Topics in Ancient Philosophy
Purpose: An analysis of Plato’s dialogue Sophist
Description: In antiquity as well as in modern times, many philosophers have wondered about the concept of not-being. For instance, many philosophers have maintained that the idea of a creation ex nihilo is absurd. But it is in the area of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind that the problem of not-being becomes really troublesome: how is it possible to speak of what is not or to think of it? If speaking of what is not is to speak falsely, and to think of what is not is to make a false judgement, one might even feel compelled to aver the completely counter-intuitive claim that it is impossible to speak falsely and to make a false judgement. This course will address the solution to this problem offered in Plato’s Sophist. This dialogue will be analysed in its details and its most important passages will be carefully commented on.
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—— ‘Plato and the Copula’ = Allen (1965), 207–18.
Allen, R.E. (ed.), Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics, London (Routledge & Kegan Paul) 1965.
Bluck, R. S., Plato’s Sophist. A Commentary, ed. by G. C. Neal, Manchester (Manchester University Press) 1963.
Bostock, D., ‘Plato on “Is Not” (Sophist 254–9)’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 2 (1984) 89–119.
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—— ‘Innovation and Continuity: The Battle of Gods and Giants, Sophist 245-249’, in Gentzler, J. (ed.), Method in Ancient Philosophy, Oxford (Clarendon Press) 1998, 181-207.
Crivelli, P., Plato’s Account of Falsehood: A Study of the Sophist, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 2012.
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Keyt, D., ‘Plato on Falsity: Sophist 263B’, in Lee, E.N., Mourelatos, A.D.P., and Rorty, R.M. (eds.), Exegesis and Argument: Studies in Greek Philosophy Presented to Gregory Vlastos, Assen (Van Gorcum) 1973, 285–305.
Kostman, J.P., ‘False Logos and Not-Being in Plato’s Sophist’ = Moravcsik (1973), 192–212.
Lee, E.N., ‘Plato on Negation and Not-Being in the Sophist’, The Philosophical Review, 81 (1972) 267–304.
Lewis, F.A., ‘Plato on “Not”’, California Studies in Classical Antiquity, 9 (1976) 89–115.
Malcolm, J., ‘Plato’s Analysis of τὸ ὄν and τὸ μὴ ὄν in the Sophist’, Phronesis, 12 (1967) 130–46.
McDowell, J., ‘Falsehood and Not-Being in Plato’s Sophist’, in M. Schofield and M. Craven Nussbaum (eds.), Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient Greek Philosophy Presented to G.E.L. Owen, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 1982, 115–34.
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Notomi, N., The Unity of Plato’s Sophist: Between the Sophist and the Philosopher, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press) 1999.
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Pelletier, F.J., Parmenides, Plato, and the Semantics of Non-Being, Chicago and London (University of Chicago Press) 1990.
Philip, J.A., ‘False Statement in the Sophistes’ Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 99 (1968) 315–27.
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van Eck, J., ‘Falsity Without Negative Predication: On Sophistes 255e–263d’, Phronesis, 40 (1995) 20–47.
—— ‘Plato’s Logical Insights: On Sophist 254d–257a’, Ancient Philosophy, 20 (2000) 53–79.
—— ‘Not-Being and Difference: On Plato’s Sophist, 256D5–258E3’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, 23 (2002) 63–84.
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Wiggins, D., ‘Sentence Meaning, Negation, and Plato’s Problem of Non-Being’ = Vlastos (1971), 268–303.