Ideas from 'Parmenides' by Plato [364 BCE], by Theme Structure

[found in 'Complete Works' by Plato (ed/tr Cooper,John M.) [Hackett 1997,0-87220-349-2]].

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2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 1. On Reason
When questions are doubtful we should concentrate not on objects but on ideas of the intellect
                        Full Idea: Doubtful questions should not be discussed in terms of visible objects or in relation to them, but only with reference to ideas conceived by the intellect.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 135e)
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 5. Opposites
Opposites are as unlike as possible
                        Full Idea: Opposites are as unlike as possible.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 159a)
2. Reason / C. Styles of Reason / 1. Dialectic
Plato's 'Parmenides' is the greatest artistic achievement of the ancient dialectic
                        Full Idea: Plato's 'Parmenides' is the greatest artistic achievement of the ancient dialectic.
                        From: comment on Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE]) by Georg W.F.Hegel - Phenomenology of Spirit Pref 71
                        A reaction: It is a long way from the analytic tradition of philosophy to be singling out a classic text for its 'artistic' achievement. Eventually we may even look back on, say, Kripke's 'Naming and Necessity' and see it in that light.
5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 3. Antinomies
Plato found antinomies in ideas, Kant in space and time, and Bradley in relations
                        Full Idea: Plato (in 'Parmenides') shows that the theory that 'Eide' are substances, and Kant that space and time are substances, and Bradley that relations are substances, all lead to aninomies.
                        From: report of Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE]) by Gilbert Ryle - Are there propositions? 'Objections'
Plato's 'Parmenides' is perhaps the best collection of antinomies ever made
                        Full Idea: Plato's 'Parmenides' is perhaps the best collection of antinomies ever made.
                        From: comment on Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE]) by Bertrand Russell - The Principles of Mathematics 337
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / a. For mathematical platonism
One is, so numbers exist, so endless numbers exist, and each one must partake of being
                        Full Idea: If one is, there must also necessarily be number - Necessarily - But if there is number, there would be many, and an unlimited multitude of beings. ..So if all partakes of being, each part of number would also partake of it.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 144a)
                        A reaction: This seems to commit to numbers having being, then to too many numbers, and hence to too much being - but without backing down and wondering whether numbers had being after all. Aristotle disagreed.
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / c. Becoming
The one was and is and will be and was becoming and is becoming and will become
                        Full Idea: The one was and is and will be and was becoming and is becoming and will become.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 155d)
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / f. Primary being
Plato's Parmenides has a three-part theory, of Primal One, a One-Many, and a One-and-Many
                        Full Idea: The Platonic Parmenides is more exact [than Parmenides himself]; the distinction is made between the Primal One, a strictly pure Unity, and a secondary One which is a One-Many, and a third which is a One-and-Many.
                        From: report of Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE]) by Plotinus - The Enneads 5.1.08
                        A reaction: Plotinus approves of this three-part theory. Parmenides has the problem that the highest Being contains no movement. By placing the One outside Being you can give it powers which an existent thing cannot have. Cf the concept of God.
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Reality
Absolute ideas, such as the Good and the Beautiful, cannot be known by us
                        Full Idea: The absolute good and the beautiful and all which we conceive to be absolute ideas are unknown to us.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 134c)
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
You must always mean the same thing when you utter the same name
                        Full Idea: You must always mean the same thing when you utter the same name.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 147d)
If you deny that each thing always stays the same, you destroy the possibility of discussion
                        Full Idea: If a person denies that the idea of each thing is always the same, he will utterly destroy the power of carrying on discussion.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 135c)
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / a. Platonic Forms
If absolute ideas existed in us, they would cease to be absolute
                        Full Idea: None of the absolute ideas exists in us, because then it would no longer be absolute.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 133c)
The concept of a master includes the concept of a slave
                        Full Idea: Mastership in the abstract is mastership of slavery in the abstract.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 133e)
Greatness and smallness must exist, to be opposed to one another, and come into being in things
                        Full Idea: These two ideas, greatness and smallness, exist, do they not? For if they did not exist, they could not be opposites of one another, and could not come into being in things.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 149e)
It would be absurd to think there were abstract Forms for vile things like hair, mud and dirt
                        Full Idea: Are there abstract ideas for such things as hair, mud and dirt, which are particularly vile and worthless? That would be quite absurd.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 130d)
If admirable things have Forms, maybe everything else does as well
                        Full Idea: It is troubling that if admirable things have abstract ideas, then perhaps everything else must have ideas as well.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 130d)
Plato moves from Forms to a theory of genera and principles in his later work
                        Full Idea: It seems to me that Plato in the later dialogues, beginning with the second half of 'Parmenides', wants to substitute a theory of genera and theory of principles that constitute these genera for the earlier theory of forms.
                        From: report of Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE]) by Michael Frede - Title, Unity, Authenticity of the 'Categories' V
                        A reaction: My theory is that the later Plato came under the influence of the brilliant young Aristotle, and this idea is a symptom of it. The theory of 'principles' sounds like hylomorphism to me.
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / b. Partaking
If things partake of ideas, this implies either that everything thinks, or that everything actually is thought
                        Full Idea: If all things partake of ideas, must either everything be made of thoughts and everything thinks, or everything is thought, and so can't think?
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 132c)
The whole idea of each Form must be found in each thing which participates in it
                        Full Idea: The whole idea of each form (of beauty, justice etc) must be found in each thing which participates in it.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 131a)
Participation is not by means of similarity, so we are looking for some other method of participation
                        Full Idea: Participation is not by means of likeness, so we must seek some other method of participation.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 133a)
Each idea is in all its participants at once, just as daytime is a unity but in many separate places at once
                        Full Idea: Just as day is in many places at once, but not separated from itself, so each idea might be in all its participants at once.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 131b)
If things are made alike by participating in something, that thing will be the absolute idea
                        Full Idea: That by participation in which like things are made like, will be the absolute idea, will it not?
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 132e)
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / c. Self-predication
If absolute greatness and great things are seen as the same, another thing appears which makes them seem great
                        Full Idea: If you regard the absolute great and the many great things in the same way, will not another appear beyond, by which all these must appear to be great?
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 132a)
Nothing can be like an absolute idea, because a third idea intervenes to make them alike (leading to a regress)
                        Full Idea: It is impossible for anything to be like an absolute idea, because a third idea will appear to make them alike, and if that is like anything, it will lead to another idea, and so on.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 133a)
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / b. Unifying aggregates
Parts must belong to a created thing with a distinct form
                        Full Idea: The part would not be the part of many things or all, but of some one character ['ideas'] and of some one thing, which we call a 'whole', since it has come to be one complete [perfected] thing composed [created] of all.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 157d)
                        A reaction: A serious shot by Plato at what identity is. Harte quotes it (125) and shows that 'character' is Gk 'idea', and 'composed' will translate as 'created'. 'Form' links this Platonic passage to Aristotle's hylomorphism.
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
In Parmenides, if composition is identity, a whole is nothing more than its parts
                        Full Idea: At the heart of the 'Parmenides' puzzles about composition is the thesis that composition is identity. Considered thus, a whole adds nothing to an ontology that already includes its parts
                        From: report of Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE]) by Verity Harte - Plato on Parts and Wholes 2.5
                        A reaction: There has to be more to a unified identity that mere proximity of the parts. When do parts come together, and when do they actually 'compose' something?
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / a. Parts of objects
Plato says only a one has parts, and a many does not
                        Full Idea: In 'Parmenides' it is argued that a part cannot be part of a many, but must be part of something one.
                        From: report of Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 157c) by Verity Harte - Plato on Parts and Wholes 3.2
                        A reaction: This looks like the right way to go with the term 'part'. We presuppose a unity before we even talk of its parts, so we can't get into contradictions and paradoxes about their relationships.
Anything which has parts must be one thing, and parts are of a one, not of a many
                        Full Idea: The whole of which the parts are parts must be one thing composed of many; for each of the parts must be part, not of a many, but of a whole.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 157c)
                        A reaction: This is a key move of metaphysics, and we should hang on to it. The other way madness lies.
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / c. Wholes from parts
It seems that the One must be composed of parts, which contradicts its being one
                        Full Idea: The One must be composed of parts, both being a whole and having parts. So on both grounds the One would thus be many and not one. But it must be not many, but one. So if the One will be one, it will neither be a whole, nor have parts.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 137c09), quoted by Kathrin Koslicki - The Structure of Objects 5.2
                        A reaction: This is the starting point for Plato's metaphysical discussion of objects. It seems to begin a line of thought which is completed by Aristotle, surmising that only an essential structure can bestow identity on a bunch of parts.
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 6. Identity between Objects
Two things relate either as same or different, or part of a whole, or the whole of the part
                        Full Idea: Everything is surely related to everything as follows: either it is the same or different; or, if it is not the same or different, it would be related as part to whole or as whole to part.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 146b)
                        A reaction: This strikes me as a really helpful first step in trying to analyse the nature of identity. Two things are either two or (actually) one, or related mereologically.
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 5. Education / c. Teaching
Only a great person can understand the essence of things, and an even greater person can teach it
                        Full Idea: Only a man of very great natural gifts will be able to understand that everything has a class and absolute essence, and an even more wonderful man can teach this.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 135a)
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / d. The unlimited
The unlimited has no shape and is endless
                        Full Idea: The unlimited partakes neither of the round nor of the straight, because it has no ends nor edges.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 137e)
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / e. The One
Some things do not partake of the One
                        Full Idea: The others cannot partake of the one in any way; they can neither partake of it nor of the whole.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 159d)
                        A reaction: Compare Idea 231
The only movement possible for the One is in space or in alteration
                        Full Idea: If the One moves it either moves spatially or it is altered, since these are the only motions.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 138b)
Everything partakes of the One in some way
                        Full Idea: The others are not altogether deprived of the one, for they partake of it in some way.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 157c)
                        A reaction: Compare Idea 233.
28. God / B. Proving God / 2. Proofs of Reason / a. Ontological Proof
We couldn't discuss the non-existence of the One without knowledge of it
                        Full Idea: There must be knowledge of the one, or else not even the meaning of the words 'if the one does not exist' would be known.
                        From: Plato (Parmenides [c.364 BCE], 160d)