV E1to:vi)..-3oo!!E:v,
Tt. e1tClVtOUeJLV cXAAotOV q>OCV71; ..
,.' ,. (3 ',\ ..
1to:vu DUV OUr-0Il-OCt. .
.. ouxoOv ev EL eaTLV. 'f)(x(Jiv. 'to: 7tEpt C(u't'oO. 1tOLa. 1tO't'E
TUYXU.Ve:l QVTCX. SW[.LOAOY"fl't'EOC "C'o:.u't'CY.' DUX. o{hw; ..
.. "ocL"
" apex Sit V EL eO''t'Lv. &poc 0[6\1 'rE 0:t.1't'0 e:Lvext. !-LE'I, SE
. OUX olo') 'tE,"
.. OUY-OU" x.o:t 000'tO: 'raO EVO::; EL'fj (Xv au 't'cxt)"rov ouacx EVt' OU YO:p
OCV EXeL\I"1 eKdvou ouO'to:, QUO' ocv eKe:ivQ 'rO ExehrfjC; (.LETELx.ev.
O(.Lowv iiv AiyELV V Tt dvo:.!. KCJi E'I Ev. vGv Oe OUX. au't1) EO'rtv
t '0. ,., '72 't' (3' , i .... ' ,.. " "'"
1) UTCOQ"E<1LC;. et ev E',!, 't't. XP"t) SU!J. o:.!.VElV, (7.1\1\ Et. ev EO''t'I.V DUX OU't'W:
.. 1ttivu !-le" OU\I."
" auy-ouv &')..)..0 Tt "Co EO'Tt. ,(,OU &V; ..
apoc 00V a.AAO ij O,(,t. oua-toc:; "Co gv. ,(,OU,(,' av eJ1j "co
"ct.'; EtitrJ o't't. EV ga-'('t.v; ..
.. 1tOCVU
, '\ ", .... , (3' ,
.. rtClr..I.V ol] '('I. a-u/J. OUV, Et. OUX.
cX\locyXl] "CClU'rIJV u7t6&ea-t.v ,(,Ol.oO'('OV '0\1 'to EV O"IJ(J.CltVet.\I. oro\l (J.epl]
gX&I.V; ..
.. ..
6>Oe:' e:i. "Co Eo"C1. "COU \10:; 1-EyE'tClt. XClL 'ro V TaU v6:;, Ea"Cl.
oe: ou 'to cx.tho -iJ 'te ouaLoc XOCL 'rO tv, 'tau a.lhoD OE: iXeLVOU 00
t 'v 'i ", "l!... ,I" 't " ,
'tau cx.pCX ouy. cx.VClyX1) "Co !-Lev ur..ov ev 0'01 et.\lcxt. ClU'tO, 'tou'tou
Se: yLY\leo&cx.t. p.oPl.CI. "Co 'te EV y'Cl.L "Co etVf1f..; "
.. civtiyxYj."
.. 7to'tepov OU\I ex.O:'tE:pov -r(;l'I lJ.0pl{a)V '(olrClI}V !J.optOV (.Lovav 1tpOOpOUf.LEV.
'ij TOO o)..OU fJ.OPLOV TO Y< fJ.OpCOV 1tPOcrP'1TEOV; "
.. TaU 01-0U."
Text and Translation: 142b-d
"So, do you want us to return to the hypothesis from the beginning, b
to see whether something of a differem SOrt appears to us, as we go
through it [again]?"
- "I wam to, by all means!"
'''If one is', as we say, we should agree upon the consequences that will
follow for it, of whatever sort these may happen to be. Is it not so?"
- "Yes, it is."
"Consider from the beginning: 'if one is', can it be, but not partake
of being?"
- "It cannot."
"Then the being of the one would also exist, without it being the same
as the one; otherwise, it could not be the being of the one, nor could
the one partake in it.
Otherwise, saying that 'one is' would be like saying that 'one [is] one'. c
But this time around this is not our hypothesis, namely, what the
consequences must be 'if one [is] Olle', but what the consequences are
'if one is'. Isn't that so?"
- "Of course."
"Is that because 'is' signifies something other than 'one'?"
- "Necessarily."
"So whenever someone says concisely that 'one is', would this amoum
to saying nothing other than that 'the one partakes of being'?"
- "Certainly."
"Then let us again state what the consequences will be 'if one is' .
Consider whether this hypothesis must not signify that the one is of
such a sort as to have parts."
- "How so?"
"In this way: if 'is' is said of the 'one being', and 'one' is said of the d
'being one', and the being and the one are not the same, but are of
that same of which we have made our supposition, namely, the 'one
being', doesn't it follow by necessity, that (al 'one being', by being that,
constitutes a whole, of which (bl 'onc' and 'being' are its parts?"
- "Yes, necessarily."
"Then shall we call each of these twO parts simply 'part', or should the
part be called 'part' [because it is part] of the whole?"
- "Of the whole."
Plato's Parmenides
.. xo:.i. 0).,0 .... cipo:. cJ'd. 0 cl\! ev 'n. XCXI.
.. 1ta.vu ye."
.. d ouv; TWV fJ-0ptWV bUl'tEPOV TOU"((o}V 'tou 5'orro:;, TO 'rE EV X.OCL TO QV.
apcx OC1tOAEL1tEaSov TO EV "CoG dvrJ.1.. !J.optOU 'to QV 'tou e\lo:; !J.opLou; "
.. aux OCV Et"1)."
" 7tOCf..LV ocpex xo:.i. TWV p.optWV Ex.Il:rEpov 't'O "CE EV taXEt. XIX!. TO QV. xoci.
Y'YV<'rrJ.' 'r0 EAocx"nov ex ouoi:v rJ.O fLOP'o,v 'r0 fLOPLOV, xocl xoc'ra. 'rOV
cxu't'OV ).,cyO\! ou-rw:; oce:t, fJ-rI.7tEP OCV !J.6pwv yiVlj't"o:.L. 't'OU't'w 'too (1.0pLW:\
cid /.aXEI.." "['0 'rE yocp ev TO QV cid LaXEt xo:i 'to ov 'to EV' waLE ocvocyxYj
QU' <id YLyvOfL<vOV fL1I0':"0'r< EV ",voc'."
.. ' 't"
1tCXV't'CX1tO:O'I. f-LEV ouv.
. ouxoOv cl1tELPOV OCV "C'o 1tA1j&O:; othw 'to \1 0\1 d'l); "
.. 1t-n; ..
4 ouaLct; CPtX(.LE:'J 'to t.v. StO gCJTt-V: "
.. voce"
.. xo:i OL&: 'tlXUTOC 'to EV QV 1tOAAOC icpciv1)."
.. OUTW';."
.. TL oi; lXU'tO 'to t.v, 0 cpOCf.LEV OUcrLO:C; tc>:v o:u'(o T7) 8LO:VO[q:
fLOVOV xcx&' O:UTO aveu 'tou'tou 00 cpocflev f.L't'EXeL'J, apci ye EV
floVOV it xo:L 1COJ...J...rx 'to o:u't'O 't'ofJ'to: ..
.. EV. OIfLOC' <YWYE." .. rSWfLEV 74 Oyr OCAAO 'rL h<pov fLev
" " I" """ ' ........ ' .,
OUOLO:V o:u'tou e:L\lOCL, e:'t'epo\l oe etu'to, e:L1te:p f!1) OUcrL(l "to e\l, et",,,, 00'; e:v
oua[cx<; flE:"tECJXe:v; ..
.. cX\la.yK1)."
.. QUXOU'J d t."tepov f.LE:V 1j ouaLcx, 'tepo\l SE "to \1, olkE: "t<il EV 'to \1 rijc;
't'e:pov Qu't'E: "t<il OUOLa. et.VtXt. -f) ouaLcx TOU tvOC; a.AAO. cXAA.x T<il
ETP'!J -rE xcxl cXAA'!J E'tepca: cXAAifA(ij'l."
73 'tOUt'", B pr. T.
74 tSwf1<v] dSwf1<v BT.
Text and Translation: 142d-143b
"Therefore, whatever is one both is a whole and has a part."
- "Of course."
"Now, what about each of these two parts of the ' one that is', 'oneness'
and ' being'? Is 'oneness' ever absent from the being[-nessl part, or is e
' being'[-nessl absent from the oneness part'"
- "No, that could not be."
"So once again, each of the tWO parts possesses oneness and being[-ness).
and the part, in turn, is composed of at least two parts, and endlessly,
according to the same reasoning, whatever part comes to be always
possesses these two parrs, since oneness always possesses being and
being always possesses oneness. Consequently, since by necessity7' it 143
always comes to be two, it is never one."
- "Absolutely."
"So, in this way, wouldn't the 'one that is' be unlimited in multitude'"
- "Apparently."
"Come, let us proceed in the following way as well."
- "In which way?"
"Do we say that the one partakes of being, and therefore is?"
"And for this reason, 'the one that is' was shown to be many?"
- "So it was."
"And what about the one itself, which we say partakes of being? If in
thought we were to grasp it all alone by itself, without that of which
we say it partakes, will it appear to be only one, or will this same thing
appear to be many?"
- "One. I believe."
"Let us see then. It is necessary that its being must be onc thing and b
it itself again another thing, if indeed the one is not being, but rather,
as one, it partakes of being."
- "Necessarily,"
"So if the being is onc thing and the one is another thing, neither by
being one is the one different from being, nor by being bci ng is the
being different from the one, but by difference and otherness they are
different from each other."
75 The modal operator 'by necessiry' seems to apply ro the whole phrase,
0 Plato's Parmenides
.. 1tcX\lV !J.\I ouv."
.. Wcr't'E ou TIXO't'OV ECJ't't.V OtJ-re: -ci;i E'Jt OU't'E -rfi 'to r:repov."
.. yo:p; ..
.. Tt. DUV; EelV rrpoEAWf1.EaCl. d't'E oual.o:v xai '(0
" >!" I \'"'' , (\ ".. 1', 1 ,
E't"EpOV Et:tE 't'"t)v oual,a.v xoct. 't'o ev El.'t'E 'to v xo:t. "to E't'EpOV, C1.p DUX. E')
E:xocat"71 t"fj rrpOOCLpEaEt rrpoocLpoufLdtoc nVE W op&Oi; <XEL y.ocAEca&ocL
OCfL'I'Ot"EPW; ..
.. 1twi:;; tI
.. @8:' ecr't'Lv oUO'l,cx.v d7tEtV; "
.. ECJ'tI.V."
.. XQi e:Ln:EL'J EV; ..
.. xa.t 1'00'('0,"
.. .. , l' , ! , -" "
exp OU'J OUX Ex.a:t'Epov ClU't'Ot'V Et.P1}'t'(Xt.;
.. voc[."
.. d 8' O-r(1.V elnw Quo-La. 't'e: XClt. tV, clpa. DUX oc(.L'Pot'ip(!); H
.. rrcXvu YE."
.. ouxoOv Y-oi Ellv oUcrl.ct -rE xo:t E't"EpOV E't"EPOV -re xai Ev. XIXt QU't"oo
Tttlv-rocxw:; icp' exocO''t"ou OCI-'-'PW "Aiyw; ..
.. vocL."
.. W S' civ cX(-Lcpw opSw:; 1tpocrlXyopeu"fJO"Sov. !lpIX orbv 't'e oc!-'-'Pw !-leV IXU't'W
e:lvoct., Suo oE 1-'-1]; ..
.. OUX olov 't'e:."
... , 76 \:'>1 '1'." , \ , _" 't ..
.. ouoe:tJ.Loc ...
.. 't'ou-rwv ocpo: e.1te:L1tep auvSuo
EXC1.cr'to: ttvo:t, xo:t ev av e:rY)
.. <po:[ ve't"C1.t."
.. et. SE EXO:O"'tOV o:u't'wv ia't't. 01tOtOuouv -n'ttVtOUV
ou 't'p[oc ytYVE"COCt "CeX 1((1V"COC; ..
.. vocL."
.. -rPtIX SE ou 1tEpt't'TeX XIXt Suo apTto:; ..
.. 7tWr; 0' OU; t ... Tt Si; ouo!:v QVTOt.V oux &:vocyx"fJ e:lvo:t XIXt Otc;. xa1 Tpt.WV
-rptc;. e:r7tEp U1tOCPXe:t 'tell 'te: QUO 'to ate; E.V xo:t t"pLoc TO t"ptc; EV; "
.. &:vocyx"fj."
76 ,,] B: ., T
77 Stcphanus: 03'1 B: ouv T.
Text and Translation: 143b-e
- "Of course."
"So 'the differem' is not the same as 'the one' or 'the being'."
- Certainly not,"
"Now, if we should choose from these,ler's say, 'the being and the dif- c
ferem', or 'the being and the one', or 'the one and the different', do we
not in each case choose a pair that is correctly called 'both'?"
- "How do you mean?"
"As follows: is it possible to speak of 'being'?"
- "It is."
''And, again, is it possible ro speak of 'one'?"
- C'That, too."
"So has not each of the two [just] been spoken of?"
"Then what about when I say 'being and one'? Have not both been
- "Certainly."
"And if I say 'being and different' or 'different and one', am I not d
speaking of both in each case roo?"
"Is it possible for whatever is correctly called 'both' ro be both, but
not 'two'?"
- "It is not possible."
"Bur for whatever would be two, is there any device by which each of
these two would not be one?"
"So since each of these things happens to be a pair, each one would
be one."
- "Apparently."
''And if each of them is one [individually], whenever a one is added ro
any SOrt of pair, doesn't the rota I become three?"
''And isn't three odd, and tWO even?"
- "Of course."
"What about this? If there arc two, must there not also be 'twice', and if
three, also 'thrice', if indeed two is twice one, and three is thrice one?"
- "There must."
Plato's Parmenides
" Quaiv Q ov,OtV Y.ClL aux auo El"Clt; XClL ,pt';'v Y.ClL"'pL;
OUX cl'lOCyK"t] OCU ,(pta. etvo:t.; ..
.. KW; 0' OU; ..
.. ,d. Bi: QV't'wv Xa.l 8t; ov't'wv xa.t OUOLV OVTOLV xoct tpL:; QV'tOL',I DUX.
, , , '\' , , 78 "
ClVClYX1J 1:e: ,ptCl Ot<; etVClt XClt ouo ,pt<; ;
.. 1tOAAij YE."
.. OCp-n.ci -re: ocpo: a:p't'to:'Xt; OC'J err; xocL 1tEPt.T'ra. 1tEPLTTOCXU; XOCL OCp't'lOC
1te:PL't .. XOCL 7tEpt.'t"t'O:. ocp't'Lcix!.;."
.. eO'TL.V oU't'w."
.. d 00'01 't'OCLl"'t'Cl OUTW; EXf-t.. OLEt 't'LVO:. clpL-9!-,-OV ll7to)..d1tEO'.sOCl, 0'.1 aux.
cXvO:.yx1j e:lvoct.: ..
.. aUaClfJ.';'; ye."
.. EL ocpcx EO''t'LV tV, avciYKI) xcxi clptSfJ.OV d\lIXl."
.. tiv6:.yx:t}."
" ocAAit. fJ.i)v ocpt3fJ.au ye TtaAA' ib d" aTtetpo'J ,';'v
ov,wv 1j auy. aTtetpa; Tt/-1]1)et Y.ClL fJ.e,ixwv yyvg,Clt; "
.. xocL 1ttlVU YE."
" DUX-OOV Et. mx<; cipLSfJ.Q<; !.l.E't'iXe:!., x:xt "C'o !J.Opwv EXOCt'J'TOV TOU
OCpt3fJ.0u fJ.e,ixot ocv ..
.. votL"
E7tL miv't'o: OCpCl 7tOAAOC QV't'Cl ij ouaLCl VEVE!-L1'j't'ClL xo:t
cX.7tOCT't'Cl-rei 't'WV Qv't'wv. ou'tE: 'toO O'!1-(.xpo't'ti't'ou ou't'e 'toO (.LeyLO''tou;
,ou,o fJ.E;>, XClL a/-oyov <pi(1)"'t; Tt';'<; yit.p ocv oua,Cl ye ,';'v av,wv
'tOU ci1tOa't'C1't'oi"J; "
.. OUSC1(.LW:;."
.. XC1't'CXXe:Y.e:P!-La.'t'(.O''t'!l(' a.plL 0[0'11 't'E: CT(.LLXPO't'CX't'cx XlLl !J-EY(.O''t'!l XtX.l
QV,Cl, XClL fJ.efJ.ipta''''t TteX"'wv fJ.eX/-"'.,.cl, XClL I'a" fJ.ip1J
.. iXEl OU't'w."
.. 7tAeio't'o: ocpo: ecr'tl. 't'oc (.LEp1J
.. 7tAetO"CO: f.LEV't'Ot,"
.. 't'L owv; eo't'(. 't'(. O:UTWV 0 eCT't'(. !-LEV (.LEPOI; oucrLO:I;. OUSEV (.LEvTot.
.. XtXi 1tw:; OCV 't'ou-ro
yivot:ro; ..
78 8uo "pc, in marg. h, Proclus suppl.: 80<; B: 8t, T.
79 &:rtoCJ''t'cx't'Ol corr. T: i1tOCJ''t'a.'t'OL'f) Stobaeus: OC7tOCJ''t'IX't'tt B pr. T.
80 't'ou't"o] 't'ot. 't'ou't'o BT.
Text and Translation: 143e-144c
"And if there are 'two' and 'twice', must thete not be 'twice tWO' [i.c.,
tWO times two]? And if there are 'three' and 'thrice', must there not be
' thrice rhree' [i.e., three times three]?"
- "Of course."
"What of this: if there are 'three' and 'twice', and if there are 'two' and
'thrice', must there not be twice three and thrice two?"
- "Yes. It must, necessarily."
"And therefore there would be 'even times even', 'odd times odd', 'odd
times even', and 'even times odd',"
- ult is so,"
''And if that is so, do you think there is any number left that does not
necessarily exist?"
- "By no means,"
"Consequently, 'if one is', there mUSt also be number."
- "Necessarily."
"Bur if there is number, there would be 'the many', and an unlimited
multitude of 'things that are'. Or would not a number, unlimited in
multitude, also come about by partaking of being?"
- "It certainly would."
"Then if all number partakes of bei ng, would not each part of number
also partake of it?"
- "Yes."
"So is bci ng[-nessl allocated to all the many 'things that are', and it is b
not absent from any of the 'things that are', neither ftom the smallest
nor from the largest? Or is it unreasonable to even ask this question?
For how could being be absent from 'things that are'?"
- "There is no way."
"So being is CUt up into the smallest possible things and into the larg-
eSt possibl e ones and into the 'things that arc' in all possible ways, c
and it is of all things the most partitioned, and the parrs of being are
unlimited [in number]."
"Therefore, its parts arc most multitudinous."
- "Most multitudinous, indeed."
"But what about this: is there any among them that is parr of being,
and yet not a part?"
- "How could this be?"
Plato's Parmenides
.. ?JJ,A' d1tp ye, EO''t'tV. civocyx1} <Xtrn) cie:i.. two1tep av il. r,'v ye Tt.
Elycx" 3E ciMycx"toy."
.. npo; cX7tOCVL'L cipa 't'{il ouo{w; P.ipEt npOCJEO"'t"!.. 'to tv. aUK
ci7toAe'7tol-'eYoY al-''''pon:pou I-'epou; otAAOu
.. ou'tw."
.. apex. ouv E.'I QV 1tOAArl.XOO oc!J.oc OAQV eo-ri.; 'tOU"C'O cX.spEL."
" oct.).,' ci&pw xext bp&! o"t'[, ocouvcx't'Qv."
" I-'el-'ep,al-'evov otpCX, ",7tep oAov' otAAw<; y<ip 7tOU 0,;3",1-'"'- OCI-'''' OC7tCXO"'
"tOL<; "tij<; ouaL"" I-'ipeacv 7tcxpia"tcx, I-'I-'ep,al-'evov."
" va.I.."
.. "to ye I-'ep'a"tov civ<iy" elv"" "toa",O"" oa"'7tep I-'ip."
.. civciyx:f}."
.. oux otp'" .xpn EAey0I-'Y Aiyone, 7tAtLa"t'" I-'ip Tj ouaL",
et"f). oMe yap 1tAELw 'roi) EVo; VEVP.l)'t'Clt. rail. EOf.X,
evL OU-rE YIlP 1'0 QV TOU rX7tot.drrE:1'oct. oU1'E: TO EV TOU Qv1'or;. O:t.t.'
'1::' ... n ,. ., "
oUO OV't'E ClE!. rrcx.po: 7tOCVTct.
.. rrIX.v-r,btcx.at.v oihw <pcx.LVETClt.."
.. 'to EV eXpo: Cl';1:'O U7tO -rijc; ouaLo:c; 1tOt.t.OC 1:'E xcx.t
!i1tE:t.pCX 1:'0 1tt.-ijD6c; Ea1:'t.v."
.. cpCX[VE.1:'Cl!. ...
.. ou p.6vov eXpoc 1:'0 QV BV 1tot.t.OC ea1:'LV, O:t.t.cX xcxt tlU1:'O 1:'0 BV U1tO 1:'OU
1tot.t.rx o:vciYK'l dvru."
.. 1tClv-rOCrra.a!. OUv."
.. Ka.t. !J.-ftv 01:'L yE Ot.OU 1:'0: !J.OpLct !J.OpLtl.. 1tE1tEpoca/J-EVOV cX.v e:L"f) Xct"CO:
"Co OAOV "Co tv' ou 7tEPt.EXE'tCl!' U1tO 'tOU OAOU 't'o:. p.Op!.o:; ..
.. civciYX1)."
.. o:AAO: f.L-ftv 1:'0 ye: 1tEptEXOV 1tEpctC; a.v e:LY]."
.. 1tw:; 0' OV; .,
.. 1'0 EV a.pcx QV EV TE a1:'[ 7tOU xoct rrOAAtl. Ked 01.0V XClt /-LOp!.cx. xat
7te7tep",al-'ivov X"" otm:cpov
.. cpcx.[VE-rctt."
Text and Translation: 144c-145a
"I suppose, rather, if indeed it is, ir must always, so long as it is, be one
thing, as it cannot be nothing."
- "1 must."
"So the one is present alongside [Le., compresent with] each and every
part of being, and is absent neither from a smaller nor from a larger d
part, nor from any other."
- "So it is."
"Then, being one, is it, as a whole, in many places at the same time?
Consider this carefully."
- "I am doing rhis, and I realize that this is impossible."
''Then, if indeed not as 'a whole', it is as 'divided into parts'. For how
else will it be present alongside all the parts of being at the same rime,
if it is not divided?"
- "Yes."
"Then what is divided must necessarily be just as many as its parts."
-"It must."
"But then we were not speaking the trurh just now when we said thar
being has been allocated into mOSt multitudinous parts. For it has e
nor been allocated into more than [what is] one, but, as it seems, into
equally many as the one."
"For being is not absent from [whatever is] oneness, nor oneness from
being, but by being two [together]' they are always equal throughout
all things."
- "It appears entirely so."
"Thus, the one itself, cut up by being, is many and unlimited in
- "Apparently."
"So nor only is the 'one being' many, but the one irself is necessarily
many, having been apportioned by being."
- "Absolutely."
"Furthermore, inasmuch as parts are parts of a whole, the one would
be limited by the whole. Or are not the parts contained by the whole?" 145
- "'By necessity."
"But that which contains would be a limit."
- l'Of course."
"Therefore, the 'one being' is somehow both one and many, both whole
and parts, both limited and unlimited in multitude."
- "Apparently."
Plato's Parmenides
.. ." , , " " l! ..
IXp DUV OUX. 1tEt1tep 1t1tepo:ol'.'JOY. XCXt EO'Xo:."t'CX >:.xov;
.. ocvciy)o'j."
" -d. 8'; Et. OAOV, OU xoci cipx.1jv ocv ex-cl.. xo:i XO:L t'EAEU"Cl]V; 0[6v 'rE
Tt. 0/..0'1 e:tv!Xt. 't'PtOOY TOtrt'wv: xliv 'tOU
ev O't'LOUV Ctut'wv oc1toCJ't'a:r-(l.
ilteA1)cre, h, OAQV dv",,; ..
.. aUK i.f)Ef..-f)crE/.. ...
" Kat r1.px-f)'J oi). wt; eOt.XEV. xo:.t X():t !J.EO'OV txot. ocv 'to tv."
.. EXOt ."
" a.AAcX 'to ye: !J.Ecrov 'twv ecrxa:r:wv ci1tEXt. ou yelp OC'J
P.EO'QV d"fj."
" ou yeip."
.. xext O'X-f)(J.Cl"COC; 31j 't'LVO;. 00:; Em.XE. 't'OWlrrov QV !J.E't"tXOL IX\! "to e.'I,
eultEo, ii cr"<POYYUAOU -J) nvo.; !'-,x"<oil ci;!'-cpo'i:v."
.. !J.E't'EXOL yap &"'.1."
.,,, ' " .. " , ,. .. - " .. ","\ "
.. l'\p cuv ou't'<OC; exov CUX (lUTO 't'E ev ECXU't'<:l e(J''t'CXI. XCXL E.V CXAAI{!:
.. (J.e:pwv 7tOU exo:O'-roY ev OAC9 ea-rL Ked ix't'oc; 'rou oAou."
.. 1tocv'roc 8e: TO: /-I.ep"f) U1tO TOU OAOU 1tEPLXETIl.L; "
" vocL"
" xex.t Tcl: ye 1tclVTOC TO: eluToD TO V EcrTL, XOCL OUTE TL 1tAEOV
OU'rE EAoc'rTOV 1tcl:VTOC."
.. OU YO:p,"
.. ouxouv xex.t TO OAOV "rO EV O''t'LV; "
.. 1tw:; S' ou; ..
.. e:L apex. 1tclVTOC "reI (J.ep1) EV "rUYXO:VEL QV"roc, EO''tL 8 Ta. "rE 1ta:VTIX 'rO
EV XOCL OCUTa "ra OAOV, 1tEPLEXE"'COCt Se uno 't'oO oAOU TO: 1tcl:V"r(l, U1tO "roO
'''' , .. rI '" ... .., ( '" to
EVO:; ex.V 1te:PLEXOLTO "to EV. XOCL OUTW:; (J.V "tJOl) TO EV (J.UTO E'J ELl) .
.. f!XLVE-rCl.L: '
.. oct.)..&: '['0 ye oAov ocu OUX EV TOt::; j.lEPEcrtv crTt'J, OUTE EV 1ttXIJ'l.V
"'.1 ".. _ ., "! , '" ..
OU'rE E:V 'rLVL. EL ya:p EV 1toccrtV, a:vex.YX1J XOCL EV EVl." EV 'rLVL yocp eVL /-1.1) 0'11
aUK iv &TL ?tau OUVCl.LTO '11 ye OC1tocO'tV dVc(L' Et oe "tOU'tO I-LEV 't'O EV 't'WV
li1tO:v't'wv tlT't'L, "rO OE OAOV EV I-L-1t E'rl. EV yE 'tOLC; 7tCiO'LV
VEO''t(lL IU; ..
81 't'ou Schleiermacher: 't'ou BT.
82 EV!. corr. Yen. 189: E:VL B: evt T.
83 i:VEG-rCXt. Par. 1836:!:v G't'cxt. BT.
Text and Translation: 14Sa-d
"So. since indeed it is limited, does it not also have extremities?"
- "Necessarily,"
"What about this: if it is a whole, would it not also have a beginning.
a middle, and an end? Or can something be a whole without these
three? And if anyone of them is absent from something, would it still
be willing to be whole?"
- "It would not."
"So the one, it seems, would have a beginning, an end, and a middle." b
- "It would."
"But the middle is equidistant from the extremities; otherwise, it would
not be 'middle."
- "[t would not."
"Being of such a sort, the one, it seems. would partake of some shape,
either straight. or round, or some combination of both."
- "Yes. i[ would."
"Since it is so. will it not be both in itself and in another?"
"Each of the parts is somehow in the whole, and none is outside the
"J " - ust so .
''Are all the parts contained by the whole?" c
"And indeed the one is all of its partS, and neither more nor less than alL"
- "Certainly."
"Is not the one also the whole?"
- "Of course."
"So if all the parrs happen to be in the whole, and the one is both all
the parrs as well as the whole itself. and all are contained by the whole,
then the one would be contained by the one; and in this way the one
itself would now be in itself."
- "Apparently."
"But again the whole would not be in its parts, neither in all nor in some d
one [part]. For if it were in all, it would by necessity also be in one [of
these]. because if it were not in some one [part]. it could no longer be
somehow in all. And if that one [part] is one among all. and the whole
is not in it, how will the whole still be present in all?"
13 8 Plato's Parmenides
" oull<XfLtO.;"
.. ouSt 1).:.)\1 ev '{taL -rWV (iEpWv. et yap EV 'CLaL 'Co 01.0'1 er'I), 'to 1tAEOV exv
EV EACX-t'TOVL ELy!. 0 EcrTl'l &:8u'JIX"C'O'l."
" ciOUVCl-rOV yiip."
" QV 0' EV 7tAEOCJLV E:V evl fL"lJO' iv !i7t<x(n TO', fLEpEQ"t TO oAOV
oux ocvOrYX"IJ ev Ttvl El",," fL"lJo"'fLoG h, Etv",,; "
.. IiVOCYKfj."
.. OUKOU\I !J."ljooctL0u !-lEv QV OVOEV 17;\1 Et'f). OAO'l oE ov. aux EV (xln0
EO''t'LV, ocvocyx,1j EV cXAAc:.> dV(l!"; "
.. TClivu YE."
.. -n fJ-EV ocpo: 'to EV OAO'l, EV oc)')"':l EO'-r[V' iJ OE: -rCl TtcX.V't'Cl !J.EPll 0\1,(,0:
't'uYXcXVEt., (Xtrt'C) E'J XCXL ou't'w 't'o EV tivciYiCI) <xu"t'o -re EV Eocu't'0
eLVClL xo:t \1
.. civci:.yx.'r)."
.. OiJTW 1tECPUY..Ot.; "to EV eXp CUx. civci:.yY..l) xo:i x.Lveia8a.L xat
. ITn; "
.. !-Liv 7tOU, EL7tep a.u"Co EV etl.u"Cc!> EO'''C[..V. EV YO:p EVL QV xo:t EX
"COlJ"COU !-L-i) EV "Cc!> o:u"Ciil av dlj. EV
.. EO'''CL yctp."
.. 't'o Si ev 't'ii> ctu"C0 cid QV EO''t'OC; civctYXlJ ad dVOCL."
.. 7tctVU ye."
.. 't'[ Si; "Co ev E't'ep:l <id QV ou 't'O EVC1.V't'[OV civciYl<:1J fL"lJOE7tO"C' EV 't'0
etWl.L. 8e: QV ev 't'0 CllJ"t'0 !-L"tjok EO''t'livoct, !.L-IJ EO''t'OC; 8k
XtVEL0'3oct; ..
.. ciVa.YKlj apoc 't'o EV, cx.u't'o 't'e: EV eocu't'ii> cid QV Kat ev a.ei
xLveLcrDcx[ 't' xoct E:crTa.VClL,"
.. CP!XLVE't'CXL."
Text and Translation: 145d-146a
- "There is no way,"
"Nor will ir be in some of the parts: because if rhe whole were in some
[parts], the more would be in the less, which is impossible.""
- "Yes, impossible."
"But if the whole is not in more rhan one, nor in one, nor in all the
parts, must it not either be in something different or be no longer
anywhere at all?" e
_ "It must,"
"So, ifit were nowhere, it would be norhing, but since it is whole, and
not in itself. it must be in another, musrn'r ir?"
- "By all means."
"So insofar as the one is a whole, it is in another, but insofar as it
consists of all the parrs, it is in itself. And rhus the one must be both
in itself and in another."
- "Ir must."
"Given that this is irs nature, must nor rhe one be both in motion and
at rest?"
"It is somewhere at rest, if indeed it is in itself. For if it is in one thing 146
and does not move from it, it would be in the same thing, namely, in
"That which is always in the same thing must surely always be at rest
- "Certainly."
"Whar about this? What is always in something different must con-
versely never be in the same; and if it is never in the same, it must also
nOt be ar reS(i and if it is not at rest, is it not in motion?"
- "So it is,"
"Therefore the one, since it irseifis always in irseif. as well as in some-
rhing different, is necessarily always both in motion and at rest."
- ''Apparently.''
84 Corn ford (Plato and ParmmidfJ, 148-150) sees here a link ro Zeno's argu-
ment against place (Simplicius, Ph)!, 562, l) and Gorgias' alleged imitarion
of that argument (see Aristotle, MXG 979b, 22). See also 150e-151a.
Plato's Parmenides
.. KOCL 't'ClUt'OV yE OEt Elvoct ClU'tO xai E"C'EPOV eocu't'oO, XOCL
'rote; wcroclrrwc; 't'ocu-cov 't'E xo:i. E'tEpOV dvoct., EL1tEp xai "toc
. "
,.. .7: .... ". ... .. ... "
.. miv "OU "POC; Cl"ClV woe exeL .. "tCl,,"tOV E""tLV 1) E"tepov eCl'J
"C'ClUt'OV !J:f)O' fLEpOC; EX1} 't'out'ou rrpoc; 8 oih'w:; tXEt. . wc;
npoc; f1.EpOC; Ol-OV av "'"1]."
clp' QUV 't'o E'.I cxtrro OClrrou !-LEpa:; EO'-rtV; ..
.. o':'Socf1.Wc;."
.. oua' ocpo: 00:; rcpo:; (.LEpa::; Iltrro oc{r'C'ou OAO\l :Xv d'IJ' rrpo:; ECXUTO (.LEpOr; Ov."
" OU y&:p orov -rE."
....... ' l' .. " t'"''
.. 0:1\1\. apex E'tEpOV EaT['V E'JCC; "to EV;
" QU a-t)'t'oc."
.. ouo' ocpa: EOCU't'OO yE E't'EPOV OCV eL"1J."
. QU Il-EV-rOt."
c.i. auv !J.1j't'E E't'EpOV OAOV tJ.1j't'E P.EpOC; o:.U"(O 'Tt?o:; O::U1'O tan'), aux
tivciYY..1) l}O1) 't'll.tJ"rov e:Ivoct. O:UTO ..
.. civci:YX:Ij,"
.. Tt QE; 'to E-repwlh. 0') OClJ't'O EOCUTOU ev aux civo:yx1J
EOCUTOU ETEpOV e1va:t.. e:t1te:p Xa:L E't'EP(a)St. E:CfTrxt.; ..
" "f1.0LYE SaKEt."
., ", <oi ," ., ". I ..
.. ou't'w [J.1JV e:.;prxV1] EXOV TO EV, OCU't'O 't'e: 'J e:.rxUTI{) OV OC!-la: xrxt. V ETEpl{).
.. EcpO:V'IJ yocp."
.. ETe:pOV ciprx. Eot.xEv. ELl'} -roctrrr, exv EauToG TO E'J."
.' -r[ OOv; Et 'tau Tt. fio; ETe:pOV ECf'tt.V, OUX E:-rEPOU O'J'to.; E'tE:pOV ea'toc[.;
.. civocYX1J."
.. OuxoGv OCfa: EV :CfT[,V, &7trxvS' t't'e:.poc 'tOU Xa:L 'to e'J TCN
!-l-fj EV;
.. 7tw.; 8' au; ..
.. ETe:pOV ciprx a'J e:t1} 'to E'J 'twv eXAAWV."
.. ETe:pOV."
8S L 'tou 'tt. G: t:t 'tOU 'tt BT.
Text and Translation: 146a-d
"Furthermore, if indeed it has suffered the aforesaid [qualifications] it
must be the same as itself and different from itself, and, likewise, the b
same as the others and different from the others."
- "Haw so?"
"Everything is somehow related to everything in this manner: either
it is the same or different; or, if it is neither the same nor different, it
would be related as part is to whole, or as whole is to part."
- "Apparently."
"So is the one itself part of itself?"
- "In no way."
"Then neither would it be a whole itself in relation to a part of itself;
if it were, it would be a parr in relation ro itself."
- "No, this is impossible."
"But then is the one different from one?"
- "Certainly not." c
"Then it could not be different from itself."
- "Of course not."
"So ifit is neither different not whole nor part in relation to itself, mUSt
it then not be the same as itself?"
- "By necessity."
"What aboUl the following? Must not what is in a different place from
itself, and also in the same place, namely in itself, be differcm from
itself, ifit is to be in a different place?"
- "[t seems so to me."
"So the one was shown to be such as (his, since i( is, at the same time,
both in itself and in another?"
- "Yes. this was shown."
"In this way the one, as it seems, would be different from itself."
- "So it seems." cl
"Well then, if something is different from something else, will it nOt
be different from what is different from it?"
- "Necessarily."
"Then are not the things that are 'not-one' all different from the one,
and the onc different from the things 'not-one?"
- "Of course."
"So the one would be different from the others."
142 Plato's Parmenides
" opa: (lUTO 'rE TOClrt'o'J XIl:L 'to E't'EPOV ocp' DUX E:.vc(VTL!1. ..
.. 1tW; Ou; ..
.. ouv 't'ocu't'OV EV 'to E"C'Epav \1 "C'(Xu't'c{) nOTE dvo:l.: ..
" OU1< WEA"ijcrEC."
.. EL aPe( 'to E't'E:pOV EV 'tc(lrt'0 (J.'1jDEn:O't'E e:cr't'(Xt., Quokv e:cr't'L QV'twv V
41 eO"d.v '\0 E"CEpOV XfJovov oUOEva. d yci:p ov'nvou'l Et'l) ',1 eXELvov
av -r:av Xpovov E:V "t'CXUT41 d1) 1:0 E"t'EpOV. DUX ..
.. ou't'wt;;:'
" 0' OOOE1tO't'E E'I -re{} CJ't'LV. QUOi7tQ't'E EV T['V!. "rWV QY'tWV exv
Er'l] 'n) 't'EP0'J."
" &A1)lHj."
" '" - ", " -. \' 'tl6'" '.1 ..
.. OUT cxpa. EV (.L1J EV OU't'E e:v 't'!l e:vt. EVE[."1j OCV t"o e:'tepov.
.. ou yocp oD'J."
" oux ocprx 't4l E'tep':l y' ocv er." 't'e tv 'tC-'N EV ouoe 't'oc E'J 'toD
.. ou yelp."
"ouoe fL"ijv E"'U"tO', ye hep' ocv et1) &'AA"ijAOlV, fL"ij fLe"t"xov"t'" "toO h"pou."
.. 7tW; yelp; ..
" El oe fL"fJ't'E &'t'e:po: eO''tt. ou 7telv't'{j &;v
.,peuyo, "t" fLTJ ""tEP'" ELV"', &AA"ijAOlV: "
" EXCPEUyOt.."
" &noc fLTJv ouoe "toO <.vo, yE fLE"t"XE' "tOC fLTJ <'J" ou yocp ocv fLTJ EV
O:AA!i 1tn !Xv E'J
.. ouo' av e: "I) OCpo:. 'toc EV' ouSe: ya.p av OU'tw f.L-f) EV
7to:.v't(btocm,v, O:pt.&(.LOV ye: ixov't'oc."
" ou yeip OUv."
" 'tL Se; 't'OC fL-f) EV 't'oO a:pa. p.6pt.oc EO''tt.V; xriv olhw !J.e:'te:IXe -coO
EVer; 'tei p.7J V: ..
.. fLE-ceIXe:v."
Text and Translation: 146d-147a
"Consider this: are not 'the same' itself and 'the different' opposires
of each or her?"
- "Of course."
"Then will 'the same' ever be willing to be in 'the different', or 'the
different ' in 'rhe same'?"
- "1 will not."
"So if'the different' is never to be in 'the same'. rhen 'the different' is
in none of the 'things that are' at any rime, for if it were in anything e
for any time whatsoever, then for that rime 'the different' would be in
the same. Isn't ir so?"
- "It is so,"
"Bur since it is never in 'the same', ' the different' would never be in
anyone among the 'things that are ...
"So 'the different' would neirher be in the things 'not-one'. nor in the
" one .
- "No. it would not."
"Thus, judged against 'rhe different', the one would neither be different
from the things 'not-one, nor would the things 'not-one' be diFferent
from the one."
"Nor would they be different from each other by rhemselves, if they '47
do not partake of 'what is different'."
- "Obviously not."
"But if they are nor different by themselves. nor by ' what is different',
wouldn't they then completely avoid being different from each other?"
- "They would."
"But neirher do the rhings 'not-one' partake of the one, for then rhey
be 'not-one', but in some way one."
- True.
"So neither could the things 'not-one' be a number, for if they had a
number they would thus not at all be 'not-one'."
- "Certainly not."
"What about this: are the things 'not-one' parts of the one? Or would
they partake of the one in this way?"
- "They would."
Plato's Parmenides
.. El. eXpct 1ttXV'tf) TO f.L&V \1 :<JTL. TeX. OE iv. OUT' iv f.LOptOV fJ.-r, BV
'to E'J dot) OU'tE aAD'J f.L0pLW\I!l7 OU't'E IXU LeX e'l 'tOU EVOr; !-LOPLCl:, OUTE
QAct 00:; EvL"
" DU yeip."
.. liAAa. fl-ljv "<P"'flEV Ta. fl-ljTE flOPL'" fLf;TE OA'" fLf;TE hEP'" T(1,ha.
Eqla.!J.EV yeip."
.. cpWf.LEV OCpa. XOCI. 'r0 \1 1tpO.; TO:. \1 Qu"nu; EXav 'Co (Xu't'o dVOCL ctU't'OLr;: ..
" cpw/-L!tv."
.. TO V O:p(.(, O{.XEV, 't'EPOV 'rE 't'wv &'J..AW\I EO"'dv XIX!. ECXUTOG XIX!.
't'ClU't'OV ExdvOLr; -rE XCXI. Eo:.U't'<il."
.. XLVOUVe:UEL c.pOCL'JEOSo:.L EX ye -roD ).,6you."
"1\p' 00\1 X(l.L oiJ.ot,ov -rE: XOCI. civofJ.oWV 'rE xo:L TOlC;; cXAAOLC;: "
.. LCHa)';."
.. yaDv (TEPO') TWV eX)..AWV icptiv'r;. XCXL TtX)..A6; 1'[OU e:'t'EP' a.v EXElVOU
.. 't'L ..
.. ouxoOv OUTW'; E't'EpOV -rwv OCAAwV. Wa1tEp Ked. TelA/,et exdvou. xC(I. olhe:
OUTe: "
.. d "'{eXp !Xv: ..
.. Et fl-ljTE fl&AAOV fl-ljTE 0flo[w . "
.. vocL"
ouxoOv fI E'tepov tlvoc!. 1tE1tO'J&tV 't'w'J <XAAWV xoct 'tiXAAOC exELvou
6Jaocu't'w;. 't'Clurn Tcxlt'rov a.'J 1tt1tovDo'tcx e:lE'J -r:o Tt EV xcxt
"t'OCAAlX -r:4i E:vL"
.. ..
"WOE' EXrJ:O'-r:OV 't'wv OVO/J-oc-r:wv oux e1t[ 't'!.V!. ..
. Eywye."
.. Tt OVV; 'to ocu't'O QVO!-'-CX e:t1tO!.t; !lV iCAEovlixtt; 1j
.. Eywye."
87 !'-0p[OlV corr. Yen. 189: !'-op[ou BT.
Text and Translation: 147b-d
"So if it is" one in every way, and they are 'nOt-One in every way, the
one would be neither a part of the things 'not-one', nor a whole with
them as parts; conversely, the things 'not-onc would neither be parts
of the one, nor whales of which the one would be a part."
"Bur we said that things that are neither parts nor wholes nor different
from each other will be the same as each other."
- "Yes. we said that."
"So are wc to say that the one, related in this way to the things 'not-
one', is the same as they are?"
"L ' "
- ets say so.
"Consequently, the one, as it seems, is both different from the others
and from itself, and the same as the others and as itself'
- "It appears this way from this account."
"Then it is also both like and unlike itself and the others?"
"P h " - er aps.
"At any rate, since it was shown to be different from the others, the
others would somehow also be different from it."
- "Certainly."
"So is it different from the others in the same way as the others are
different from it, and neither more nor less?"
- "Of course."
"So if neither more nor less, then in a similar way?"
"Then insofar as it has been so affected as to be different from the
others, and they, similarly, to be different from it, the one would be
affected in the same way as the others, and they in the same way as it." d
- "What do you mean?"
"The following: don't you apply each of the names [you use) to some-
thing in particular?"
-"} do."
"Would you use the same name more than once or [just} once?"
- "I would."
88 'Exis[s': There is an ambiguity here as co whether the sense is predicative or
Plato's Parmenides
, .",
.. 1t(),!:EPOV ouv i:i<v l'Ev &1tI1; hOLVO ou"op oern
-rouvo!J.CX. E:tX\I oE 7tOAAOCY-L;. aux :XELVO; eOC'J't'E EOCV"Ct 1tOAAO:Y..!.C;
't"O:'I1;OV OVOl'O: cpIMy;n. (bocyx"I) ero 't"O:lhov xo:l AiYOLV rio[; "
.. -rL t!-f)v: ..
" ouxouv x.oct 'to E't'EpOV O\lO/-LeX EO't'lV E1tt 'reNt.; ..
.. TtcX.vu ye,"
" O't'IXV ocpoc OCU't'O cpSiyyn. O:V"CE EcX.V't'E itOA)..OCY..t.C;. DUY.. E1t '
ouSE iiAAo n EXOLVO ou"op 1,v 0'l01''''.''
. civciyx"tj."
.. 0't""''1 Si] Aiywl'ov on hopov l'!:v 't"ocAA'" 't"ou hopov SE 't"o ev
't"wv iiAAwv. Sle; 't"o hopov eL"oV't"oe; ouSEv n l'iiAAov ,,' iiAAn. riAA' i:,,'
i:xdvn 't"iJ cpueroL ",u't"o riel AiyOl'ov. ljv 't"OU'lo[-lCX."
, \ 't"
.. 1t(x:vu iJ.EV QU".
" \ ., ,';"1. '\ , , ." 0'90
.. &.poc E't'EpOV "CWV OCA)..(iN "to E'J XOC!. 'rOCfl./l.OC TOU e:voc;. x.CX'C" rI.,U-;O "t' A
't:pov 7tE1tovSivClL oUY. a.A)..O, OCAAO: 'to (lU"CO OC'J 1tE1tOVSOC; '['0 EV "COLC;
oc)..) ..at.C;' 'to Si 1tQU 't'ClU't'OV 1tE1tOV'&OC; O(J.OLOV OUX
: ..
" vocL."
.. n Si] TO E'.I &'t'EPOV 't'WV OCAACJlV 1t:1tOVSEV dVClt.. Ka."C' CXtJ'tO 't'ou'to oc1ta:v
.1 ..."" ,t , .". \"
OC7to:.cn.v 01-10LOV OCV ELl}' a:7tClV ycxp OC1tOCV'CWV E't'EpOV EO'"t!'II.
" eO!.XEV."
, , ,,, - , "H' '"
" 1\1.1.0: l'1JV 't"0 yo Ol'OLOV 't"' O:'JOl'O'' o'l",vnov.
" vocL"
.... " " 6' 6 IJ' "
" OUXOUV xa.1. "to E"tEpOV -
.. XOCL "tolrt"o."
.. (1:).,}.2I:. I-'--f)V Xa.L "tou"to y t icpocV"fj. WC; cXpa. "to ev "tOtC; cX}.)..ot.c; "tocu"tO\l,"
.. ECPOCV"f) yocp."
.. tOU\lCX\l'["tOV Si yE EO'"tL "to d\lO:c. '["o:u't"OV 'tOt; cX}.).o(.c; E'tEpO\l
eLV"'L 't"wv iiAAwv."
.. itOC\lU YE,"
.. yE E"tEPOV, 01-'-0C.O\l e:<pocv"fj,"
.. vaL"
89 f,J -/j B: T:., vulg.
90 )(.17;r' IXU't'O 't'o Thomson: y.oc't'O:. 't'ClV't'O BT.
91 't'<{l B: 't'wv OCVO/-Lo[w'J T.
92 in marg. T: BT.
Text and Translation; 147d-148b
"Then if you use it once, would you be speaking of the thing of which
it is the name, but if you use it many times, would you not be speaking
of it? Or rather, isn't it necessary, fcganJl css of wherher you use the
same name once Of many times, to always speak of the same thing?"
- "To be sure."
"Then isn't 'the different' a name for something in particular?"
- "Certainly."
"So when you pronounce it, whether once or many times, you do not
apply ir to some other thing, nor name something other than that thing
of wh ich it is rhe name."
- "Necessarily."
"When we say 'the others are different from the one' and 'rhe one is
different from the others', though we say 'different' twice, we do nor
apply it instead to some orher nature, bur always to that nature whose
.. "
name Lt LS.
- "Of course."
"So, insofar as the one is different from the others, and the others
from the one, with regard to being so affected as to be different, the
one would be affected in such a way as to be "at other than the others
but the same as them. And that which is affected in the same way is
presumably alike, is ir not?"
"So insofar as the one is so affected as to be different from the others.
in that respect ir would be entirely like them all. because it is entirely
different from them all."
- "So it seems."
"Yet, on the other hand. 'the like' is opposite to 'the unlike."
"So also 'the different' to 'the same."
- "That also."
"But this too was shown: that the one is the same as the others."
- "Yes, it was."
"But being the same as the others is the opposite qualification to being
different from rhe others."
- "Certainly."
"Insofar as the one is different, it was shown to be like."
- "Yes."
Plato's Parmenides
.. fl ocpo: 't'ocur:ov, riVO(.LO(.QV CJ't'oc!. )(oc't'oc 't'ouvocv-rt..ov miSo:; 0V-0(.QUV'tl,
w(J.oLou oE 7tOU 'to 't'EpOV; "
I <J , ., ... ,. ,,, 'rf:. ..
.. CXV0(J.olwae:L IXpOC "rO "'C'IXU"t'O'J, 1) DUX e:VOC'J'tLQV E:O"t'OCt. EL' ... p,:),
.. e:ot.xe:'J,"
.. 0(.10(,0\.1 a.poc XOCL ciVO!-,-OLOV eO''t'ocL 'to E'V Tot; cXAAOLC;. fJ (.Le\! 't'e:pav.
O!-LOLOV, -n OE 't'ocu'tO',1, riv6(J.Otov."
.. tXEt yocp OUV 01). WC;; EOLXe:V, xcxi 't'Otou-rQV t..oyov."
.. xo:t ya.p 'to\loe: EXEL."
.. "('L\la:; ..
.. n TIXUTOV 1te:1tovlk, fLlJ clAAoi:ov 1tE1tOVSiVIXL, fLlJ clAAOLO') 3, 1tE1tovSOC;
\l, !.Lit IiV0!-lOLO'J oE oflO!.oV e:LVoct: on O OC)."AO 7tE7tOVSEV, d;)..)..otov,
ci)..)..OLOV oE ov ciVO(J.OLO'V e:LVClL."
.. Aiy"c;."
.. 'tClU't'OV LE cipo: QV 'to EV -rOLe; cXA)..ot.C; x.oc!. o'n E't'EPOV eO'''C't., XCl't"
O:tJ.cpO"t'EPOC xo:.t xocS' E:Xti'tEpOV. ojJ.0(.6v 't'E a.v EL1j x.oi OC\lO(J.OLOV 't'oi::;
.. 1tcivu ye,"
.. ouxoOv XIX!. E:ocu't'tTl waClU't'w::;;. trr.d.rrEp E't'EpO\l "t'e: EiXU'tOU XiXt 'tctu'tov
ecpavYJ. Y..ct't" titJ.cpO"CEpct y.cxt Xct't'oc e:Y..a't'Epov 0l-l0tov 't'E y.a..t
civ6(LOLOV cpctV-fjO'E'tiXt.; "
.. tivci:YX"tJ,"
.. Tt SE S-;'; 1te:pt 'toO ihc'tE:OSilt. 'to EV il\J"t'OG XOCL 't'wv OCAAWV xilt 'tOU
OC1t't'Ea3-ocL 1tipt. EXe:L, O'X01tEL,"
.. axo1tw,"
.. ctu'to yo:p 1tOU EV e(xu'ti;l OA'!l 'to EV icpav1) oV,"
.. OUXOU'J Xilt EV 'to e'J; ..
.. va..L"
Text and Translation: 148b-d
"So insofar as it is the same, it will be unlike, according to the opposite
qualification to the qualification that makes it like. So somehow 'the
different' made it like?"
_ "Yes,"
"So 'the same' will make it unlike; orherwise, it will not be opposite
to 'the differenr'."
- "So it seems," c
"Consequently, the one will be like and unlike the others-insofar as
it is different, [it isJ like, and insofar as it is the same, unlike."
- "Yes, it does indeed seem to admit of this sort of account."
"And also of this one."
- "Which one?"
"Insofar as it has been so affected as to be 'the same', it has been affected
so as to be 'not of anorher kind'; and if it has been affected as being
'not of anorher kind', it is 'not unlike'; and if'nor unlike', it is 'like'. But
insofar as it has been so affected as to be 'other', it has been affected so
as to be 'of anorher kind'; and ifit is of 'another kind', it is 'unlike'."
- "You speak the truth."
"Thus, since the one is the same as the others, and [alsoJ different,
in both ways and in either way, it would be both like and unlike the
- "Of course." d
"And it will be so, in exactly the same way, in regard to itself: since it
was shown to be both different from itself and the same as itself, in
both ways and in either [way], won't it be shown [Q be both like and
unlike itself?"
- "Necessarily,"
"And what about this? Consider the question whether the one is in
contact and not in contacr with itself and with the others."
- "Very well."
"For the one was shown to be somehow in irself as a whole."
- "That's right."
"Isn't the one also in the others?"
- "Yes,"
Plato's Parmenides
!-lE" ocpoc :V aAAot..:;. 'rWV OCAAWV cX7t't'ot:ro ocv' fJ OE: octJ-r6 EV
'tOO\! fJ-e:v ri.).) .. wv cbrdpyoL't'O OC7t't'EO'.flOCt., !XLI''CO oe o:trroG OC1tTOt:t'O a.v EV
E:!Xu"t'4> QV."
.. cpOCLVE,,-OC!. ...
.. ou'nll !J.EV OC1tTot:ro a'J 'to EV octrroG 't"E XO:L 'tW'J OCAACiJV."
.. !l1t't'OL't'O,"
.. Tloe T"ij1lE; <xp' ou ltiiv TO fLEAAOV &<jJEal)",l TL'IO, OEL y.ELal)""
00 P.E).Ae:L tl.1tTEa&o:t.. 't'OCU'L"I)v T-r;V EOpOCV xa:rl:.xov av IJ-E't"
Exd\l"fJv '1193 ft'4 &.\1 XEl]'t'IXt., X7t't'E'tOCt; ..
.. y'",C TO ev &p'" EL fLEAAEt "'UTO "'UTOU &<jJEal)"", OEL EUl}U, fLEl)'
,.. , , ,..,.. 9<;'" , ,.. "
EIXU't'O XEtcrf}OCt., 't"fJV e:xo!J.E\rIJV X.WpOC'J xa:rEXOV EV Yl o:.U't'O eo't'l.v.
.. od yao auv."
. , ..
.. ouy-oOv ouo flE:V QV 'Co ev 1tot.1jae:!.Ev OCV 't'ClCrro: XO:L EV OUOLV x,wpoct.'1 OC!L
yiVOL't'O' e:w:; 0' ocv -n EV. OUX ..
. ' .. ""
, oU Y"'P OUV.
.. TJ "'UTl] a.p", oc'J<iyy.1J T0 evc ouo .Iv"" fLTJTE &ltTEal)"" ""J"
.. ClU-r1)."
.. ocAA' ouoe fLl]v ThlV !J.AA(ilV &<jJET""."
-rL "
.. o"n, CPOC(.LEV, TO fLEAAO'J ov SEt e:tVOCf. 00
fLEAAEt &<jJEal)"", Tphov oe: "'UThlV EV fLEal{' fL1Joev ELV"',."
.. OCA1Jl}1j."
.. 8uo OCplX Sd TO o")..[Yf.O"-r:ov dVIXf., ,d !J.EAAEf. cit.Vf.t; dvlXf.."
.. Se:t."
.. Oev oe: -rocv ouOtV opo,v TPCTOV ec*. "'UTOe fLev Tpl'"
EO''t'IXf., ocL SE Suo."
.. "Ja..L"
93 -n gSP'" BT: 'Spo: om. Bekker: gSpo:v Heindorf.
94 B:7] T.
95 ev T: om. B.
Text and Translation: 148d-149b
"Then insofar as it is in rhe orhers, ir would be in comacr wirh rhe
others, but insofar as it is in itself, ir would be prevemed from being
in comact wirh the others, and, being in itself, would be in comact
with itself."
- "Apparemly."
"Thus the one would be in comact with itself and with rhe others."
- "It would."
"What abour this: must nor everything that is to comact something
lie adjacem to that which it is to contact, occupying the place that lies
next to what it contacts?"
- "Necessarily."
"And so the one, if it is to contact itself, must lie directly adjacent to
itself, occupying the place contiguous to rhat in which ir itself is."
- "Yes, it muse.))
"Now, if the one were twO ir would do that and it would come to be in
two places simultaneously, bur as long as it is one, it will not?"
- "It will not."
"So by the same necessity the one can neither be tWO nor be in comact
with itself."
"v. b h " - es, y t e same .
"But neither will it be in comact with the others."
"Because, as we said, what is to contact [something] must, while being
separate, be next to what it is to comact, and there muSt be no third
thing between them."
"So rhere must be at least two things if there is to be contact."
- "There muse."
"But if to the two terms a third is added in succession, they will be
three, yet their [poims of] contact will be two."
Plato's Parmenides
" 1<'" 0\)'<'" aY) ocd EVOC; 7tpoerYLyvofLivou iJ-'Cl XCl' &<jILC; 7tpocry[yve'tClL.
XCl' '<<i<; &<jIw; 'tou 7tA-i]l}OU:; 'to'" ocPLl}iJ-W" iAOt't'tOUC;
elvoct. yocp Ta: TCPWTOC 8uo E:1tAEOVEX't'"1JO'E -CWV e:l.:; "to 1tAdw
eLvoct. "Co..., cipc.-9!-,-o'J 't'OCC;; LO'if> 'CQu't't:> xoc!. 6 E1tEt:COC cipI.S/J-0:;
mic; 7tClerWV 'twv &<jIe:",v 7tAe:OVe:X'te:l. y<ip 'to Aomov &iJ-Cl EV 'te: 'to
ocPLl}fL0 7tpoery'yve:'tClL XCl' fL'Cl &<jILC; 'tClLC; &<jIe:crLV."
" opl}w<;."
.. 00'0:. eXpex EO"'dv 't'oc QV't'Cl 'tov ocPt.Sflov, tiEL OCL cXtEL:; EAcX't''tOU'; Eta!.v
- H
" OCA1)l}-ij."
" et ai ye: EV fLoVOV I;er't[, ou<ic; 0" fL-f( ecr'tLv. &<jIL:; oox ,xv
.. yeip; ..
oUY..ouv. cpa.fLEV. 'to: cXJ...ArJ. 'toO EVO:; OU"t'E EV eO"t[.v out': (J.E't'EXEL ClU't'OU,
e:L1tEP eXAAoc ECJ"d:v."
.. ou yeip."
.. , "l! 'J6' (\ " ",\ i ," <) 7 '
DUX ocpa. c.veCI't'I.'J cx.pf.17!J.OC; E'I 'rOLe; OCI\I\Ot..:;, EVO':; !1-1') EVOV't'O:; EV
, ..
.. 7t(;)::; ycx.p; "
.. OU"C" apoc e:v io"C'L 'to: clAAOC OU1:'E Suo OtJ-re: OCA),.OU ciptS!J.oU r:x.0v'toc ovop.cx
" ....
ou .
.. 't'o ev cipo: !J.OVOV EO"dv EV. xoct oucXC; aux a.') e:LlJ"
.. &<jILC; lipCl OUX ;:er'tL aUOLV iJ-Y) OV'tOLV."
" aux to''tLV.''
.. olh' ocpoc 'to &\1 'tW\I OCAAW\I &7t't'tOCl OU't 'toc 'toO E\lOC;. E1te[1tp
".1. '" "
OC'ft.e; QUX eO",[,l\l.
.. OU ya.p OU\I."
.. OU't(J) X(x:tOC mX\I'tcx 'to &'1 r;wv 'tE OC)..AWV XO:L E(]'U'tOU ,bt't'E't'CXL
'tE xcxt otrx. !%1t'tE1'OCt. ...
" " "
"}\.p' aov XCXL La-OV EO'1't xo:t (Xu1'{!l 1'E Y..o:t 1'oie; "
"nwe;; ,.
96 VEaTLV b: '.1 EO''t'LV BT.
97 hov't"o::; b: EV Qv't'or; B: ov't"o::; T.
Text and Translation: 149b-d
"Thus always when one is added, one [point of) contact is added as
well, and it follows that the [poi nts of) contact are always fewer by
one than the multitude of the units. For every succeeding number of
terms exceeds the number of contactS by just as much as the first two
terms exceeded the number of contacts. So thereafter, at the same time
both a one is to the number and one [point of) contact is added
to [he contacts.
- "That's right."
"So however many the things are in number, the contacts are always
fewer than they are by one."
"But if there is only one, and not two, there would be no contacl."
- "How could there be?"
"So let uS say that the things other than one neither are one nor do
they partake of it, if indeed they are other."
- "No, indeed."
"So number is not contained in the others, since onc is not in then1.'''JR
- "Of course not."
"So the others are neither one nor two, nor do they have the name of
any other number."
"So the one alone is one, and it would not be a pair."
- "Apparently not."
"So there is no [point of) concact, since there is no duality."
- "There is no[."
"Therefore, the one is not in contact with the others, nor the others
with the one, since in fact there is no contact."
- "No, certainly not."
"So according to all of this, the one is both in contact and not in con-
tact, both with the others and with itself."
- "So it seems."
"Is it then both equal and unequal to itself and to the others?"
- "Haw so?"
98 Again. the lesson m(stin instead of was chosen.
Plato's Parmenides
.. El eLl} TO EV Yj TcXAACX EAa:rt'o'J. i} <XU 1')..)..(1 TaU \10;
iAtiTTW. ocpex OUX eXv E:V elvcx(. TO '1 Kat TO: "AAa a.AAa. TOG evil;
Qu-rE: Tt. othe: Tt eAoc't'TW <Xv d1') aUTcxt.; yE TOC1.J-rIXt.:; "['(tLt;
ci).): e:i'. !LE\! 1tpOC; -rijl 't'Otcxu't'cx dvcx{. exo:-rEpa LOO't"1JTCl eXOlEv,
cm>: .xv eC1] 1CPO, I1.AA1]Ao(" et oE ," fLEV fL"YEltO,. ,0" oE afL
p6'1]'0:, l)
xo:t fLiYEltO<; fLEV ,0 itv, afLLxp6'1]'0: oi: ,ocA)'o:. 61CO,"P'l' fLEV nil dOEL
fL"YEltO<; 1CpoaEt1]. av d1], <i> oE EAO:"O'I; "
.. chniyxYJ."
.. OU)(oOV Ecrrov yi
't't.VE TOUTW e:t01J, -r:6 'rE f.LiYESOC; xoct O'!J-t.X.pOT1JC;;
, \" \ " , , '''1 ,\,''\ " \' - -;
OU ycxp fJ.V 1tOU !J.1J OVTE ye evocv't'LW -rE o:.AAIjAOLV tLt'1jV Y..CX,L tV t'Ot,; OUOW
.. 7tW; ya.p ..
.. EV t'i;l ,,,t O'!J.LXpO"C'IjC;; Eyyl.yVE"C'cx'L, \1 OAtfI eX.'J Yj E\I !J.EpEL
cx.u"C'ou E\ltL"I)."
.. civO:yxl}."
.. 't'L S' Et V en+'(vol.'t'o; DuXt El; ioou clV -re:> evt OL' OAOU octrcou
-rETtX!J.EV1J :t'1j Yj 7tEpttXOUOtX o:u't'o; ..
" o'ijAov o'ij."
. tip' ouv OUX to'ou !J.E:\I ouao: a!J.LxpOT7]C;; Ti;l Evt ta1J ClV e:t1J,
1CEpLixovao: OE "
.. 1tWC;; 8' OU; "
" OVVO:,OV OUV afLLXp6'1]'0: '0"1)'1 ''l' elVO:L nv6<;. xo:t 1Cp,i"t"tELV
yE ," fLEy.:ltov<; "tE xo:t ta6'"1J'0<;, cin" fL-fJ ," EO:V-r'ij<;; "
.. ciouvtX't"ov."
.. EV tJ.E:\I cipo: 'ti;l EVi. DUX a;v tl-Ij O'!J.LXpO-rIjt:; , ci)..,)'" e:t1tEp. EV (.LEPEL."
.. vocL"
.. ouoi
yE EV 7tavt'L O:U t'i;l !J.EpEL e:L Oe: (.L-ft. "C'ocu'tcX 7tOL-f]O'f:L !l7tEP 7tpO;
'to 8)..ov to1') (Jt'OCI.-ry l!dt:wv 'tOU (J.EpOUt:; v ocv ciEL (Vn."
.. )\'1O:Y)CI}."
OUSEVL 7tO'tE cipo: E\lE(J'tO:L "C'WV QVt'WV (.L-f]t" \1 ll-epEL
0'1 OA'l' iYYLyvofJ.iV1] OUO" n l'a,O:L afLLxpov 1CA-fJV o:urij<; afLLxp6'"1J'O<;."
99 -ro Par. 1810: BT.
100 yi al.: -ri BT.
IOl ou8i G. Hermann: oun: B: oun T.
Text and Translation: 14ge-150b
"If rhe one were larger or smaller than the mhers, or rhe orhers in rum
larger or smaller rhan the one, then surely rhe one by being one, and
rhe orhers by being other rhan rhe one, would be neirher larger nor
smaller than each orher, by virtue of their own being? Bur if bot h of
rhem, in addition to their being of rhis SOrt, [alsoJ possessed equality,
they would be equal to each other. And, if the orhers had largeness and
rhe one had smallness, or, if rhe orhers had smallness and the one had
largeness, whichever Form had largeness added to ir would be larger,
and whIchever had smallness added re ir would be smaller?"
"N '1 " - ecessan y.
"So rhen there are rhese rwo Forms, largeness and smallness? For if
somehow they were nor rwo, they would not be opposire to each other,
and would nor come to be in the 'rhings thar are'."
- "No. How could rhey?"
"So, if smallness comes to be in the one, ir would be either in the whole
of ir or in part of it."
- Necessarily,"
"Whar if ir were to come to be in the whole' Would ir not be in rhe
one either by being extended equally rhroughour the whole of it, or
by comaining ir?"
- "Clearly."
"And if smallness were present equally rhroughout the one, wouldn't
ir be equal to it, but if it contained rhe one, be larger?"
- "Of course."
"So can smallness be equal to something or larger rh an something,
and perform the tasks that belong to largeness and equality, but not
[the tasks] that belong to itselF'
- "Impossible."
"So smallness could nor be in rhe one as a whole, bur if indeed it is in
the one, ir would be in a part of it."
_ uYes."
"But, again, nor in all that part. Otherwise, it will do the same [tasks}
as ir did in regard to the whole: in each case it will be equal to or larger
than the part it is."
"N '1 " - ecessan y.
"Therefore. smallness will never be in any of the things that are, nei-
ther coming to be in a part nor in a whole. Nor will anything be small
except smallness itself."
- "Apparently not."
Plato's Parmenides
.. ovS' apa EVeCJ1:ac EV aV1:<i>' yocp av n aAAo
xcx.t ctll''COU Il-Eyi30u:;. iX.Eivo EV i;) 'Co tJ.iyd}o:; \lId:r,. XCXt "CoclrrCl
O'f.UY..pou DUX ihrro:;. OQ aVO:YKfJ V1tEpiXe:I.V. O:\lTtEP 'n flEYO:' 'tou'to
SE "s,;va1:ov, btECS'ij O'flc"PO"l<; ovSO:floU evc."
.. "AAOC lJ-'iJv O:V1:0 lJ-eYESo<; ovx iJ.AAou f; "U1:'ijI;
ouoE O'flcxp0"l<; aAAou eAo:nov "v'rou
.. ou yO:p."
.. oun ap" 1:OC aAA" 1:0U Evo<; ouSE EAcXnw, lJ-ey'So;
eXDv'toc, OU't'E cxu-rw 't'OLI"t'W 1tpo:; 'Co t'J eXE:r:ov aU"OCf.LLV
1:0U lJ1tepexECV ""et lJ1tepexeO'So:c. "AM 1tpo<; OU1:, /XU 1:0
EV 'rOU1:o", ouSE 1:WV iJ.AAwv ;Xv ouS' ;:Ao:no', eh;, lJ-eyeSo<;
O'fl,xpo'r'Y)1:" exov."
.. ouxouv C(JIlLvE't'OCL YE,"
.. ap' 00'11. Et jIr,'t'E eAcn"rov 'to EV "Cwv cX).AW\I, avocyx'fJ OCll'tO
iXEL"ON lJ1tEP"XECV ll1tepiXEO'Sac; .
.. tiVO:YX"f),"
.. ouxoOv 1:0 yE l)1tep"xo', U1tEpEXOflEVOV 1tOAA'ij
tcrov d'JCXL. ; (O'ou oe QV rao'l e1Vcx.L."
yil:p ou; ..
.. xocL y"CXL ocu't"o ye 't'o v 7tpo:; Ea.U't'O ov-rWt; tiv EXOL' f.L-trtE f.l.E:ye:&o:;
E\I O'!J.Lx.po"nrrcx e.xov ou-r' OCV U1tEpiXOL'to ou"C' liv U1tEP
ECX1J'tOO. ci/.,/.,' tao1J QV raO'J ocv Et"f)
1tcX'oIU /-Ltv ouv."
'to EV a.poc E:ocu-rti> -rE XCXl 'to'i:C; OCA/.,OI..C; roov ocv e:t1')."
.. CPOCtVE'tOCt.."
.. XOCL tJ.-1JV cxu-ro yE '01 ECXU't'ti> QV XOCl 1tEpl Ecx.U'tO &.'.1 Et"f) Xa.l
Tte:PLtXO'J !lEV a.v ECXU'tOU e:t'1l. oe: Acx:r-rov, Xa.L o(hw
.. d1J yap ocv."
.. ouxoOv Xa.L 'tooe: tivO:YX"I]. p:']OE:V dVOCL 'toO evot;. 'tE XOCl 'tWV
aAAwv; ..
.. 7tWC; yc1.p OU; "
Text and Translation: 150c-151a
"So largeness will not be in it either. For ifit were. there would be some
other thing [besides largeness itself]. namely, that in which largeness
is-and this without smallness being present in it too [i.e., in the
one], which largeness must exceed if indeed il is to be large. But this
is impossible. since smallness is not present in anything."
"But largeness itself is not larger than anything other than smallness
itself, nor is smallness smaller than anything other than largeness itself."
- "No, they are not."
"So the others are neither larger nor smaller than the one. since they
have neither largeness nor smallness. Nor do these two themselves [i.e .
largeness and smallness] have the capacity of either exceeding or being
exceeded in relation to the one. but [only] in relation to each other.
Nor, again. could the one be larger or smaller than the others. since ir
has neither largeness nor smallness."
- "No, evidently not."
"So if the one is neither larger nor smaller Ihan the others. it musr
neither exceed them nor be exceeded by them?"
- "Necessarily."
"Now. what neither exceeds nor is exceeded mUSt by necessity be even
and since it is even throughout. it is equaL"
- "Certainly."
''And the one would also be so in relation to itself: having neither large-
ness nor smallness in itself, it would neither exceed irself, nor be exceeded
by itself, but being equal throughout. it would be equal to itself."
- "Absolutely."
"Therefore the one would be equal to irself and to the others."
"'A I " - pparent y.
"However. the one. being in itself, would also be around itself on the
outside; and containing itself. it would be larger rhan ilself; yet being
comained. it would be smaller; and Ihus it would be both larger and
smaller that itself."
- "Yes. it would be."
"And isn't this also necessary: that there be nothing outside the one
and the orhers?"
- "No doubt."
Plato's Parmenides
.. &.)..)\0: /J.y,v Y.a.l dva.[ nou DEi 'to yE: 0'.1 cite"
.. v!XL"
, , " .., .y" "i. ",..... "'"\. ...
ouxouv 'to ye: 'J 0'1 EV e;O"tl1.!. e;1\(7."rTOV 0'.1; QU yo:p r.I.'J al\l\w:;
"au yp."
" 3. ou3.v hEpav ean XWP" -rwv OCAAWV xoc, -rou Ev6" 3Ei 3.
, , " '? '" 'i. "'l,'"\' "t , ""\"\.' -
a.u't"cx tv e:t.va.t., aux. a:vocyx."IJ '1/0"'1 EV ELV!Xt.. 't'OC 'rE (X1\fl.1X ev 't':l
EVL X.CXL TO EV E'J "COtC; !l;lJaOC!-LOG dvocr.: ..
.. cpCX[VETOCt.."
" O't"L IJ.:v &.po: 'to EV i:v TOtC; a.)..AOU; VEO"tL, av e:t1J 't'0:. OCAAa. 'roG
Eve:;, 1tEpt.ixov-ra. tX.u-ro, 'to SE \I eAOC't"t'ov 'twv 1tEpt.e:X.6!J.EVOV' O'tl.
8e:: TO: OC)..Ao:. ev E:V[, "('0 E'J T:WV &J,ACiJV XIX"t'O:. TO'J atJ"C'ov )..6yo'J
ocv eX.". "to: 8E a.AAa. "t'OU EVO:; E).!l:'t't'W."
.. EOLlU:V,"
.. "Co \1 cipa. rCJO" "t'e; xoct (.LE'LSOV XCXL J ...(J.'t'r:rYJ EU't!.V CXlfro 't'E cxtrr:ou X.CXL
TW\I cl)..)..6)\I,"
.. CPO:[VE:'t'cx:t."
.. xoc, EtrrEp xoc, eAOC"""OV xoc, taov, rawv il.v d1l fLi-rpwv xoc,
rrAEL6vwv xoc, eAoc"",,6vwv oc,,-reil xoc, -rai, OCAAOL" 3. fLi-rpwv, xoc,
.. 7tW; 8' eu: "
.. taw" /-tE:V ocpoc P.E"C'pWV 0\1 Xrl.t1tAELOV(i)" }telL iA(x"C''t'ovwv, xcxl
EACl"C''t'OV a" xcx,t 7tAEOV e:L1) Cllrco -rE octrt'ou xcxL -ri;)v XClL Lao" octrr4)
't'E XlXt clAAOLt; x.cx't'oc 't'ocu-rcX."
.. 1tW;; t
.. W\l1tEP ia"C'[., TCAELOVWV 7tOU XOCL fLE"t'PW\I &\1 Et)) Omi)\I SE
(J.E't'PW\I, xat !-le:p(;}v' XOCl EACX-CTOV, OOaoclrct.X;' )tocL olc; Lac'J. xa:nx, 't'ClU't'cl,"
" ou't'w;."
.. oUKauv el1u't'ou xoi EAOC't'''COV 0'1 xai. rao') Law" cb et7J !J.E't'PW'l
xoci. 1tAELOVt)V XOCL E1tEL8-l] Se f.LE"CpWV, xoct !lpWV; "
Text and Translation: lSla-d
"Bur surely what is must always be somewhere."IO'
- Yes."
"Then won't that which is in something be in something larger [than
itself], since it is smaller? Otherwise, one thing could not be in another
- "No. ir could not,"
"Since there is nothing else apart from the others and the one, and
since rhey must be in something, muSt they nor forthwith be in each
other-the others in the one and the one in the others-or else be
nowhere at all?"
- "Apparently."
"So because the one is in the others, the others would be larger than
the one, since they contain it, and the one would be smaller than the
others, since it is contained. But because the others are in the one, by
the same account the one would be larger than the others, whereas the
others [would bel smaller than the one."
- "So it seems."
"Therefore the one is equal to, and larger and smaller than, both itself
and the others."
- "Evidently."
"And if in fact it is larger and smaller and equal, it would be of equal,
and more, and fewer measures than itself and the others, and since of
measures, also of parts."
- "Of course."
"So since it is of equal and more and fewer measures, it would also be
fewer and more in number than itself and the others, and, in the same
respect, equal to itself and to the others."
-"Haw so?"
"It would somehow have more measures than the things it is larger
than-having as many measures as parts-and in like manner, less
than those it is smaller than, and in the same respect, equal to those
it is equal with."
"J " - ust so.
"Then, since it is larger and smaller than and equal to itself, would it
not be of equal and more and fewer measures than itself? And since
of measures, also of parts?"
102 This claim and the one in the next line! are assumed by Cornford to be
restatemems of Gorgias' arguments in Aristotle, MXG 979b22 (Plato and
Parmmides, 148-149).
Plato's Parmenides
.. 8' au; "
.. tcr(l>V tJ.:v QV a.{rc41 raov cXv 're. e:t"fj. 1tAe:LOVWV
OE rrAe:ov. E:."'Aa:r-rovCiJV OE: EAO:"C''tOV 'tov ocpd)p.ov CXlrroO,"
.. <pa.LVE't':1L ...
.. ouxoDv xa:t npoc; 't"&)..AOC waa.u-rw:; TO ev; o'n lJ.:v !XtJ't'wv
cpoctVE't'IXI., civocyx,1) 1t)..e:O'1 elva.!. X.o:l 'tov cipL.f}(.LOV IXtrroov' o"n. Se:
"C'O!::; ciA)..OL:;: ..
.. civocyxYj."
.. ou-rw cx.U, w:; Eot,KE. 1:'0 E'I xo:i. raav xo:i. rrt..e:o\l xo:i. eA(x"C't'ov 'rOV
OCPI.DtJ.0Y o:u"t'O 'rE ocu"t'oO EO'''t'o:t. xoct. 't'WV ci)..)..wv:'
.. EO''t'OCL.''
.. l\p' QV\! xcx.i. Xpovou !J.E't'EXEt. 'to EV. Ked. Cl''ri. 'LE XelL yLYVE"C'!XL
VEW-rEPOV 'rE xa.t octrro Te: e:o:.u't"OU xa.i. 't'wv a.)..AWV. xoci.
otrt"e: VE<d't'EpOV Dun: 1tpe:a(3u'tEpoV OUTE. EClU't'Oi) QV'tE 'twv xpovou
(J't'EXO'l; ..
.. 1tw:;; ..
.. e:lvcu. tJ.EV reDU U7tOCpx.e:t, e:LltEP EV EaT!.V."
.. '/rx.L"
" "to oe tLVC1l. &')..,)..,0 d Ea"tLv /J.E"tOC XF6vou "toO TCIXPOV"tO;,
Wa7tEp TO T)V [.LET"- TOU 7tO:PEA"I)Aui}6TO<; XO:C o:w TO EaTo:t [.LET"- TOU
'...... ", \ ' ..
/J.EII.AOV"tOt; oucn.lX; eO'"tt. XQLV(r)\lt.rx.;
.. eO'"tt.
, '" , " \ '1' "
.. [.LETEXEt [.LEV o:po: XPOVOU, EL7tEp xo:t TOU ELVo:t.
.. 1tcX\lU YE."
,. ouxoOv 7tOpEUOf1EVOU "tou Xpovou; "
.. vrx.L"
.. ci.d lipo: Y'YVETo:t EO:UTOU, d7IEp 7tPOEPXETo:t XO:T"-
.. clvO;yy.1] ,"
.. ci.p' OUV [.LE[.Lv-IJ[.LESo: OTt "EWTEPOU ytYVO[.LEVOU TO
yLyVE"tIXt.; "
.. [.LE[.LV-IJ[.LESo:."
Text and Translation: 151d-152a
- "Of course."
"So being of parts equal to itself, il would be equal to itself in multitude,
and ifit consists of more parts, it would be more than itselfin number,
and if of fewer. it would be less?"
- "Apparently."
"Now, will nor the one also relate similarly to the others? Because if
it appears larger than they, must it nOI also be more than they are in
number; and because it appears smaller, fewer; and because it appears
equal in largeness, then also equal to Ihe others in quantity?"
- "Necessarily."
"And so once again, as it seems, the one will be equal, and more, and e
fewer, in number than itself and the others."
- "tr will."
"So does the one also partake of time? Is it, and does it come to be,
both younger and older than itself and than the others, and neither
younger nor older than either itself or Ihe others, if it partakes of time?"
"H d ,,,
- ow 0 you mean.
"If indeed the one is, then 'to be' belongs to it in some way."
"Bur is 'the to be' anything else but the partaking of being together
with 'time present', just as 'the was' is communion with being together 152
wirh 'rime past'. and, again. 'rhe will be' is communion wirh being
togerher with crime to come'?"
- "Yes, ir is."
"So ir partakes of rime, ifin fact ir also partakes of being."
- "Certainly."
"Of lime moving forward?"
"So it always comes to be older rh an irself. if indeed ir moves forward
in accordance with rime,"
- "Necessarily,"
"Now, we recall rhar the older comes CO be older rhan that which comes
to be younger?"
-"We do."
Plato's Parmenides
" ouxoO" 1tpea(3{1'rEpOV ea.uTou yf.YVETCU. 'to \1, vEoo't'epou eXv
YLyvOiJlvou eotu'tou y'YVOL'tO; "
" !XvciyxT)."
.. yLyVE'ttxl. 0-,) ve6)'repov "rE XOCL cxu't'oO ou'nu;."
" oan /lE iXp' OUX ,,,otV "ot't'" 'tov VUV XPOVOV YLyvOfJ.EVO'J
TOV 'roO 't'E xoct eO''t'OCL: OU y6:p 1tOU 1tOpEUOtJ.EVOV ye ex TOO
1to't'E: de; TO E1tE(;'COC ..tTX(' TO vOv."
.. ap' 00'01 OUX E:.1ttaXEI.. 'to"t'E -roO ytYVEcraOCL 7tPEO'(3U'tEPOV, E:1tEl.OcX.V
rrpoi:ov yCip OUY.. a.v 1tO-rE )':ljcp.sE:L-1j U1tO 'roG 'JU\I. "t'"O yap itpO'Cov
EXEL O:(J.CPO'rEpWV ecpOC1t'rEO'.sOCL, 'tOU 'rE \lUV Y..oct 'tOU E1tE!.'tCl, 'tOU !J.E:V
'JUV a:.cpLEfJ.evOv, "CoG S' E1tEL"t'"OC E1tLAOC!J.f3OCV0fJ.EVO\l. cif.L'PO"C'Epw'J
YLyv0f.1EVOV, '(ou -rE ettEt.'(OC XOCl "t'"oG VUV,'
" Et Si yE fJ.T, rrotpE),l}dv 'to vuv rrii.v 'to YLYVOfJ.EVOV, ErrE'S",v
KCX'tQ: 'tou'to n. e1tLO'XEL OCEt "CoO ytYVEO'SOCL xoct EO''tL 'ron: 'toO't'O 0 "CL iiv
'tuX71 ,(LYVOfJ.EVOV."
.. xoct 't'O tV ocpoc, o'tOCV YLYVO!J.EVOV EV'tUx;n vOv. i1tEO'XEV
'tou Y'YVEal}otL "ott oern 'to'tE
..' 'f It
otnwuv Oll7tEP eyLYVE'tO "C'Qu't'OU xoct EO''T:f.,'J' iyLyVE't'O Sk
ct.U'tou; ..
. vcx.L."
.. oa'tL SE 'to vEW'tipou "
.. EO'TLV,"
.. xac.. vew't'Epov apo:. 't'ern: au't'ou EO'''Ct. "Co iv. o'tocv 1tPEO'(1U't'EPOV
YLYV0fJ.EVO'J EV'tUXn 'to vuv."
.. OCVOCYK"t}."
.. 'to yE VUV cid 1tOCPEO''tL EVl OLQ: 1tocv't'oc; 't'ou EIVOC[: EIJ''t'f. yocp cid
.. 1tWC; y&:p OU: ..
.. ae:t ocpoc EO'''t't "t'E XOCl yLYVE'tOCf. EOCU'tOU xoct VEW'n:pov -ro
.. 7tAeLw Se: XPOVOV o:.U"t'O EOCU"t'OU EIJ'''t'f.V yLyVE't'OCL. 'tOV taov; ..
Text and Translation: lS2b-e
"Then, since the one comes to be older than itself, wouldn't it come to b
be older than the self that comes to be younger?"
- "Necessarily."
"Thus it comes to be both younger and older than itself"
"But it is older, is it not, whenever in coming to be it is in the present
time, between 'the was' and 'the will be'? For as it advances from 'the
before' to 'the afterwards', it will certainly not skip over 'the now'."
- "No, it will not."
"Then does not it cease to come to be older when it comes upon 'the c
now', and then no longer comes to be older, but already is older? For
if it were moving ahead, it could never be seized by 'the now'. For
what moves ahead is in such a state as to COntact both 'the now' and
'the afterwards', letting go of 'the now' and grasping 'the afterwards',
while coming to be between the rwo, 'the afterwards' and 'the now'."
- "True."
"But, if everything that comes to be cannot circumvent 'the now',
whenever something reaches this point, it always ceases coming to be d
whatever it may come to be, and then it is this."
- "Apparently."
'J\nd so, too, with the one: whenever while coming to be older ir comes
upon 'the now', it ceases coming to be older, and then it is older."
- "Of course."
"And therefore it is older than what it was coming to be older than-
and wasn't it coming to be older rhan itself?"
"And the older is older than a younger?"
"So the one is then also younger than itself, whenever in its coming to
be older it comes upon 'the now'."
- "Necessarily."
"But 'the now' always accompanies the one throughout its existence, e
for the one always is now, whenever it is."
- "Of course,"
"Therefore the one always is and comes to be both older and younger
than itself"
- "So it seems."
"Is it or does it come to be, for a longer time than itself, or for an equal
Plato's Parmenides
.. 'CO'l tcrov."
.. a:A.AOC IJ.-i}v ;;:6\1 ye: toO') Xp6vov ytYVO!-Le:vov 1) QV CltJ't'1}V T,AtY.,tOC'J
.. 1tW; 8' ou; ..
.. 'Co SE rijv ':X.o" OUTe: OU'tE VEWTEPOV Ecr'ttV."
QU yO:p."
.. 'to ev eXPel 'rf.JV raov Xp6vov octrco E:ocu'tc!> Y.CXL ytYV6!J.EVOV xoci QV ou'n:
veC:Yt'EpoV QU't'E EOCU't'OU EO''t"t:V QUOe:
.. au !-LOt OOY..EL."
".d. Si; T:WV eXAAwv; ..
.. aux exw )..iYEf..V."
. -roSe: ye: eXEt.; 'AEyEt'I, iht. 'tOC OCAf..':J. TOU E'/Q;. e;tite:p 'tEPO: C1't'tV.
tl)'AOC E't'e:pav, 1tAdw Eo"rtv ETEPOV !J.EV yocp QV EV &''1 'f;'J" E'CEPOC
SE ov't'oc 7tAetW evoc; ECrtl. ){oi 1tAi)3o:; OCV Exo!.."
" eXat yocp clV."
,. 1tA"ijl)o<; /le QV cip,l)!-'oO 1tAdovo<; tiv !-'e:-rixo, 'r, "toO h6<;."
.. rtw:; 8' ou; "
-rt ollv: ciptl)!-'oO 'i'T)CJo!-'e:v "tIX 1tAd", yiYVECJl)a.i "tE xa.l ye:yoviva.t
1tPO"tEPO", "tIX <Aoc"",,,,; ..
.. TO: iAO:'t't'W."
.. LO oALyl.CJ't'ov cipcx 7tpw-r:ov' -rOUTO 8' EO'TL TO E'I. reil'; "
.. vocL"
1to:v-rwv OCPCl 'to ev itpw'tov yEyOVE -rwv ocpt.8!J.ov iXQv'twv. EXtt. SE:: xoct
""'1"'1 ' , (1 I " ")) \ ' "i"'l ' '"
'tCXAJ\OC rrIX'nIX CXpt.\7!J.0V. Et.1tep Cl , .0: XIXL f.L"tj CXAAO EC1'tLV.
.. EXEL yelp,"
.. 1tp';'"tov I)i YE. YEYOV;'; 1tPO"tEP0'J yiyOVE. "tIX /le a.AAa. UCJ"tEPO',.
'tll S' UC1't'EpOV yEyOVO't'IX 'JEW't'EPa. -roO 1tpo-repov XlXt
tXV EL1) -rocAAa. VE"'"tEPa. "toO &vo;, "t6 /le ;:V "t';'v "-AA"",."
.. Et"fJ I'llI' ocv."
.. T[ OE:: -roae; ap' IXV El"fJ -ro ev 1tIXP&: CPUO'LV -rT)v IXU't'OU
a.auvIX-rov: ..
.. aauvlX-rov."
" cXAAIX !-,T)'J !-,ip1) yE eXOV "t6 CV. Et I)e xa.l l<.a.l
"tEAEU"tT)v xa.l !-'iCJov."
.. vocL"
103 ou3E: Heindorf: ou't& B.
Text and Translation: lS2e-1S3c
- "An equal time."
"But what comes to be, or is, for an equal [amount of] time is of the
same age,"
- "Of course,"
"And that which is of the same age is neither older nor younger."
- "No."
"So since the one comes to be and is for a time equal to itself, it neither
is nor comes to be younger or older than itself."
- "I don't think so."
"Well, then, what about the others?"
- "I cannot say."
"Bur surely you can say this: those other than the one, if indeed they 153
are different rhings and not il differenr rhing, are more than one. For
if they were a different thing, they would be one, bur being different
things they are more than one and have multitude."
- "Yes, they would."
"And, being a multitude, they would partake of a greater number than
of the one."
- l'Of course."
"And when it comes to number, what shall we say comes to be and has
come [Q be earlier: 'the nlore' or 'the less'?"
- "'The less'."
"So the least [Le., the fewest] comes first, and this is the one, isn't it?"
"So among all the things that have number, the onc has come to be b
first. And all the others, too, have number, if indeed they are others
and not an other."
- "Yes, they have."
"But what has come to be first, has 1 think, come ro be earlier, and
the others later; and those that have come to be larer are younger than
whar has come to be earlier. And so the others would be younger than
the one, and the one older than the others."
- "Yes, they would."
''And what about this? Would the one have come to be contrary to its
own nature, or is that impossible?"
- "I mpossible." c
"But the one was shown to have parrs, and if parts, then also a begin-
ning, and an end, and a middle."
Plato's Parmenides
" ouxouv mx.v'rwv 1tpw"Cov yLYVE"C'OCL. xo:L \Xu-rou 't'ou xoci.
-r;;(}N OCAACiN, x.cx.t !LE'toc -r1)v 't'OCAAOC 7toc'V't'oc !J.EXPt. -roG
.. -rt iJ.-fJv; ..
" xa:, [L-I]v [LOP'" yE -ra:il-r' Elva:, 7tllV-ra: -raAAa: -roil OAOU -rE
xo:t ClU't'O OE eXEtVQ &'1-'-0: 'r-n 't'EAEU-r"fj yEYOVEVrlt. e'J "LE XO:(, o).,OV."
" rp1]crO[LEV yIlp."
.. "t'EAEU't'ij SE ye:, OL!J.OCl.. uO''t'a:rov ytYVE't'oct: 't'oLrr':l S' &!J.oc "Co EV
1tEcpUXe: yLyvEaao:C: wO'-r' EL1tEP livocYX:1J o:tyt'o "(0 ev [.Lij 1tOCpOC cpuaLv
Y'YVEcrlta:" OC[La: -rE),EU-rfj ih YEYOV!X; vcr-ra:-rQV itv -rON OCAAIiN 7tErpUXO,
" CPOCt'VE-rC):t.."
.. VEW-rEPOV apoc 't'WV OCAAWV TO V EO''t'L, 't'oc S' rJ..)..).rJ. -roO E:VOC;
,. QU"C'WC; OCD (1.0t CPrltVE't'OCL."
" -re OE 01]; ocpx-l]v OCAAO [LOpO, onoilv -roil EVo, OCAAOU o-rouoilv, i:IlV7tEP
/-lEpOC; OCAAOC l.I.-f] fLEp"fJ, aux. civocyxoiov EV e:lVll.t, ye: QV; ..
.. ocvocyx"fJ."
.. ouxoov 'to EV &(.LOC -rE 7tpw't't:l ytY'JO(.LEV:l yLyvor:r' av xai oc!J.rl
OEU-rOP'1l, xa:, OUOEVO, OC7tOAEL7tE-ra:, -rii>v OCAAIiJV Y'YVQ[L0VIiJV, On7tEp
Civ 1tpoayLyv'Ij't"cu OCV 't'o eaxfJ.'t'ov Ot.EA&OV oAov EV
yEv"f}-caL. OU-CE (J.Eaou OU-CE itPW-COU OU-CE eaxO:.-cou OU-CE liAAOU
cbtoAELcpB-E::V EV -r?} yEvEaEL ...
7tcx.aLV lipa -rljv fJ.u-rljv 1)At.xLav LaXEL TO EV. waT' El. !.Llj
7tapoc cpucnv 1tECPUXEV aUTO -ro EV, OU-CE 1tpO-rEPOV OU-CE ua-rEpov -rWV
OCAAC:UV t7:V e:L"Ij. fJ.AA' OCf.LfJ.. xai xa-ro:' -rou-rOV -rOV AOYOV "Co EV
-rWV OCAAWV OU-rE OU-ce: VEW-CEPOV t7:V e:L"Ij. OUoe: "CciAAfJ. -roO
:Voc;;' xa'tO:. Se: 'tOV 7tpoal}Ev -rE xat VEW-CEPOV, XfJ.L 'taAAfJ.
exdvou waatl't'wc;;,"
" 7tO:.vu (J.E::V oov."
" Ea'tL (.LEv ou'tWC; EXov 'tE XfJ.t ye:yov6c;, cXAAO:. "CL ai) 7tEpL 'tou
Y'YVEcr&a:, a:u-ro -rE xa:, VEW-rEPOV -rii>v OCAAIiJ'J xa:, -raAAa:
-roil EVo" xa:, [L1]-rE VEW-rEPOV [L1]-rE Y'YVEcr&a:,; apa: wcr7tEP
7tEpt "Cou dV(J.L, ou-rw XfJ.L 7tEPL -rou yLYVEa-S(J.L EXEL, e:TEPWC;; "
" oux exw AEyELV."
Text and Translation: 153c-154a
'Then doesn't the beginning come first for all things-both for the one
itself and for each of the others-and after the beginning. everything
else as well until the end?"
- "Certainly."
"Furthermore, we shall say that all these others are parts of the whole
and of the one, and that this itself.-as one and whole-has come to
be concurrently with the end."
- "Yes. we shall."
"I take it that the end comes co be last. and oneness by nature comes
to be concurrently with it. So if indeed the one itself must not come
to be contrary to its own nature, in comi ng to be concurrently with
the end, it naturally comes to be last of all the others."
- "Apparently."
"Therefore, the one is younger than the others. and the others are
older than the one."
- "Again. so it appears to me."
"But then: must not a beginning. or any other part of the one what-
soever. or of anything else-if indeed it is a part, and not parts-be
necessarily one. given that it is a parr?"
- "Necessarily."
"So the one would come co be concurrently with the first that comes CO
be and concurrently with the second, and it is absent from none of the
others that come CO be-regardless of what is added CO what-until.
by reaching the last [point in the sequence], it comes CO be one whole
[thi ng], lacking in its coming-co-be neither of the middle. nor the last
nor the first, nor of any other."
"Therefore. the one is of the same age as all the others. And so. if the
one itself is not by nature contrary co its own nature. it would have
come CO be neither before nor after the others. bur at the same time.
By this account. the one would be neither older nor younger than the
others. nor the others [older or younger] than the one. Bur according
CO our previous [account]. it was older and younger [than the others]'
others [were older and younger] than it."
- Of course.
168 Plato's Parmenides
.. a.A/I: iyw ye, o't'[, El. xcxt EO'Tt.V e-t'EPOV e-rEpou,
ytyVE0"9IXt yE lX.hO in lj w, TO rrpWTov EUS", YEVOf1.EVOV
Ot.+,VEYXe: 't'n Y,ALXf.q:. OUX !Xv E't't OUVO:LTO. OUO' C(O 'to VE:WTe:pOV QV E'n,
'1EfinEpOV yLyVEcr-9\Xt: a.vt.crm.c; yocp rO'IX itPOOTL&i!-LEVO:, XpOVC{) 're: xat
"AA,:, oT,:,00v. LCY':' rrOLEL o'lXrpipELV ocd oO",:,rrEp iiv TO "PWTOV o'EviYX-fj."
.. 7tw:;; ya.p OU; ..
.. oux !ipC( TO ye QV 't'OOI04 yLY'Jo(.'t' a.v nOTE .. QUOE
VEWTEPOV, ELitEp tal{) (ikOCqJEpEL ad oc'A)'" eaTL xCli yiYOVE
TO se: Ve:W't'EPO'J. yt.yvr:r:OCL 0' QU,"
.. OCAl)Sij:'
.. xexi TO EV &.poc 0\1 'rwv &"AACiN QV't'WV QU't'E 7tO't'E QU't'E
VEw't'Epav yLy'V:r:a.L."
.. ou reip OU'J.
.. 0plX OE: et rfiOE XIX' VEWUPIX '(tYVETIX' ."
.. 1tn Si); ..
.. on 'to -rE EV 'ti:l'J &"AAWV E'POCV"f} 7tpEOfjUTEpOV xat 't'tXAAa TOU E.'/a:;; ,"
" ..d 00'.1; .,
.. o"C'O:V 't"o EV TOOV &"AAWV 'n. 7tAdw ;tOU Xpo'JOv YEY0'lr;V
.. 'loci."
.. mXA'v cyxorroc' E<Xv "AEOV' XIX' EAchTov, Xpov,:, rrpocyn9Wf1.EV
":()'J LCTOV Xpovov, OCPCl ":ii> tal{l!-,-opLI{l aWLaEL ":0 7tAEOV 'tau it
CTI-'-LXpo'tip,!>; "
.. CYfl'XPOTip,:,."
.. oelx "PIX icy"",. oTmEp TO rrpWTO'J rrpo.; TaAAIX OLlXrpipov TO
tv. "t'ou":o xo:t de;; ":0 E;tEL"t'o:. ci:).) ..?;:. LCTOV Xpovov "tOtc;;
AOC"t"C'OV ci:d rn -fJALXLq. aLOLaEL ocu,,:w'Y i} 7tPO"C'EPOV' 1) ou; "
,. va.t."
.. oelxouv TO yE eAIXTTov o'lXrpipov rrpo.; " lj rrp6-rEpoV VEW-repOV
ylyvOCT' cl.V lj EV T';> rrpo0"9E'J rrpo.; ExEivlX rrpo, '"
7tpo-repov; "
104 't"OU h a:; BT: sed. Schleiermacher,
Text and Translation: lS4a-e
"This is how it is and has come to be. But then again. what about its
coming to be botb older and younger. and neither younger nor older.
than rhe others. and the others than the one? Is the case with coming-
to-be just as it is with being. or is it different?"
"\ " - cannot say.
"But I can say at least this much: if one thing is older than another b
thing. it could nor come to be even older by an amount greater than
irs original difference in age; nor. again. could the younger come to
be still younger. For adding equals to unequals. wherher to time or to
anything else whatsoever. always makes them different by an amount
equal to that by which they originally differed."
- "Of course."
"So 'that which is' could never come to be older or younger than any c
other 'that which is'. if indeed they always differ in age by an equal
amount. Yet [one) is and has come to be oldet. and rhe other younger,
though they are not [in the process on coming to be so. So the one
as well, since it is, never comes to be eirher older or younger than the
others that arc."
- "No, it does not."
"But consider then wherher it comes to be older and younger in this
"I h ,,,
- nwatway.
"In the way that the one was shown to be older than the others and
the others than the one."
- "What of that?"
"Whenever the one is older than the others. it has somehow come to
be for a longer time than the others."
-"Yes." cl
"Then consider again: if we add an equal time to more and to less time,
will the more differ from the less by an equal or a smaller portion?"
- "A smaller one."
"So whatever the proportional difference in age there is originally
between the one and the others. this will not continue thereafter, but
by obtaining the equal [amount on time as the others, the difference
in age between them will constantly come to be less than before. Is
this not so?"
_ "Yes."
"So wouldn't that which differs from something in age less than it e
previously did come to be younger than it previously was, in relation
to those it was previously older than?"
- "Younger."
- -
Plato's Parmenides
.. VEW't'EPOV."
.. d SE exeivo VEW-rEPOV. QUY. exe:i:voc 0:.15 T& OCAAIX 1tpOC; 'to EV
" 1tcX',IU ye."
.. 'to !J.E:V vE6)'re:pO'IJ ocpoc YEYOVOr, YLYVE-rOCt 't'o 1tpon:pov
YEYOVOC; 'CE "'0:' Dv. e:an oi: OUSErcO'CE liAAOC
Y{:YVE::r:ar. ad EXELVOU EXEl\lO (J.E:V ya.p E1tt TO 'JEc:,.rEpov
emo'O",atV, 'Co 0' trc, 'Co 'Co S' 0:0 'CoO
VEW't'EpOU VEWTEPOV yLYVE-roct oocrOCUTW';. l,OV't'E ocu't'oiv de; 'ro 8wx,'rdov
'Co iVO:V'CLOV liAA1}AOtV YLyvEaSov, 'Co f.LE:v VEOJ'''EPOV 'CoO
'Co 01: VW'CEPOV 'CoO vEw-ripou' YEviaSo:, 01:
, ..." " '" , .. ", 'i. .... ' ';
OUX. ocv moo't"e: et't'1Jv. EL yo:.p YE"IOLV't"O, DUX. OCV E't't. YI.YVOl.v-ro, OCI\A Ef.EV
ih vOv SE y[yvov'Co:t f.LE:V liAA1}A"'V "'0:' Vw'CPO:' 'Co fJ.i:v EV
'CcdV OCAA"'V VW'CEPOV ylYVE'CO:', on OV "'0:, rcpO'CEpOV
, """ i ... , (.I. , ".. ,
ye:rovo.;. "(cx ae: OCI\.I\.OC 'tou EVO'; 7tpeCJ(-"u't'EpOC, O't'L UO''t'Epo:. YEYOVE. XIX-r1X OE
"(oV oclrrov ),,6"(0\1 xai -rOCAAOC QU't'C,U 1tpOC; 'to ev tcrxet. OClJ't'OU
"'0:, rcpO'CEPO: yyovor:o:."
" YG:p ODV ot.hwc;."
" ou",oOv 'iJ fJ.1:v ouo1:v ET:EpOV hEpOU YLYVEr:o:t ouoE
YW't'EPOV, XCl't'O: "'Co a.pt.3p .. a..M+,),wV !id ou't' "'Co '1
ytyvot.'t' cX.v OUSE VEWTf:POV. ou't 'ta.AAIX 'tou evoc;;' "11
01: lid o''''P.pw r:it rcpOr:EpO: r:cdV uar:ip"'v YEVOfJ.EVO:
)(0:' -roc uar:Epo: r:cdV rcPOr:EP"'V, r:o:u-r'n livciy",.., r:E "'0:,
r1.AAijAwv yiYVEO'Sa.l 'reX 'tE OCAAO: '('ou evo; XClL 'to EV 'twv ..
"1tcivu fLEV oUv."
" XCl"t'O:. Si) 7tO:V'tCl 'tClV"t'OC 'to '1 r1:u'to 'tE ocu'tou XClL 'l"WV
A' " " , 'tI A'
1tpeO'j-'U't'EpOV XO:L VEhl't'pOV san 'tE XCll YLYVTOCL, XO:L OUTe: 1tPEGt-'UTe:pOV
OUT: VEW'tEPOV oih' eO''rlv OUTE yiyVE'tOCL aiJ't'E ocu'tou OUTE TWV ocA)..wv,"
.. /iEV ouv,"
" SE xpovou fJ.Er:EX,L r:o EV "'0:, -r00 -rE "'0:' VW-rEPOV
yLyVEO'-SCXL. aI" aux a.vci:yX1) XClt 'toO 1tO't'E Y..ClL TaU ErrEt:rcx xa.t
'taG '10'1, e:t1tEP XPOVOU iJ.E't'EXEt.;
Text and Translation: lS4e-1SSd
"But if it Comes to be younger, do nor rhose others, in turn, [come to
be] older than before, in relarion to the one?"
- "Certainly."
"So the younger rhat came to be [later] comes to be older in relation
to what came to be earlier and is older, and it never is older, but it is
constantly coming to be older than that [i.e . the older]. For it [i.e.,
the older] advances toward the younger and the younger toward the
older. And again, in like manner the older comes to be younger than
the younger. Thus. by going in opposite directions, they come to be the
opposite of each other. the younger older than the older, and the older
younger than the younger. But they cannot [arrive] in their coming
to be. For if they arrived. they would no longer come to be, but would
[already] be in that way. But as it is, they are coming to be older and
younger than each other. The one comes to be younger than the oth-
ers. because it was shown to be older and to have come to be earlier
whereas the others come to be older than the one, because they
come to be later. And. by the same account. the others, too, are related
in this way to the one, since indeed, they were shown to be older than
the one and to have come to be earlier."
- "Yes, it appears this way."
insofar as nothing comes to be older or younger than any other
thmg-by of their always differing from one another by an equal
amount-neither would the one come re be older or younger than
the others, nor the others than the one. But, insofar as what comes to
be earlier must differ from what Comes to be later by an amount that
IS always dIfferent-and also the later from the earlier-then, in the
same way is ir not necessary that they come to be older and younger
than each other. the others than the one and the one than the others?"
- "Of course."
"Then according to all this. the one itself is and comes to be older and
younger than itself and the others. and it neither is nor comes to be
either older Or younger than itself or the others."
- ''Absolutely.''
''And since the one partakes of time and of coming to be older and
younger, must it not then also partake of ' the before', and 'the after'.
and of ' the now', if indeed it partakes of time?"
Plato's Parmenides
.. apoc TO BV XClL Bern Y.OCL eO''t'ocr. xoi iytYVE-rO Y.;cxi yLyve-rcxt. XOCL

.. d .,
.. xo:i. :L"1j 1J..\I Tt. }tal Exetvou, XClL xo:i. XCXL cr'Coct.."
.. mivu ye."
" XlXt Er-" (i'J lX,hou XlXt XlXt IXraS"lJaL<;. d1tEP XlXt vuv
1tEpt cxuTau mxv't'cx TOCU't'Cl rrpIi:T't'o!-,-EV,"
" "pSw<; A':YEL<;."
.. xoci. c)...0f.LCX XOCL AOYO;' eO'''C"LV X.a:L XClL ).iYE't'Cl[:
XCXL OO'OC7tEP xocl. 1tEpt '(eX. &AAIX T6lV TOWU'C'(I)V TUYXcXVEr. Qv't'cx. xcd. 7tEpt
-ro ev tcrnv."
.. 1tC1;v't'e;Aw;, fJ.E'J cO" eXEL OUTW;."
"E J "\ I ..., ., ,\ , i ' S ' ,
.. "tL 0'1) 1'0 TpLTOV AeyWf.LEV. 't'o EV EL O"t'tV OLO') OI.A'I)"'U !X!-lEV, Cl?
aux OCVO:yY..'1} CXll'ro. ev Tt QV XIl.L 1tO;"AcX. xcxi. :." (.1frre: 1tO).Aa. xo:l.
P.E-rixov xpOVOU. OTt !J.EV e1'r:) ev. f1.E't'EXEtV 1tO't'E, OTt 8' OUX.
" \ , 'i' ,
Ean. !L"IJ !LE1:EXELV IXU 1t01:E ouaLIX<;;
.. civc1:.yx1}."
.. ap' ouv, o'n: p..e:'t'EXEt.. olov TE EO'TOCt. TOTE (-LETEXEt.V . aTE (-L-fJ
!LE1:':XEL, !LE1:':XELV;
.. oUX orov 'rE,"
.. V OCAACl;> OCPrl xp6vCJ) (1.ETXEt. Xcx.L EV OCAACl;> ou !.LE'riXEt. OUTW ylip a.v
iJ-O'lW; TOU (XUTOU /-LETEXOt TE XIXL ou iJ-E't"EXOt. ...
, .... '''' '" "l tl ' "? , "
.. OUXQUV eOTt. XOCL OUTO; XPOVO'::;;. O't'E "'t"QU t.Vrlt. xo:.t. OTE
cxlh'oG: 7tl7>; 0[6'1 't"E eCJ''t"cxt. 't'O't'E !J.EV tXEt.V 't'o ClUTO, "'t"OTE
SE f.Lij exet.v, Ea.v !J.-IJ 1to"t' Y..CXL Clt)''C'O XOCL o:cpLn: ..
" 't'o Si) f.LETcx)..a!J-fja.vElV ap&: yE ou YY'IEu&at. "
.. eywyE,"
"l "l ' S " ", "l "l (\ ..
TO OE CX1tClI'I.I'I.Cl't''t'EO' elL ocpa: OUX CX1tOI\I\VO'Vc.u:
Text and Translation: 155d-156a
- "Necessarily."
"Therefore, rhe one 'was' and 'is' and 'will be, and 'was coming ro be
and 'comes ro be and 'will come ro be'."
- "Certainly,"
"And something could belong ro it and be of ir, [along wirh] 'was' and
is' and will he',"
- "Of course,"
"And rhere would be knowledge and opinion and perception of ir, since
indeed we arc currently performing all rhose actions in regard ro it."
- "What you say is right."
"And a name and an account belong to it, and it is named and spoken
of. And as many such things [i.e., attributes] happen to pertain ro the
others, they also pertain ro the one."
- "That's completely so."
"Let us speak oEit again for a third time: if rhe one is as wc have described
it-both onc and many and neither one nor many, and partaking of
time-must it not, since it is one, sonletimes partake of being, and in
rum, sometimes not partake of being because it is not [one]?"
- "By necessity."
"When it partakes [of being], will it at that rime be able nor ro partake,
or ro partake, when it doesn't partake?"
- "It will nor be able ro."
"So it partakes at onc time and does nor partake at another, for only
in this way could it both partake and not partake of the same thing."
_ URighc."
"Then isn't there also a [given] time when it takes part in being, and
when it relinquishes it? Or, how will it be able at one time ro have the
same [thing] and at another time not have it, unless it sometimes both
obtains it and releases it?"
- "There is no way."
"So do you not call taking part in being 'coming-ro-be?"
- "Yes, I do,"
"And then relinqUishing being 'ceasing-ta-be?"
Plato's Parmenides
.. KIXt 1tOCVU Yf.."
.. '('0 EV EOtY.E, -rE xai ciCPLEV auaLC7.v yi;yvc:r:aJ .. -re: KocL
.. a.vO:yx1)."
" EV SE xcd 7tO).,Aa. QV Koi ytYVOP.EVOV X.OCl &p' DUX.O't"ocv
P.E\! yl.Y'V"lP:OCL EV, 'to dVOCL cbtOAAUTOCL. 0,(,0:\1 Se: 7tOAAcX. TO EV dV:t.L
cbtOAAU't'CXL; "
.. ncX.vu ye,"
.. EV Se y'yvafle:vov XCXL 7tonix ap' oux Ii'locyx'I] S,cxxp[vEalh[ "CE XCXL
avyxp[vwl)cx,; "
.. 7tOn-l] YE."
" XOC!. livop.ot.ov yE KIX!. O/-LOLOV OT!XV yLY'J"IJ'tOCL, o!J.Ot.ouaSocL 'C'E x.oc!.
civo(.Lof.OuaSc((.; "
" VC1.L."
.. Y..OCL O'TCXV XCXL EAOC't'TOV XCXL reTOV, cxu;a.vaSoct -rE Ket!. cpStvEf.V
KOCL lcrOUcrScXL; ..
" oU't'w;:."
" Q"t'(X\I SE: XtVOIJ(.LEVO\l 't'E to't'l)TC(L KClL O'C'O:'J EC1'te;: err!' 'to XtVeLcrSCxt
flE"Ccxf3,xAA7J, aE;: S-I] 7tOV cx.ha yE fl'l]a ' E'I &VL XfJavcp ELVCX,."
.. ..
.. O''t'o;: -rE 1tpO't"EpOV UO'TEpOV xLveLcrSO:L Y..OCL 1tPOTEpOV XtVOU/-lEVO'.I
UO''t'EPOV EO"TO:VCXt., fJ-EV 'toO OUX ot6v 't'E EO'TCXC. 'tcxu't'oc
.. yap; ..
.. xpavor; ai yE ouadr; EO'nv, 0'1 .;, n orav "CE &[J.a: fllJ"CE x,vdal)cx,
" ov yelp 00'.1."
.. <in' ouSe flE"CCXf3OCAAE' "VEU "Cou
.. OU}{
" 1!o't" ouv OU't'E yelp EO'"t'Or; ov
OthE EV 0'.1."
" oll yelp 0\;'.1."
u 1" 'i"" " 'f' , .. 'I" (.1.''1.'1.''
cxp ouv EO"t"L 't'o !X't'07tO\l TOU't'O. EV <:> 't'o-r !Xv ECIJ. O-rE f.LE't'al-"ct.II.II.Ec.;
.. 'to 1totov ..
105 OV B: ocv T.
Text and Translation: lS6a-d
- "Cenainly."
"Indeed, the one, as it seems, when it obtains and releases being comes
[Q be and ceases to be." '
- "By necessity."
:'And since it is one and many and comes to be and ceases [Q be, does
It nOl then, when it comes to be one, cease to be as many, and when it
comes ro be many. cease co be as one?"
- "Certainly."
''And since it comes to be one and many, must it not be separated and
- "Very much so."
"And whenever it comes to be like and unlike, must it not be made
like and unlike?"
- "Yes."
"And whenever it comes to be larger and smaller and equal, muSt it
not be Increased and decreased and made equal?"
- "Just so,"
whenever, being in motion, it comes to rest, and whenever, being ar
rest, It changes to moving, it itself mUSt somehow be in no time ar all."
- "How is that?"
"It will nor be able to be initially at rest and afterwards in motion or
initially in motion and afterwards at rest, without changing." '
- "Of COurse not,"
"But there is no time in which something can, simultaneously be
neither in motion nor at rest." '
- "Certainly not."
"But surely, neither does it change without changing."
"H dl " - ar y.
"So when does it change? For this happens neither when it is at rest
nor when jt is in motion, nor when it is in time." ,
- "No. it does not."
"Is then, this oddity in which it would be JUSt when it changes?"
- What kind of oddity?"
Plato's Parmenides
.. 't'o 'to yCip Tt EOLX
EXe:t'JOU dt; excX't'EpoV. OU EX ye: 'toG e:O'TOCVOCL EO'-rc7rt'oc;
E"C'l. DUO' ex XLVOU/J.E'J"'1:; E"Ct. ciAAcX
CPU"', ":.OTto<; Tt<; iyxcilhrrc", Tr,<; TE
Y.OCL o"rocaewc;. EV xpOV6,) OUSEVi. Quaa.. xcxi de; 't'(lu'rfjv xoi EX 't'ocu'rl)t;
'1:0 'rE Y.tVOufLe:vov Ent 'to EeJ'rcXVlkt xo:i. TO E1tL 'to
"xat 'to ev d'TtEP EO"'C'"fjx.i 'rE xoci. XtVEt't'CXL, a.v ec.p'
hcX-rEpot !'-o"w<; yelp av c7.!'-cpOTEPot Ttata L ir
Xott OTE eOv auoEvl XPOVCf a" XtVaLT'
:Xv 'tOTE. OUo' Cl" O"l'oci'"."
.. DU yrip."
" 1'" ,'\ "1 i (J. i'" " , . 'f
.. cx.p DUV ou't"lJ) XO:L 1tpOC; 1'0:'; i.I.,."f\OC'; flE'tOCf"0AOC'; EXEL. O"r(J.V EX 't'OU EL\lCU,
&1, TO c7.TtOAAualtott EX TaU eLvott &1, TO y,yvEaltott,
''CVJWV 1'O't'E yLyVE't'r1.L 1' xat O'1'OCO'EW'J, xaL OU1'E EO'1't
I " ,,, '" '''1 "I "
"to"tE OU"-E OUX. e:0''t'1., OU"tE yl.yVE't'OCI. OU'te: r1.1tOAAu't'aL;
.. XotTa. oij TOV otUTOV Myav Xott ba, eOTttTtaAAel tOV Xott EX TtaAAWV
, " " ... " "I "I I "0' ,
Ecp EV OU't'E EV Ea,,-I.V QU't'E 1tOAI\OC. ou't'e: l.ocxpl.ve't'ocl. ou't'e: O'uyxpl.'JE.'t'r1.I..
XtxL OfLoLou e1tL ci:vollol.Ov XtxL i; cbofJ.oLou Ent 0IlOl.OV LOv oihe 0IlOLOV
ou't'e ci:VO!J.OLOV, ou't'E: O!lOI.OU!-lEVOV ou't'e: cXVO!lOLOU!lEVOV' KOCL ex (J'!J.LXPOU
Ent !liyoc Kr1.L E7tt roov xatEL:; 't'0: EVOCV't'[OC Lav OU1'E O'IlI.XPOV oU't'E. !lEyOC
olkE tcrov, OU't'E oU't'E. cpaL'JOV oU"CE. LO'OUIlEVOV d'l') a..v."
, oux EOLXE."
.. 't'au"Co: oi] 'to: miv't" a.v micrxoL TO ev, EL ecrnv."
.. rcoo:; S' DU; "
Text and Translation: 156d-157b
'The instant. The instant seems m signify the kind of rhing fmm which
there is changing in each of tWO directions. For somet h i ng does not
change from rest while ir is srill resting, or from motion whi le it is still
moving. Bur the instant, that odd-narured thing, sirs'''' between motion e
and rest-being in no time ar all-and what moves into ir and OUt of
it changes to resting and what rests changes to moving."
- "Quite likely."
"And rhe one, if it indeed is both at rest and in motion, would change
in each of two directions, for only in this way could it do both. But
in changing, it changes in an instant, and when it changes, it would
be in no time at all, and [at that point] it would be neither in motion
nor at rest."
- "No) it would not."
"Is this also the case in regard to the other types of changes? Whenever
the onc changes from being to ceasing-to-be, or from nor-being to 157
coming-to-be, does it then not come to be between certain motions
and states of rest, and then it neither is nor is not, and neither comes
[Q be nor ceases to be?"
- "It seems so."
"And by the same account, when it goes from one to many and from
many co one, it is neither one nor many, and is neither separated nor
combined. And when it goes from like to unlike and from unlike to
like, it is neither like nor unlike, not is it being made like nor unlike .
And when it goes from small to large and to equal, and vice versa, b
it is neither small nor large nor equal; nor would it be increasing or
decreasing, nor being made equal."
- "Apparently not."
'The one, if it is, would undergo all of the above."
- "Of course."
lOG EyXa.&I)t'tlL: 'sir in', 'lie in ambush', 'lie in a place', 'lie couched in' (eyx1HhUJ.!l.1.
in LiddcU-Scott-Jones, A Gmk.Engl;s" Lexicon). Cf. Gill, Pinto: Parmenides,
Plato's Parmenides
..(0' ..,,, LV apex DV " Tt /li:. 1tpocr-iP<'Ot rt., 1trt.axeLV, e' et ea'( ,
OXt1t't'EOV; .,
, ..
.. EV EL teJ't't, -caAAcx -rov -rL Xp-fJ 1tE1tovDe:vCXL:
.. )..iYWf.LEV."
, -;
.. OUXOU') E7te:btEp a.AAOC 'tou E:voe; eO''tLv. OU'tE 'to EV ecr'tt -r:ocAAa: QU yexp
" , \ 1""
ib rt.AArt. '(OU Y)" .
,. ..
.. ouSi:. iJ-+" a'(Epe'(rt.[ ye 1trt.ni1trt.C1L ,(OU ,o; '(rt.AArt., rt.AArt. iJ-e'(ex
.. - "
n'o 0Y);
" I " , ,
.. on 1tOU ciAArt. -cou bot; iJ-OpLrt. Exo',-crt. rt.AArt. ean'r et yrt.p iJ-optrt. iJ-1J
EXOL, ltCXv't'EAW:; ex\! EV d'fJ:'
.. opSwt;."
.. iJ-OPLrt./lE ye, cprt.iJ-E" -cou-cou ta-c" 0 a, oAO' iJ"
.. CPOCP.EV y6:.p."
I ? " I
" iJ-+" -co ye oAo, it, EX 1tOAA(;" rt.""yxY) e,LVrt.L, ou :a:;"t
iJ-Optrt.. exrt.C1-CO' -C(;N iJ.0p[",v ou 1toAAW' iJ.OpLOV xpr, eLVrt.L, rt.AArt.
.. 1tw:; "CoO't'O; ..
0' ,
.. er 't't 1tOAAiiJV f.LoP[.Qv d'", EV oL; cxu'to eL"1J: 7J lJ.Opt.o;
Ecn.-cx!.. 0 Eo"n"l cXouvcx-rov, xext -r:wv a.AAtiN 01) evo,:; e:x.ocO''t'ou. Et1tep
1tcbrcwv. E:VO!; ya.p lL-f& QV ll-0pt.Ov, 1tAyrJ 't'ou't'ou -cwv ECI't'CX,L.
ou't"wc; :vo:; E:XllC1't'OU aux ECT't'CXt (J.OpLOV. !J.1J QV OE: !J.opt.Ov
-CW, 1tOAAW, Ea-cl1t. iJ-Y)S",O<; /li:. CN 1tin"" -cou-c"" Tt ELVrt.t, ""
, ""I "I , (I) \lcx:t'Q'V 107"
auoi\l (el"'n. xoct lLOP(.Ov XClL r.I\I\.O o"t'L.OUV 0: U
, , ..
.. c.pOCLVE't'OCL yE 01').
, , ,
.. OUX tipoc -r(;)v oUSE: 7tO:'1't'wv 'to p.6pt.Ov, 7.,)..,)..OC
lOECXC; XOCL t\lOC; 't'L\lO:;. 0 Y.ocAOU{lE'J OAO\l, a.rrocv't'U1v ev 't'EAe:LO'.I yEyO\lO:;.
-cou-cou iJ-OPLOV a, -co iJ-OpLO'
107 ci8u'JIX"C'O\l d/Cl!.. BT: sed. Heindorf.
-....", -----
Text and Translation: lS7b-e
"'If the one is', should wc not consider next what would be appropriate
for the others to undergo as well?"
- "Wc should."
"Shall we then srate what those 'orher than the one' must have under-
'jf the one is'?"
- "We shall."
"So, then, if indeed they ate 'other than the one', the others ate not the c
one either, for if they were, they would not be 'othet than the onc'."
- "That's right."
"And yet the others are not utterly deprived of oneness, but parrake
of it in some way."
- "In what way?"
"It is presumably because things 'other than the one' have parts that they
arc other, for if they did not have parts, they would be entirely one."
- "That's righr."
"And parrs, wc say, are [parrs] of that which is a whole."
- "Yes, we do."
"But surely the whole, of which the parrs will be parts, must be a one
composed of many, for each of the parts must be a parr, not of many,
but of a whole."
- "Why is thar?"
"If somethi ng were to be parr of a many [i.e., a plurality]' among which
it itself would be counted, then surely it will somehow be part ofitself. d
which is impossible, and also [parr] of each one of the others-if indeed
it were to be part of all. For if it is not pare of the one, it [instead] will
be pare of the orhers-with the one excepted-and thus it will not be
pare of each one, and if not parr of each, then of none of the many. But
that which is of none at all, cannot be a parr-or anything else-of
all those things it is none of [individually]."
- "It cerrainly appcars so."
"So the part would not be parr either of many or of all, but of a single
concept'' and unity, which we call 'whole', a perfect oneness that has e
come to be from all. This is what the part would be part of."
J08 er. Fowler, Plato in Twelve Volnm.s, Val. 9.
Plato's Parmenides
, <t ..
.. f.LEV OU\I.
.. et cipel 't'eXAACl eXEL. xciv TOU OAOU -rE Ked. i\lo; tJ.E"C'EXOt."
,. 7tcl:'1U YE."
.. &'1 <xpo:. OAOV 't'EAEt.OV !J.OpL<X EXOV rivciYX"1) Elv:u "nXAACl 'LoG
" XlXl XC1.l1tEpl "tOU fLOPLOU yE i:xti<ITOU 6 C1.\ha; AOyOr,. XlXl yiXp "tOU"to
tivciyx'f. (.LETEXEtJ "CoO Et "(ocp EXO:O''t'O'IJ :XU't6l'J (.Lopt.6v ecr't't.. "..0 ye
o:.trcO ae: Qy. ernEp EXOCO''t'OV eO'''C'CXl.''
.. p.E't'iXOt oE ye ClV "tou EVOC; on _<XAAO EV:
ciA)'" ci.v octrco EV' \/0\1 oE EV!. /-lEV eivcxr. 1tA11V :x.u't'!P eVL exauvCl-cov
.. ci3u\lCl't'OV."
.. fJ.E'tEXELV oE ye 'tou rivciyx1j 'tE XlXt TO fJ.E\I YeXp
EV OAO'l EO''t'o:t.. 00 f.LOpt.a. "Ca. p.optCX
-co 8' o:.Q EXIX(T(OV '1 (.LOpwv TOU oAou.
" <Xv -n fLOPLOV OAOU."
.. au"nu,:;."
.. 00)(00\1 E'tEPex ii\rro:. 't'OU EVOC; 're):. !J-E't'EXOV-ra: Cll)'rou; ..
.. 1tw:; 8' ou: ..
.. TO:. 8' t'tEPel '('00 1tOAAOC 1tOU OCV dl). d yO:.p e'J EVO:;
1tAdw e:t1) "COCAAel "t'oO Ev6;. OUDEV liv d"fj."
. . ,. ..
.. OU Yelp ouv.
Text and Translation: 157e-15Bb
- "Absolll(e1y."
"So if the mhers have parrs, they would also parrake of wholeness and
- "Certainly."
"So things other than the one must be one complete whole, which
has parts."
- "Necessarily."
"Furthermore, the same account applies also ro each part, since it roo
must partake of rhe one, for if each of these is a part-and 'each' signi- 15
fies somehow ro be one-it is singled OUt from the others and also is
by irself-ifindeed it is ro be 'each'."
- "Thats right."
"But it would obviously partake of the one. since it is other than the
one, for if it were not [other]. it would not partake of it bll( would itself
be the one. Bll( as it is, it is quire impossible for anything except the
one itself to be the one."
- "Impossible."
"Bur both rhe whole and the part muSt partake of the one, for the one
is ro be a whole of which the parts are parrs, and in turn each parr of
a whole will be one part of the whole."
"J " - uS[ so .
"Then things partaking of the one will be other than the one while b
partaking of it?"
- "Of course."
"But things other than the one would presumably be many, for if the
things other rhan the one were neither one nor more than one, they
would be nothing."
"'A d" - gree.
Plato's Parmenides
.. 'E1te:L oi ye 1tAe:l.W EVOt;. EO''!'!. 'Cti "C'E -rov !J.opLau }('OCL Ta. "CoO
I:vo, aAau flE'<EXaV't"OC, aux civo..YX1) 7tA-I)1)et ri7tEtpOC ELVOCt o:U,<o.. yE
EX",Vot ,<0.. '<00 !:vo,: "
.. 1toot;,' "
.. t1Se' &')..)..0 "C't OUX '1 o,rcC1. oucE {J'tEXOV't'OC 'tOU (:vot;, "COTE,
O'<E OCu,<oo, "
" oliAot 0-1)."
.. ouxouv Qv't'oc. EV ott;, -co EV aux. EVe.; ..
.. 1tAi)hl !J.ev"t'oL... ,
.. -d. DU"; e:l. iSiAOt(J.EV 't'TJ 'tGlV 't'OLOU't'W\I CXCPEAELV W'; OLOt -rE:
EO'!J.EV o'tt OAl.YLO''t'O'J, oux O:vcX.yx''1 XC1L 'to cicpOCLpdH:v exe:L'JO, drrEp "tou
:\lO:; !-LE-riX.OL. Elv!X.(. xoi aux EV; "
.. " ..
OCVOCYX1J. , ,. n".' .' J , ' ,
.. OUX.OU'I OU1:'lI):; OCEt 0'X.01WUV"C'e::; ocu't''lV XOCv a.u't' fj" 1: 'IV E't'EPIXI CPUD'(. J
'tOU E!SOU:; 00'0\1 OCV IXU't1j:; tid OpW!J.EV Il.7tEt.pOV EO"'t'Clt. ..
, , ... 01
.. ml.v'C((1tOCO'(. fiE\! OU\I. I' '"
" Xott fl1)V E7tEt/)o.." yE EV exotcnav flopta'J floPtoV YEV"'<ott, 7tEpot, 1]01]
EX-EL 7tpo:; a.)..),;fjAa. xcxt 1tpCU; 'r0 0)..0\1. Y..OCL 'to 0)...0\1 itpo:; 't'oc (J.OP(.(l"
. XO!J.LO-n !J.Ev OUv." , ., ,..
" '<aL' rinat, 0-;' '<00 10',0, EX flEV '<00 Eva, XOCt EotU,<W'J
"J , n" ," 8' ,
xOt.VOOV7jCJocv"t'wv, 00::; E:"t'POV "t'L ytY'l()'i1OCt V 0 "I)
1trlPEO'XE 7tpo::; a.J...A"fjArJ .... S' E:CXU't'WV xcx:,s' e:cxu'trt cbtELp[OCV."
. cpoctvE't'CXt."
.. ou't'w 't'0:. a.)..),(l -rOU EVOt;, xoct OAa. xa.t xcx:'t'rt tJ.OpLOC a.7tEtpOC -rE eCJ't'L
xcxt 7tEpa:tO; tJ.E'tEXe:L."
.. 7tOCVU ye."
Text and Translation: lS8b-d
"And now, since both the things that partake of rhe one as part and
rhe one as whole arc more rhan one, musr nor rhose rhar rake part in
oneness be already unlimired in multirude?"
- "How so?"
"Let us look ar the quesrion in rhis way: isn'r ir the case rhar, ar rhe
rime when they come ro take part in the one, they neirher are one, nor
partake of the one?"
- "Clearly." c
"So they are multitudes in which oneness is not present?"1I0
- "Multitudes, indeed."
"Now, if we wanted to subtract in thoughr ftom these multirudes the
minimum amount possible, must not what is subtracted be tOO a mu 1-
tirude and not one, if indeed it does not partake of rhe one?"
- "Necessarily."
"So whenever we examine in this way that narure alone by itself, dif-
ferent from the Form, will not whatever we see of it in each case be
unlimited in multirude?"
- "Yes, absolutely."
"Furthermore, whenever each part comes to be one part, the parrs then d
have a limit in relation to each other and in relarion to the whole, and
the whole [has a limit] in relarion to the parrs."
- "Undoubtedly."
"Then it follows for things 'other than the one', that from their taking
part in the one and in each other, something different comes to be in
them, as it seems, that provides a limit for them in relarion to each
other. But by themselves, their own nature provides lack of limit."
- "Apparently."
"In this way, indeed, the things 'other than the one', taken both as
wholes and as individual parrs, both are unlimited and also partake
of a limir."
- "Certainly."
110 Irrational numbers? That is , numbers, quantities or magnitudes not (:>. pre5sibk
by means of finite hence unitary fractions; roors, for example. whose value can-
nor be determined in the finite terms of the unit. (Only square rootS of square
numbers are rationaL) The most significant work on irrational numbers occurred
in Plato's lifetime, see the discoveries ofTheodorus OfCY'l'ne, as mentioned in
the 7heaeutus (l47d-148b). In particular ef. rXitELpm , 0 1tA-r,aO; in regard to
COOlS, (7Juanetus. 147d6. "unlimited in muhimdc") wi(h the above rendering
"A-ijll" """po: (Parmmid", 158b).
Plato's Parmenides
.. Ouxouv KilL Of.LOLO:. 'rE Y..a:L cX'JO(J.Ot!X a.'A)..-hAm.c; 't'E xa.i. H
.. 1t'ij OT); ..
.. on fJ-EV 7tOU cX.1tEt.pO: xoc"CO: E!XU't'WV rpum.v mx,v-roc. 't'OCtft'OV
7tE1tOVt}O"'t'oc OC'J 't'!Xlh'Yl:'
" 7ta,VU YE."
. xa.t t-tTjv 'n yE: ii.7tocvca. rcpcx:ro; f.LE'tiXEt. xcxl 't'cxu'C"'(J 1'[cl\l'(' Q.'J EL"J) 'ttX.U't'Ov
., !toot; 8' ou; ..
" Si ye: 1tETCEPO:CJf.Le:\lCl 't'E dvcu XlXl cX.1tELpo:. 1tE7tOVSE'J, E'J1:J.:V"C!.a-. miS'fJ
QVTex Textrrex Ta. m:1tovllEV,"
.. vocL"
.. 'to: S' EVOCVr[Cl ye: otc,\I "CE civOf.Loto't!X:r!X."
.. "CL (J.1)v; ..
.. x.ct:rcX. !J-E" ocpa. e:X,O:'t'EPOV 'to 1tO:,sOC; o!J.OtOC Ci.v etYj OCtJ't'cX 'rE et.u't'oic;
XCXl XexTa. o rifL'P0TEPex TE XOCl
ciVO/-LOLO-rCC'Ca. ...
.. 06'('w Ol] 't'oc cX.AACT. c.tU't'cX. 'rE OCt)"rOLC; XOCL OCAAlfAov;, op.ot.cX 'rE ){OCL civc,!J.
ii.v EL1),"
.. ou'tlJ>;."
,. xa:1 'rOCt)''COC XOCL t't'EPOC XOCL XtVOU/-LEVCl ){OCL Eo"rw'toc, XOCl
1tI1V't'OC 'to: '/!XV't!.OC ouxe't't. Xa.AE1tW,; 1tE1tOVSO-roc 't':1AA(l
-raG EVOC;, EitEL1tEP 't'cxG't'oc E'PI1'rlj rrE:1to,AM't'(X."
Text and Translation: 158e-159b
"So are they not also both like and unlike each other and themselves?"
- "In what way?"
"Insofar as they are all unlimited somehow according to theit own
nature, rhey would all be affected in the same way,"
- "Certainly,"
"And, insoFar as they all partake of limit, in this way. too, they would
all be so affected as to be 'the same',"
- "How could it be otherwise?"
"However, insoFar as they are both limited and unlimited, they would
suFFer qualifications that are opposites of each other,"
"But opposites are as unlike as possible,"
- "To be sure."
"So in respect to either of these two qualifications they would be like
themselves and each other, but in respect of both qualifications they
would be both utterly opposite and unlike themselves and each other."
- "Probably so,"
"Thus. the others themselves would be both likes and unlikes both of
themselves and of each other."
- "So they would be,"
"And, since in Fact they were shown to have these [particular] qualifi-
cations, we shall have no further difficulty in finding that the things
'other than the one' are both the same as and different from each
other, both in motion and at rest, and have undergone all the opposite
- "You are right."
186 Plato's Parmenides
" Guy-cuv. El Tocihcx !-LEV w:; cpocvtpa., tfCLO'y"01'[OtfLEV oE
7tclAt.V. ev et eaTLV, eXpex KexL OUX ou-rwr; eXet "to: riAACl TOU OU'(OO
" 1tclVV !-lev OUv."
.. AEYWf.LEV o-J; EV e:l. eaTt, -d TO:. IiAACX TOO E:,)o:;
" AEywfl-ev yocp."
. lip' 00'.1 013 xwpL; !LEV 't'o EV 't'W'J rJ:AAwv, xwpt:; oe "niA)"Cl TOO EVO:; elvoc!.; "
.. -r;t ..
.. c'n. 1tOV aux EaTL 1tCXp2l 'tocu't'OC E"C'EPOV, 8 &'),./"o !-Li) EO'Tt -rOU Elo:;. a.AAa
8e 'COov ilAAWV. 1tOCV'CCll Y"'P etP'l)'CCllC, O'CCllV 'C6 'CO ev XCllt 'Ca.).ACll."
1tcbrroc yap."
11 " 1" ".. " - ,- ,
.. oux a.pcx eT e::O'''tLV E'tEpOV 't'OU't'W\I, EV TO "C'E EV !Xv EL11 ocu't'tp 'Kocr.
.. OU ya.p."
.. OUOi1tOTe: V E<ITL "Co EV xai Ta),ACX."
.. QliR eOLXEV:'
.. XWPL:; a.pa.; ..
.. v!XL."
.. OUoe: /-L-fJV fLOP!.&' ye: EXELV cpOCf.LEV 't'O wc:; OC),,'Ij,sw:; e.'I,"
.. 1tWC; yocp; ..
.. OUT' Iipoc OAO'I et1J av 'to EV EV 'tOte; rl.AAOr.C; OU'tE ocu'toO. EL xoop[C;
, - ...... ) " '... 11 '"
'tE EO'"'tr. 'toov oc/\ ,oov Y..a.r. !J.opr.a. l,rr; EXEr.. -
.. 1tWC; ycip; ..
.. OUSE'Jt apoc 'tPOittfl /J-E"t'EX0[, a'J "C&AAOC 'tou xa.'tOC /J-Opr.O'1 't'[,
OCU'tou xcx'ta. OAO\l /J-E't"EXO'J'tOC."
.. OUY.. tOLY..E'J."
III <<i>IlEV) EWIlE" BT.
112 'X") <;cn BT.
Text and Translation: lS9b-d
"Well. then. if we now leave these [findings] as evident. might we also
examine in turn whether. <if one is',lIj the things 'other than one' are
only in this way and not in any other way?"
- "By aIJ means."
"Let's state from the beginning what qualifications things 'other than
the one' must have, 'if one is'."
- "Yes, let us."
"So is not the one separate from the others, and the others separate
from the one?"
- "Why?"
"Because presumably there is besides them nothing else that is other
than the one and other than the others. for all things have been men- c
tioned whenever both the one and the others are mentioned."
- "Yes. all things."
"So there is no further thing different from them. in which both the
one and the othets might be in the same."
- "No, there is nor."
"So the one and the others are never in the same."
- "It seems not."
"So they are separate?"
"And further, we say that what is truly one does not have parts."
- "How could it?"
"So neither could the one be in the others as a whole, nor could parts of
it be in them, if it is separate from the others and does not have parts."
- "Of course not."
"So the others could in no way partake of the one, neither of any part d
of it, nor of it as a whole."
- "Apparently not."
113 There seems to be an inconsistency in [he wording of this hypothesis (\I El.
EC1'tW) when compared to the hypotht!sis of Argument I. "if it is one" (d &\1
EO'nv). The wording here appears to allude to the hypothesis of Argument 11,
"if one is." However, as Argument IV shows, the object "O[hers than one"
is not associable with the "nnc plus being" composite of Argument 11; in
particular. 159d7 demonstrates thiu if is impossible for the "others than one"
[0 be many, thus they are not a "weaving together" but merely spoken of as
a simple attribute.
[88 Plato's Parmenides
.. Qv3O:!J.n ::lPO: ev TcX/\AO: EaTt-v. EX-EL EV EV QuSEV,"
.. ou yocp 00'1)."
.. DUO' a.po: iCOAAO: ea'tt -rOCAAoc. EV yocp a.v ex!Xcr"tov Clll'twV fJ.OP[.QV 'tou
OAOU, et. 7tO).,AOC vf)') SE OUTE ev QU't'E 1tOAAO: DUTE OAO\l QUTE !-LOpto:
Errn 'r&'AAa. 'rou Ev6r;, a.u'rou ouoa.fLf, fLE're';(EL."
'\', , " ", ,,,)...,,,, 114 '
.. OUO r:xprx. OUO OUOE -rpt.<X. DU't'e: o:u't'!X eO''t"L TO: IX ,Aa. QU'!: evecr't'l.\I E'V
e:L1tep 'tOU &'10:; G't'EPE't'CXf.."
.. Ouoe OfJ.ot.o: cipcx. xo:t OCVO!J.O['OC OU'tE Gtu-rci Ea'tL 't't!l evt. 't'cX. (}.)..)..oc,
OU't'E '1 0fJ.0LO'C'IjC; XCXL aVOfJ.OLO't'l)C:;;. El. yocp 0fLOLOC XCX:!.
OCVO/-LOr..cx CXLI''C"a. eL'l) EXOL EV eocu't'otc; OfJ.OLo"n'j'roc XIX!. ciJ0fJ.ot.o't'l)"C'CX. Suo
1tOU do EVa.V'rLa. '-;(0' <Xv EV Ea.U'rO', 'rlt. iJ.AAa. 'rou Ev6r;."
.. qnlLvE-rIXL."
.. oe' yE tiMva."(ov lluotv n'lo"1 fLE1:E;(W <7. "vor; fLE"(E;(O'."
.. ciSu\loc't'ov."
'" '"'' " , " " " 1 " 1",...." ,
.. OUT ClpCX O!J.Ot.O: OUT OCVO/i0t.o: e:CJ't't.V OU't' exY.CPO't'EpO: 'LO:I\I\Cl. OI-LOt.Cl !LEV
ya.p OCV OV't'Cl -1j tlVOI-LOt.Cl &;v 'LOU doou; I-LETX0t.. tlfJ.'PO'LEPO:
oE chrro: OUOLV 'tOtV Evo:vdot.v 't'O:U't'Cl oE tlouvO:'LO'J icpcXv"Ij."
.. clAlHi"
.. Quo' ocpoc 't'oc ocu't'oc OUO' E't'EpCl. oUOE: xt.vouI-L&VOC ouok ECJ'L6rra.. ouok
y,yvOfLEva. ouoE cl1tOAAUfLEVa., ouoE fLEtS'" ouoE i),ch"(", oullE 'rra. ouoE
ouoe:v 7tE1tOVSE 't'c71v 't'ot.Ou't'wv. EL ycip 't'1. 'tOt.QUTOV 1tE7to'JSiwn
U7t0tJ.EVEI. 'toc a.AAo:. Y..o:t Ever; xo:t OUOtV xo:t 'Lpt.Wv xo:t 1te:pt.'t't'OU Y..IXL
OCP1:LOU 6>V a.U1:0'r; clO"',a.1:0V E'f':XV fLE"(E;(ELV 1:0U EVOr; yE mivrr,
itcXV'tw,:; O''t'e:P0f-/..E\lOI.t;.''
.. tiA1jDa't'a:rlX."
114 lv!:ct(.v] EV ionv BT.
liS vonv] v O-rL'J BT.
Text and Translation: lS9d-160b
"In no way. then, are the others one. nor do they have any oneness in
"So neither are the others many. for if they were. each of them would be
one part of a whole. But as it is, things other than one are neither one
nor many. neither whole nor parts, since they in no way partake of it."
- "Right."
"Thus. the others themselves ate neither two nor three, nor is two or
three present in them. if indeed they are entirely deprived of the onc," e
"J " - ust so.
"So the others themselves neither are like and unlike the one. nor is
likeness and unlikeness in them. For if they themselves were like and
unlike. or had likeness and unlikeness in themselves. things othet than
the one would presumably have in themselves two Forms opposite to
each other."1I6
- "Apparently."
"But it was impossible for what could not partake of anyone thing to
partake of any two,"
- "Impossible."
"So the others are neither like, nor unlike. nor both. For if they were
like or unlike. they would partake of one of the two Forms, and if they [60
wete both. they would partake of two opposites. But that was shown
to be impossible."
"So they are neither the same nor different, neither in motion nor at
rest, neither coming to be nor ceasing to be, neither greater. nor less
nor equal. Nor do they have any other qualifications of this sort, For
if the others are subject to any qualification of this sort. they will also
partake of one and two and three and odd and even. but it was shown
that it is impossible for them to partake of these things. since they are
in every way utterly deprived of the onc," b
- "Very true."
116 Again. there are two ie.s.sons here, and wc follow the same a.s above.
Plato's Parmenides
, \},., '" , , , , ., 117 ' ,. I'"
.. OU'C(r} EV EL ecr't'tv, 1tOC'lrrtl 't'E ecr"C'L 1'0 ev KOCt. OUOE ev EeJ"tl, KZ!. rrpo,:>
EOCU't'O xo:.t 't'o:. &').).,0: wmx'u't'w:;."
i , '? ..
.. 7tOCV't'EII.W:; !-LEV QUV.
117 ouSE: EV T: ou(')e:v B.
Text and Translation: 160b
"Therefore, 'if one is', the one both is all tbings and is not even one
thing, both in relation to itself and, likewise, in relation to the others."
- "Entirely so."
Plato's Parmenides
.. Elev' EL ae: S7j O''t't. 'Co EV .. d. autL{3o:be:l.,\I, ap' au aY-E7tTio')
'tOC 'rOUTO liS; ..
.. O'XE7t't'EOV yocp."
.. "C'L<; OUV av d'" o:;()-r"1} EL ev !J.1j CJ'tl.v: apeX Tt 8t.a.cpipEt
"Cijaoe:. et. ev I-l-fj E(J"n.v: ..
" S,,,,,!,,:p" fL':V'CO'."
Of OLctq>epe:t. !-LOVO'), 1; xo:t 1ttlV TOUVcx.V't'LOV E:O''t'l.v d1te:Lv. El. !J.lj v eaTt.
TOU d EV eO'''Cl.v;
.. 7tcX.v 't"ouvcx.v"cLov."
" .. , S' or My"" EL fL':YEltOC; Eanv 'r, Ean'J n
&;')..)..0 't'wv 't"otauTwv, &poc Ecp' EXcXO'-rOU :Xv o"n 't'e:pO\l 1't. Aiya!. "Co
.. 1((XVU YE,"
" QUx.ouv xa.t vu\' 31')/..oL 01:'t. 'tEpOV Ae:yEt. ;;wv 'to Ill) QV. O't'ClV et1t?j
E.'J El f.L';' Eo'n, xocl. 0 AiYEt; ..
.. 1tpCrt'ov !-Le', yvwO'-r6v Tt. )..iYEf.., E7tEI."C(l e-re:pov 't'W\I i1.A"A.c.uv, o"CO:v
.. " 1" , - (\'" ',' y' 11')
d7t,r. e:v, ELTE TO Ef.V(Xt. EL't'E 't'O !-L'/ EI.Vet!, DU '-v a:.p
y'yvwaXE .. "", .. , .. 6 AEYOfLEVOV Elv"". XIX' on Sui,!,0pov .. Wv
OCf..A.WV, ou; ..
.. cXvOCyi!"Ij."
" c1SE "P'" AEx .. Eov ocpx-iis, EV EL Ea .. " .. , ELV"". 1tpw .. ov fLi:v
. , ... S'
ovv 't'ou't'o umipXEt.v od, EOt.X.EV. ETtLO''t'1J!.l'lJv.1J 11-1) E
o "Ct. f..EyE't':lL YLyvWcrX.EO'&OCt.. o't'ocv EL1t71 EV d !.l-IJ ea't'Lv,"
'" '1 '1. , _
.. ouxoOv xoct 't'eI a.f..AOC E"CEPOC IXU-COU dVCXL.1j !J:ljoe ex.ei>Jo E-cepov -cwv
"AAwv A':YEalt",,; "
" ntXvu ye."
Y..cxt ocPO', ea-ctv 1tpOr; "C-n E7tLO"Cl){i1l. ov yxp Tij'J "Cwv
"AAwv hEpoCOq-ra. AEyE', 1"'",'1 .. 0 EV hEpov .. wv rJ.Hwv /..Err., ocAM.
.. lIocL VE-rOCL."
118 t"ou'to T: -ra.trra. B.
119 apogr.: om. Tb (0,)81:v ... etvocc om. B: add. b in marg.).
Text and Translation: 160b-e
"So Far, so good. But should we not examine next what must follow
'if the one is not'?"
- "Yes, we should."
"What then, would this hypothesis mean: 'iF one is not'? Does it differ
at all from this hypothesis: 'if not-one is not'?"
- "Of course it differs."
"Does it merely differ, or is saying ' if not-one is not' the complete c
opposite of saying 'if one is not'?"
- "The complete opposite."
"What if someone were to say 'iflargeness is not' or 'if smallness is not'
or anything else of that sort, would it not be clear that in each case he
is speaking of something different that is not'"
- "Of course."
"And so in the present case, roD, whenever he says 'if one is not', isn't
it clear that that which he says 'is not' is different from other things,
and don't we recognize what he means'"
- "Yes, we do."
"So in rhe first place, he speaks of something knowable, and in the
second, of something different From the others when he says 'one', d
whether he adds being or not being ro it. For whatever is said 'nor to
be' is nonetheless known, and also that it is different from the orhers.
Is it not?"
- "Necessarily."
"So at rhis point, we must state from the beginning 'if one is not' what
must be (the case]. First, as it seems, this must pertain ro it, (namely)
that there is knowledge of it; orherwise, it would not be known what
is meant whenever someone says 'if one is not ...
"And so the others mUSI be diFferem from il, or else it cannot be spoken
of as different from the others."
- "Of course."
"So 'difference in kind' belongs to it in addition to knowledge (of it].
For when someone says that ' the one is different from the others', he e
refers to its difference in kind, not to that of rhe others."
- "So it appears."
Plato's Parmenides
.. xo:.1. TOO ye: EX.e:tVOU xo:,t TOU XOCL 't'ou't'ou xoc!. 't'ou"t'l{) xtli
't'ou't'w'J xocr. rrtiv't'wv 'tOO\! 't'm.ou't'wv !.lE't'EXe:t 'to QV ev' ou YO:p r1.V 'to EV
EAEyE't'O QUO' iiv "toO :VOt; e't'Epoc, ouS' exe:tvcp rl.V 't't. ouS' ex.dvou, ou8'
oc'J 't'L EAiYE't'O. El. TOO 'tt-VD; Gttl"t'i;l !J.E"C"1)V -rwv OCAACJ)'IJ 't'ou't'wv."
.. 0 p.sw;."
.. dvoct. u.ev 't'W EVL oUX 0[6\1 'rE:, d1tEP ye E(J"rt., !.lE't'EXELV Se TCQAAWV
ouSev xo:.t- ciV6:.YKIJ, Et1tEP TO yE EV xo:r. rJ.J..)"Q
ecf't't.v. f1.EV't'Ol. 't'o EV Exdvo !J."fj eO'''C'o:.t, OCAAO: itEP1. &'AAOU
6 )..oya:;, ouSe cp-geyyecrDcn Sei OUOEV' EL De 'to EV exe:ivQ
&')..),0 U1tOX.EL't'OCL dvo:.t. xocr. 'tou Ex,dvou xai OCAAW'J rr:.OAAW'J ocva;yx:fJ
" xo:.i. 1tcX.VU YE."
" Koc1. ciVO!J.OLO-r1JC; ocpo:. eO'-rLv ocu-r0 1tpOC; 'to: oc)..).,o:.. 't'oc yo:p iAAOC 'tou
r '" " r '"''''
e:vo; e:'t'e:po: OV't'o: e:'t'e:POLO: Y..O:L e:L"fJ 0:'11
.. '110:[."
.. er ETe:poio: OUY.. OCAAOio:; ..
.. S' OU; ..
" S' OCAAOio: OUY.. OCVO/-Lm.o:; "
, , "
.. O:V0!l-0l.O: !J.e:v ouv.
" OUY..OUV d1te:p 't'c!> EVt OCVO!J.OL:X ia't'L. S-t;AOV O't'L OCVO!J.OLC}) 't'0: ye OCVO!J.OLO:
OCVO!LOl.O: &.'11 dOIJ."
" S'ijAOV."
" e:t1J S-Ij OCV Y..o:t 't'ei> EVL a.AAo: OCVO!J.OLO: O:U't'ei>
" eOl.Y..EV."
.. e:l. SE: 't'wv iAACiJ'I EaTtv o:U't'ei>. ap' oUY.. OCv6:YKIJ EO:U't'OU
I , '; "
o!J.Oto't'"fJ't'o: o:u't'C}) e:tVo:l.,
" d EVO!; ecr't't 't'ei> eve.. OUY.. &.'11 1tOU rre:pL 't'ou 't'Ol.O\)'t'OU 6
e:t"fJ OLOU 't'oO 8:'10;, ouo' ClV (l1to&e:aL; e:t-Ij 1te:pL rrEpL
&'AAOU ij E'IO,;."
" rra.vu ye.."
.. ou Se:i Si ye."
.. ou S1}'t'O:."
Text and Translation: 160e-161c
"Furthermore, the 'one that is not' partakes of ' that', 'of something',
'of this', 're this', 'of these', and of all others of this sort. For if it did
not partake either of 'something' or of the other things [i.e., notions],
the one could not be spoken of, nor could the things other than one,
nor could anything belong to it nor be of it, nor could it be said to be
- "That's right." t61
"The one cannot be, if in fact it is not. Still, nothing prevents it from
partaking of many [notions]. However, it must in fact even do so [i.e.,
partake], ifit is indeed that [particular] one and not some other [thing]
that is not. But ifit will be neither the one nor that [other thing] which
is not, and our account is about something else, then nothing should
be urrered at all. But if it is 'that one' and not something else that is
supposed not to be, it must partake of that and of many other [notions]."
- "Yes, certainly."
"So unlikeness, too, belongs to it in relation to the others. For things
'other than the one', since they are different, would also be different
in kind."
_ uYes."
"And are not things that are' different in kind' nor also other in kind?"
- "Certainly."
"Are not rhings 'other in kind' unlike?"
- "Indeed, unlike." b
"Then, if in fact they are unlike the one, obviously what is unlike
would be unlike an unlike."
- "Obviously."
"So the one would also have unlikeness, in relation to which the orhers
are unlike it."
- "It seems this way."
"But if it has unlikeness in regard to the others, must it not then have
likeness in regard to itself?"
- ,cHawsa?"
"If the one has unlikeness in regard to the one, the account would pre-
sumably not be about such a thing as the one, nor would the hypothesis
be about one, but about something other than one."
- "Certainly." c
"But that cannot be."
- "No, it cannot."
Plato's Parmenides
.. Set ocpo: O(1.o!.o't'"f)'t'oc 't'ti> EVL CXU't'oO EClU-c0 dvcn."
.. SEt."
.. Xcx.L !J.1}V OUO' OCO LO'OV y' elJ''t'L 'tOtC; &),)..0(.;. d yocp et-iJ taoy. d'l] 'rE
a;v Xtl,L OiJ-OLOV Civ Et1j IXtJ"C'OLC; xc:t't'oc "C'ClU't'IX 0' OC!J-cpO't'Epl1
, , " . " ""
CX:OUVIX't'OC, Et1tEP fL'fJ eO''t'{.v E\'.
, e7tEt.oTj Se aux eO''t'!. 'tOtC; OCAAOt:; tcrov, Cipo: aux IivocYX-fj XOCL -rtlAAOC
/-':1) tcro:. dvoct.; "
" ocv<iyx,!)."
. \" ." ..
" 't'OC DE (J:fj t.cro:. OUX. ocvc.O'oc;
.. vrxL"
,. 'Ca. Se avt,aoc DU -r0 ocvLcrcp ocv(.(J(x; "
" 1tWC; o ou; "
.. xo:.t a:Vtcro-r1JTO:; Si} !J.E't"EXEt 1:'0 EV, 1tpOC; -rtlAAOC Clu't'0 ECJ'n.v ocvtO'I1; "
" f.LE't'EXEt.."
OCAAOC pbJ't'ol. ocvLero't'"f)'t'oc; y' ecr"ti /-lEye:&6c; 'rE xo:t O'!.I.tx.po-r'f):;."
.. ea'n. yocp."
.. O''t'!.v ocpoc Kcxi !J.Eye:&6:; 'rE x.o:t IJ'/J.!.xpo't"1)C; -r0 't'owu't'':> EvL: "
.. X,!.VOUVEUEt."
" !J.Eye-Soc; !J.-f)v X.OCL O'!1.l.x.po"C"fjC; OCEL OCCPEO''t'OC't'OV
.. rrcXvu YE."
.. &pCl 't't. ClU't'OtV ""EL eO"'t"t.v."
eXEt.C; ouv 't't. &"AAO Clu't'oiv -t; "
.. oUY.., ""AAa. 't"00't"0."
.. (ht:> "'prJ. "ern [LEyE&O<; XrJ.L er[LtXpoT'1<;' "ern XrJ.L 1eroT,!)<; rJ.cm;> [LETrJ.!;"
't'01.hot.v OUO"Cl."
.. c.pClLVE"t"Cll.."
'120' \ '" " , .. ',...} I 'EYE' "OU-
o. 't't!l 01'} EVt. fJ-1J OV't"t., WC; Eor..XE, XIXt. t.0"0't"1')'t"0; ClV !J.E't"Et.1'} X"" .. r 'fJ'
y"ClL O"fJ-l.XPO't"1'}'t"o;."
.. EOl.Y..EV."
120 Par. 1810, Heindorf from Ficinus: SE BT.
Text and Translation: 161c-e
"Therefore, likeness must belong to the one in regard to itself."
- "It must."
"Furthermore, it is not equal to the others either, for if it were equal,
it would then be like them in respect to equality, and henceforth be .
Bur both of these are impossible if, in fact, 'one is not'."
- "Impossible."
"Then, since it is not equal to the others, are not the others. tOO, neces-
sarily not equal to it?"
"N 1" - ecessan y.
"Are not things that are not equal unequal?"
"And are not things unequal unequal to what is unequal?"
- "Of course."
"So the one partakes also of inequality, in relation to which the others d
are unequal to it?"
- "Yes. it does."
"But largeness and smallness belong to inequality."
- "They do."
"So do largeness and smallness also pertain to this kind of one?"
- "Quite likely."
"Yet largeness and smallness always keep furthest apart ftom each other."
- "Certainly."
"So there is always something between them."
- "There is."
"Then can you suggest anything between them other than equality?"
- "No, only that."
"Therefore anything which has largeness and smallness also has equal-
ity, and this is between these [wo."
- "Apparently."
'1\s it seems, the one, even 'ifit is not', would [still] partake of equality, e
largeness, and smallness."
- "So it seems."
198 Plato's Parmenides
" K",l x",l oua[",<; yE 3Et "'U," fLE't"EXELV "n."
.. EXEt.V oc0-r0 oei ou't'w; WC; AEyQ(.LE'J. El. yo:p ou-rw; EXOl.,I2l OUX. &\1
AEYO'fLEV Y,fLEt<; AEYOV't"E<; ," EV EtVIX" d 3, 31,AOV
O'tL QV"C'OC cx.U't'O:. AEYO!J.EV .. OUX ou-rw;: ..
.. Dun.) !J.kv ouv."
" 3E "''''fLE'J MYWI, &:v&:YX1j ",&:VIX' XIX' onIX Atyw."
.. &:v&:YX1j."
.. eO"'t'tv tipo:. WC; EOLKe, 'to EV OUX 0'01. et yo:p EO''COC!. QV. a.AAa: 're. 'tOU
e:lvc.u. ckvijaEt. 7tpO; TO ELvcxt. EUf}U; 0'1'0:[, ov."
.. 7to:v't'tl:rrocm. !J.E:V OU\I."
OEt o:po: OCtl't'o OEO'(J..O'J EXEI..V "t'ou elvoct. 'to dVrlt. QV. El. !J.EAAEl.
!.I.-f) dvc([" O(.LQLW; OOO'TCEP TO QV 't'o (xfj QV EXELV e:t'JOCt.. tvo:. 't'EAEWC; ocO
ft122 OUTWt; yocp OCV TO TE QV (.La:),(.0"-r' riv d'fJ Xcxl. 'to fJ.-fJ QV aux C(V d"fj,
(.LE't'EXQV"C'Cl TO (.LEv QV ouaLocc; 'tOU d'JC"lt QV. oucrLcxc; OE: -roD dvoct.
QV, El. !J.EAAet. 't'EAEWC; dVOCL, 'to OE: QV Quatrx.t; (.LE'.' "CoO dvcu
OV,I24 oucrLoc; oE TOU e:LVClt. 0'.1. d xo:.i. TO 0\1 o:.U TEAEW:; EO'To:.('."
_" _,,. ,_,,, _"1
.. OUXOU'J E7tE(,1tEP "C':J "CE O\l"C(' "COU f1."tJ E(,\lCl(, XCl(, 't'':J !.l."tJ O\l"C(' 't'OU E(,\lo:.t.
!J.E"CEO'''Ct., xcxt E\lt, OUX EO'''Ct, -roO d\lClt. ci\lliyx"tJ !.l.E"CEL\lClt d:;
't'o el\lClt.."
.. ci\lliyx'fj."
.. xoci. ouO'tOC CPOCt\lE"Co:.t E\lt, d EO'''Ct\l.''
.. cpo:.t\lE"CClt.."
.. XClt ouO'to:. a.po:., d7tEP EO'''C(,'J.''
.. 7tw:; 0' DU; "
121 Zxo, Coi,l.: eX" BT.
122 exu e:!vcx(. iJ BT: cxo YJ (or QV-M Shorey.
123 I-lr, add. Shorey.
124 ov Shorey: I-lr, ov BT.
Text and Translation: 161e-162b
"Furrhermore, it must also in some way parrake of being."
- "How is that?"
"It must be as we are describing it, for ifit is not in this way, we would
not be speaking the truth when we say that 'the one is not'. But if we
do speak the truth, it is clear rhar we are saying 'things that are'. Is
this not so?"
- "It is indeed so."
''And since we claim to speak the truth, we must claim also to speak
of 'things that are'."
- "Necessarily."
"It appears, therefore, that the 'one thar is not' is. For if it will not be
not-being, that is to say, if in some way it will let go of being [not-
being] towards not being [not-being], then straightaway it will be that
which is."
- ''Absolutely.''
"So if it [i.e., the one] is 'not to be', not-being must have a bond to
being not-being, just as, in turn, the being has a bond to not being not-
being, in order to completely be. This, above all, would be how 'what
is' is, and how 'what is not' is not. On the one hand, 'what is', if it is
completely to be, parrakes of being in order to be a thing that is, and
[parrakes] of nor-being in order not to be a thing that is not, and, on
the other hand, 'what is not', if what is not is completely not to be,
parrakes of in order not be a thing that is, and of being
In order to be a thIng that is not. m
- "Very true."
"Accordingly, since in facr 'what is' parrakes of not-being, and 'what is
not' parrakes of being, so, too, the one, since' it is not', musr parrake
of being in order not to be."
- "Necessarily."
"So it appears that the one, 'ifit is not', also has being."
- ''Apparently.''
"And so also not-being, if indeed 'it is not'."
- "Of course.'l
125 A good example: the same thing must participate in opposing, that is, com-
present Forms. Parricipadon means participaci on in contraries, which must
be available thus presenr to the mind.
Plato's Parmenides
u 0[6'.1 LE DUV TO e.XO'J 1tOO; EXELV ou'nll, !-LT; EX
.. OUX orbv 'LE."
.. it&v eXP"- "Co 'tOLOUTO') 0 av oi.l-r(!,) 'rE xa.t ou't'w;
.. 7tW; 8' CU: ..
" 81: y.[v"1)''''; 'f[ "
.. OUKOU\I 'to 'J 0') 1'E xoi aUx. QV icpavr,; "
.. ' "
.. oihw; a.pex X(XL DUX ou't'W; EXav <pCXtVE't'CU."
.. ot.x.e:v."
.. KaL a.pex 'to aux. QV EV 1tEcpOCV't'Clt., 1te:L1tEP xa.t
EX TOU e:!vc(t Ent 1'0 !.J.:i) dvctt. xov."
.. X[:vouvUt ...
" eXAM. Ilijv et 1l.,,1l"'lloO ye ean ,W" QV '"'v, w<; oOy. Eanv d,,p !:ernv,
ovo' (.Le:&Lcr"C'cxt:ro 1to&iv 1tm.."
.. 1tWr; yap; ..
.. aux lipoc 't'{!l ye: XLVOt't' av."
.. ou ,ft.p."
" ou81: Ilijv ev -r0 "'';,0 ih a,perpo'1:o' yocp o,;Il"'lloO &"1:E1:"".
QV yeXP Ea'd 'to 't'OCtJ"COV' "Co OE QV EV 't't:> -rwv o'rt'w'J cX.ouvcx:rov dvo:t."
.. ciOUVClTOV yb.p."
.. OUX eXpel. 'LO EV ye: !.l.-It QV G-rptcpe:a&cxt. C{V OU'JO:('TO i'J EXElV'!J EV {fl
.. OU yO!p OUv."
.. OUO& 11-1;'01 cXAAowu'tCXt rrou 't"O EV e<xu't"ou, OUTE 't"O 0',1 OU"CE TO j..L'fJ av. OU
ya.p v :;"'',1 0 e;.t'(. rrEpt TaU EVOr;, ditEp -ljAAOLOUTO a.UTO E:CXUTOU.
" EC 81: eX).).O'OO1:"'L (nperpEuL
Of; , ., ., _ ..
CX? av 7t1l ELt. Y.(.VO!.-rO;
.. 1tWC; y:ip; ..
" t ,., ,y t , ..
.. TO yE lXr,v tXY.tV'fjLov rxvrxyx1j 1JouX!.rxv rxYE(.\I, TO oe: e:OLocvrxt..
.. a.VO:YX"fj."
Text and Translation: 162b-e
"Can somcth i ng that is in some state not be in that state, without
changing from rha, srare?"
- "It cannot."
"So every rhing of rhar sort, wharever borh is in some srare and nor in c
rhar srare, signifies change."
- "Of course."
"Bur change is motion-or whar shall we call ir?"
- "Motion."
"Now wasn'r rhe one shown borh ro be and nor to be?"
"Therefore, ir appears to be borh: in such a srare and nor in such a srare."
- ICSO it: appears."
"So rhe 'one rhar is nor' has been shown also to move, if indeed ir has
been shown to undergo change, roo, from being [in such a srare] ro
nor being [in such a srate]."
- "Very likely."
"However, if it is nowhere among the 'things that are'-as it is not,
if, indeed, ir is not-it would nOt move from one place ro another."
- "Obviously not."
"So it would not move by changing places."
- "No, it would not."
"Nor would ir revolve in the same place, because it nowhere touches d
the same. For 'whar is the same' is a thing that is, and 'what is not'
cannot be in any of rhe 'things that are'."
- "No, it cannot."
"Therefore, the one, 'if it is not', would nO[ be able ro revolve in that
in which it is nor."
- "No, it would not."
"And, indeed, the one, wherher it is or is not, presumably is nor altered
from irself. For then the account would no longer be about the one, but
abour something orher than ir, ifin fact the one were altered from itself."
- "Thar's righr."
"But if ir is not altered and does not revolve in rhe same place and does e
not change places, could it still move somehow?"
- "How could it?"
"Bur surely, what is unmoved necessarily holds still, and whar holds
still is ar rest."
- "Necessarily."
202 Plato's Parmenides
.. 'to ev &.pcx., aux QV Ecr,("t')xi 'Tt xo:t Xt.'JeL't'CXL."
" xIXl d7tEp yE X"/Ei'tIX', cXv<iYX"I] :x0't0 cXAAOLOUcrSIX', 07t?i
ya-.p a.v Tt XLV1jt}'!i, Xct'X 'tocrotrro'J auxEf}' wcro:u-rw; ey"EL dXE'J. a.AA'
.. o(hw,;."
.. 'to ev XOCL c1:AAm.oLl'rO:L."
.. '/ocL:-
.. Xcx.L ye Xf.'JOU!J.EVOV ouacx/Xn iv ciA/.ot-oho."
.. ou yeip."
.. 'n !-Le\l cipo: Xf.',1EL't'OCL 'to DUX. 0'1 EV, J..AOLOtrr:x.t: on Se X(",1eL't'lXt, aux
.. ou yeip."
.. 'Co '1 a.poc !.1.lI 0'1 ciA)..OWtl"t'CXt TE xxi. aux. ci:AAOLOtI'CClL."
.. rpa.[veTCU."
.t TO S' !lp' aux c1.vOCyY..lI yiYVEcrSOCL 't'EPOV 1tpO't'EPO'l.
X7tOAAUcrSIX' oi: EX dj, 7tpO'tE:PIX_ 'to oi: cXAAOLOUjJ.E'IOV
ylyvEcrllIX' cX7tOAAucrSIX'; ..
.. ctvciyx."t]."
" xlXl 'to ev OCPIX QV cXAAOLOUjJ.EVO" jJ.i:v ylYVE't:1.l 'tE x:xl cX7tOAAU'tIX',
!J..r, cX.AAOLOUf.LEVOV oe OU'CE yLyVE"C'OCr. OUTE cX7tO)..)..UTOCt: xo:t ou-rw TO E')
1-'-1) 0\1 yLyve:rocL "'rE XO:L ci:1tOAAU't'Il.L, xai OU't'E yi.YVe:TIl.L OUT' OC7tOAAU't'Clt."
.. OU ycip 00V."
126 8y, Heindorffrom Ficinus: SE BT.
Text and Translation: 162e-163b
"So. as ic seems, the one, <ific is not', is boch at res[ and in motion."
- "So i[ seems."
"And surely, if in fact it moves, it certainly must be altered, for if any-
thing moves in any fashion, to this extent it is no longer in the same
state as it was, but in a different state."
"J " - ust so .
"Then, since it moves, the one is also altered."
"And yet, since it in no way moves, it is in no way altered."
- UNo, it is not."
"So insofar as the 'onc that is not' moves, it is altered, but insofar as it
does noc move, it is nor altered."
- "No, ic is not."
"Therefore the one, 'if it is not', is both altered and not altered."
- "It appears so."
"Must not that which is altered come to be different from what it was
before, and also cease to be in its previous state, and must not that b
which is not altered neither come to be nor cease to be?"
- "Necessarily."
"Therefore, the one, too, 'if it is not', both comes to be and ceases to
be, if it is altered, and neither comes to be nor ceases to be, if it is nor
altered. And thus, the one, 'if it is not', both comes to be and ceases to
be, and neither comes to be nor ceases to be."
"Q' " - UlCe so.
Plato's Pormenides
.. E:7tl -r-f)v ocPXTJv tW(-lE\J 1tOCAt.V Ot}6lJ.EVOt. EL -roctl'r!X. -f)fJ.l-I
OC1tEP y.oi VU'I, E'tEPOC,"
. a.AAcX. .. OUXOU') E.V e[ fLit go'C(., cpoc!J.ev. Lt 1tEpL IXlJ't'OU
.. i;O Si: eO"C'LV o't"o:.v Aiyw!LEV. &.pa. 't'L &,}..1.O (J'Ij(-lochl:=t r.
, , ..,.. , 't ..
OC1tOU(Jt.OCV 't"DU't'1{l (1.V (J-'I) Et.VO:!.;
" ouai:v IXAAO."
, ".. ,,,, ,, 't , I \
.. 7to't'e::pOV OUV, 01:'0:'01 CPW!-,-EV IX'I ELVOCL "('L, 1tW:; DUX. EL\lCXL cpap.e:v o:.u't'o, 1tw:;
SE ELVCXL; "tOUTO TO (J--f) eCJ't'L Ae:Y0!-lEVQ'J cX.1tAW:; CT1}f.UX.t.'JEL O't'L OUOIX!J.W:;
OUalXiJ.1l "cmv ouaE 1t?l iJ.ETEXEL TO yE QV; "
.. OC1tAOUG-rct-roc !J.EV 00V."
.. QU't'E ocpoc gIven OUVCXl't'O av 'Co QV QU't'E ciAAW:; ouocqJ.wc; ouO'[o::;
"ou yap."
i \ \,.' ., "\"\, " "
/-lE't'C(I\OCfJ.t-'OC'VEl.V, 'to 0 OC1tOJ\I\UVIXt Qum.ocv;
.. ouSEV (i)..)..o."
" <f> aE yE iJ.'t)ai:v Tmhou iJ.ETEO'TLV, mh' ocv OUT' OC1tOAAUOL
, n
.. 1tW; ya.p; ..
.. "C0 E,,,t ecr'tt.'J. OU"CE Ey.:t'eo'J OU"CE li7ta.AACtX"CEO'J
OU'tE ouaLtXs
.. dx,6t;,"
OU"CE a.pcx ,btOA/.U'tCXL "Co QV E'J OU"CE yLyVE'tCXL, E1tELitEp QUOOC!J.-n
.. ol. cpexL'JE'tCtL,"
"000' IXp' OCAAOLOU'tIXL oualXiJ.'ii yi:J.p ,b y'YVOL'tO Te "lXl OC1tOAAUOLTO
"COU'to 1tOC<JXOV,"
" OCA't)&1j ."
127 Heindorf: T. BT.
Text and Translation: 163b-e
"Let us once more go back to the beginning to see whether things
appear the same to us as they do now, or differenr. "
- "Indeed, we should."
"So let uS ask, 'if one is not', what consequences must follow for it ?" c
- "Yes,"
"Whenever we say 'is nor', does this signify anything orher than the
absence of being for what we say is not?"
- "Nothing else."
"When we say that 'something is not', are we saying that in a way 'it is
not', yet in a way 'it is? Or does the expression 'is not' signify simply
without qualification that 'what is not' in no sense or manner is, and
that it does nor partake of being in any way whatsoever?"
- "Without any qualification whatsoever."
"So 'what is not' could neither be, nor partake of being in any other d
way at all."
- "No, it could not,"
"Were not 'coming-ta-be' and 'ceasing-to-be' nothing other than tak-
ing part in being, in one case, and relinquishing being, in the other?"
- "Nothing other than this."
"But what does not partake of this [i. e. , being] at all could neither
obtain nor relinquish it."
- "How could it?"
"So the one, since it in no way is, must neither have, nor relinquish,
nor take parr in being in any way."
- "That is plausible."
USa the one that is not' neither ceases to be nor comes to be, since in
fact it does nor partake of being in any way."
- "Apparently not."
"So neither is it altered in any way. For if it were to undergo this, it e
would then both come to be and cease to be."
"And ifit is not altered, necessarily it must not move either?"
206 Plato's Parmenides
.. civocyxlj."
" ouSe Eo"rlivoct TO /xIjOOC/iOU QV. 'Co yap eO"'t'o; EV -re!> cx.U-r0
't'{.VL o:(: ciEt. e:tVo:.L."
"-r0 OCU-r!l,128 1tW; yo:p au; "
.. ou-rw o:.U TO QV 1tQ't'E: Ea-rO:VOCL xt.vEiaDo:.t AEYW!J.EV."
" ya.p oOv."
.. ciAAO:. ouo' ean. ye: IXtrr0 1:'t. TbN ov't"wv. yocp &',1 'rOU (J.E't'EXQV
Qv't'or; ouaLoc; /iE-rEXOL,"
" Il"ijAOV."
.. OU"CE ocpo:: !J.Eye:.oo; OU"t'E O'l-'-tx.po"t'YjC; OU-rE ocu't'0 80'1:'(,',1."
" ou yocp."
" QUOE !J.1}V o!J.Oto-rYJ; ye: ouSe E:'t'Epm.o't'Yj; OUTE 1tpO; o:trro OUTE 1tpO;
-ra.f..AOC d'lJ av ocLl"r0."
.. ou CPOCtVE't'OCL."
.. -rL Se; -ra.AAIX EcrS' 01tW; oCV Et1J cxu-r0. EL 1l-"fJ0E:V oct,.r0 oet dvo:.t; "
.. aUx. EO''t'LV.''
.. OU't'E OCpCl of.Low: OUTE ciV0!J.0LOC OU't'E 't'ocu't'O:. aLi3-' E't'Epci: eO'n.v cxu-r0 '"CO:.
" ou yocp."
,. Tt Si: 'to exdvou TO exe:tvc:-> 'to Tt TO 'roUTO 1) TO 't"ou't'OU &.).),ou
OCAAt:l -1j rcO't'E 1tEt't'OC VUV :1tt.0"-rY;/J-1l
QVO/J-OC &.1.1.0 o't'WUV 't'WV Ov-rWV 7tEpt 't'O /J-1] QV EO"'t'OCt.; "
.. oux eO"'t'oct.."
" oU't"w EV OUX QV OUX EXEt. OUOOCfJ-n."
" ou"ouv EO,,,':V ye oull"'[J.ii "x.e"."
128 't'0 cxu't'0 BT (B gives it to the other speaker); TO CJ;UTO al.
Text and Translation: 163e-164b
- "Necessarily."
"Nor will we say then that 'what is nowhere' is at rest, for what is at
rest must always be in the same thing."
- "In the same thing, of course."
"Thus, let us say again that 'what is not' is not ever at rest nor in
. "
"Q' " - Ulte so.
"But in fact, nothing among the 'things that are' belongs to it, for
by partaking of 'this, that is' [i.e., anything that is], it would at once
partake of being."
- "Obviously."
"So neither largeness nor smallness nor equality belongs to it."
- "No, they do not."
"Furthermore, neither likeness nor difference in kind would belong to
it, neither in relation to itself nor in relation to the others."
- "Apparently not."
"And what about this? Can the orhers be related to it, if, by necessity,
nothing belongs to it?"
- "They can nor."
"So the others are neither like it nor unlike it, neither the same as nor
different from it."
- "Indeed not."
"And what of this: will 'of that', 'to that', 'something', 'this', 'of this', 'of b
another', 'to another', or time past, or afterwards, or now, or knowledge,
or opinion, or perception, or an account, or a name, or anything else
among the 'things that are' pertain to 'what is not'?"
- "It will not."
"Thus the one, 'if it is not', is not in any state at all."
- "No, it appears to be in none whatsoever."
208 Plato's Parmenides
.. "En or, AEY"'fLEV. E'J EL fL-I] E'ern. 'r,xAAIX 'rL XPT, 1tE1tovlli,IXc."
" 'Aeywp.Ev ya:p."
.. !-lEV 1tOU od ClU't'O:. dvc,u: ei YO:P lJ:'JOE: ri.)..} .. u. ECrttv. QUy" a.v 1tEpt
'rWV lin"", Ai
.. ou-rw."
.. Et DE 1tEpt 't'wv )..),CJlV /; 'to:. ye: OCAA;J. 't'EpOC EO''t'!.v. aux E7t!. -rt;l
cxthw TO 'rE &')..AO XCXt TO E'tEpOV; ..
.. Eywye."
" ""EPOV oi li 1tOU 'PIXfLEV 'ro ""EpOV ElvIXc hipou. XIX' 'ra lino 0'" liA/,o
.. va.L"
., .,......"., ? "......" ..
.. Y..<X.L 'tOte;: clAAo!.<; ocpo:, et llAAEt. OCAAOC ELVCXL, eO''tt. 't't. ou a.f\.r.(1. ecr"t'!X.t..
.. ocvocyx,1]."
" 'rL 0-1] ouv <Xv Er1); 'r00 fLEV IOCP /:vac; ovx E'er""c linlX. fLT, 0'J'r0<; YE."
.. OU yocp."
'.,' .. "
" OCAA+,A"'V liplX Eer'rL' 'r00'r0 yocp IXU1;O'C; En "EmE'rIXC. 'I) ECVIXC
"" Sw.."
p """ "I. .". , ... r'
'LE d"f!. QV"roe; ri)...).: exoccr-roc;. w; Eor.Ke:v, 6 oyxoC; I7..trri::N OCitE!.POC;
tern 1tA+,SEC. x<Xv 'ra "fLtXPO'rIX'rov ooxoOv ELVIXt n<;. Wer1tEp OVIXP
, 'r ' " r \ I)'t:' ';' '\i .... : .... )
EV U1tvc:-> CPIXtVE't'OCL E'-,IXt.cpVlJC;: a:v't't EV0C;: oc.,!X.'rroc;: Et.'JOC!. 1tOl\fI. ..... "" .... '" ..,."
erfLtXPO'rOC'rou 1tlXfLfLiYESe, 1tpat; 'rOC xEpfLIXn1;ofLevIX IXlhoO."
.. opSo-ro:."C'oc."
... .. <;' ... i 'f' ...
.. 't'o['Olhwv ai] 0yx,6lV aAAa. aAA1)A6lV (7,.') Et1j T(7,.I\I\a.. El lJ.11
aAACY. Err'rtv."
" XOfLtllfi fLEv ov.,."
Text and Translation: 164b-d
"Let us state then how the others are affected 'if one is not'."
- "Yes, we should."
'They must somehow be other, for if they were not even other, one
wou Id not be speaking of 'the others'."
"J " - uS[ so.
"But if the account is about the others, rhe others are different. Or
do you not apply [the designations] 'other' and 'different' to the same
- "Yes, I do."
"And don't we say that the different is somehow different from a dif-
ferent, and that the other is other than another?"
"So if the others are to be other, there is something of which they will
be other."
- "Necessarily."
"So what would that be? For rhey will not be other rh an the one, if
indeed it is not."
- "No, they will nor."
"So they arc other than each other, since that is the only possibility
left, lest they be other than nothing."
- "That's right."
"So they each are other than each orher as multitudes, for they could d
not be so as ones, 'if one is not'. But, as i[ seems, each mass of them is
unlimited in multitude, and even if someone were to take what seemed
to be smallest, instantly, like a dream [appears] in sleep, instead of
appearing to be one it appears many, and instead of smallest it appears
enormous, in relation to [any] minute bits extracted from it."
- "That is right."
"It is [only] as masses of this sort rhar the others would be other than
each orher-if they are orher, and rhe one is nor."
"Q' " - une so.
210 Plato's Parmenides
, "S'"
.. ouxoDv noXAoL OYXOL EO'OV't'OCt, d.; CPlX.LVOP.EVOC;. CiJV e: QU,
Et7tEp EV ea't'(lt; ..
" oU't'w."
.. XOCL tipc.Bp.oc; DE: Elven OCLl"C'WV EtitEp x(xi EV EXOCO'''C'QV. TtOAAb>V
.. 7tO:VU YE,"
.. XOCL TcX fLE:V apt'tcx. 't'cX. OE: 1tEPt:t"t'OC EV cltJ't'oiC; QV't'1X aux OCA"f)&WC;
c.pOCLVE't'OCt. etrcEp EV EO''t"OCt.''
" ou yocp 00'01."
, "'" '129 ' - , - .1l0
.. Xcx.L x.cd. ap.txpo't'o::t'ov ye:, cpocp.e:v, OOSEt. ev ocu't'ou; Evet.v_Il.L
cpOCL'JE't'ClI.. OE: "COULD 7toAAa. XOCL !J.e:yIiAoc rrpoc; EKOCO''t'OV 't'wv 7tOAAWV WC;
crp.tXpwv ov't'wv."
.. 1tWC; S' DU; ..
.. xrxl raa:; 't"ai:; 1tOAAai:; xrxl afLtxpai:; Exrxa't"a:; ayxa:;
Elvrxt" au yllp iY.-J Ex El:; tArx't"'t"av
'l'rxtVOfLEVO:;, 1tplv El:; 't"o eAitEiv 't"ou't"o I)' &.v
" dx.6c;."
.. ouxoGv xcx.l. 1tpOC; (J.AAOV oyxov 7tEplXC; EXriJV, OCU't'OC; yE .
\ ""''' '" "
tI , , " , " I " "
oun rxpX1JV OU't"E 1tEPrx:; OU't"E fLEI1av EXWV:
.. - 0' ..
1t"(j 1J; ,,, ,.., I
.. Q"t'[, tid octJ"t'wv o't'c.tv 1:'[:; "t't. 't"j} ot(J;',I0tq: 't't 't'OU'tlUV 0',1, 1tpO
, , A
't"E 't""ij:; cipx"ii:; IXAIe" cid 'l'rxL"'t"rxt cipxTj, fLE't"rx 't"E 't"E E;EPrx
LI1tOAEt1tOfLeV1J 't"EAEU't"Tj, tv 'rE 't"0 fLea,!, IXAArx fLECJrxL't"EPrx 't"ou fLECJOU,
CJfL'XPO't"EprxOe, otll 't"o ouvrxCJitrxt !:vo:; rJ.u't"wv Exa.a't"ou
" '" - , ..
OC't'E OUX OV'tOC;; 'tou EVOC;;.
129 EV Heindorf: BT.
130 eve:Lvl1.:c.] '.1 e:!vocc. B: Ehocc. T.
131 T: B.
132 y< G. Hermann: T< BT.
Text and Translation: 164d-165b
"So won't there be many masses then, each appearing, but not being,
one, if indeed one is not to be?"
"J " - ust so.
"And they will seem to have [some] number, ifin fact each is also one, e
though they are many."
- "Certainly."
"And some among them appear even and some odd, without truly
being so, if in fact one is not to be."LB
- "Of course."
"Furthermore, we say, a smallest, too, will seem to be among them,
but this appears as a many, and [also] large in relation to each of that
many, because they arc smaller [still]."
- "Of course."
':And each mass will be conceived to be equal to these many small
things. For it could not, in appearance, shift from larger to less, before
seeming to enter an in-between state, and this would be [only] a sem-
blance of equality."u4
- "That's quite likely."
"So will it not appear to have a limit in relation to anorher mass, while
in relation to itself have neither beginning, nor Iimir [i.e., end], nor
- "How so?"
"Because whenever someone grasps something in thought as if it were
any of these [i.e., beginning, middle, or end], before rhe beginning b
another beginning always appears, and after the end a different end
remaining appears, and in the middle others more in rhe middle than
the middle [appear] but smaller, because ir is not possible to grasp each
of these as one, since 'the one is not'."
133 Again, Plato seems to have irrational numbers in mind.
134 Appearance vs. consistency: Onc must seek consistency-the mind provides
consistency even where there is none. er. 164d: the rhings will appear [0 have
number if they appear to have oneness, without actually having ir. If they are
many, rhey appear to have number; rhus, they appear to be odd and even,
etc. (i.e., all the mathematical rules should be applicable). Plato shows that
even ar the level of Doxa, rationaliry can be applied because of the mind's
penchant for recognizing or providing patterns, to seek whar is consistent.
Even if things appear in a certain way-wirhour actually being so-what
appears can nonetheless be counted. Thus, the rules for counting will apply.
212 Plato's Parmenides
.. OCAl).f)EO'TCl.TOC."
" &pU7tTea&ot< 1.1' OLI'-ot<, civOtyxYJ miv TO Ib, 0 a.v
.,fl. '" , "" A' '"''
'n:; fl.CXt-'(J -rn OI.<X.VOI.q.. yexp 7tOV O:VEU E'/O'; OCLEt. ' ':1.'.1.
.. 7tO:.'/U OU'I."
.. ouxoOv TO ye: TOI.OlrrOV 7tOppwSe:v OpW'J't't. X(lL EV
cpcd.ve:O-So:t.1.\7 eyyuDEv oe: VOOUVTL OC1tELPOV EV
KCXO-rOV cpo:.v-iivO'.I., e:t1tEP (J't'epE't'oct. TOO /LT, OV't'OC;: ..
.. I "
.. OUTW OC1tEt.PX 't'E XClL 1tepoc.; eXOVTCl. Kat EV XCXL 1tOA)..OC EX':1.O"TOC TtlAAtl
Set cpcx[vEaDcx(., EV El. EO''t'LV. 't'OCAArlI.
SE: TOO &v6.;,"
" od yOtp."
.. ouxoOv X.OCL O!J.OLcl 't'E xo:i. cXvo!-,-OI.OC e:Ivo:t.: ..
" 7til 0-1); "
.. orav iaxtctypexq:tl)flEVo:. a.1toO''t'cXVTL (.LEV EV TCciv'tIX q>o:.L'JO(J-EVcx. TCXlh'o'J
<:pocLvEaSoct. 1tE1tovSiv<X.t. xat O(.LOL(x elv!XI.. ...
.. 1tVU YE."
" 7tpOC1eA&6vn ot ye 7tOno: ,,<Xl. hepoc "oc, T0 TOU hipou 'POCVTOtC1I'-OCTt
E"t'EpoiC( xal cX',Iop.o!.O: E:ocu'toI:;,"
.. OVTW,"
.. xcx!. Kat rivo!-,-otouc; 'tou:; OYXOUI; elUTO,); 't'E E!>:U't'OtC; ocvocYX:1J
cpa;[ve:aDoc[. xcx.i.
.. !-LE\! ouv."
.. ouxoDv xoc!. -roin;; octrrouc; xo:.t k"tipouc; xCIi &'1t't'0!-levouc; XOCL
xwptc; e:cx.u't'wv, XOCL XLVOU!-lEVOUC; 7tocmXC; XCXL cJ"t<7r'C'cxc; 1tocv't'?l.
XCXL YLYVOtJ.EVOUC; XCXL OC1tOAAU!-levOUC; XOCL P.'fjSE't'EpOC. XCXL n:cX.v't'cx 1tOU "to:
"C'0!.3:0'tCX. Ci oLEA,seiv 'ijfJ.LV. ei EVOC; 1-'-1) 0'.1"(,0:; 1to)JI.a.. eCT'nv."
.. I'-E:v oUv."
135 SYj B: S. T.
136 ",lEl T: om. B.
137 iv b: BT.
138 corr. Yen. 189: ii.n .. B: "na. T.
Text and Translation: 165b-e
- "Very true,"
"So every being that someone grasps in thought must, I think, be
fractioned into minute bits, because without oneness, it would always
somehow be grasped as a mass."
"C . I "
- ertalJl y.
"So, if seen from afar and indistinctly, such a thing must necessarily
one, but [f observed from up close and grasped distinctly with
one s mInd, would each one necessarily seem to be unlimited in mul-
titude, if indeed it is deprived of oneness, since 'one is not'?"
- "Most necessarily, indeed."
"Thus, rhe others must each appear both unlimited and as having limir,
and both one and many, 'if one is not' but rhe 'other than rhe one, are'."
"V; h "
- cs, [ ey must.
"Won't they also seem to be both like and unlike?"
"I h '"
- n w at way.
:'As when, ro a distant viewer, all [the subjects] in a painting appear-
Ing one, seem to have rhe same qualifkations, and [thus] to be alike."
- "Certainly."
"But in coming closer they appear many and different, and, because
of this semblance of difference, they [appear] different in kind and
unlike themselves."
"] " - ust so .
"So these masses must also appear both like and unlike both themselves
and each other."
- "Of course."
"Consequently, they [the masses] must appear both the same as and
different from each other, both in contact with and separate from
themselves, both moving in all kinds of motions and in every way at
rest, both coming to be and ceasing to be and neither, and as all these
kinds of things somehow-which would be easy for us to go through
at this point-'if one is not' and 'many are."
- "Very (TUe indeed."
Plato's Parmenides
.. "E-ct 1t:XAtV btt e:t7C(J)!J.
eo'tt. 't'1i).),oc SE 'e'ou Ott dvr1.t.."
139 i.vd"!)] &V o(l) B: Et"!) T.
140 e1tL Schleiermacher: {ntO BT.
Text and Translation: 165e-166b
"Let uS return once again to the beginning and state what must be the
case, 'if one is not' but the 'others than t he one are'."
- "Yes, let us do so,"
"Well, the others will not be one."
- "Of course not."
"Nor will they be many, for if they were many, oneness would also be
present in them. But if none of them is [a] one, they are all nothing,
and thus they could not be many either."
"If oneness is not present in the others, the others are neither many
" nor one.
- No, they are not,"
"Nor do they appear one or many."
"Because the ochers are not in communion in any way whatsoever with
any of the 'things that are not'; and none of the 'things that are nor'
pertain to any of the others, since 'things that are noc' have no share
[of anything)."
"So neither opinion nor appearance regarding 'what is not' pertains
to the others; nor is 'what is not' conceived in any way whatsoever by
the others."
- "Certainly not."
elSO 'if onc is not', none of the others is conceived to be onc or many
either, since, without oneness, it is impossible to conceive of many." b
- "Yes, impossible."
"Therefore. 'if one is not', the others neither are nor are conceived to
be one or many."
- "It seems noc."
"So [they are] neither like nor unlike either of these."
"Indeed, they are neither the same nor different, neither in contact
nor separate, nor anything else that they appeared to be in our previ-
ous argument. The others neither are, nor appear to be, any of those
things, Cif onc is nor',"
216 Plato's Parmenides
.. OUXOU'.l xoct El. ditm/-LE'J. ev d Ecrnv. ouaEv ion'.'. ap,i:h7J;
c1;V e:L1tQc.!LE'J;
.. 7tocv't'O:itocO't. lLev ovv."
.. ToLvuv -rOUTO -rE XCIi. O"tt. w; EOLXEV. ev Eh eO't'L'J e:t-rE:
eOTtV, ocu"Co "('IS xa.L 't'eXAAOC xa:i 1tpO; ocu't'cX x.oc!. 7tpO;; a:A)..'rp\oc rcO:VTCX
1ta.v't'wC; eo'r[ "t'E xoct. aux. ECT't't. XOCt 'rE: x.cx!. OU .. e:'t'a.L."
.. OCA"tjltEO'TOC'tOC."
Text and Translation: 166c
"In short, if wc were to say, 'if one is nor, nothing is', would we nor be
speaking correctly?"
- "Absolutely."
tha.t also the folloWing, namely that, as it seems,
If onc IS or If [one] IS not, [rhen] it and the others both are and are
not, a.nd both appear and do not appear to be all things in all ways,
both In relatIOn to themselves and in relation to each other."
"Y; "
- cry true.
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Index Locorum
VI. 24 25n75
III 24n75
VI. 52-54 25n75
BI2 27nSO
B3 13n40. 23n73
Bll 23n73
20S.20-32 24n75
9S4b2 27nSO
24.529 27n78
9S6b30 27nSO
9S7b7-13 ISn49
9S7bS-1O ISn51
990b15 ISn50
Bl.3 16
991a13 24n75
B1.29 16
1024b32 24n75
Bl.31 77n4
1043b24-2S 26n76
B2.5-S 13n39
1043b2S 31nS9
B2.7-S 13n40
1091b6-1O 27n7S
B4 S9n2S
On MeNssus. Xenophanes and
B4.l 27nSO
Corgias (MXC)
B5 103n49
979b.22 139nS4.
B6 103n49
13n39. 13n40
On the Heave1lS
13n39. 13n40
29SblS 27n79
BS.2 27nSO
Diogenes Laertius
BS.2-6 IOIn47
BS.3 3SnlO3
11.65 25n76
BS.3-6 13n40
Ill. 1-17 24n75
BS.4 3SnlO3
VI. 1-2 25n76
236 Plato's Parmenides
Index Locorum
B8.8-9 13n39 129d-130a 20n60, 60,
137cff. 63n113 149d
B8.9- 1O 121070
137c- 166c 3, 7
150c 56
B8.15-16 101n46
130a 105051
137d 36,42 150c-151a
B8.16 91n33
130a-b 630113
138. 19n56,36 151.ff. 56
B8.17 13039, 13040
130b 29,69
138b 42 151b 38,44
B8.22 38n103
130c 70
138b-138c 83015 151d 44
B8.29 81n12
130c- d 19052
139. 42
151c-157b 44
B8.32 380103
131a-b 24075
139.1 113064 152a
B8.34- 35 27080
131.-133e 18049 139b 36,42 152b-d4
B8.38 38n103
132b 19055, 19n56
13%-140b 650119
155d 44-45
B8.3B-41 13n40
132b5 19052 139c 42 155d-e 44
132d 19056
140.-b 19n52
155e 44-45
B8.41 111062
133.5- 6 18049
140b 42 156. 45
B8.50 101n45
133b 19052,21n65 140d
13 156b 45
BB.55 27n80,37
133c IB050, 19 1410 20n61
156c 45
BB.55-59 13n40
133d-e 19056
141d 42 156d 46
B8.56-59 38n102
134.-b 20062
141e 20n61, 42
156d-c 46
B8.61 16
134a-e 19056 142. 33,42 157. 46
B9 37
134b 30 142a3-4 xvi
I 57.-b 46
134e- e 30 142b 43, 107n53 157b 46
134d-e 20062 142b-e 68
157e 47
889c 18n51
135. 21065,69
142c-d 30 157e 47
890b5-8 18n51
135b 3,6,26 142d 35098,36,43 158b 47, 183n110
890d 18051
135b-c 14,20064, 25,
43 158b-c 47
61 142d-e 19054
15Be 24075
Letter VII
I 35b5- c3 19052
142e 20n61, 43
15Bd 46-47
343b 65n118
135e 14,68
25075 158e 19n52
135e-d 56 143b-e 19n54
159a 47
126.-137e 7
135d-136e 22
144a 44 15% 48
127e 60
135e 20060, 57, 61,
144.-e 66 15ge
128. 7908, 101n43
105n51 144e 19n54
159d 48,66
128a-b 79n9
135e-136c 3, 15 144e
35n98 159d7 66, 1870113
12Bb 101n43, 105051.
135e5 19052
144d-145. 24n75 15ge
136. 67, 101043 145. 19054,36,44 15ge-160a 49
128d 23n73, 7909.
136d 6
145b 19n56. 44, 56 160. 48-49
137. 6 145e 36,44,56
160b 49
137b 65,7909, 146. 37,44,56
160cff. 23073
128e 63n113
107053 147c 19052 160d 50
129.-d 60 137b4-5 105051
147b 44 160d-e 13040
129d 11 137c 42,7909, 148.
19n52 160e 50
129d-e 63n113,68 105n51
148c- d 44 161. 50
238 Plato's Parmenides
Index Locorum
161b 50
161c 50
244d 32n90. 65n 117
161< 50 250cff. 20n59
162a 13n40 2S0e6ff. 63n113
162a- b 231173. 50 2SId 63nl13
162b 50 252b6ff. 63n 113
162e 50 253. 20n59 VI
163. 50 253.1 63nl13
VI 7.41
163b 50 253d 63n113
VI 9.5
xvi nl7
163c 51 2S4bff. 34n97
163d 51 254b6ff. 63nll3
Commentary on Aristotle! On [he
163e 51 254c 20n59,34n97
164. 51 255cl2 63nll3
164.-b 51 255e5 6311113
295, 1-22
164b 19n52. 51-52 256.11 63n114
164c 52 256c 63nll4
164d 52. 211n134 256e-259. 13n39 Theophrastus
164dff. 25n75 257b 34n97.63n1l4 De Sensibus
164c 24n75 257b-c 13n40 1.3
165. 52 258b-259b 13n40
165b 53
258e-259. 63nll4
165c 53 259a 20n59
165d 53 259a5 63nll3
165d-e 53 259c 71n122
165e 54 259c-d 63n114.71
166. 54
25ge 62n112
166b 54
25ge4 63nll3
166c 54
25ge 34n97
Phaedrus 260a 68nl21
261d 34n95 260.-261. 13n39
PhilebllS 262d4 63n113
15b-c 19n53 Stausmall
65. 18n51 283e 63n114
Republic Symposium
435. 18n51 211a-b 29n81
509 xv Theaetettls
596a 18n51 147d6 183nll0
147d-148b 24n75. 183nl1O
217c 8n19.9n21 183e 8n19. lln34
253.1 63n113 201dlO-202c6 31n87
253d 63n113 201dlO-202b8 33n92
General Index
Adomenas, Mamas 24n75
agnosdcism viii
Alfarabi xiv
AI Ghazzali xiv
Alleo, R. E. xxii, 8016, 10030,
Alvarez, Salas Omar Daoiel 24075
Ambucl, David 12037, 32091
Aoaxagoras 7, 23, 24075, 27080
Anoas, Julia 403,406, 509, 9020
Aoscombe, G. E. M. 15047
Anristheoes 16,23,24-25075,25,
Apelt, Otto xxii, 24075
Apology vii
aporiai (perplexiog difficulties) 70
arguments, eighr xxiii, 19n54, 26,
vast sea of 3, 103
Aristippus 16, 23, 24075, 25, 25076
Aristotle ix, xii, xiv-xv, xvii, 23,
27078-80,31089, 139084,
Aristoteles, (protagooist) 7-8, 11,
11033, 98-99, 102-105
Armsrrong, A. H. xvii n18
arheism ix
atomic viii
Sr. Augusrine xiv
Avicenna xiv
Beck, Maximiliao 12035
Beets, M. G. J. xxii
becoming ix, xiii, xiv, xviii, 12,
37, 119
being ix-xviii, 4, 12, 13n40,
19054, 20,20061,29-32,
oot-beiog 9-10, 10026,
12-14, 13040,23,23073,
BoStock, David 507, 33092
Bowra, C. M. 11031
Brehier, Emile xvii, xvii n18
Brickhouse, Thomas C. 508
Brisson, Luc xxii
Brocker, Waiter 30083
Brumbaugh, Robert S. xxii,7014,
23073, 24-25075
Bumet, Joho 405, 507, 12035,
Bumyeat, Myles F. 25-26076,
242 Plato's Parmenides
Chappell. Timo!hy 31nS9. 33n92
Cherniss, Harold 6nlO,24n75
Christianity xiv
Chrousr, Anron Hermann 12n37.
Chrysakopoulou, Sylvana xx, xxii,
Classen, C. Joachim 24n75
Coleridge, Samuel Taylar vii,
vii nI, xiii, xiii nl2
compresenr attributes, qualities 34,
36n99, 135, 199nl25 (see al,o
contradiction xiii, 13040, 22n71.
non-contradiction (Principle
of) 34, 35n9S, 43
Conway Morris, Simon ix, ix 05
Cooper, John xxii, 5n9, 33n92
Corclero, Gonzales 12n37
Cornford, Frands M. xxii, 12n36-
37, 13n41, 14n45, 15n46, lBn50,
24-25n75, 139nB4, 159nlO2
Cusa, Nicholas of x, xii, xvi
Dancy, R. M. 24n75
Dante viii, ix n3
Darwin, Charles ix
Demand, Nancy 24n75
Dcnys the Areopagite x
develop mentalism, developmentalist
5, 5nS, 6nll, 56
dialectic vii, xi, xiii, xix, 23, 77n4
Diels, Hermann IOSn5S
Diels, Hermann and Walther
Kranz 21n67
Divine xi, 20, 27, 27n7S, 62,
Divine Intellect viii
Dodds. Eric R. xv, xv n16
Edwards, Mark 4n I
Einstein, Albert xii
Eleatics, (see also Parmenides and
Zeno) 6n12, S, 10,21-22,
Elea!icism xii, 6n12, 13n41
empiricism viii
epistemology xxi
Eriugena, John Scot x, xiii
exercise theory vii
Ficino, Marsilio x
Fine, Gail 17n5S, 22n75
form x, xi, xv-xvi. 18-19, 18n50-
51, 37, 61, 67, 69, S0ff.
complex, interweaving of,
,ymploke 67
itself-by-itself, disassociation
of 19, 19n57, 19-20n5S,
2 9 - 3 2 , 6 2 , 6 ~ 6 9 , SO-S3
(See also simple)
panicipation, participants 17,
ISn49, 55, 5S, SO-SI
Theory of Forms 4-5,5n7,
6, 6n 10, 10, IOn29, 12n35,
14-16,22, 23n75, 25-26,
Fowden, Ganh xv n15
Fowler, H. N. 179n1OS
Frede, Doro!hea 9n20
Frede, Michael xxiii
Freud, Sigmund xii, xviii
Frye, P. H. 4n5
Fuller, Benjamin A. G. 24n75,
Furth, Montgomery 13n40
Gabirol, Solomon ibn xiv
Gill, Marie-Louise xxii, 12n35,
14n44, 64nl15, 79n9, 101n43,
107n53, l77nlO6
God x, xi-xii, xiv, ISn51, 59, 62,
Good (the) xv-xvi, ISn51, 27n78,
29-30, 56, 59, 70, S2-S3, 94-95,
Gorgia, xxiii, 13n40, 21n67, 23,
23n73, 24n75, 25,69, 139nS4,
Gould, S!ephen Jay ix, ix n4
Griswold, Charles L. 1On2S
Gurhrie, William K. C. xxii,
12n36-37, 13n3S, 24-25n75,
27nSO, 31nS9, 63n114
Hankey, Wayne x n6
Hedley. Douglas vii-xxiii,
xxii-xxiii, xxiv. 3
Hegel, Georg W. F. xi, xi n7, xiii,
xvi. xix, xx
Heidegger, Martin x, xiii
Heraclitus ix, xix-xx, 6n12, 34
Hermann, Arnold xxiv, lOn25,
13n3S, 13n42, 25n75, 91n35
Hesse, Hermann xviii
Hoyle, Fred viii
Humc, David viii
Ibn Arabi xiv
Ierodiakonou, Katerina XXIII
intelligible things (abstracts) 6, 55,
Irrational numbers 183n110,
Islam xiv
Israel, Jonathan xii, xii n9
General Index
itself-by-itself 19n57, 32-33, 35,
41-43,50,61,66,67-69, 105n51
(see also "form")
James, WilIiam xi, xi n8
Jowerr, Benjamin xiii
Judaism xiv
Jung, c. J. xviii
Kahn, Charles xxi, xxi n2, xxii-
xxiii, 5n9, 9n23, IOn2S, 57,
57n109, 64-65, 64nI15-116,
79n9, 105n51, 107n53
Karamanolis, George xxiii. xxiv
Karasmanis, Vassilis xxiii
Kerferd, George B. 25n75
Kindi xiv
Klibansky, Raymond x, xii nlO,
xiii, xiii nIl
Koumakis, Georgios xxii,4n5.
Lee, Henry D. P. Sn15
legacy (of Parmenides) vii, x-xii,
xiv, xvii, xxiv, 16,21-27
Leibniz, Gonfried Wilhelm xx
Levet!, M. J. 33n92
Liebrucks, Bruno 4n4, 30nS3
Macris, Costas xxiii
Maimonides xiv
Mann, Thomas xviii
Mascar6, Juan xvii 1119
McCabe, Mary Margaret 31nS4
McDonald, John M. S. 24n75
McDowell, John 31nS9
Megarians 4n5, 12n35, 14n43,
244 Plato's Parmenides
Meinwald. Constance xxii, 15046-

Mcister, Eckhan x, xiii
Miller, Mitchell xxi-xxii,7n13-14,
12n35, 17n48, 19n57, 22n71,
24n75, 57n107
Moderatus, of Gades xvi
Moerbeke, William of x
Mohr, Richard 24n75,30n82-84
monism ix, xi, xvii-xviii. 1.3041, 23
Most, Glenn xx, xxii, xxiv
Mulla Sudra xiv
Nails, Debra 8n16
name, naming. nameable 3. 13n40,
18n51, 19n57, 31-32, 32n90,
63,65, 65n1l9, 66n120, 67-68,
70,84-85,92-93, 124-125,
144-147, 172-173,206-207
Namrp, Paul 30n83
Navia, Luis E. 24-25n75-76
"neithtr/nor, " "both, .. .. and
"or" 34-39,42,44,48,51,53
Neoplatonism x, xiv-xvi
Nict7..5che, Friedrich x
not-being (OUK 9-10, 1On26,
49-51,59, 176-177, 198-199
one, (hrn) Uniry viii, x, xi. xii-xv,
xvi, xvii, 30n83, 34, 36-37, 39,
41-54, 64n1l5, 79n8-9, 107n53
One and the Many viii, ix,
One and the Many
problem 4, 20n61, 56,
One Itself (see also form,
itself-by-itself) xv, 31, 35,
One as not-Other 44,47-49,
52-53, 146-147
One plus Being. "Unit ofis"
41, 43, 46, 48-49, 65-66,
Onto rheology xiii
Ostwald, Martin 11 n32
other, Other than One 47-49,
152-153, 186-189, 194-195
Owen, G. E. L. vii, vii n2, 507
Palmer, John xxi-xxii, xxi nI,
1On27, 12n35, 13n38, 22n70,
Parmenides (of Elea) ix-x, xv, xviii,
xix-xxi, 7-8, 9n21, 9n24
dialogue's protagonist 3, 7
historical vii, xx, 8, 9021, 10
Poem ix, xx-xxi, 12, 13, 15,
22,33,35,37, 101n43
Aletheia, Reliable
Account 27, 35
Doxa, (belief, Opinions of
Mortals) 13n40,20n63,
27, 27n80, 35, 37-39,
93n36, 210-213,211n134
Parmenides vii, x-xi, xiii-xxiii,
First Part 5n7, 8-7, 16-17,
55, 59, 62, 69-70, 83n16
Second Part xi, xvi, xxiii, 3,
7-8, 13n41, 15, 17, 18n51,
19n54, 19n57, 22, 22n72,
30, 33-34, 34n94, 38,
38n103, 54-71, 83n16,
Sr. Paul x,66n120
Pericles 10-11
Peterson, Sandra 66n120
Pha.do vii, 12n35, 14n43, 14n45,
Phaedrus vii
Philo of Alexandria xiv
Plato ix-x, xiii
Academy xiv, xvi, 9, 9n21,
Unitarian) 5-6, 5n8, 6n11,
Platonism x-xii, xiv-xv
Plminus xiv-xvii, xvii n18
Middle Platonism xv
plurality viii-ix, 43, 52, 57, 60,
66-67, 178-179
pluralists xi-xii
Presocracic(s) ix, xix, 7. 15-16,21,
24, 26,62
Proclus x. xiii. 78n6, 84n18,
86n20, 86n22,8Bn25, 90n30-31,
102n48, 108n55, 108n57-58,
1l0n59, 114n66, 132n78
Protagoras 23, 23-24n75, 25, 69
Pythagoras xX,6n12
Pythagorean xii, xix-xx, 6n 12,
number theory 23
Pythagoreanism 24n75
Pythodorus 8, 11, lln32-33,
74-77, 82-83, 98-99, 102-103
Rangos. Spyees xxiii
Reason, reasoning x, 18n51, 31, 57,
Principle of Sufficient
Reason 121 n70
Generallndex 245
Republic vii, xv-xvi, 7n13, 17,
18n51. 23n74
Rees, Sir Martin viii
Reynard, Jean 4n1
Rickless, Samuel xxii, 12n35,
15n47, 57, 57n106
Robinson, Thomas M. 25n75
Rorty, Richard x
Ross, William D. 18n50-51,
25n75, 34n97, 64n115
Runia, David T. 4n1
Ryle, Gilbert vii, vii n2, 5n7, Bn17,
Sankara xvii
Sayee, Kenneth M. xxii,7nI4,
Schofield, Malcolm 24n75
science viii
Schopenhauer, Arthur xviii
Schudoma, Ingeborg xxii,
Scolnicov, Samuel xx, xxii, 12n35,
13n38, 24-25n75, 64nl15
Sedley, David 33n92
Seei, Gerhard xxi-xxii,6nI2,
1Bn50-51, 35n98,
36n100, 54n105
self-predication 65n1l9,66n120
simata, landmarks, characteristics
13n40, 27, 34, 34n94, 35-38,
38n103,39, 10ln47
heterogeneous 13n40,27
homogeneous 13n40, 27, 38
sensible things, (tangibles) 15n47,
17-27, 18n51, 35, 55, 60-62, 67,
Shorey, Paul xiii, xiii n14, 6nlO,
19n53, 19n58, 21n66, 25n75,
36n99, 198n122-124
246 Plato's Parmenides
simple 29-36,39,41-42,48-51,
53-54, 57, 61, 63, 65-66,
Smith, Nicholas D. 5n8
Socrates 21n67, 22, 59
historical 8, 9n21, 10, 10n29,
lln33, 21n67, 24
protagonist 7,11-12, l1n33,
14-16, 19,25,29-30,
'"Dream of" 31, 31nB9, 32,
Sophist xxi, xxiii, 8-9, Bn19, 9n21,
9n24, IOn26-27, 12-13, 12n35,
13n3B-40, 17,20, 20n59, 20n61,
34n97, 55, 57, 59, 62-63, 62n 112,
63nI13-114, 65, 65n117, 67-68,
68n121, 70-71, 7111122, 105n51
Sophisr(s) xix, 10, IOn27, 12n37,
13n38, 22,
Sophistic 10, 13n38, 16, 24,
space viii, 56
Spciser, Andrcas 4n2
Spinoza, Baruch xi-xii, xx
Srallbaum, Apelt 24n75
Suhrwardi xiv
symploke (sce "form," complex,
Symposium vii,29n81
Taylor, A. E. 4n5, 12n35-36,
IheaeutUJ vii, ix-x, 5n7, 8-9, Bn19,
11n34, 19n57, 21, 24n75, 31-32,
34, 59,
65n11B, 183n110
Theodorus of Cyrene 23, 24n75,
theology ix, xi, xiv-xvi. 4, 4n1
Theslcff, Holger 7, Bn1B, 9n20-21,
SI. Thomas x
Timaeus xv, 5n7, 9n21, 29n81
time viii-ix, 41-42, 44-46,51, 56,
7L 120-123, 160-173
Turnbull, Robe" G. xxii, 131138,
uniformity viii
universe vii - viii, xi-xii
Upanishatb xvii
Vcdic scriptures xvii
Vlastos, Gregory vii, vii 02
Wagner. Richard xviii
Weingarrner, Rudolph H. 15n46
Whitehead, Alfred North xi
Wiggins, David 12n37
Wittgenstcin. Ludwig xviii-xx, 33.
Wood, Kclsey 12n35
Woodbury, Leonard 13n40
Wundr. Max xxii
Xenophanes xix, 20n63, 22, 27
Zena of El ea 7-8, 9n21, 11, 11n33,
22, 22n72, 22n71, 23, 24n75, 25,
33-34, 60-61, 67, 74/ [. 77n3,
79n9, 101n43, 139n84,
Zilioli, Ugo 231175
By Being, It Is: The Thesis ofPannenides by NestDr-Luis Cordero
To Think Like God: Pythagoras and Parmenidrs. The Origh/S of
Philosophy. Scholarly and fully annotaced edidon by Acnold
The Illustrated To Think Like God: Pythagoras and Panner/ides.
The Origins of Philosophy by Arnold Hermann with over 200 full
calor illustrations.
The Legacy of Parmenides: Eleatic Monism and Later Presocratic
7hought by Patricia Curd
Parmmides and the History of Dialectic: Three Essays by Scott
The Route of Parmenides: Revised and Expanded Edition, With a New
Introduction. Three Supplemental Essays, and an Essay by Gregory
Vlastos by Alexander P. D. Mourelatos
The Frag11lmts ofParmenides: A Critical Text with Introduction
alld Translation. the ATlriem Testimonia and a Commentary
by A. H. Coxon. Revised and Expanded Edition edited with
new Transladons by Richard McKirahan and a new Preface by
Malcolm Schofield
God and Forms in Plato by Richard D. Mohr
Image and Pamdigm in Plato's Sopbist by David Ambuel
Interpreting Plato's Dialogues by J. Angelo Corlett
One Book, the Whole Universe: Platos Timaeus Today edited by
Richard D. Mohr and Barbaea M. Sattler
The Philosopher in Plato's Statesman by Mitchell Miller
Platonic Patterns: A Collection of Studies by Holger Theslelf
Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved by Kennelh M. Say le
Plato's Parmenides: Text, Translation & Introductory Essay by
Arnold Hermann. Translation in collaboration with Sylvan a
Chrysakopoulou and a Foreword by Douglas Hedley
Plato's Universe by Gregory VlastDs
One and Many in Aristotle's Metaphysics-Volume I Books Alpha-
Delta by Edward C. Halper
One and Many in Aristotle's Metapbysics-Volume 2: The Central
Books by Edward C. Halper