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Plato’s Parmenides in Plato’s Sophist

David Horan

Résumé

I wish to argue in this article that Plato, in considering the position of the monists in the Sophist, relies heavily upon arguments carried forward from the Parmenides. Accordingly, I argue, he invokes, in turn, three understandings of what one means, imported from the Parmenides, and finds that all of them fall short, and generate aporiai, when they are used in the Sophist as the basis for an account, not of the one, as in the Parmenides, but of being, or “what is”. In fact I shall argue in this paper that an entirely coherent reading of the overall challenge to the monists in the Sophist, beginning with the naming argument, or names’ argument, through to the argument about the whole, only emerges if we take account of the arguments of the Parmenides, and three conceptions of what “one” is, taken from that dialogue.

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Introduction

  • 1 Kahn (2007), p. 35.
  • 2 Taylor (1961), p. 40.
  • 3 In the passage (244b6–245e5) devoted to the dialectical examination of the position of τῶν ἓν τὸ πᾶ (...)
  • 4 Cf. the final emphasis on ἀπεράντους ἀπορίας at 245d12.
  • 5 “Being” and “what is” are used interchangeably throughout this article to render τὸ ν.
  • 6 “Naming argument” and “names’ argument” are used interchangeably throughout this article to refer t (...)
  • 7 Soph. 244d14–245d7.
  • 8 Cf. Taylor (1929): “this short section of the Sophistes assumes and recapitulates the difficulties (...)

1Charles Kahn refers to the Theaetetus and Sophist as standing “as it were, in the shadow of the Parmenides”.1 Indeed, it is not unreasonable to assume that, having dealt extensively with the topic of the one in the Parmenides, Plato would not see fit to repeat such arguments in discussion elsewhere. If we are prepared to accept this possibility, then we would expect to find that the Sophist draws upon what has already been established or argued for in the Parmenides, whenever the topic of the one requires further consideration. As Taylor once put it in his Introduction to the Sophist: “It is scarcely possible to doubt that Plato is writing with these ingenious dialectical arguments [from the Parmenides] in his mind”.2 It is also, I suggest, reasonable to presume that Plato would give some indication as to where in the Parmenides the relevant arguments might be located, and how they may be applied to the developing argument in the Sophist. Accordingly, I wish to argue in this article that Plato, in considering the position of the monists in the Sophist,3 invokes, in turn, three understandings of what one means, imported from the Parmenides, and finds that all of them fall short, and generate aporiai,4 when they are used as the basis for an account, not of the one, but of being, or what is.5 In fact I shall argue in this paper that an entirely coherent reading of the overall challenge to the monists in the Sophist, beginning with the naming argument, or names’ argument,6 through to the argument about the whole,7 only emerges if we take account of the arguments of the Parmenides, and its three conceptions of what “one” is.8

Three tasks

2This paper has three sections, undertaking three tasks which I summarise here and elaborate fully through the course of the article. I wish to argue, firstly, that the argument of the Sophist presents us, commencing at 244b9-10, with the pure simplicity of a one that is strictly devoid of multiplicity. Up to this point in the Sophist, nothing really prepares us for such a one, and it is not obvious that any historical monists ever held such a conception of the one, as strictly and entirely non-multiple, or indeed had developed the resources to defend such a concept of what one means. However, such a concept of the one is, I suggest, present in the first hypothesis (H1) of the Parmenides, if this is not read as a pure reductio. Accordingly, I wish to make the case that the argument of the Sophist, at this point, relies upon the one of H1 of the Parmenides.

3Secondly, the Sophist argument introduces explicitly, at 244d11–12, the concept of an existent one, or “one being” as distinct from, and as a weakening of, the strict non-multiplicity of the pure and simple one that was initially referred to. While such a distinction may be obvious from the text of the Sophist, the idea that this latter, existent, one represents a retreat from, and a weakening of, the absolute simplicity of the Stranger’s first conception of the one, does require defence. No such defence is present in the Sophist argument. Such a defence is present in the second hypothesis (H2) of the Parmenides. Accordingly, I wish to make the case that the Sophist argument relies upon H2 of the Parmenides.

4Thirdly, the Sophist argument beginning at 245a1, emphasises the fact that such an existent one constitutes a whole with parts. The conception of the one, as constituting a whole, is then presumed to be weaker, again, than both the pure one, and the existent one. It is not clear from the text of the Sophist why this should be the case, as this further weakening is merely presented, not defended, in the Sophist. A defence is required. The third hypothesis (H3) of the Parmenides provides such a defence (157b5–159b1). Accordingly, I wish to make the case that the argument of the Sophist relies upon H3 of the Parmenides.

5Furthermore, I shall argue that the reading I propose gives an overall coherence to our understanding of the engagement with the monists in the Sophist, so that the naming argument is strongly connected to the succeeding overall argument, and leads naturally to related, but altered, conceptions of the one which derive successively from H2 and H3 of the Parmenides.

Two dialogues

  • 9 Parm. 137b3, trans. Gill & Ryan. For the Parmenides, in this article, I follow the text of Burnet ( (...)

6We should of course note the obvious contrast between the nature of the subject matter in the two dialogues. In the Parmenides, the enquiry is introduced by Parmenides himself as “about the one itself” (περὶ τοῦ ἑνὸς αὐτοῦ).9 In the Sophist, when the discussion with the monists is initiated, it is decided to enquire from them:

τί ποτε λέγουσι τὸ ν

  • 10 Soph. 244b7, trans. Rowe. For the Sophist, in this article, I follow the text of Duke et al. (1995) (...)

what exactlly they [the monists] say being is? 10

  • 11 Soph. 244b9–10, trans. Rowe.

7So, in the first case, the enquiry is concerned with the one, while in the second case, the enquiry is concerned with being, or, more precisely, with the meaning of a particular formulation of what being is, contained in the phrase “one is all there is” (ἕνμόνον εἶναι)11. Accordingly, if Plato is applying arguments and conclusions about the one, drawn from the Parmenides, to the discussion of the nature of being with the monists in the Sophist, he may well be testing the applicability of argumentative material on the one, already set out in the Parmenides, to the exploration of the nature of being in the Sophist.

  • 12 Soph. 243d6–244b5. I am using the label “dualist(s)” in the same well-established way as McCabe (20 (...)

8The challenge to the monist’s position in the Sophist is apparently presented as an attempt to consider what a certain group of philosophers, the monists, have to offer to the enquiries into of the nature of things that are, and of being. Plato may well have had his reasons for testing the relevance of certain groups of philosophers in the context of the overall enquiry in the Sophist. He may well have decided that the monists represented an important or influential philosophical viewpoint, which had to be taken into account in any comprehensive review of such subjects. But for Plato, monism, closely associated as it is here with the figure of Parmenides, is surely more than just another philosophical school, simply on a par with, say, the dualists discussed just before.12

  • 13 This is nowadays universally agreed upon: see the broad, cautious chronology in Rowe (2015), p. xxx (...)
  • 14 Clearly marked by τόδε τοίνυν ἀποκρινέσθων at 244b9: “So let them answer us this” (trans. Rowe). Ev (...)
  • 15 Soph. 244b9–10, trans. Rowe.

9By the time he writes the Sophist, Plato has already written the Parmenides,13 in which the figure of the historical Parmenides looms large, seeming indeed to fly in the face of the arguments and principles presented in his own poem. In the light of this, I think we might understand Plato’s reference to Parmenides’ own poem, at Sophist 244e3-5, to indicate that he is not merely exploring the views of a particular philosophical school, but that he is invoking the arguments of his own previous dialogue in order to test their applicability to the present discussion. Accordingly, when the monists, at the very beginning of the dialectical examination of their position in the Sophist,14 state that “one is all there is” (ἕνμόνον εἶναι),15 we should not be surprised to find that such a position is explored, in the ensuing argument, by relying upon arguments about the nature of the one, drawn from the Parmenides.

Strong monism and the first hypothesis

  • 16 Like Castagnoli I borrow this phrase from McCabe (2000), p. 69, where she says: “Strong monists sup (...)

10The monist position is summarised in the Sophist by the formulation “one is all there is” (ἕνμόνον εἶναι), and in the light of this formulation the Stranger wonders what exactly the monists, who adhere to such a formulation, mean by “being”. I wish to argue that the concept of one to which the monists are apparently committed at Sophist 244b9 by their claim that “one is all there is” (ἕνμόνον εἶναι), is that of the one of H1 of the Parmenides. Based upon such an understanding of what one is, the monists will have difficulty in giving a coherent account of being. Such a one is totally devoid of multiplicity and this strict non-multiplicity prevents the one of H1 from being a whole or having parts, prevents it from entering into any relations with anything, even itself, and consequently it cannot even be (exist), since it cannot partake of being, nor indeed can it have a name. Like McCabe and Castagnoli, I shall refer to this position as “strong monism” according to which “there is only one thing ever ”.16 Accordingly, when they are asked if being is the same as the one we might assume that they will wish to respond that being is the same as this one, since, according to them, one is all there is, so there cannot be anything else. Such a response would certainly prevent them from having to concede that their one is in any way multiple and that there are two things included in it, namely one and being. Such a concession would be a departure from, or weakening of, their strong monist position according to which there is only one thing ever.

11Perhaps, then, there is just one thing, and being and one are two names for the same thing, but what about these two names, ‘one’ and ‘being’? Indeed, when they are asked to account for this multiplicity of names in the face of their claim that one is all there is, they apparently encounter their first aporie, by which, as Gill explains:

  • 17 Gill (2012), p. 95.

The numerical monist cannot even state his position without introducing plurality, and that is reason enough to reject it.17

12Now, did any historical monists ever hold to such a pure and indeed extreme monist position? Parmenides’ poem uses the phrase,

  • 18 Fr. 8, 4. See Kirk, Raven & Schofield (1983), p. 248f.

whole and of a single kind” (οὖλον μουνογενές τε);18

13If one is all there is, and that one, which is all there is, is “whole and of a single kind”, then that one is a multiple entity. Indeed Theaetetus, in the Sophist, will go on to say that the monists do indeed maintain that their one is a whole and admit that it has parts. So it seems that even Plato himself is not insisting that any historical monists, known to him, ever held that a strictly non-multiple one, apparently like the one of H1, is what they had in mind when they said that “one is all there is”. Yet this strong monism is nevertheless presented as an initial understanding of the monists’ position in the Sophist.

14Following the argument based upon names, the Stranger seems to assume that the monists will have retreated from this strong monism. For how else could he justify his next question?

τὸ ὅλον ἕτερον τοῦ ὄντος ἑνὸς ταὐτὸν φήσουσι τούτῳ [ = τῷ ὄντι ἑνὶ]

  • 19 Soph. 244d14–15, trans. Rowe.

What then of the whole? Will they claim it to be different from the ‘one being’, or the same thing as it ? 19

15Here we are asked about a multiple entity, τὸ ὂν ἕν, “the ‘one being’”. This must, indeed, be a multiple entity, because the question implies that there is something other than one, that is characterised as being one. If one and being are the same, or the two words, one” and “being”, indicate a single referent, then this question cannot really be formulated in this way. So we should try to be clearer as to how the monists are eventually questioned about “the ‘one being’” when they were initially trying to insist that “one is all there is”. Once they allow this second line of questioning about “the ‘one being’” to begin, they are faced with an implied retreat from their strong monism, because the very mention of “the ‘one being’” implies that there is something else, other than one, a something which has the characteristic of being one.

16To sum up: the argument based upon names, which represents the Stranger’s initial examination of monist position, allows him, in the next section of his engagement with them, to pose a further question about an entity called τὸ ὂν ἕν. Once they accept that this questioning about τὸ ὂν ἓν is fair, they have actually, somehow or other, conceded that there can be such a thing as τὸ ὂν ἕν, which is not just the simple one itself. Therefore they cannot avoid the further consequences of the Stranger’s challenge to their position, a challenge to which they do not seem to be able to offer any adequate response.

  • 20 Palmer (1999), p. 179.
  • 21 Parm. 142a3: οὐδ' ἄρα ὄνομα ἔστιν αὐτῷ (“Therefore no name belongs to it”, trans. Gill & Ryan).

17But why does the Stranger assume that the monists ever held such a pure and absolute conception of what ‘one’ designates? Why is such a concept introduced in the Sophist at all, when it is obviously very hard to defend and falls so easily to what appears, at first sight, to be an almost facile argument about names and their referents? The names’ argument does however make the initial monist position very clear: the one in question is totally devoid of multiplicity to such an extent that there is not even room for a name. Whether any historical monists ever held such an extreme view is surely questionable and Plato, at least according to Palmer, probably recognised that Parmenides himself regarded “what—is as both one and many”,20 and this is not a strong monist’s position. Nothing in the Sophist up to this point prepares us for the introduction of a strictly non-multiple one. However, H1 of the Parmenides does present such a one. I think we must accept, therefore, that the exploration of the monist position begins with the introduction of the one of H1 from the Parmenides, and tests whether or not a coherent understanding of “one is all there is” can follow from such an austere conception of the one. Of course the one of H1, according to the argument in the Parmenides,21 cannot even have a name because, to have a name, it would have to enter into a relation, be known as so named, and thus become multiple and therefore not strictly one and entirely devoid of multiplicity. The argument that there cannot even be a name for such a strictly non-multiple one is thus already familiar from the Parmenides.

  • 22 Gill and Ryan translation of τὸ ὂν ν at Parm. 142d2.

18I see an important issue here for our reading of this Sophist passage. Following the names’ argument, the Stranger, as I have said, relies upon the fact that he can ask a question about “that which is one”22 or “the ‘one being’” (τὸ ὂν ν), as this question enables him to progress his challenge to the monists. His justification for asking them anything at all about τὸ ὂν ἓν can only come from the preceding argument about names, because strong monists would feel obliged to challenge the very notion of something called τὸ ὂν ἕν. I therefore wish, first of all, drawing upon the analysis of other scholars, to assess the argumentative force of the names’ argument, in its own right and as it occurs in the Sophist, in order to determine whether or not it contains sufficient material to justify the Stranger’s introduction of τὸ ὂν ἕν, and assumption that the names’ argument has justified its introduction. If the names’ argument, purely as presented in the Sophist, does not obviously falsify strong monism, and justify the Stranger’s introduction of “the ‘one being’”, then Plato must, I suggest, be relying upon additional material and arguments, from the Parmenides, and making the assumption that the reader is familiar with these.

Does the names’ argument refute strong monism?

  • 23 Castagnoli (2010), pp. 218ff.
  • 24 McCabe (2000), pp. 60–73.

19Castagnoli,23 referring to the previous work of McCabe,24 analyses the names’ argument extensively as an instance of self-refutation:

  • 25 Castagnoli (2010), p. 220.

The proponents of the all is one are unable to stand by their thesis when asked to account for it; not only is the actual way in which they have presented it incompatible with their thesis, but there is no alternative way of coherently advancing it, since any sentence they may use, by including one distinct subject and one distinct predicate, will be inconsistent with the propositional content it is meant to express. The strong monists get caught in a ludicrous position, because, however they phrase their thesis, they thereby contradict it implicitly, as testified by their embarrassment when they are asked to grant the consequences of their words openly.25

  • 26 Castagnoli (2010), p. 221.

20His overall argument here is that any assertion that the monists use to present their thesis will be incompatible with the propositional content of that very thesis. Castagnoli then has to consider a further question (which is one of the recurrent themes of his book), as to whether or not the monist thesis may thus be rejected as false.26 He first points out that actual falsification of their thesis is certainly at stake here because

by their assertion the monists actually exemplify the existence of more than one word.

  • 27 Ibid., p. 222, citing McCabe (2000), p. 71.

21And yet the question remains: is their thesis actually falsified here? In the end, Castagnoli cannot insist that there has been actual falsification. Their theory, he says, echoing McCabe,27 demands silence because any open assertion thereof falsifies the theory itself. However he states:

  • 28 Castagnoli (2010), p. 224.

the cognate position according to which the all is one had been reduced to stupid silence or meaningless babbling (the one is one of one), but had not been explicitly rejected as false.28

22McCabe too ponders this question:

  • 29 McCabe (2010), p. 79.

The first [question] is about the dialectical strategy itself: How successful is it as a counter-argument? Monism might be unstateable, dialectically indefensible, but still true; materialism might be impossible to discuss, but it may still be the fact of the matter.29

23But, as we have already noted, the Stranger moves to the next stage of the argument by posing the question:

  • 30 See p. 4 of this paper.

[is] it [the whole (τὸ ὅλον)] different from the ‘one being’, or the same thing as it? 30

24Accordingly, we must ask how, by going on to discuss ὅπερ ἕν, at 244c1, in terms of τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός, at 244d14, the Stranger is justified in such a move. How can he justify introducing a multiple entity, like “the ‘one being’” (τὸ ὂν ἕν), at this stage of the argument, unless the previous stage of the argument has somehow established that what the monists call, and regard as, one is not all there is? The very fact that the phrase τὸ ὂν ἓν has any coherence or intelligibility relies upon the existence of two things: one and being. If this were not the case, and there were indeed only one thing ever, then we could never have a multiple entity such as τὸ ὂν ν. And yet, as we have seen, neither Castagnoli nor McCabe is comfortable with the claim that the names’ argument, solely as presented in the Sophist, justifies the rejection of the strong monist position as false.

25I think that this outcome must have been obvious to Plato. He must have realised that the names’ argument alone, as presented in the Sophist, does not adequately justify the rejection of the strong monist position as false. I also find it difficult to accept that Plato, recognising that the preceding argument, as presented in the Sophist, had not adequately paved the way for the introduction of τὸ ὂν ἕν, would have proceeded with the next stage of the argument nevertheless. I think we must come to some understanding of the preceding names’ argument, whereby it properly justifies the introduction of τὸ ὂν ν; and I think we can accept, from the rigorous scrutiny that it has received from Castagnoli, McCabe and many others, that the names’ argument, on its own, as stated in the Sophist, does not really provide us with such an understanding.

  • 31 Parm. 142a3, 4–5: “Therefore, no name belongs to it, … it is not named …” (οὐδ' ἄρα ὄνομα ἔστιν αὐτ (...)

26One immediate response to this concern over the strength of the names’ argument, might be to supplement it with the complex argument from the Parmenides, whereby the strictly non-multiple one of H1 cannot have a name.31 This argument is complex because the conclusion that the one of H1 cannot have a name comes at the end of the entire argument of the first hypothesis with all of its intricacies. If the entire H1 argument is required in order to supplement the names’ argument and give it additional force, it is quite understandable that Plato would decide not to reprise it in the Sophist. Nevertheless, he may well have intended the reader to understand the naming argument in the Sophist as invoking, and as supplemented by, the H1 argument, according to which the strictly non-multiple one of H1 cannot, inter alia, have a name. I wish however to suggest that there is another argument from the Parmenides, which Plato may be relying upon to justify the Stranger’s introduction of “the ‘one being’” in the Sophist.

A stronger case against strong monism

  • 32 Parm. 141e9, trans. Gill & Ryan.

27Although it is inferred, near the end of H1 in the Parmenides that, inter alia, “the one in no way partakes of being” (οὐδαμῶς ἄρα τὸ ἓν οὐσίας μετέχει),32 there is no suggestion in that argument, that there is no such thing as being. The H1 argument merely indicates that a one, entirely devoid of multiplicity, cannot partake of being. This leads Cornford to remark, about the strictly non-multiple one of H1, that

  • 33 Cornford (1939), p. 133.

this cannot be a satisfactory account of Unity itself, but we must at least add 'being' to unity, as we proceed to do in the next Hypothesis [= H2] 33

  • 34 Parm. 142d1–2: εἰ τὸ ἔστι τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος λέγεται καὶ τὸ ἓν τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός (“if we state the ‘is’ of (...)

28Now in H2 of the Parmenides Plato has already made the case, in a careful argument (142b5-c5) to which the respondent ultimately replies “necessarily” (ἀνάγκη, 142c5), that one and being are not the same. The Stranger does not reprise that same argument in the Sophist when the monists are faced with the question of whether or not one and being are indeed the same. Their position is challenged instead by the argument based upon names and their associated multiplicity. We have seen that this latter argument, as presented in the Sophist, does not obviously justify, on its own, the rejection of the strong monist position as false. But if we are prepared to accept that Plato has already argued, in the Parmenides, that one and being are not the same, then we can surely accept too that he might not repeat the Parmenides argument to respond to the monists in the Sophist, and might instead assume, our familiarity with that argument. However, after he has concluded the names’ argument, the Stranger does use this very phrase, τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός, the very phrase that occurs in H2 of the Parmenides,34 immediately after the very argument referred to above, in which it is shown that one and being are not the same. Is Plato therefore relying, tacitly, upon a part of the H2 argument from the Parmenides to argue that one and being are not the same, and to provide his justification for the introduction of a multiple entity called “the ‘one being’”?

29Allen summarises the first part of this H2 argument as follows:

  • 35 Allen (1997), p. 247.

The Proof that Unity and the being of Unity are not identical is a complex instance of modus tollens. If the being of Unity were the same as Unity, then (i) the being of Unity would not be the being of it (but rather, it would be Unity); (ii) Unity would not partake of that being (but rather, it would be that being): (iii) the statements “Unity is Unity” and “Unity is” would be identical in meaning, since there would be no distinction between the being of Unity and Unity. It is assumed that these connected consequences are false, since the statements are not identical in meaning, and “is” signifies something different from “is Unity” (or “is one”). So if Unity is, that must mean that Unity partakes of Being.35

30In his translation and in his commentary, Allen consistently renders τὸ ἓν as “Unity” and here he summarises the H2 argument whereby one (Unity) and being are shown not to be the same. He then points out the contrast between what occurs here in H2 and how the argument unfolded in the first hypothesis (H1, which he refers to as I 1):

  • 36 Allen (1997), p. 247.

But whereas in I 1 we were led to a Unity which excluded all plurality, we are now to attend to the important fact that Unity has been assumed to exist.36

  • 37 Soph. 244b12: “Well, is there something you call being?” (τί δέ ; ὂν καλεῖτέ τι ;), trans. Rowe.

31It is this “important fact that Unity (one) has been assumed to exist”, coupled with the definition that “to be” (exist) means to partake of being, that is the starting point for the modus tollens argument which he summarises. We may now remind ourselves that, in the Sophist, the monists are asked if there is something they call ‘being’.37 They readily answer in the affirmative, presumably because, when they claim that “one is all there is”, they intend that the one in question does actually exist. If they were somehow to assert that one is all there is, but the one in question does not partake of being, and therefore does not exist, their position would begin to become absurd. But they then face the challenge of finding a place for being within their strong monist position. In the Sophist, as we have seen, the challenge is presented as a dialectical one, namely the challenge of formulating an answer to the question about the relationship between being and one, while avoiding self-refutation via the manner of their response. We are shown that, any answer they proffer in response to any question about their theory, will be inconsistent with, as Castagnoli puts it, “the propositional content” of that theory. More significantly, any answer they proffer in response to any question whatsoever will refute their strong monist position, because, as Castagnoli says, “any sentence they may use, by including one distinct subject and one distinct predicate, will be inconsistent with the propositional content” of their theory.

32The difficulty they face is thus entirely general in nature. So, as the Stranger says:

  • 38 Soph. 244c4-6, trans. Rowe. Δῆλον, ὦ Θεαίτητε, ὅτι τῷ ταύτην τὴν ὑπόθεσιν ὑποθεμένῳ πρὸς τὸ νῦν ἐρω (...)

Clearly, Theaetetus, anyone positing this hypothesis of theirs is not going to find it the easiest thing in the world to answer the question we just asked — or indeed any other question you like.38

33Thus the difficulty they encounter is not confined merely to questioning about the relationship between one and being. However, in order for the Stranger to be armed for the second stage of the challenge to these monists, he must be justified in using the phrase τὸ ὂν ἕν. And no matter how we read this names’ argument, it cannot easily be read, in its own terms, as establishing any relationship between one and being. Indeed, even if we accept that the naming argument does indeed falsify the strong monist position, that argument, as it stands in the Sophist, simply does not clarify the relationship between one and being at all.

34It is precisely this dilemma, namely whether or not ‘one’ and ‘being’ are merely two different names for the same thing, that provides the starting-point of the argument summarised above by Allen. Must we be prepared to accept that the monists will acknowledge that this one, which they say is all there is, does indeed exist? They readily accept (244b13) that there is such a thing as being. We know that their admission that there is such a thing as being creates difficulties for them, but there is no indication that they might retract that admission. Accordingly, I think we are quite justified in assuming that the monists will accept that being is something. Now, once the monist position includes the admission that being is something, it is, I suggest, in the same position as the H2 argument, before that argument unfolds, as per Allen’s summary above.

35The argument summarised by Allen (142b5–c5) concludes, in his words, that

is” signifies something different from “is Unity” (or “is one”)”.

36Or, as the conclusion is phrased by Plato :

ἄλλο τι σημαῖνον τὸ ἔστι τοῦ ἕν.

  • 39 Parm. 142c4-5, trans. Gill & Ryan.

is” signifies something other than “one.” 39

  • 40 McCabe (2000), p. 69.

37With this H2 argument and its conclusion in the Parmenides, we seem to have a more direct challenge to the strong monist position than the challenge provided solely by the names’ argument of the Sophist. Once they accept that being is something, and that their one, which they claim is all there is, actually exists (is), the H2 argument will force them to admit that “is” signifies something other than “one”, and this admission is fatal to their strong monist position which would insist that “there is only one thing ever”.40 Once they admit that being is something, the only way open to them to avoid falsification of their strong monist position would be to attempt to argue, somehow, that one and being are the same. The H2 argument makes a strong case that they are not the same and cannot be the same.

  • 41 This is sufficient for the main purpose of this paper, although of course a more detailed analysis (...)

38The argument against the monists has, in broad outline, two “stages”.41 The first stage, which we have been considering, falsifies their strong monist stance by demonstrating that there is such a thing as being, and that being is not the same as one. This conclusion justifies the rejection of the strong monist position as false. We have now seen that the overall argument, which justifies the rejection of the strong monist position as false is not just the names’ argument of the Sophist, alone; it also relies upon the opening of the H2 argument of the Parmenides. I think my analysis here makes a strong case for Plato’s reliance upon an argument from the Parmenides in dealing with the monist position encountered in the Sophist. Anyone familiar with the Parmenides would recognise the important dilemma of the relationship between one and being, and the question of whether or not these two are the same. The language and terminology used in the Sophist acts as an indicator that arguments from the Parmenides are to be understood as involved, and indeed indicates precisely which arguments are to be relied upon.

39I do not think that the opening argument against the monists in the Sophist can be properly understood as actually falsifying their strong monist position, by challenging them on the relationship between one and being, unless we invoke H2 of the Parmenides. Plato, in my view, has simply not provided enough argumentative material on one and being and their relationship in the Sophist, to draw any firm conclusions about the monist position on this. Once we are prepared to accept that he relies upon H2, the inability of their strong monism to give an account of being becomes more evident. The Stranger is then well positioned to proceed to the second stage of his challenge and this too, I believe, relies for its first move upon H2 of the Parmenides.

  • 42 I do not wish to argue that a number of different kinds of monism are considered in this examinatio (...)

40When the Sophist argument is understood in this way, it gives a coherence to the overall challenge to the monists by strongly connecting the names’ argument with what, I maintain, is a single sustained elucidation of the issues that arise from any attempt to understand being (or, what is) solely in terms of a one that is strictly non-multiple, or possessed of some multiplicity.42 With their acceptance of something called τὸ ὂν ν, the monists have retreated from the strong monist position which is reflected by the one of H1 of the Parmenides, and accordingly have abandoned an initial understanding of one whereby the one is possessed of no multiplicity whatsoever. Such a position has failed to give an account of being or what is. They then move to an understanding of the one, which is reflected in H2 of the Parmenides. This is an existent one, the one that is, and it is a whole with two parts: one and being.

41I believe I have now made the case for three instances of reliance, in the Sophist, upon arguments from the Parmenides. Firstly, the strong monist position is based upon the strictly non-multiple one of H1 of the Parmenides and imports such a concept of the one from the πραγματεία of that dialogue. Secondly, the Sophist relies upon the H1 argument to introduce the claim that such a one cannot have a name, and depends, further, upon the support provided by the H1 argument in order to supplement the Stranger’s naming argument. Thirdly, in order to understand why the Stranger is justified in asking about a multiple entity called “the one that is”, we need to assume that the Stranger is relying upon the H2 argument whereby one and being are not the same, and that if one is (exists) it is a whole with two parts: one and being. This H2 argument, if we are prepared to assume that it is tacitly relied upon here, also constitutes an additional refutation of strong monism to supplement the arguably weak argument based upon names.

Why ask about the whole?

42I have already suggested that the Stranger’s initial challenge to the monists seems to lack an overall coherence, unless we assume that Plato relies upon arguments from the Parmenides. I think the Stranger’s next question illustrates this point quite well:

STRANGER: What then of the whole? Will they claim it to be different from the one being, or the same thing as it?

  • 43 Soph. 244d14–e1, trans. Rowe. ΞΕ. Τί δέ ; τὸ ὅλον ἕτερον τοῦ ὄντος ἑνὸς ταὐτὸν φήσουσι τούτῳ ; ΘΕ (...)

THEAETETUS: Of course they will say, and they do say, that it's the same.43

43Although the quotation from Parmenides' poem, which follows immediately, does indeed refer to the whole, it is first mentioned in the above exchange in the context of the identity of the whole with “the ‘one being”’. The quotation from the poem merely confirms that the monists do indeed consider their one to be a whole and, as such, possessed of parts. Accordingly, I believe that this question is quite sudden and rather unexpected, unless we take account of the H2 argument in the Parmenides, and presume that Plato is relying upon that argument here. I have two bases for this claim. Firstly, the introduction of the notion of “the whole”, as identical with “the ‘one being’”, into the Sophist argument at this stage requires some justification, as does the introduction of τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός. I believe that their introduction is most readily justified by taking account of the further development of the H2 argument, immediately following the part we have just discussed. Secondly, Theaetetus’ strong affirmation that the monists will accept the suggestion that the whole and “the ‘one being’” are indeed the same, and his confirmation that this is actually their position, surely requires scrutiny.

  • 44 This is the general tendency, at least since Stallbaum (1840), p. 159a (“Aliam nunc affert rationem (...)

44Like most commentators,44 Cornford sees the challenge to the monists as having two stages. The first stage is based upon the names’ argument and the second is based upon whether or not the monists’ one is a whole. Of the second stage Cornford says that:

  • 45 Cornford (1935), p. 222.

The next criticism of Parmenides turns on his description of the One Real thing as ‘the whole’. Whole is the correlative of part; nothing is a whole unless it has parts. Parmenides had called his One Real thing the All (τὸ πᾶν) and declared it to be a finite sphere, with centre and circumference—language which implies, as the Stranger says, that it has distinguishable parts. 45

  • 46 Soph. 244b6, trans. Rowe.

45I have some concerns about this reading of the second stage of the argument. Firstly, Cornford does not seem concerned that the very use of the term “One Real thing”, which is his rendering of the phrase τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός, implies that the entity in question is already multiple, and is no longer devoid of multiplicity like the one of H1. The use of this phrase thus indicates that there has been a retreat from the strong monist position of the previous stage of the argument. Secondly, although the phrase τὸ πᾶν (the all) has been used previously to define the monist position as “those who say that everything (τὸ πᾶν) is one”,46 the whole (τὸ ὅλον) has not been mentioned so far in this context. Now it might be possible to argue for a move from “the all” to “the whole”, on the basis that they are correlative, since, as Cornford says above,

‘Whole is the correlative of part; nothing is a whole unless it has parts.

46However, such a move would arm the Stranger with an all too easy challenge to the monists, relying on questions about parts and wholes, and enable him to undermine their position on that basis. Accordingly, the Stranger might be accused of arguing unfairly by substituting “the whole” which serves his argument very well, for “the all” which might not serve his purpose so well.

  • 47 Frag.8, line 4. See p. 4 above, and n. 16 there.

47A reader might argue that the Stranger, who will later quote Parmenides’ own poem, is merely picking up, from the poem, the phrase, “whole and of a single kind” (οὖλον μουνογενές τε).47 If this is indeed the justification for his introduction of a question about the whole, I for one am left wondering why the Stranger did not start with this question in the first place. Why does he need his question about the relationship between being and one? Why does he need the names’ argument? Why does he need either of these questions or arguments, if he can rely upon the mention of the whole in Parmenides’ poem, and mount his challenge by drawing upon the contents of the poem in this way? The Stranger does not commence his engagement with the monists with a quotation from the poem, but with an enquiry into what precisely they mean by being, in the light of their position that one is all there is. Would the Stranger conduct the first stage of the argument, as described, without explicit, or otherwise obvious, use or mention of any part of the poem, and then turn to the poem itself in order to mount the second stage of his challenge? I think it much more plausible that any philosopher would build the second and subsequent stages of any sustained, dialectical argument upon the material and concepts available from the initial argument. Accordingly, I believe that the more natural reading of the overall argument in this case is a reading that directly connects the first two stages of the challenge to the monists, and connects them in this particular way: in argumentative succession — reflecting the successive unfolding of H1 and H2 in the Parmenides.

48Based upon this reading, the quotation from Parmenides’ poem represents the Stranger’s conclusion that the only position open to the monists is the position reflected in the poem, a position whereby the one, which is all there is, must be understood as constituting a whole, which is the same as τὸ ὂν ν. Theaetetus affirms, in response to the Stranger’s question, that this is indeed the monists stated position, and the quotation from the poem then confirms that this is indeed the case. The poem is quoted to confirm that the monists, if they are faced with the challenge of saying what being is, must indeed, at risk of incoherence, hold a position whereby the one, which according to them is all there is, is an existent one, ὂν ν, “one being”, as Rowe translates it.

The whole and multiplicity

49Once we are prepared to accept that there may be a strong argumentative connection between the two stages of the challenge to the monists, then, I believe, the Stranger’s reason for introducing a question about the whole begins to become clearer. In the first stage of the argument, the monists have accepted that there is such a thing as being, but they are unable to avoid self-refutation in their response, when they are asked about the relationship between being and one. However, once we assume that Plato relies upon the opening argument of H2 of the Parmenides, we then find that the monists must accept that there is one, there is being, and they are not the same. If there is one, and there is being, and they are not the same, then the strong monist position, that “there is only one thing ever”, must somehow be weakened. If, as they maintain, there is only one thing, and they accept that their one thing exists (or is), then their one is something multiple, which somehow or other combines one with being. However, the question about the whole raises a further issue, about the relationship between the whole and this multiple something that combines one with being.

50The first stage of the argument, once we take H2 fully into account, demonstrates that the one (τὸ ν), and being or what is (τὸ ν), are not the same. Hence the two words, “one” and “being”, do not have the same referent. Now H2 of the Parmenides, having shown that one and being are not the same, goes on to consider these two and how they relate to one another. Allen summarises the next stage of the H2 argument, and comments upon it as follows:

Since Unity partakes of Being, it must be a whole and have parts. For it both is and is one, and its unity and being are parts of it. Since parts are parts of a whole (137c), anything that is one must be a whole and have parts…

  • 48 Allen (1997), pp. 247–8.

In treating Unity as itself one, the argument suggests a Third Man. Good reason is given for the assumption. It is that being and unity are coextensive: whatever is one is, and whatever is, is one. Since, by hypothesis, Unity is, Unity is one.48

51Anyone who maintains that “one is all there is” and then admits that there is such a thing as being, must decide either that “the one” partakes of being and therefore is, or, alternatively, that “the one” is the same as being. If he gives the latter answer then he must explain how the one, which is the same as being, can partake of being and thus be (exist), otherwise he ends up defending the strange position that “there is only one thing ever, but that one thing does not exist”. We should expect then that the monist is driven to accept that this one thing is an existent one, or as Allen puts it above, that one and being are coextensive: whatever is, is one; and whatever is one, is.

52With this admission, the monists are forced by the second part of the H2 argument of the Parmenides to accept that their one, which is now an existent one, is a whole: a whole with two parts, one and being. The expression by which it is described, τὸ ὂν ἕν, reflects the fact that it is a whole composed of two things, one and being. So if they are asked whether their existent one is a whole or not, they must answer that it is indeed a whole. However, this is not the precise question they are asked. They are asked whether or not the whole is the same as their existent one. Their existent one is indeed a whole, but the question is, is it the whole?

53It seems natural to accept, with Cornford, that “the whole” (τὸ ὅλον) in the Stranger’s question is equivalent to the earlier mentioned “all” (τὸ πᾶν) by which the monist position was initially defined. In any case, Theaetetus has no reluctance in confirming that the monists do indeed regard “the whole”, which is equivalent to the all (τὸ πᾶν), as the same as the whole represented by “the ‘one being’” (τὸ ὂν ἕν). There follows a confirmation that a whole, any whole, has parts. `

54We have already noted that “the ‘one being’”, τὸ ὂν ἕν, is said to be a whole in H2, where it is said to have two parts, one and being. And furthermore, in H2, the whole is the sum of the parts and the sum of the parts is the whole. The one of H2 is an existent one, τὸ ὂν ἕν, it is a whole, and it is the sum of its parts, thus the one of H2 is multiple, in contrast to the strictly non-multiple one of the first hypothesis. The first stage of the Sophist challenge to the monists establishes that there is one, and there is being, and that these two constitute a whole. The second stage opens by asking whether “the whole”, equivalent to “the all”, is the same as this whole, τὸ ὂν ἕν, the one of H2. This amounts to asking whether “the whole” (τὸ ὅλον), which is equivalent to “the all” (τὸ πᾶν), is the same as another whole, namely “the ‘one being’”. So, can the monists defend their position that one is all there is and give an account of being based upon an existent one, which is a whole with two parts: one and being?

55Although they have had to retreat from their strong monist position according to which “there is only one thing ever”, because they cannot account for being based upon this position, perhaps the monists may be able to account for being based upon their existent one. Accordingly, they are offered a new formulation, which maintains that, although their one now has parts:

STRANGER: Now something divided up into parts is not in any way prevented from having oneness as an attribute covering all its parts, and from being in this way both something that is, all of it taken together, and one as a whole.

THEAETETUS: Of course not.

STRANGER: But is it not impossible for something with these attributes to be, itself, the one by itself (αὐτό γε τὸ ἓν αὐτὸ εἶναι)?

THEAETETUS: How so?

  • 49 Soph. 245a1–9, trans. Rowe. Here Rowe, admittedly, over-translates 245a5–6 (by “to be, itself, that (...)

STRANGER: What is truly one must, surely, according to the correct reasoning, be declared totally without parts.49

  • 50 Soph. 245a8–9.

56In this exchange the Stranger’s first statement offers the possibility that the existent one, the one that is, despite being multiple because it is a whole with parts, may still enable the monists to rise to the challenge and say what being is. It is pointed out by the Stranger, in the second statement above,50 that this existent one is not truly one because, being a whole with parts, it has multiplicity. So, we now have confirmation that their strong monism, captured by H1 of the Parmenides, has been abandoned; but we must now decide whether or not they can give an account of what being is, based upon the existent one, following their failure to do so based upon the strictly non-multiple one that does not have parts. Palmer has a very relevant and pertinent comment on the argument at this crucial stage:

  • 51 Palmer (1999), p. 179.

the only objection [the Stranger] brings against the conception of Parmenides' one being as a whole of parts is that this leads to what-is being not just one but also many. The structure of the critique itself, I have suggested, indicates that this may not be a fatal objection, for there are signs that Plato supposed Parmenides capable of accommodating such a conception of what-is as both one and many.51

57So, Plato may well have believed that Parmenides accepted the understanding of “what-is” as both one and many, even though such a one is not “truly one”. This seems to be a fair summary of the status of the argument at this stage.

  • 52 Cornford (1939), p. 133.

58We should note here that there is strong emphasis, in the text of the Sophist itself, that the monists have retreated from their strong monism, the position according to which their one is strictly non-multiple, and have accepted an existent one, which is a whole, and is one only in the sense that it is a whole. This emphasis is evident from the passage quoted above which states that such a whole is not the one itself, and that what is “truly one” must be “totally without parts”. While the distinction between the existent one and the absolute one may be obvious, the idea that this existent one represents a retreat from and a weakening of the absolute simplicity, does require defence. No such defence is present in the Sophist argument. Such a defence is contained in H2 of the Parmenides. Therefore, the Sophist argument must be relying here upon H2 of the Parmenides where the characteristics of the one of H1, which include not being a whole, not partaking of being, and having no name, stand in dramatic contrast to those of the one of H2. This is shown to be a consequence that arises when, as Cornford puts it, on moving from the one of H1 to the one of H2, we “add ‘being’ to unity, as we proceed to do in the next Hypothesis”.52

Wholes and parts

  • 53 Palmer (1999), p. 179.

59We could easily expect that the challenge to the monists might conclude with such a retreat from their strong monism. If their one is now multiple, as is any whole, they can no longer insist that one is all there is, and their original position has thus been falsified. We might alternatively accept, with Palmer, that Plato believed that Parmenides himself regarded “what-is as both one and many”,53 which is of course not a strong monist position. In that case, the true Parmenidean position has now emerged, and what is, is indeed one, as a whole, and multiple, because the whole has two parts: one and being.

60The Sophist argument in question begins by suggesting that “that which is one”, despite having parts, could still be one, as one whole; this might rescue the monists’ position at the cost of retreating from their strong position whereby they completely deny any multiplicity whatsoever to the one. But the Stanger goes on to say:

STRANGER: But is it not impossible for something with these attributes to be, itself, the one by itself?

THEAETETUS: How so?

STRANGER: What is truly one must, surely, according to the correct reasoning, be declared totally without parts.

  • 54 Soph. 245a5–10, trans. Rowe (his italics). ΞΕ. Τὸ δὲ πεπονθὸς ταῦτα ἆρ' οὐκ ἀδύνατον αὐτό γε τὸ ἓν (...)

THEAETETUS: Yes, it must.54

61Palmer agrees that two conflicting understandings of what it means to be one are at play here: the one of H1, which has no parts, and the one of H2, which is a whole with parts. So the first issue encountered by this apparent solution to the monists’ problem is, as we have anticipated, that a one that is also a whole cannot be the strictly non-multiple one itself. Harte too is aware of this contrast and she comments:

  • 55 Harte (2002), p. 109, n. 97.

Notice that the Stranger must here assume that the one - where this is the property of being one, that in virtue of which the whole is one - is itself truly one. Only thus could he infer that this one is completely without parts and is thus distinct from the whole … But this may yet leave it open to [the monists] to deny that the one in question is in fact truly one.55

62Her remark that the monists might still deny that their one is truly one in the sense that it is totally devoid of multiplicity, is surely significant. Accordingly, at this stage in the challenge to the monists there are two questions. Can they settle for a one that has some multiplicity in view of the initial problem that the absolute one cannot accommodate being? Furthermore, what is the status of the absolute one of H1? Should we simply discard it as the subject of a pure reductio, like a right-angled equilateral triangle, or some other such utterly flawed notion? Gill makes a helpful suggestion here, which somehow allows us to retain the one of H1 in spite of its difficulties and, at the same time, further our understanding of the one of H2. Referring to what she calls Deduction 3 (H3 in the terminology of this article), she says:

  • 56 Gill (2012), p. 65. The “botched appendix” refers to Parm. 156c1–157b5, read by most modern comment (...)

Deduction 3 nds a productive middle ground between Deductions 1 and 2, not by combining their results (as in the botched Appendix) but by combining their perspective.56

63Deductions 1 and 2 are of course H1 and H2 respectively, and Gill envisages some means of combining their results via H3. I have not yet outlined the structure of H3, but I do favour the reading of H3 as making use of the concept of one reflected in the one of H1 in order to develop an argument about what a whole actually is. So, based upon this reading of H3 we may expect that the one of H1 is not discarded by Plato as fallacious and philosophically barren. In spite of the difficulties it presents, when employed by the monists as the basis for their claim that a one such as the one of H1 is all there is, this one can still be employed in an argument that explains what “other than one” means, and what a whole is. In fact, there is, I suggest, direct textual evidence that this part of the challenge to the monists in the Sophist relies upon H3 of the Parmenides. We have just quoted the Stranger’s claim that:

STRANGER: What is truly one must, surely, according to the correct reasoning, be declared totally without parts.

  • 57 Soph. 245a8-10, trans. Rowe.

THEAETETUS: Yes, it must.57

64Remarkably, a very similar argumentative step is introduced in H3 of the Parmenides:

  • 58 Parm. 158a3-6, trans. Gill & Ryan. Μετέχοι δέ γε ἂν τοῦ ἑνὸς δῆλον ὅτι ἄλλο ὂν ἕν · οὐ γὰρ ἂν μετ (...)

But clearly it [a part of a whole] would partake of the one, while being something other than one. Otherwise, it wouldn't partake, but would itself be one. But as it is, it is surely impossible for anything except the one itself to be one.58

65According to this Parmenides argument, whatever is one, is one either because it is a whole or because it is just one, and not multiple. If it is one as a whole, it is multiple and therefore cannot be just one; and if it is just one, it is not multiple in any way, and it cannot therefore be one as a whole. These are the conflicting understandings of one that Palmer refers to. In H3 Parmenides discusses the consequences for things other than one, if one is (exists), and so he needs to have some formulation of what “other than one” actually means. The formulation in H3 is:

  • 59 Parm. 157c3-4, trans. Gill & Ryan. Ὅτι που τὰ ἄλλα τοῦ ἑνὸς μόρια ἔχοντα ἄλλα ἐστίν · εἰ γὰρ μόρια (...)

In that things other than the one are surely other because they have parts; for if they didn't have parts, they would be altogether one.59

  • 60 Namely, in παντελῶς μὲν οὖν at 155c7-8, 155e2-3, and 160b4.

66The word παντελῶς which Gill and Ryan translate, above, as “altogether” occurs only once in the Parmenides, apart from short interlocutor responses,60 and the use of παντελῶς in this way occurs only twice in the Sophist:

ΞΕ. Ἀμερὲς δήπου δεῖ παντελῶς τό γε ἀληθῶς ἓν κατὰ τὸν ὀρθὸν λόγον εἰρῆσθαι.

  • 61 Soph. 245a8-9, trans. Rowe.

STRANGER: What is truly one must, surely, according to the correct reasoning, be declared totally without parts.61

  • 62 Harte (2002), p. 130.

67Rowe here translates παντελῶς as “totally”, and it occurs in the Sophist and in the Parmenides in arguments that mirror one another; Harte says that it is the same argument in reverse.62 In the Parmenides, whatever is other than one is not entirely (παντελῶς) one, because it has parts. In the Sophist, the argument is reversed - whatever is entirely (παντελῶς) devoid of parts is truly (ἀληθῶς) one. This may be noted in conjunction with the very similar references, in both passages, to “the one itself” in arguments that emphasise its lack of parts.

68As I have said, I think it reasonable to assume that, when Plato makes two such obvious references in the Sophist to a similar argument in the Parmenides, he intends the reader to bring the latter argument to mind. I think it reasonable to presume too that, by indicating such a connection, he wants the reader to recall, import, and utilize, some of the argumentative structure and/or conclusions from the Parmenides, without requiring a repetition of such elements in their entirety before they can be deployed in the Sophist. If I am right about this, then the key to clarifying the further development of the argument in this part of the Sophist will lie in a fuller understanding of the third hypothesis of the Parmenides. There, I maintain, we should expect to find a further exploration of the precise nature of a whole. This exploration of the nature of a whole will involve an argument in which the strictly non-multiple one will play a part. The nature of a whole, as presented in the H3 argument, will, I suggest, generate additional difficulties for the stance of the monists on being, difficulties which seem to undermine their position entirely and imply that the exact opposite of their position may in fact be the case. The monists may have to set aside their claim that one is all there is and accept instead that unlimited multiplicity is all there is.

The third hypothesis

69The third hypothesis (157b5–159b1) begins as follows:

  • 63 Parm. 157b5–c8, trans. Gill & Ryan. Τί δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοις προσήκοι ἂν πάσχειν, ἓν εἰ ἔστιν, ἆρα οὐ σκεπ (...)

Must we not examine what would be proper for the others to undergo, if one is ?
We must.
Are we to say, then, what properties things other than the one must have,
if one is ?
Let's do.
Well then, since in fact they are other than the one, the others are not the one. For if they were, they would not be other than the one.
That's right.
And yet the others are not absolutely deprived of the one, but somehow partake of it.
In what way?
In that things other than the one are surely other because they have parts; for if they didn't have parts, they would be altogether one.
That's right.
And parts, we say, are parts of that which is a whole.
Yes, we do.
Yet the whole of which the parts are to be parts must be one thing composed of many, because each of the parts must be part, not of many, but of a whole.
Why is that?
63

  • 64 Harte (2002), pp. 125ff.

70In this passage Parmenides considers the distinction between one and not one, or other than one, and the relationship between them. If anything is other than one, why is it other than one? In answering this question, Parmenides will also specify what one means, and furthermore what it means for something to be one, i.e. what it means for something other than one to be one. Parmenides argues that, whatever is other than one, is other than one because it has parts, and that it would be entirely one if it did not have parts. Why did he not say that whatever is not one is not one because it is many or multiple? Had he given this latter response, he might simply have been asked what precisely it means for something to be many or multiple. To this question he would have had to reply that whatever is many or multiple is so because it has parts. But, significantly, the parts are not parts of a many or a multiplicity, they are parts of a whole. This whole is “one from many” (ἓν ἐκ πολλῶν) which means that the multiplicity in question must be constituted into one whole, and the parts will then be parts of that whole. In an intricate and terse argument, extensively analysed by Harte,64 Parmenides shows why parts must be parts of a whole and cannot be parts of a multiplicity. We need not consider that particular aspect of the H3 argument here.

71May we then assume that each part is one part? In considering this apparently simple question’ we should take careful note of what is stated above:

things other than the one are surely other because they have parts;

72In which case, since the parts too are other than one, the parts also have parts, otherwise the parts would not be other than one but would be entirely one. This point is made clear and is elaborated as the argument of the third hypothesis develops and we shall see that these developments in the H3 argument will create further difficulties for the monist position in the Sophist. Other than one means multiple, and multiple means entirely multiple, and entirely multiple means unlimited in multiplicity. The consequences of this multiplicity, being unlimited in its multiplicity, are demonstrated through a thought experiment which Parmenides invites us to carry out (τῇ διανοίᾳ).

73We are asked to imagine a multiplicity, entirely devoid of the one and therefore not one in any respect. No matter how little we remove from such a multiplicity, what is subtracted will always be unlimited in multiplicity and will never be one, because this multiplicity is entirely devoid of the one, so nothing subtracted from it can be one. It is only by communion with the one that what is subtracted can become one part, otherwise even the smallest part is unlimited in multiplicity. Furthermore it is only by communion with the one that the multiplicity itself can constitute one whole of which any subtracted part can then constitute one part. The one brings limit and determinacy to a multiplicity which is otherwise indeterminate, and unlimited in multiplicity. And so Parmenides concludes:

  • 65 Parm. 158c7–d8, trans. Gill & Ryan. Καὶ μὴν ἐπειδάν γε ἓν ἕκαστον μόριον μόριον γένηται, πέρας ἤδη (...)

Furthermore, whenever each part comes to be one part, the parts then have a limit in relation to each other and in relation to the whole, and the whole has a limit in relation to the parts.
Quite so.
Accordingly, it follows for things other than the one that from the one and themselves gaining communion with each other, as it seems, something different comes to be in them, which affords a limit for them in relation to each other; but their own nature, by themselves, affords unlimitedness.
Apparently.
In this way, indeed, things other than the one, taken both as wholes and part by part, both are unlimited and partake of a limit.
Certainly.
65

74As Allen succinctly summarises the argument:

Put briefly, things that participate in Unity must also participate in Plurality, and if we consider them apart from Unity, only bare plurality is left (cf. 143a)

  • 66 Allen (1997), p. 315.

…This account, it will be observed, suggests that otherness is indeterminate matter, to which Unity, as a principle of determination, stands as form.66

75We may now return to the Sophist and consider how Plato expects this argument to be employed there in the discussion with the monists. But before we do, we should again note that in addition to the use of παντελῶς ἓν to say, in the Parmenides, that what has no parts is entirely one, and παντελῶς in the Sophist to say that what is entirely without parts is truly one, we also have reference to “the one itself” in both dialogues as part of these same arguments. The reason for this should be clear by now. As Allen points out:

  • 67 Ibid. – explanatory remarks in square brackets are mine.

The unlimited multiplicity of II 2 [the third hypothesis] may be compared with the unlimitedness of Unity in I 1 (137d) [the first hypothesis, in which it is first specified that the one is devoid of multiplicity]: it cannot be gone through because it is not of its nature to be gone through, as the voice is invisible. The otherness of things other than Unity, as it turns out, is strictly analogous to the unity of what is one and nothing else.67

76In the first hypothesis, a one entirely devoid of multiplicity is considered, and it is found, as a consequence of that complete absence of multiplicity, not to be a whole, or to have parts, or to have location or to enter into any relations whatsoever or even to be (exist), or even to be one, if we accept that latter argument. In the third hypothesis, a multiplicity entirely devoid of unity is considered (per impossibile, and with a surprising outcome, as Allen puts it). This multiplicity turns out not to be a whole or to have parts; it is totally indeterminate. As Allen says:

  • 68 Ibid.

It is unlimited, but its unlimitedness is of no ordinary kind: for it cannot be infinite either as continuous or successive, since both kinds of infinity imply unity and wholeness.68

77In order that this indeterminate multiplicity may be a whole and have parts, it must have communion with a one that, like the multiplicity, does not have parts either. This partless one nevertheless acts as a principle of determinacy and enables each part of the indeterminate multiplicity to be one part, and the whole to be one whole. This is the surprising result that Allen refers to; by the communion of a one that does not have parts, with an indeterminate multiplicity that does not have parts and cannot constitute one whole, we get determinate parts and a determinate whole.

78The one of H1, therefore, far from being discarded as the mere subject of a reductio, serves a purpose in explicating the nature of wholes and parts. This totally non-multiple one created difficulties for the monists when it was, implicitly, used in the formulation that “a strictly non-multiple one is all there is” or, as McCabe puts it “there is only one thing ever”. But despite the difficulties that such a one creates for the monist position, and despite the strangeness of the conclusions of H1 generated by the idea that such a one cannot even partake of being, or have a name, the one of H1 is not discarded and features crucially in the H3 argument.

Back to the Sophist

79In the first phase of the challenge to their position, the monists are forced to abandon their strong monism, whereby they espouse a one that is entirely devoid of multiplicity, a one that is based upon the one of H1 of the Parmenides. They must abandon this non-multiple one because, when they are asked about being, they cannot accommodate being while still adhering to such a strictly non-multiple understanding of one which corresponds to the one of H1. They then retreat to an existent one, or “one being”, whereby one and being are coextensive: whatever is, is one, and whatever is one, is. This existent one or “one being”, which corresponds to the one of H2, is a whole with two parts: one and being. But they are then asked if the whole, or the all, is the same as this one being. This presents a challenge to them, akin to the challenge they faced at first when they were asked about being, when they were committed to the one of H1. Being, in that case, turned out to be a second thing which they could not accommodate based upon their position that there is only one thing ever. Now they will be asked about the whole. If one is all there is, and that one is an existent one, one being, what then is the whole? If it is something else, something different from one being, then one is not all there is, even if one is understood as an existent one: one being. The attempts by the monists to find, within their position that an existent one is all there is, a place for the whole, constitute the final phase of the Stranger’s challenge to their position. I emphasise here that we are not dealing with three different kinds of monism, adhered to perhaps by three different groups. The Stranger, throughout this argument, has been dealing with a single group of people who maintain that “one is all there is” and who are asked to give an account of being or what-is on the basis of such a formulation. Their third position, the one we are now considering, is that the one, reflected in their formulation that “one is all there is”, is a whole with parts as referred to in Parmenides’ poem.

  • 69 Cornford (1935), p. 226.

80Cornford maintains, correctly in my view, that the key to understanding why the argument concerning wholes is fatal to the monists’ ability to give an account of being or what is, lies in arguments of the Parmenides which “Plato assumes to be familiar and does not care to repeat”.69 It is easy to overlook what I regard as the full significance of the Strangers’ question:

ΞΕ. Πότερον δὴ πάθος ἔχον τὸ ὂν τοῦ ἑνὸς οὕτως ἕν τε ἔσται καὶ ὅλον, παντάπασι μὴ λέγωμεν ὅλον εἶναι τὸ ὄν ;

  • 70 Soph. 245b5–6, trans. Rowe.

STRANGER: So will what is be one and whole by having oneness as an attribute in this way, or shall we deny altogether that what is is a whole? 70

  • 71 Harte (2002), p. 104.

81In the light of our review of the third hypothesis, we can now see that, in the above formulation, “what is”, because it is “one and whole” (ἕν τε ... καὶ ὅλον) “by having oneness as an attribute” (πάθος ἔχον ... τοῦ ἑνός), must not only be other than the one itself, it must also be, by its own nature, unlimited in multiplicity. This means that, if “what is” is one and whole, then, in the language of H3 of the Parmenides, it is, by its own nature, an unlimited multiplicity that communes with the one and thus comes to be one and whole. There are a number of other aspects of the treatment of wholes in this section of the Sophist (245b5-e2) and a number of other difficulties arise for the monist’s account of being. These are well summarised by Harte who comments that, “the arguments of the dilemma [here] are extremely dense”.71 However, I wish to focus primarily upon the connection to the third hypothesis of the Parmenides.

  • 72 McCabe (2000), p. 69.

82It is clear that the strong monist position, which maintains that “there is only one thing ever”,72 is undermined because there seem to be at least two, if not three, things: one, being, and whole. The present position is similar to the initial challenge, whereby they were asked about being and had to accept that there was such a thing as being and that it was other than the one. They have now accepted that there is such a thing as being, and they have regarded it as coextensive with the one, and thus proposed that an existent one is all there is. This one, however, turns out to be a whole, so they are inevitably asked about the status of the whole. Are there now two things, an existent one and the whole, or indeed three things, one, being, and whole? They are being moved in the direction of increasing multiplicity.

83But surely the most serious concern is that, if “what is” is a whole, then according to H3 it is, by its own nature, unlimited in multiplicity. Let’s go back for a moment to the Stranger’s question about something described as “the ‘one being’” (τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός, 244d14). The monists are said to admit that this “one being” or “that which is one” is a whole. How should we understand this admission in the light of Η3 of the Parmenides? It seems, according to H3, that “what is”, through communion with the one, constitutes a whole which is called “one being” or “that which is one”. Accordingly, what is, which according to the monists is one, turns out, by its own nature, to be unlimited in multiplicity. This is certainly a dramatic overthrow of their position.

84Cornford draws attention to the purport of the Stranger’s words at 245c11–d2 where the Stranger considers what might happen “if there is no whole at all” (μὴ ὄντος δέ γε τὸ παράπαν τοῦ ὅλου). The Stranger says that the outcome would be the same as it was in the previous argument (244c8–9) where the whole did actually exist, but “what is” was not one as a whole. So if there is no whole at all or, alternatively, if there is a whole but “what is” does not constitute a whole, the consequences, in either case, are the same. In this latter case, where the whole does actually exist, but “what is” is not one as a whole, the Stranger argues that all things would be more than one, because “what is” and the whole have each acquired a separate nature:

ΞΕ. Καὶ ἑνός γε αὖ πλείω τὰ πάντα γίγνεται, τοῦ τε ὄντος καὶ τοῦ ὅλου χωρὶς ἰδίαν ἑκατέρου φύσιν εἰληφότος.

  • 73 Soph. 245c8–9, trans. Rowe.

STRANGER: Moreover all things become more than one, what is and the whole having each acquired its own separate nature.73

85This can simply be read as a claim that all things will be more than one because there are two things, “what is” and the whole. However, in the light of the H3 argument, we surely cannot ignore the reference to the separate nature of the whole and what is. By the H3 argument, if “what is” is other than one, it is not one by its own nature. Therefore, if “what is” is not a whole then its own nature, by which it does not constitute one whole, will prevail, and “what is” will be an unlimited multiplicity, because it is not one whole through communion with the one. The same argument applies if “there is no whole at all”. In this case too, “what is”, since it cannot constitute one whole, if “there is no whole at all”, must again, by its own nature, be unlimited in multiplicity. This point is made by Cornford, when he says that “the Real [his rendering of τὸ ὂν or “what is”] is now an indefinite plurality without any unity”. He then feels obliged to state:

  • 74 Cornford (1935), p. 226.

This explanation may seem far-fetched, but Plato assumes that we have read and understood the Parmenides, where similar arguments are set out at length, and he leaves us to think out his meaning for ourselves.74

86Cornford does not specify what arguments from the Parmenides are being relied upon here. But I hope that it has now become clear that arguments from H3 are integral, although, especially in this case, a considerable teasing out of the H3 arguments is required in order to make their connection to the Sophist evident. When the Stranger refers, as we just saw, to “what is and the whole having each acquired its own separate nature”, a reader must surely ask what “its own separate nature” is, in each case. The overall challenge to the monists began by establishing that “what is” cannot be the strictly non-multiple one itself. Therefore, in considering what this ἰδία φύσις (“its own separate nature”) might be in the case of “what is”, we cannot suppose that “what is” is the one itself, and therefore, by H3, “what is” is other than one. But H3 also argues that whatever is other than one — in this case τὸ ὄν, “what is”— is, by its own nature, unlimited in multiplicity. H3 also argues that a whole is not the one itself, although any whole is indeed one. A whole is something different that comes to be in things other than one through their communion with the one; in the case of the whole, that is what constitutes “its own separate nature”. Things other than one, thus, become one, as a whole, through communion with the one:

  • 75 Parm. 158d6, trans. Gill & Ryan. δ' ἑαυτῶν φύσις καθ' ἑαυτὰ ἀπειρίαν.

but their [= of things other than one] own nature, by themselves, affords unlimitedness.75

87The Stranger’s conjectures about the non-existence of the whole, or alternatively yet equivalently, the failure of what is to constitute a whole, correspond to Parmenides’ thought experiment in H3, where he asks us to imagine a multiplicity devoid of the one. In both dialogues the consequence is the same. In the Parmenides, the absence of communion with the one, and the consequent failure to constitute a whole, means that things other than one will, by their own distinct nature, be unlimited in multiplicity. In the Sophist, the absence of communion with the one, and the consequent failure to constitute a whole, means that “what is” will, by its own distinct nature, be unlimited in multiplicity.

88Thus, the suggestion which might have saved the monist position by proposing that an existent one, a whole akin to the one of H2, is all there is, does not succeed in saving their position, because this whole turns out, like any whole, to be a product of the communion of the strictly non-multiple one itself with an unlimited multiplicity. In this case the unlimited multiplicity is τὸ ν, the Real, or “what is”.

Conclusion

89I trust that I have now presented a coherent and unified reading of the entire challenge to the monists in the Sophist, in terms of the three possible understandings of what one means that occur in the first three hypotheses of the Parmenides. I do not believe that a unified and coherent understanding of the overall argument can be arrived at in any other way. I hope I have also shown that at every crucial stage of that challenge, arguments from the Parmenides are relied upon to progress and develop that challenge to the monists. I do not believe that the development and progress of the overall argument can be adequately appreciated in any other way.

90I have also made the case that the naming argument should be seen as connected, strongly and integrally so, to the part-whole argument that follows it, thus giving a unity to the overall argument. This connection also explains the Stranger’s introduction of the strictly non-multiple one in the first place, in view of the fact that, on the evidence of the dialogue itself, no historical monist ever held such a position. The introduction of the one of H1 allows the Stranger to highlight the contrast between this strictly non-multiple one, which is truly one, and the existent one, which involves multiplicity, and is not entirely one. The contrast between these two ones is the basis of the H3 argument which constitutes the final falsification of the monist position under any of the three conceptions of what one is.

91And so, the Stranger is led to conclude:

  • 76 Soph. 245d12–e2 , trans. Rowe. καὶ τοίνυν ἄλλα μυρία ἀπεράντους ἀπορίας ἕκαστον εἰληφὸς φανεῖται τῷ(...)

And ten thousand other questions will arise, each involving an unlimited number of puzzles of its own, for anyone who tries to account for what is by claiming that it is some pair of things or just one thing.76

92This reference to the limitless ἀπορίαι generated by those who wish to maintain that one is all there is, is surely a touch of humour by Plato as he reflects upon the Parmenides where the interplay of the one with limitlessness is such a significant theme, a theme which is reintroduced in the Sophist to demonstrate the difficulties involved when the position that “one is all there is” becomes the basis for an account of “what is”.

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Bibliographie

Allen R.E. (1997): Plato’s Parmenides. Translated with Comment. Revised Edition, New Haven & London: Yale University Press.

Burnet J. (1901): Platonis Opera recognovit brevique adnotatione critica instruxit Ioannes Burnet. Tomus II tetralogias iii-iv continens, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Campbell L. (1867): The Sophistes and Politicus of Plato, with a Revised Text and English Notes by the Rev. Lewis Campbell, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Castagnoli L. (2010): Ancient Self-refutation: The Logic and History of the Self-refutation Argument from Democritus to Augustine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cornford F.M. (1935): Plato's Theory of Knowledge. The Theaetetus and the Sophist of Plato translated with a running commentary, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Cornford F.M. (1939): Plato and Parmenides. Parmenides’ Way of Truth and Plato's Parmenides translated with an Introduction and a running Commentary, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Duke E.A. et al. (1995): Platonis Opera recognoverunt brevique adnotatione critica instruxerunt E. A. Duke, W. F. Hicken, W. S. M. Nicoll, D. B. Robinson, J. C. G. Strachan. Tomus I tetralogias i-ii contintens, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Gill M.-L. (2012): Philosophos: Plato's Missing Dialogue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gill M.-L. & Ryan P. (1996): Plato: Parmenides. Translated by M. L. Gill and P. Ryan. Introduction by M. L. Gill, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.

Harte V. (2002): Plato on Parts and Wholes. The Metaphysics of Structure, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kahn Ch. (2007): Essays on Being, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kirk G.S., Raven J.E. & Schofield M. (1983): The Presocratic Philosophers. A Critical History with a Selection of Texts by G. S. Kirk, J. E. Raven & M. Schofield. Second Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McCabe M.M. (2000): Plato and His Predecessors: The Dramatisation of Reason, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Palmer J.A. (1999): Plato’s Reception of Parmenides, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rowe C. (2015): Plato: Theaetetus and Sophist. Edited by Christopher Rowe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schofield M. (1974): “Plato on Unity and Sameness”, Classical Quarterly 24 (1974) 33–45.

Stallbaum G. (1840): Platonis Sophista; recensuit prolegomenis et commentariis illustravit Godofredus Stallbaum, Erfurt & London: Black & Armstrong.

Taylor A.E. (1929): Plato: the Man and his Work. Third edition, revised and enlarged, London: Methuen.

Taylor A.E. (1961): Plato: the Sophist and the Statesman. Translation and Introduction by A. E. Taylor. Edited by R. Klibanski and E. Anscombe, London: Barnes & Noble.

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Notes

1 Kahn (2007), p. 35.

2 Taylor (1961), p. 40.

3 In the passage (244b6–245e5) devoted to the dialectical examination of the position of τῶν ἓν τὸ πᾶν λεγόντων.

4 Cf. the final emphasis on ἀπεράντους ἀπορίας at 245d12.

5 “Being” and “what is” are used interchangeably throughout this article to render τὸ ν.

6 “Naming argument” and “names’ argument” are used interchangeably throughout this article to refer to the opening argument (244b9–d10) against the position of τῶν ἓν τὸ πᾶν λεγόντων.

7 Soph. 244d14–245d7.

8 Cf. Taylor (1929): “this short section of the Sophistes assumes and recapitulates the difficulties already developed in the second part of the Parmenides” (p. 383, n.2). See also Schofield (1974), p. 42.

9 Parm. 137b3, trans. Gill & Ryan. For the Parmenides, in this article, I follow the text of Burnet (1901).

10 Soph. 244b7, trans. Rowe. For the Sophist, in this article, I follow the text of Duke et al. (1995); there are no differences from the earlier text of Burnet, in this section of the Sophist.

11 Soph. 244b9–10, trans. Rowe.

12 Soph. 243d6–244b5. I am using the label “dualist(s)” in the same well-established way as McCabe (2000), p. 66.

13 This is nowadays universally agreed upon: see the broad, cautious chronology in Rowe (2015), p. xxxiii. Given that in the Theaetetus Socrates refers (at 183e7–184a2) to the conversation featured in the Parmenides, and given that the Sophist is the direct dramatic successor to the Theaetetus (depicted as occurring on the following day, 216a1f.), we surely have good reason to presume that Plato wants us to have the Parmenides in mind as we read the Sophist.

14 Clearly marked by τόδε τοίνυν ἀποκρινέσθων at 244b9: “So let them answer us this” (trans. Rowe). Even more explicitly, in a more expansive rendering of these words: “Then here is the question they have to answer” (trans. Taylor).

15 Soph. 244b9–10, trans. Rowe.

16 Like Castagnoli I borrow this phrase from McCabe (2000), p. 69, where she says: “Strong monists suppose that there is only one thing ever” (her italics).

17 Gill (2012), p. 95.

18 Fr. 8, 4. See Kirk, Raven & Schofield (1983), p. 248f.

19 Soph. 244d14–15, trans. Rowe.

20 Palmer (1999), p. 179.

21 Parm. 142a3: οὐδ' ἄρα ὄνομα ἔστιν αὐτῷ (“Therefore no name belongs to it”, trans. Gill & Ryan).

22 Gill and Ryan translation of τὸ ὂν ν at Parm. 142d2.

23 Castagnoli (2010), pp. 218ff.

24 McCabe (2000), pp. 60–73.

25 Castagnoli (2010), p. 220.

26 Castagnoli (2010), p. 221.

27 Ibid., p. 222, citing McCabe (2000), p. 71.

28 Castagnoli (2010), p. 224.

29 McCabe (2010), p. 79.

30 See p. 4 of this paper.

31 Parm. 142a3, 4–5: “Therefore, no name belongs to it, … it is not named …” (οὐδ' ἄρα ὄνομα ἔστιν αὐτῷοὐδ' ὀνομάζεται…), trans. Gill & Ryan.

32 Parm. 141e9, trans. Gill & Ryan.

33 Cornford (1939), p. 133.

34 Parm. 142d1–2: εἰ τὸ ἔστι τοῦ ἑνὸς ὄντος λέγεται καὶ τὸ ἓν τοῦ ὄντος ἑνός (“if we state the ‘is’ of the one that is, and the ‘one’ of that which is one”, trans. Gill & Ryan).

35 Allen (1997), p. 247.

36 Allen (1997), p. 247.

37 Soph. 244b12: “Well, is there something you call being?” (τί δέ ; ὂν καλεῖτέ τι ;), trans. Rowe.

38 Soph. 244c4-6, trans. Rowe. Δῆλον, ὦ Θεαίτητε, ὅτι τῷ ταύτην τὴν ὑπόθεσιν ὑποθεμένῳ πρὸς τὸ νῦν ἐρωτηθὲν καὶ πρὸς ἄλλο δὲ ὁτιοῦν οὐ πάντων ῥᾷστον ἀποκρίνασθαι.

39 Parm. 142c4-5, trans. Gill & Ryan.

40 McCabe (2000), p. 69.

41 This is sufficient for the main purpose of this paper, although of course a more detailed analysis is sooner or later required. In the meantime, however, here is the intermediate level, textually based, analysis of the “two stages”:
(a) 244b6– 8: the thesis under dialectical examination ;
(b) 244b9–d10: the ‘naming argument’ (or ‘names’ argument’, or ‘argument from/about names’) proper ;
(c) 244d11–13: further dialectical result secured on the basis of what precedes ;
(d) 244d14–245d7: the ‘argument about the whole’ proper;
(e) 245d8–11: indication of a further dialectical result, analogous to what has been secured already ;
(f) 245d12–e5: availability of many further such, i.e. constitutive of
ἀπορία, results against the position of τῶν ἓν τὸ πᾶν λεγόντων.

42 I do not wish to argue that a number of different kinds of monism are considered in this examination of monism, here in the Sophist. I wish to argue that there is a single position, “one is all there is”, and that a number of different possibilities are explored as to how such a position may account for being or what is.

43 Soph. 244d14–e1, trans. Rowe. ΞΕ. Τί δέ ; τὸ ὅλον ἕτερον τοῦ ὄντος ἑνὸς ταὐτὸν φήσουσι τούτῳ ; ΘΕΑΙ. Πῶς γὰρ οὐ φήσουσί τε καὶ φασίν ;

44 This is the general tendency, at least since Stallbaum (1840), p. 159a (“Aliam nunc affert rationem, cur Eleaticorum placitum improbandum videatur”) and up to Rowe (2015), p. 140 n. 67 (“I.e., think now about the Eleatic One as the whole of things (the universe) — which it is, for the Eleatics.”). However, it is not unexceptionable, for as Taylor (1961) notes ad loc.: “The words [at 244d12–13] are difficult, but appear to be only a way of stating the conclusion already reached” (p. 140). Thus, the completion of the naming argument proper is marked by the interlocutor’s οὕτως at 244d10 (and not by the subsequent ἀνάγκη at 244d13). But the final choice lines of demarcation, and its defence, lie outside the scope of this article.

45 Cornford (1935), p. 222.

46 Soph. 244b6, trans. Rowe.

47 Frag.8, line 4. See p. 4 above, and n. 16 there.

48 Allen (1997), pp. 247–8.

49 Soph. 245a1–9, trans. Rowe. Here Rowe, admittedly, over-translates 245a5–6 (by “to be, itself, that one thing by itself we started with”); but I have not used his over-translated version. See Rowe (2015), p. 141, n. 69. ΞΕ. Ἀλλὰ τό γε μεμερισμένον πάθος μὲν τοῦ ἑνὸς ἔχειν ἐπὶ τοῖς μέρεσι πᾶσιν οὐδὲν ἀποκωλύει, καὶ ταύτῃ δὴ πᾶν τε ὂν καὶ ὅλον ἓν εἶναι. ΘΕΑΙ. Τί δ' οὔ; ΞΕ. Τὸ δὲ πεπονθὸς ταῦτα ἆρ' οὐκ ἀδύνατον αὐτό γε τὸ ἓν αὐτὸ εἶναι; ΘΕΑΙ. Πῶς; ΞΕ. Ἀμερὲς δήπου δεῖ παντελῶς τό γε ἀληθῶς ἓν κατὰ τὸν λόγον εἰρῆσθαι.

50 Soph. 245a8–9.

51 Palmer (1999), p. 179.

52 Cornford (1939), p. 133.

53 Palmer (1999), p. 179.

54 Soph. 245a5–10, trans. Rowe (his italics). ΞΕ. Τὸ δὲ πεπονθὸς ταῦτα ἆρ' οὐκ ἀδύνατον αὐτό γε τὸ ἓν αὐτὸ εἶναι; ΘΕΑΙ. Πῶς ; ΞΕ. Ἀμερὲς δήπου δεῖ παντελῶς τό γε ἀληθῶς ἓν κατὰ τὸν ὀρθὸν λόγον εἰρῆσθαι. ΘΕΑΙ. Δεῖ γὰρ οὖν.

55 Harte (2002), p. 109, n. 97.

56 Gill (2012), p. 65. The “botched appendix” refers to Parm. 156c1–157b5, read by most modern commentators as an appendix to the second hypothesis and not as a hypothesis in its own right.

57 Soph. 245a8-10, trans. Rowe.

58 Parm. 158a3-6, trans. Gill & Ryan. Μετέχοι δέ γε ἂν τοῦ ἑνὸς δῆλον ὅτι ἄλλο ὂν ἕν · οὐ γὰρ ἂν μετεῖχεν, ἀλλ' ἦν ἂν αὐτὸ ἕν. νῦν δὲ ἑνὶ μὲν εἶναι πλὴν αὐτῷ τῷ ἑνὶ ἀδύνατόν που.

59 Parm. 157c3-4, trans. Gill & Ryan. Ὅτι που τὰ ἄλλα τοῦ ἑνὸς μόρια ἔχοντα ἄλλα ἐστίν · εἰ γὰρ μόρια μὴ ἔχοι, παντελῶς ἂν ἓν εἴη.

60 Namely, in παντελῶς μὲν οὖν at 155c7-8, 155e2-3, and 160b4.

61 Soph. 245a8-9, trans. Rowe.

62 Harte (2002), p. 130.

63 Parm. 157b5–c8, trans. Gill & Ryan. Τί δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοις προσήκοι ἂν πάσχειν, ἓν εἰ ἔστιν, ἆρα οὐ σκεπτέον; — Σκεπτέον. — Λέγωμεν δή, ἓν εἰ ἔστι, τἆλλα τοῦ ἑνὸς τί χρὴ πεπονθέναι ; — Λέγωμεν. — Οὐκοῦν ἐπείπερ ἄλλα τοῦ ἑνός ἐστιν, οὔτε τὸ ἕν ἐστι τἆλλα · οὐ γὰρ ἂν ἄλλα τοῦ ἑνὸς ἦν. — Ὀρθῶς. — Οὐδὲ μὴν στέρεταί γε παντάπασι τοῦ ἑνὸς τἆλλα, ἀλλὰ μετέχει πῃ. — Πῇ δή ; — Ὅτι που τὰ ἄλλα τοῦ ἑνὸς μόρια ἔχοντα ἄλλα ἐστίν · εἰ γὰρ μόρια μὴ ἔχοι, παντελῶς ἂν ἓν εἴη. — Ὀρθῶς. — Μόρια δέ γε, φαμέν, τούτου ἐστὶν ἂν ὅλον . — Φαμὲν γάρ. — Ἀλλὰ μὴν τό γε ὅλον ἓν ἐκ πολλῶν ἀνάγκη εἶναι, οὗ ἔσται μόρια τὰ μόρια · ἕκαστον γὰρ τῶν μορίων οὐ πολλῶν μόριον χρὴ εἶναι, ἀλλὰ ὅλου. — Πῶς τοῦτο ;

64 Harte (2002), pp. 125ff.

65 Parm. 158c7–d8, trans. Gill & Ryan. Καὶ μὴν ἐπειδάν γε ἓν ἕκαστον μόριον μόριον γένηται, πέρας ἤδη ἔχει πρὸς ἄλληλα καὶ πρὸς τὸ ὅλον, καὶ τὸ ὅλον πρὸς τὰ μόρια. — Κομιδῇ μὲν οὖν. — Τοῖς ἄλλοις δὴ τοῦ ἑνὸς συμβαίνει ἐκ μὲν τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ ἐξ ἑαυτῶν κοινωνησάντων, ὡς ἔοικεν, ἕτερόν τι γίγνεσθαι ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, δὴ πέρας παρέσχε πρὸς ἄλληλα · δ' ἑαυτῶν φύσις καθ' ἑαυτὰ ἀπειρίαν. — Φαίνεται. — Οὕτω δὴ τὰ ἄλλα τοῦ ἑνὸς καὶ ὅλα καὶ κατὰ μόρια ἄπειρά τέ ἐστι καὶ πέρατος μετέχει. — Πάνυ γε.

66 Allen (1997), p. 315.

67 Ibid. – explanatory remarks in square brackets are mine.

68 Ibid.

69 Cornford (1935), p. 226.

70 Soph. 245b5–6, trans. Rowe.

71 Harte (2002), p. 104.

72 McCabe (2000), p. 69.

73 Soph. 245c8–9, trans. Rowe.

74 Cornford (1935), p. 226.

75 Parm. 158d6, trans. Gill & Ryan. δ' ἑαυτῶν φύσις καθ' ἑαυτὰ ἀπειρίαν.

76 Soph. 245d12–e2 , trans. Rowe. καὶ τοίνυν ἄλλα μυρία ἀπεράντους ἀπορίας ἕκαστον εἰληφὸς φανεῖται τῷ τὸ ὂν εἴτε δύο τινὲ εἴτε ἓν μόνον εἶναι λέγοντι.

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David Horan, « Plato’s Parmenides in Plato’s Sophist  »Études platoniciennes [En ligne], 15 | 2019, mis en ligne le 01 mai 2019, consulté le 28 mai 2020. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudesplatoniciennes/1589; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/etudesplatoniciennes.1589

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David Horan

Trinity Plato Centre, Trinity College Dublin

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Études Platoniciennes est mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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