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Darren Gardner: Exercise and Aporia in Plato's Parmenides

Lecture by Darren Gardner (New School for Social Research / Groningen), organized by the Department of the History of Philosophy.

The hypotheses in Plato's Parmenides, fascinating and seemingly obscure, are subject of various interpretations: some argue that they present Plato's late ontology, or emphasize a transition away from an earlier view of forms (e.g. Ryle, Rist, Kahn, Meinwald); some argue that the hypotheses are ironic (Taylor, Rosen); and others, following the neoplatonic tradition, emphasize the eminence of the "one" of the first hypothesis (Proclus, Plotinus).

In this lecture, I argue that the hypotheses should be seen aligned wth the dramatic first part of the dialogue, namely, as an exercise program called a gymnastic that is demonstrated for a young Socrates. Such a demonstration is intended to help Socrates, and similarly, students of the dialogue, to ovecome the aporiai that can occur when trying to define forms. By examining the structure of the hypotheses, I show not only that the hypotheses demonstrate a crucial educational function of summoning thought and insight (noesis) for the young Socrates that is similar to the more basic one proposed to Glaucon in the Republic, but also that they function as an educational propaedeutic for the figure of Socrates as a young learner, and for students of the Parmenides.

When & where?

Wednesday, 2 November 2016, 15.15-17.00
Faculty of Philosophy, room Omega

Laatst gewijzigd:01 november 2016 22:10