UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Logic and existence Skosnik, Jeffrey Paul 1977

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LOGIC AND EXISTENCE by J e f f r e y Paul  Skosnik  B.A., M i c h i g a n S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y , 1968 M.A., Simon F r a s e r U n i v e r s i t y , 1970 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Philosophy We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard ll  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 1977 J e f f r e y Paul  Skosnik  In presenting this thesis in partial  fulfilment of the requirements for  an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that . the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives.  It  is understood that copying or publication  of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Depa rtment The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5  Research S u p e r v i s o r :  P r o f e s s o r Steven S a v i t t  ABSTRACT  This t h e s i s i s a l o g i c a l / h i s t o r i c a l i n q u i r y i n t o the concept of being. R e l a t i v e t o t h i s c o n c e p t , t h e r e a r e ( I contend) two g r e a t t r a d i t i o n s i n Western philosophy. •to  A c c o r d i n g t o t h e one, t h e p r s d i c a t i o n a l use of t h e verb  be* i s not independent o f i t s e x i s t e n t i a l use} a c c o r d i n g t o t h e o t h e r ,  it is.  That i s t o s a y , t h e f i r s t t r a d i t i o n assumes t h a t 'a i s F* e n t a i l s  *a e x i s t s ' , w h i l e t h e o t h e r t r a d i t i o n d e n i e s t h i s e n t a i l m e n t . There a r e prima f a c i e problems i n b o t h t r a d i t i o n s , and t h e t h e s i s a t t e m p t s t o r e s o l v e those a r i s i n g on t h e assumption t h a t t h e e n t a i l m e n t h o l d s . assume t h a t e i t h e r t r a d i t i o n as such i s wrong.  The t h e s i s does not  I t i s rather maintained  t h a t we may adopt e i t h e r forms o f language i n which t h e p r e d i c a t i o n a l use of  * t o be* i s not independent o f i t s e x i s t e n t i a l u s e , £r e l s e forms o f l a n -  guage i n which t h e two uses a r e independent. the  When we make t h e f i r s t move,  r e s u l t i s a Fregean s t y l e of q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y i n which e x i s t e n t i a l  g e n e r a l i z a t i o n h o l d s as an u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y v a l i d form o f i n f e r e n c e ; when we make t h e second move, t h e r e s u l t i s a f r e e l o g i c such as we f i n d i n t h e s y s tems o f Lambert and van F r a a s s e n .  Though I do not attempt t o d i s c r e d i t  e i t h e r t r a d i t i o n as a whole, I do c r i t i c i z e herents of both t r a d i t i o n s . of  s p e c i f i c c l a i m s made by t h e ad-  On t h e whole, however, I am f a r more c r i t i c a l  those i n t h e t r a d i t i o n t o which the f r e e l o g i c i a n s b e l o n g t h a n I am of  those i n t h e t r a d i t i o n t o which Frege b e l o n g s .  The t h e s i s a t t e m p t s t o show  t h a t i n F r e g e ' s q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y we have a s a t i s f a c t o r y e x p l i c a t i o n o f our c o n c e p t o f e x i s t e n c e .  The t h e s i s o f f e r s some reasons f o r t h i n k i n g t h a t  i n t h e a l t e r n a t i v e t r a d i t i o n o f t h e f r e e l o g i c i a n s no such e x p l i c a t i o n has y e t emerged.  The t h e s i s c o n c l u d e s w i t h a b r i e f account of m o d a l i t y i n which  i t i s not assumed t h a t of t h e i r  existence.  i n d i v i d u a l s can possess c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  independently  iv  CONTENTS  INTRODUCTION TO THESIS  1_5  PART I: GREEK THOUGHT 1 Parmemides 2 Aristotle PART I I :  MEDIEVAL THOUGHT  3 Anselm. 4 Leibniz. PART I I I :  MODERN THOUGHT  5 Frege 6 Russell SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY  6-91 .  ,  7-65 66-90 92-175 93-134 135-174 176-310 177-220 221-309 311-314  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  To t h e B e r t r a n d R u 3 s e l l A r c h i v e s f o r p e r m i s s i o n t o s t u d y and quote from R u s s e l l ' s unpublished w r i t i n g s . To Ken B l a c k w e l l o f t h e R u s s e l l A r c h i v e s f o r p r o v i d i n g me w i t h c o p i e s of R u s s e l l ' s u n p u b l i s h e d w r i t i n g s . To Norman C a l l e g a r o f o r e x p e r t b i b l i g r a p h i c a l a s s i s t a n c e . To Kim F l o e c k f o r t r a n s l a t i n g some o f Kant's h i t h e r t o u n t r a n s l a t e d German i n t o i n t e l l i g i b l e E n g l i s h . To my w i f e f o r w a i t i n g more o r l e s s p a t i e n t l y w h i l e I wrote a v e r y l o n g thesis. To t h e members o f my Ph.D. committee, t o whom I am i n d e b t e d i n t h e ways t h a t one would e x p e c t .  1  INTRODUCTION  In t h i s t h e s i s I w i l l d i s c u s s seme f a m i l i a r problems c o n c e r n i n g t t h e app l i c a t i o n o f q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y t o n a t u r a l languages.  My aim w i l l be t o  defend what I r e g a r d as a b a s i c a l l y Fregean approach t o t h e c o n c e p t o f e x i s t e n c e , b u t t o do so i n a way which ensures g r e a t e r f i d e l i t y t o t h e w o r k i n g s o f n a t u r a l languages t h a n Frege h i m s e l f thought n e c e s s a r y o r perhaps  even  desirable. In terms o f p r e d i c a t e e x t e n s i o n s  r e l a t i v e t o a g i v e n domain, Frege o f -  f e r s what I t a k e t o be a comprehensive account o f e x i s t e n t i a l p r o p o s i t i o n s . On t h i s a c c o u n t , t h e p r o p o s i t i o n ' u n i c o r n s do n o t e x i s t ' (£.£.) means: i n the domain o f a n i m a l s ( o f which u n i c o r n s would be members i f t h e r e were any) the e x t e n s i o n o f t h e p r e d i c a t e ' u n i c o r n *  i snull.  When I say t h a t Frege's  account o f e x i s t e n t i a l p r o p o s i t i o n s i n terms o f p r e d i c a t e e x t e n s i o n s prehensive,  i s com-  I do not mean t h a t s i n g u l a r e x i s t e n t i a l p r o p o s i t i o n s a r e somehow  r e d u c i b l e t o g e n e r a l ones.  On t h e c o n t r a r y , I b e l i e v e t h a t t h e r e a r e no s i n -  gular e x i s t e n t i a l propositions.  With Frege I h o l d t h a t , i f ' a ' were used as  a s i n g u l a r term i n 'a e x i s t s * , t h e n t h i s c o m b i n a t i o n o f words would be meaningless. (§_.£.)  U n l i k e F r e g e , however, I do not b e l i e v e t h a t ' J u l i u s Caesar e x i s t s ' i s meaningless.  I w i l l contend t h a t i n t h i s p r o p o s i t i o n ' J u l i u s  Caesar* i s f u n c t i o n i n g not as a name b u t a s a g e n e r a l term w i t h an a s c e r t a i n able extension.  Thus, on t h e account I w i l l defend ' J u l i u s Caesar e x i s t s '  i s r e t a i n e d as a s i g n i f i c a n t , though g e n e r a l , p r o p o s i t i o n .  There a r e p h i l o -  sophers who would t r e a t i t as a genuine s i n g u l a r p r o p o s i t i o n .  In t h e i r  sys-  tems, u n l i k e F r e g e ' s , ' e x i s t s ' o c c u r s as a p r e d i c a t e o f i n d i v i d u a l s . There i s a s u b s t a n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e between the p h i l o s o p h e r s who t r e a t  2  •exists*  as a p r e d i c a t e of i n d i v i d u a l s and t h o s e who do n o t .  the p h i l o s o p h e r s  who have wished t o t r e a t ' e x i s t s *  Historically  as a p r e d i c a t e of i n -  d i v i d u a l s b e l i e v e d t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e t o frame p r o p o s i t i o n s about what does n o t e x i s t .  The p r o p o s i t i o n 'Pegasus i s a winged h o r s e * (f_.£.) t h e y  would r e g a r d as a t r u e p r o p o s i t i o n about Pegasus. t h i s p r o p o s i t i o n i n v i t e s the i n f e r e n c e : block  t h i s inference these philosophers  t i o n by a d d i n g 'Pegasus e x i s t s * tion.  t h e r e f o r e , winged h o r s e s e x i s t . would amend e x i s t e n t i a l  To  generaliza-  as a premise t o t h e i n f e r e n c e here i n ques-  Thus, t h e y would a l t e r t h e c h a r a c t e r  Frege's system.  So r e g a r d e d , however,  o f a fundamental i n f e r e n c e i n  Moreover, they would do so by a d d i n g a premise whose unana-  l y s e d form a t l e a s t i s thought i l l e g i t i m a t e by Frege. a v o i d t h e problems which a r i s e i n c o n n e c t i o n  Frege h i m s e l f  would  with non-designating singular  terms s i m p l y by e x c l u d i n g such terms from t h e ' l o g i c a l l y p e r f e c t ' language i n which e x i s t e n t i a l g e n e r a l i z a t i o n h o l d s u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y . In one s e n s e , t h e d i s p u t e between Frege and h i s c r i t i c s one.  isa trivial  F o r , i f we r e q u i r e every s i n g u l a r term t o have a r e f e r e n t , then e x i s -  t e n t i a l g e n e r a l i z a t i o n w i l l h o l d u n c o n d i t i o n a l l y ; b u t , i f we drop t h i s r e quirement, i t w i l l not.  We can t h e r e f o r e c o n s t r u c t f o r m a l languages o f the  type Frege p r e f e r s , and we can c o n s t r u c t some o f the type h i s c r i t i c s  prefer.  We must, t h e r e f o r e , r e s i s t r e p r e s e n t i n g t h e d i s p u t e between Frege and h i s c r i t i c s as though i t concerned t h e v a l i d i t y o f e x i s t e n t i a l g e n e r a l i z a t i o n : e x i s t e n t i a l g e n e r a l i z a t i o n i s v a l i d i n some languages b u t not i n others;. Our aim i n t h i s t h e s i s t h e r e f o r e cannot be t o pronounce upon the v a l i d i t y of an i n f e r e n c e ; i t i s r a t h e r t o judge t h e adequacy i t i s admittedly  v a l i d or admittedly  invalid.  o f t h e language i n which  Our c o n c e r n i s t o e x h i b i t  the s t r u c t u r e o f i n f e r e n c e i n n a t u r a l l a n g u a g e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y  i n English.  3  T h e r e f o r e , the f o r m a l language which b e s t e x h i b i t s t h a t s t r u c t u r e our p u r p o s e s , the most adequate.  I s h a l l c o n t e n d t h a t a f o r m a l language  i n which e x i s t e n t i a l g e n e r a l i z a t i o n i n t h i s sense than one e x i s t e n t i a l premise.  i s , for  holds unconditionally  i n which t h i s i n f e r e n c e  requires  i s more adequate  the a d d i t i o n of  T h i s i s prima f a c i e s u r p r i s i n g because E n g l i s h  i n such a p p a r e n t l y n o n d e s i g n a t i n g s i n g u l a r terms as  unguarded (and  i n g the p r i n c i p l e s which have g u i d e d the i s the  abounds  •Pegasus'.  Having made t h e s e remarks about the aims of the t h e s i s , I w i l l t h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n w i t h a few  an  conclude  perhaps n a i v e ) remarks c o n c e r n -  i n v e s t i g a t i o n s of which t h i s t h e s i s  record.  Throughout t h i s work I t r e a t p a s t p h i l o s o p h e r s s e r i o u s l y , c a r e f u l l y . There i s u s u a l l y more t o be m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g him. exegetical  disputes.  I have f o r t h i s r e a s o n o c c a s i o n a l l y The  For  My aim  I have not  has  from a v a r i e t y of p e r s p e c t i v e s . s e l e c t , ignore, But,  been l e d i n t o  t h e s i s , however, i s n e v e r t h e l e s s not a manual i n  the h i s t o r y of p h i l o s o p h y . historical position.  l e a r n t from u n d e r s t a n d i n g a L e i b n i z than from  e x t e n d , and  t r i e d to c h a r a c t e r i z e  anyone's  r a t h e r been to i l l u m i n a t e c e r t a i n problems I have f o r t h i s r e a s o n p e r m i t t e d m y s e l f t o  o t h e r w i s e d i s t o r t the v i e w s of a c t u a l  as Mark Twain o b s e r v e d , 'you  have to have the f a c t s b e f o r e you  figures. can  per-  v e r t them'. I attach  importance t o the h i s t o r y of p h i l o s o p h y p a r t l y because of  view I take of p h i l o s o p h y i t s e l f , h i s t o r y i n a way The  I see  p h i l o s o p h y as b e i n g r e l a t e d to i t s  t h a t the n a t u r a l s c i e n c e s are not r e l a t e d t o t h e i r h i s t o r i e s .  n a t u r a l s c i e n t i s t , people say,  l y t i c f a c t , and  the  therefore  monplace i s t r u e . )  hopes t o e x t e n d our knowledge of non-ana-  b a s e s h i s work upon o b s e r v a t i o n .  It i s hardly  surprising, therefore,  that  ( I hope t h i s comscientific  4  t h e o r i e s s h o u l d be d i s c r e d i t e d by an advancing such wonders as the t e l e s c o p e and m i c r o s c o p e ;  t e c h n o l o g y which g i v e s us Newton c e r t a i n l y would not  have been r e f u t e d w i t h o u t the i n v e n t i o n o f some q u i t e s o p h i s t i c a t e d a s t r o nomical instruments.  The d i s c r e d i t e d t h e o r i e s then cease t o be  as s c i e n c e , and become mere h i s t o r y .  important  In c o n t r a s t , t h e r e i s a view o f p h i l o -  sophy a c c o r d i n g t o which the p h i l o s o p h e r , u n l i k e the n a t u r a l s c i e n t i s t , hopes t o e s t a b l i s h a n a l y t i c a l ( o r c o n c e p t u a l ) t r u t h s , t r u t h s which i n p r i n c i p l e cannot be d i s c r e d i t e d by o b s e r v a t i o n , however r e f i n e d .  Thus, the work  of p a s t p h i l o s o p h e r s , when i t i s good, r e t a i n s i t s v a l u e as p h i l o s o p h y . There a r e unbroken t r a d i t i o n s i n Western thought a n c i e n t Greeks t o the p r e s e n t day.  from the time o f the  These t r a d i t i o n s are a p a r t o f our i n -  t e l l e c t u a l h e r i t a g e as a s p e c i e s , and p l a c e us i n a s c h o l a r l y community extended  through t i m e .  When we see i d e a s p r o j e c t e d through v a s t s t r e c h e s of  h i s t o r y and i n the p r o c e s s formed by the a r t o f g r e a t p h i l o s o p h e r s , i t h e l p s us t o f i n d a d i r e c t i o n f o r our own  t h o u g h t s , and t o advance beyond the a l l -  t o - n e a r p o i n t a t which our unaided  r e f l e c t i o n l e a v e s us.  p h e r s who,  There are p h i l o s o -  a p p a r e n t l y not s e e i n g t h e i r own work as a c h a p t e r i n a l a r g e r h i s -  t o r y , b e l i e v e t h a t t r a d i t i o n a l d o c t r i n e s are f o r the most p a r t d e v o i d o f cogn i t i v e meaning.  For them t r a d i t i o n a l problems (£.£., the problem of r e a l i s m  v e r s u s n o m i n a l i s m ) become i n t e l l i g i b l e o n l y i n t h i s c e n t u r y . r e s i s t t h i s p r o v i n c i a l a t t i t u d e and the arrogance r e a d e r who  which accompanies i t .  does not l i k e w i s e r e s i s t i t , however, may  p a r t s o f my work d e v o i d o f c o g n i t i v e meaning.  But I s h a l l The  w e l l f i n d the e a r l i e r  In these p a r t s I t r y t o g i v e  e x p r e s s i o n t o some c o n f l i c t i n g , p r e - t h e o r e t i c a l i n t u i t i o n s which i n v a r i o u s ways have been c a p t u r e d i n the f o r m a l systems which p u r p o r t t o e x h i b i t the s t r u c t u r e of sound t h i n k i n g .  These i n t u i t i o n s , though i n h e r e n t l y c r e d i b l e ,  5  are demonstrably i n c o n s i s t e n t .  Thus, t o b r i n g c o n s i s t e n c y  we must choose from amongst them. minded p h i l o s o p h e r s  t o our t h i n k i n g  The major d i f f e r e n c e s amongst l o g i c a l l y -  o f t e n r e s u l t from t h e i r a d h e r i n g t o d i f f e r e n t p o r t i o n s  of our i n t u i t i v e b e l i e f i n t h e i r a t t e m p t s t o b r i n g c o n s i s t e n c y thought.  t o our common  We w i l l see how d i f f e r e n t p o r t i o n s o f our i n t u i t i v e b e l i e f a r e em-  b o d i e d i n the a l t e r n a t i v e q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r i e s o f L e i b n i z and Frege.  We  w i l l a l s o see how, a t an e a r l i e r s t a g e i n Western t h o u g h t , P l a t o ' s system c o l l a p s e s i n t o i n c o h e r e n c e through h i s attempt t o m a i n t a i n i n t u i t i v e b e l i e f concerning existence.  Consistency  t o o much o f our  demands t h a t we s a c r i f i c e  a p o r t i o n o f our i n t u i t i v e b e l i e f , b u t i t does not t e l l us which p o r t i o n must go.  I do not say t h a t my c h o i c e s  s o n a b l e ones t o make.  i n i n t u i t i v e b e l i e f are the only  rea-  But I do say t h a t t h e s e c h o i c e s b r i n g c o n s i s t e n c y t o  our t h i n k i n g about e x i s t e n c e w h i l e they m i n i m i z e the r e q u i s i t e s a c r i f i c e s i n intuitive  belief.  6  PART  PART  I  IS  W I T H THE  INTRODUCTORY  IN  PRE-THEORETICAL  I:  NATURE. PROBLEMS  GREEK  ITS  THOUGHT  A i m IS  LATENT  IN  M E R E L Y TO A C Q U A I N T  THE  CONCEPT  SOME T H E S E  P R O B L E M S MAY S E E M UNWORTHY O F C O N S I D E R A T I O N .  THEM A G A I N  IN  OUR C O N C E P T OF  A MUCH MORE R E C A L C I T R A N T EXISTENCE.  THE  OF E X I S T E N C E . B U T WE W I L L  FORM WHEN WE A T T E M P T  TO  READER TO MEET  FORMALIZE  7  PARWENIDES  1.0  Introduction  In t h i s c h a p t e r uie w i l l show that» c o n t r a r y t o  p o p u l a r commentary, c e r t a i n paradoxes i n Parmenides a r e not due t o any  ele-  mentary c o n f u s i o n s , b u t f o l l o w from i n t u i t i o n s h a v i n g a w i d e s p r e a d a p p e a l . We w i l l then show t h a t P l a t o ' s attempt t o r e s o l v e t h e s e paradoxes 1.1  'To be' and  syntactically  VdC  The E n g l i s h verb ' t o be* i s used i n two  d i s t i n c t w a y s — i . . e . , i t has what grammarians  p l e t e use and a l s o ( 2 ) an i n c o m p l e t e use. c o n t e x t s such as *  fails.  c a l l ( 1 ) a com-  The complete use i s e x h i b i t e d i n  i s * , where we may g e n e r a t e a complete sentence from  t h i s schema s i m p l y by r e p l a c i n g t h e *  ' with a t e r m — ,  complete use i s e x h i b i t e d i n c o n t e x t s such as *  'God*.  .i s  The i n -  where i n o r d e r  t o g e n e r a t e a complete sentence from t h i s schema the '  ' and the '...'  each be r e p l a c e d by terms—e_.g_., r e s p e c t i v e l y , 'God' and  'omnipotent'.  ' I am* use; and 'I  ( a s i n * I t h i n k ; t h e r e f o r e , I am')  must  i s an example of the complete  am w e a l t h y ' i s an example o f the i n c o m p l e t e use.  It i s clear  t h a t i n i t s complete use ' t o be' means ' t o e x i s t ' ; and we s h a l l a c c o r d i n g l y speak o f t h i s use as the e x i s t e n t i a l use of ' t o be'.  I t i s equally clear  t h a t i n i t s i n c o m p l e t e use ' t o be' e x p r e s s e s the r e l a t i o n between s u b j e c t and p r e d i c a t e ; and we s h a l l a c c o r d i n g l y speak o f t h i s use as the p r e d i c a t i o n a l use o f 'to be'. P h i l o s o p h e r s o f t e n a t t a c h g r e a t importance t o the d i s t i n c t i o n between these two uses o f ' t o be'.  W i l l , £.£.,  writes:*  W i l l , J . , A System of L o g i c (London:  1965), p. 50.  (Bk I , Ch i v , s e c . 1)  8  Many volumes might be f i l l e d w i t h the f r i v o l o u s s p e c u l a t i o n s c o n c e r n i n g the n a t u r e of B e i n g ... which have a r i s e n from o v e r l o o k i n g t h i s double meaning ^ e x i s t e n t i a l and p r e d i c a t i o n a l j of the word t o b_e; from s u p p o s i n g t h a t when i t s i g n i f i e s t£ e x i s t , and when i t s i g n i f i e s t o be some s p e c i f i e d t h i n g , as t o be a man, t o b_e S o c r a t e s , to be_ seen o r spoken o f , even t o be a n o n e n t i t y , i t must s t i l l , a t bottom, answer t o the same i d e a ; and t h a t a meaning must be found f o r i t which s h a l l s u i t a l l these c a s e s . The f o g which r o s e from t h i s narrow s p o t d i f f u s e d i t s e l f a t an e a r l y p e r i o d over the whole s u r f a c e of metaphysics. T h i s passage may  s e r v e as the l o c u s c l a s s i c u s of a view which we s h a l l here  d i s p u t e — v i z . , t h a t the t r a d i t i o n a l d i s c u s s i o n s of o n t o l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n s a r e v i t i a t e d by an u n c o n s c i o u s e q u i v o c a t i o n between the e x i s t e n t i a l and p r e d i c a t i o n a l uses o f * t o be' and i t s e q u i v a l e n t e x p r e s s i o n s i n o t h e r l a n g u a g e s . Though mill does not mention him,.Rarmenides..is u s u a l l y r e g a r d e d as the greatest offender i n this respect.  Our view i s t h a t , a l t h o u g h t h e f a l l a c y  of e q u i v o c a t i o n (on ' t o be*) has o c c a s i o n a l l y been committed, we must a t t e n d t o s p e c i f i c arguments  and show how  the f a l l a c y has been committed  S c h o l a r s f o r the most p a r t , however, do not attempt t o show i n a argument how  therein. particular  the f a l l a c y has been committed, but have ( l i k e W i l l ) s i m p l y used  the charge o f e q u i v o c a t i o n t o j u s t i f y d i s m i s s i n g a whole p o s i t i o n (£.£., t h a t of P a r m e n i d e s ) . The Greek verb  '/tV^t* i s  u s u a l l y t r a n s l a t e d as * t o be'; and, l i k e *to  be*, i t has a complete use and an i n c o m p l e t e use.  In p_e S o p h i s t i c i s E l e n c h i s ,  167a3-5, A r i s t o t l e d i s t i n g u i h e s the complete use from the i n c o m p l e t e use of ^ l Y c O ? * as f o l l o w s : . . . i t i s n o t the same t h i n g "not t o be x" and "not t o be" a t a l l : i t l o o k s as i f i t were because o f the c l o s e n e s s of the e x p r e s s i o n , i . e . because " t o be x_" i s b u t l i t t l e d i f f e r e n t from " t o be", and "not t o be £" from "not t o be". The t r a n s l a t o r (W. A. P i c k a r d - C a m b r i d g e ) has here r e n d e r e d 'dtVgti' as 'to be*.  9  C l a s s i c a l s c h o l a r s , however, have r e c e n t l y noted c e r t a i n p e c u l i a r i e s o f which d i s t i n g u i s h i t from ' t o be*.  vlastos writes:  1  ^rom t h e Greek "is" {£(fpp we g e t d i r e c t l y the p a r t i c i p l e 0V, the noun, Q\ATccu> and o a d v e r b , Qy-gf" From t h e Engl i s h " i s " a l l we c a n g e t d i r e c t l y i s t h e - p a r t i c i p l e , bei n g , b u t no noun o r adverb. We c a n ' t say " b e i n g n e s s " o r " b e i n g l y " , and have t o s h i f t t o " r e a l i t y " and " r e a l l y " . But when we do t h i s we l o s e a verb from t h e same stem: we c a n ' t s a y , " S o c r a t e s r e a l s a man" o r " S o c r a t e s r e a l s w i s e " . ... I f we want t o t a l k E n g l i s h , we w i l l have t o break up the consanquineous Greek q u a r t e t i n t o two etymol o g i c a l l y u n r e l a t e d groups, p i c k i n g our v e r b s from the f i r s t , our noun and adverb ( a n d a l s o t h e e x c e p t i o n a l l y u s e f u l a d j e c t i v e , " r e a l " ) from the second. t n  As we n o t e d , t h e E n g l i s h v e r b ' t o be' i n i t s complete use s i m p l y means 'to e x i s t * .  B u t i t i s h i g h l y d o u b t f u l whether  c a r r i e s q u i t e t h i s sense.  '^iVcd* i n i t s complete use  V l a s t o s f a v o r s t r a n s l a t i n g i t as ' t o be r e a l o r  g e n u i n e ' , and notes t h e c l o s e c o n n e c t i o n f o r Greeks between t r u t h and r e a l i ty.  A r i s t o t l e , e.£., d e f i n e s ' t r u t h * and ' f a l s i t y * as f o l l o w s :  3  To say o f what i s t h a t i t i s n o t , o r o f what i s not t h a t i t i s , i s f a l s e , w h i l e t o say o f what i s t h a t i t i s , o r o f what i s n o t t h a t i t i s n o t , i s t r u e . In h i s w e l l - r e a s o n e d a r t i c l e Kahn c o n c l u d e s : ^  •<  ...the most fundamental v a l u e of; e i n a i when used a l o n e [ i . . e . , i n i t s complete u s e j i s not " t o e x i s t " b u t " t o be t h e c a s e " , o r " t o be t r u e " . I t i s worth n o t i n g t h a t t h i s meaning o f t h e v e r b , which appears among the f o u r uses l i s t e d i n t h e c h a p t e r o f Wet. D e l t a ... i s l a t e r d e s c r i b e d by A r i s t o t l e as t h e " s t r i c t e s t " o r "most a u t h o r i t a t i v e " sense of " t o be". (Wet. Theta 10, 1051b 1)  I v l a s t o s , G., 'Degrees o f R e a l i t y i n P l a t o ' , as c o n t a i n e d i n : Bambrough, R., e d . , New Essays on P l a t o and A r i s t o t l e (London: 1965), p. 1. 2  S e e i b i d . , pp. 1^3.  Sffletaphysica 1011b27.  A l s o see P l a t o , C r a t y l u s 385b; S o p h i s t 263b.  K a h n , C., 'The Greek v e r b " t o be" and t h e Concept o f B e i n g " , ' Foundat i o n s o f Language, v o l . 2 ( 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 248. 4  ID  In t h i s c o n n e c t i o n i t i s worth n o t i n g ( a s Kahn does, p. 254n6) t h a t the Oxf o r d E n g l i s h D i c t i o n a r y l i s t s the f o l l o w i n g as one of the r e c o g n i z e d meanings of ' t o be' i n E n g l i s h :  ' t o be the case o r t h e f a c t ' , as i n 'so be i t * (s_.v.  •be', B . I . 3 ) . Kahn s t a t e s t h a t 'the Greeks d i d not have our n o t i o n of e x i s t e n c e ' . * T h i s s t r o n g c l a i m , i f t r u e , must o b v i o u s l y a f f e c t our i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f Greek p h i l o s o p h y p r o f o u n d l y , g i v e n the importance of o n t o l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n s i n Greek thought.  Indeed, the i s s u e of r e a l i s m v e r s u s n o m i n a l i s m i s one which we i n -  h e r i t from P l a t o and A r i s t o t l e .  There a r e passages i n the Greeks  l y i n P l a t o ) which suggest t h a t t h e i r concept o f e x i s t e n c e o u r s ; e_.£. (Rep.,  (particular-  i s d i f f e r e n t from  476e-477b):  ...Does he who knows know something o r n o t h i n g ? ... I w i l l r e p l y , he s a i d , t h a t he knows something. Is  i t something t h a t i s o r i s n o t ?  That i s .  How  c o u l d t h a t which i s not be known?  Ule a r e s u f f i c i e n t l y a s s u r e d of t h i s , t h e n , even i f we s h o u l d examine i t from e v e r y p o i n t of v i e w , t h a t t h a t which e n t i r e l y is_ i s e n t i r e l y knowable, and t h a t which i n no way i s i s i n every way unknowable? most s u f f i c i e n t l y . Good. I f a t h i n g , t h e n , i s so c o n d i t i o n e d as both t o be and not t o be, would i t not l i e between t h a t which absol u t e l y i s and t h a t which i n no way i s ? Between. Then s i n c e knowledge ance o f n e c e s s i t y t o l i e s between we must and s c i e n c e , i f such  p e r t a i n s t o t h a t which i s and i g n o r t h a t which i s n o t , f o r t h a t w h i c h seek f o r something between n e s c i e n c e a t h i n g t h e r e be.  As t h i s passage c o n t i n u e s (477b-8e), P l a t o c o n c l u d e s t h a t o p i n i o n s have as  'The Greek v e r b " t o be" and the Concept of B e i n g ' , p.  248.  11  t h e i r o b j e c t s t h i n g s which a r e immediate between the extremes o f e x i s t e n c e and n o n e x i s t e n c e .  As we c o n c e i v e i t , however, e x i s t e n c e , u n l i k e a n g e r , does  not come by d e g r e e s ; t h i n g s do not more or l e s s e x i s t .  I f , however, we  t h i n k o f VfVctL' as meaning *to be g e n u i n e ' ( a s V l a s t o s s u g g e s t s ) , then p e r haps t h i s passage i s not s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d nonsense.  F o r , as V l a s t o s s u g g e s t s ,  t h e r e i s sense i n s p e a k i n g o f 'degrees o f genuineness':  a p a i n t i n g done p a r t -  l y by Rubens and p a r t l y by h i s s t u d e n t s w o r k i n g under h i s d i r e c t i o n , i s a r g u a b l y 'more genuine' than an o u t r i g h t f a k e .  ,  We may w i s h t o say t h a t  such a p a i n t i n g i s more n e a r l y genuine t h a n a f a k e .  But we s h o u l d never w i s h  to say t h a t something i s more n e a r l y an e x i s t e n t than i s something else.^The v i e w s of Kahn and V l a s t o s a r e engaging.  But I t h i n k i t d i f f i c u l t  to d e c i d e whether ( a ) P l a t o had our concept o f e x i s t e n c e and s i m p l y r e a s o n ed i l l o g i c a l l y from i t , soned w e l l from t h a t one.  o r (b) had a d i f f e r e n t concept a l t o g e t h e r and r e a How  a r e we t o d e c i d e whether the Greeks p o s s e s s e d 3  our concept of e x i s t e n c e or n o t ?  One c o u l d not d e c i d e t h i s i s s u e a b s o l u t e l y  ( i f indeed i t can be d e c i d e d a b s o l u t e l y ) w i t h o u t a d e t a i l e d s t u d y o f the Greek l a n g u a g e , which u n f o r t u n a t e l y I am not competent  I s e e 'Degrees o f R e a l i t y ' , pp.  t o do.  In p a r t i c u l a r ,  4-6.  ^'The r e a d i n g o f [ P l a t o ' s ^ d i a l o g u e s ' , s a y s B o c h e n s k i ( i n A n c i e n t F o r mal L o g i c (Amsterdam: 1963), p. 1 7 ) , ' i s almost i n t o l e r a b l e t o a l o g i c i a n , so many e l e m e n t a r y b l u n d e r s a r e c o n t a i n e d i n them. I t w i l l be enough t o ment i o n h i s s t r u g g l i n g w i t h the f a l s e p r i n c i p l e ^ a P > S a P o r the d i f f i c u l t y he ha^s i n g r a s p i n g t h a t one who does not admit S a P must not n e c e s s a r i l y admit SeP . (See I b i d . , p. 17, f o o t n o t e s f o r r e f e r e n c e s i n P l a t o f o r h i s a l l e g e d l o g i c a l b l u n d e r s ) . Sprague, R., r e p l i e s t o B o c h e n s k i * s charges i n P l a t o ' s Use o f F a l l a c y (London: 1962), pp. 86-97. 1  r  On the g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n of how we a r e t o d e c i d e whether the same conc e p t i s e x p r e s s e d i n two l a n g u a g e s , see B e n n e t t , J . , Kant's A n a l y t i c (Camb r i d g e : 1966), pp. 73-4.  12  i t would be n e c e s s a r y t o examine t h e n o n - p h i l o s o p h i c a l uses o f *£iva(i*, s i n c e for  r e a s o n s sometimes good and sometimes bad p h i l o s o p h e r s a r e a p t t o d e v i a t e  from normal usage.  It i s certainly  r e l e v a n t , however, t o s t u d y the key a r g u -  ments o f Greek p h i l o s o p h e r s i n which t h e concept o f e x i s t e n c e p l a y s a p a r t ; t h i s we s h a l l do. illogically cal  Our c o n c l u s i o n t h e n w i l l be t h a t P l a t o p r o b a b l y reasoned  from a c o n c e p t o f e x i s t e n c e not u n l i k e our own.  To t h e c l a s s i -  s c h o l a r s who t h i n k t h a t t h e Greek c o n c e p t o f e x i s t e n c e was d i f f e r e n t from  our own, I concede a t once t h a t t h e Greeks d i d use 'tfTV<*v.' ( i n i t s complete sense) d i f f e r e n t l y from how  we use ' t o be'^T( iin; i t s complete s e n s e ) .  But e v e r y  t r a n s l a t o r w i l l admit t h a t they sometimes used i t i n a way f o r which ' t o be' seems n o t o n l y the b e s t t r a n s l a t i o n b u t an adequate one.  Our c o n c e p t o f  e x i s t e n c e t h u s appears embodied i n p a r t o f t h e i r usage o f '4i\roH. *» which s u g g e s t s t h a t '£-tWi* larly of  ambiguous,  i s ambiguous.  Perhaps because  ' t o e x i s t ' i s not s i m i -  i t appears t h a t t h e Greeks may have had a d i f f e r e n t c o n c e p t  e x i s t e n c e when i n f a c t a Greek p h i l o s o p h e r has s i m p l y e q u i v o c a t e d i n a  way t h a t i s n o t p o s s i b l e i n E n g l i s h o r o t h e r modern European l a n g u a g e s . 1.2  Parmenides  Only 161 l i n e s o f Parmenides' work r e m a i n — 1 4 6  p l e t e l i n e s o f hexameter Latin translation.  p o s t y , n i n e fragments o f a l i n e ,  and s i x l i n e s o f  Though i t would c e r t a i n l y be d i s p u t e d by some s c h o l a r s ,  I f i n d P l a t o ' s Parmenides a u s e f u l a d j u n c t t o t h e s e meager s o u r c e s . t e d l y , t h e Parmenides i s a d i f f i c u l t , pose i s u n c l e a r .  com-  1  Admit-  obscure d i a l o g u e whose o v e r - a l l pur-  The d i a l o g u e i s supposed  t o be the record-jaf a meeting i n Athens  •••Some s c h o l a r s would not even a t t r i b u t e a s e r i o u s purpose t o t h e Parmenides. A. E. T a y l o r , £.£., i n P l a t o : t h e Wan and h i s Work (London: 1960), p. 5 4 1 , w r i t e s : 'Wore t h a n any o t h e r P l a t o n i c work o f any c o n s i d e r a b l e comp a s s , t h e Parmenides b e a r s t h r o u g h o u t t h e stamp o f b e i n g an " o c c a s i o n a l " composition. I t s purpose i s t o "have some f u n " w i t h Wonists who r e g a r d t h e sens i b l e a s i l l u s i o n , and v e r y l i t t l e more'.  13  between Parmenides as an o l d man and S o c r a t e s  as a y o u t h .  Though chrono-  l o g y does n o t e x c l u d e t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f such a m e e t i n g , t h e c h a r a c t e r o f t h a t meeting ( i f i t took p l a c e a t a l l ) must have been d i f f e r e n t from P l a t o ' s description of i t .  For i n the e a r l i e r part of the dialogue  r a t e s expounds, and Parmenides c r i t i c i z e s , P l a t o ' s t h e o r y part of the dialogue  t h e youth Soc-  of Forms.  In t h i s  Parmenides deduces a b s u r d i t i e s from P l a t o n i c p r e m i s e s .  In t h e l a t e r p a r t o f t h e d i a l o g u e  ( w i t h which we a r e here c o n c e r n e d ) , i t i s  Parmenidean fflonism which i s under a t t a c k , and Parmenides i s made t o deduce a b s u r d i t i e s i n h i s own p o s i t i o n .  I t would, o f c o u r s e , be f o o l i s h t o assume  t h a t t h e h i s t o r i c a l Parmenides ever e n t e r t a i n e d q u i t e t h e arguments i n t h i s part of the dialogue. of t h e d i a l o g u e  But ( 1 ) t h e r e would be no p o i n t t o t h i s  F u r t h e r m o r e , ( 2 ) f o r us t o un-  what these p r e m i s e s meant t o Parmenides i t h e l p s t o see what k i n d  of argument a sympathic Greek p h i l o s o p h e r  thought they s u p p o r t .  Having made these remarks about s o u r c e s , tion of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . and  part  i f t h e premises from which t h e a b s u r d i t i e s a r e deduced were  not a c c e p t e d by the h i s t o r i c a l Parmenides. derstand  unfolded  l e t us now t u r n t o t h e ques-  In t h e i r e x c e l l e n t study o f the P r e - S o c r a t i c s K i r k  Raven see i n Parmenides an a t t a c k upon 'those who b e l i e v e , as a l l men a l -  ways had b e l i e v e d , t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e t o make a n e g a t i v e c o r d i n g t o K i r k and Raven, t h e Parmenidean p h i l o s o p h y tary confusion  of the e x i s t e n t i a l  2  p r e d i c a t i o n ' . * Ac-  r e s t s upon an elemen-  and p r e d i c a t i o n a l uses o f '£fVaf.  lf<-irk, G, and Raven, J . , The P r e - S o c r a t i c P h i l o s o p h e r s p. 270.  In  (Cambridge:  1966),  ^ I g n o r i n g t h e i s s u e s r a i s e d by Kahn and V l a s t o s , K i r k and Raven t r e a t '^oVcH* a s meaning ( i n i t s complete use) 'to e x i s t * . K i r k and Raven a r e o f c o u r s e concerned s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h what t h e verb meant t o Parmenides; how they s t a n d on t h e l a r g e r i s s u e s r a i s e d by Kahn and V l a s t o s , I do n o t know.  14  t h i s s e c t i o n we w i l l o f f e r an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f Parmenides which i s opposed t o t h a t o f K i r k and Raven.  We w i l l a c c e p t t h e i r t r a n s l a t i o n s o f t h e f r a g -  ments, and deny t h a t the f a l l a c y o f e q u i v o c a t i o n must have been committed therein. and  I t i s t h u s s u f f i c i e n t f o r o u r purposes t o show t h a t , where K i r k  Raven t h i n k they see t h e f a l l a c y o f e q u i v o c a t i o n ,  there i s i n f a c t a va-  l i d argument--or, a t any r a t e , one which does n o t commit t h i s f a l l a c y . the f r a g m e n t a r y s t a t e o f t h e t e x t , we cannot s a y w i t h c e r t a i n t y t h a t des  i n t e n d e d t h i s v a l i d argument r a t h e r  than some i n v a l i d one.  Given  Parmeni-  But t h i s d i f -  f i c u l t y i s p r e s e n t f o r any i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f h i s w r i t i n g s , and as we w i l l see t h e K i r k and Raven i n t e r p r e t a t i o n does n o t i n any case seem s u p p o r t e d by the  text. In fragment 346 o f K i r k and Raven, Parmenides s a y s :  be p r o v e d , t h a t t h i n g s  that a r e not are*.  'Never s h a l l t h i s  In modern symbolism I e x p r e s s t h i s  c l a i m as f o l l o w s : (1)  -^(gx)-Ex,  where 'Ex* s t a n d s f o r *x e x i s t s * and 'fy' f o r ' p o s s i b l y * . possible valent  I_ .*» ,e  t h a t t h e r e s h o u l d be something which does n o t e x i s t .  i  s  n  o  t  (1) i s equi-  to the following:  (I*) U(V*)E:X, where *Q' s t a n d s f o r ' n e c e s s a r i l y ' . One  could,  not a p r e d i c a t e .  of course, object  I_.£_.# n e c e s s a r i l y , e v e r y t h i n g e x i s t s .  t o (1) on t h e grounds t h a t  'existence* i s  But t h i s i s a c o n t r o v e r s i a l p o i n t about which i t would be  premature a t t h i s t i m e t o be dogmatic.  N a k n i k i a n and Salmon* argue (perhaps  See N a k n i k i a n , G. and Salmon, W., p h i c a l Review, v o l . 66 (1957).  ' " E x i s t s " as a P r e d i c a t e ' ,  Philoso-  15  c o g e n t l y ) t h a t the t r a d i t i o n a l o b j e c t i o n s t o ' e x i s t e n c e * as a p r e d i c a t e a r e not w e l l - f o u n d e d ,  moreover, they a s s e r t ( p . 538):  (2)  (Vx)Ex,  which i s o f course i m p l i e d by ( 1 ) . By the l o g i c o f q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y , ( l i ) e n t a i l s the f o l l o w i n g : (3) where *G*  (Vx)(-Ex -  s t a n d s f o r any p r e d i c a t e .  no p r e d i c a t e i s t r u e o f i t .  1  -Gx),  J_.e_., f o r a l l x, i f x does not e x i s t s  K i r k and Raven (pp. 269-70) seem t o  criticize  Parmenides f o r s a y i n g i n fragment 344 t h a t 'thou c o u l d s t not know t h a t which is-not'.  B u t , i f i n ( 3 ) we may  i n t e r p r e t 'G' as 'knowable', then the unknow-  a b i l i t y of the n o n e x i s t e n t emerges as a v a l i d consequence o f the a p p a r e n t t a u t o l o g y '-(-Jx)-Ex'. I t might be o b j e c t e d t h a t we a r e r e a d i n g t o o much i n t o Parmenides, Granted, the o b j e c t o r might might s a y , ( 3 ) i s i m p l i e d by ( 1 ) , and Parmenides accepted ( 1 ) .  Parmenides may  n e v e r t h e l e s s not have seen the  and t h e r e i s no fragment i n which ( 3 ) i s c l e a r l y expressed  implication,  as such.  This  ob-  j e c t i o n has some w e i g h t perhaps, but not much i n view o f the many passages i n P l a t o where Parmenides i s r e p r e s e n t e d as h o l d i n g ( 3 ) .  lae  Here a r e two  such  •••The s c h o l a s t i c s a c c e p t e d ( 3 ) i n the form of t h e i r maxim, ' N i h i l i n u l p r o p r i e t a t e s s u n t ' — i . e . , N o t h i n g has no p r o p e r t i e s .  2 j u s t as Parmenides argues t h a t the n o n e x i s t e n t i s unknowable, Sextus E m p i r i c u s (second c e n t u r y AD) argues t h a t the n o n e x i s t e n t i s u n t e a c h a b l e : 'Now the n o n e x i s t e n t qua n o n e x i s t e n t w i l l not be t a u g h t ; f o r i f i t i s t a u g h t i t i s t e a c h a b l e , and b e i n g t e a c h a b l e i t w i l l become an e x i s t e n t . But i t i s not p o s s i b l e f o r the same t h i n g t o be both e x i s t e n t and n o n e x i s t e n t ; t h e r e f o r e the n o n e x i s t e n t qua n o n e x i s t e n t I s not t a u g h t — A l s o , the n o n e x i s t e n t has no p r o p e r t y , and what has no p r o p e r t y w i l l not have the p r o p e r t y of b e i n g t a u g h t ' . B u r y , R., t r , Works o f Sextus E m p i r i c u s (London: 1959), v o l . 4, p. 9,  16  passages: I f a t h i n g i s n o t , you cannot s a y t h a t i t " h a s " a n y t h i n g or t h a t t h e r e i s a n y t h i n g " o f " i t . C o n s e q u e n t l y , i t c a n not have a name o r be spoken o f , nor c a n t h e r e be any knowl e d g e o r p e r c e p t i o n o r o p i n i o n pjf i t . I t i s not named o r spoken o f , n o t an o b j e c t o f o p i n i o n o r o f knowledge, not p e r c e i v e d by any c r e a t u r e . ( P a r m e n i d e s , 142a-b) A g a i n , we cannot a t t r i b u t e t o "what i s n o t " a n y t h i n g t h a t i s ; we< cannot s a y i t i s " s o m e t h i n g " o r " t h i s t h i n g " , or t h a t i t i s so-and-so " o f t h i s " or " o f a n o t h e r " , o r t h a t i t i s a t any t i m e , p a s t , p r e s e n t , o r f u t u r e , o r t h a t t h e r e i s a n y t h i n g " o f i t " — a n y knowledge o r o p i n i o n , o r p e r c e p t i o n o f i t — o r t h a t i t has a n y t h i n g , even a name, so as t o be t h e s u b j e c t o f d i s c o u r s e . Thus a one which i s n o t cannot have any c h a r a c t e r whatsoever. ( l b . , 164b-c) The  l a s t sentence o f t h e second q u o t a t i o n i n p a r t i c u l a r r e v e a l s t h a t Greeks  were q u i c k t o see t h a t Parmenides i s committed t o ( 3 ) , and t h i s t e l l s us something about how h i s c l a i m ' n o t h i n g n o n e x i s t e n t e x i s t s ' ( s e e Wetaphysica , 986b27-30) i s t o be u n d e r s t o o d and was u n d e r s t o o d by the Greeks t h e m s e l v e s . moreover, i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t Parmenides h i m s e l f would have missed what o t h e r s so q u i c k l y saw.  I suggest t h e r e f o r e that ( 3 ) i s the connecting  l e a d s from h i s c l a i m t h a t n o t h i n g n o n e x i s t e n t the n o n e x i s t e n t his  reasoning  premise which  exists to h i s conclusion  i s p r o p e r t y l e s s and c o n s e q u e n t l y unknowable.  that  Thus u n d e r s t o o d ,  does n o t ( i n t h i s i n s t a n c e ) commit t h e f a l l a c y o f e q u i v o c a t i o n .  L e t me now c i t e fragment 344 i n f u l l , f o l l o w i n g i t w i t h t h e K i r k and Raven commentary on i t (pp. 269-70): Come now, and I w i l l t e l l t h e e — a n d do thou hearken and c a r r y my word a w a y — t h e o n l y ways o f e n q u i r y t h a t c a n be thought of [ l i t e r a l l y , that e x i s t f o r t h i n k i n g , the o l d d a t i v e sense o f t h e i n f i n i t i v e ] : the one way, t h a t i t i s and cannot n o t - b e , i s t h e path o f P e r s u a s i o n , f o r i t a t t e n d s upon T r u t h ; the o t h e r , t h a t i t i s - n o t and needs must n o t - b e , t h a t I t e l l thee i s a path a l t o g e t h e r unt h i n k a b l e . F o r thou c o u l d s t n o t know t h a t which i s - n o t ( t h a t i s i m p o s s i b l e ) n o r u t t e r i t ; f o r t h e same t h i n g can be thought as can be [ c o n s t r u c t i o n as above, l i t e r a l l y t h e same t h i n g e x i s t s f o r t h i n k i n g and f o r b e i n g ] .  17  The  b r a c k e t s and the m a t e r i a l e n c l o s e d t h e r e i n a r e i n K i r k and,Raven e x a c t -  l y as c i t e d ; t h i s a p p l i e s t o b o t h the fragment and t h e i r commentary, w h i c h I now  give: The goddess b e g i n s her i n s t r u c t i o n by d e f i n i n g "the onl y two c o n c e i v a b l e ways o f e n q u i r y " , which a r e d i r e c t l y c o n t r a r y one t o the o t h e r : I f you a c c e p t one p r e m i s e , then l o g i c compels you t o r e j e c t the o t h e r . The c h o i c e i n f a c t , as Parmenides l a t e r p u t s i t i n i t s b r i e f e s t form (347, 1. 16) i s s i m p l y t h i s : & m o i V f r I ' f P z i V . Unfort u n a t e l y even t o t r a n s l a t e t h e s e a p p a r e n t l y s i m p l e words i s l i a b l e t o be m i s l e a d i n g , because o f the a m b i g u i t y , of w h i c h Parmenides h i m s e l f was u n c o n s c i o u s , between the p r e d i c a t i v e and the e x i s t e n t i a l s e n s e s o f the Greek word £jTr_L* The u s u a l t r a n s l a t i o n , " i t i s o r i t i s n o t " , too e a s i l y g i v e s r i s e t o the q u e s t i o n what " i t " i s . ... At t h i s e a r l y s t a g e i n h i s poem Parmenides's premise has no d e f i n i t e subjec^ at a l l : i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o t r a n s l a t e the s e n tence &tTCiVi\ (AJH tVtiV* then perhaps the l e a s t m i s l e a d i n g r e n d e r i n g i s : " E i t h e r a t h i n g i s or i t i s n o t " . Parmenides i s a t t a c k i n g those who b e l i e v e , as a l l men always had bel i e v e d , t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e t o make a s i g n i f i c a n t n e g a t i v e p r e d i c a t i o n ; b u t he i s e n a b l e d t o a t t a c k them o n l y because of h i s own c o n f u s i o n between a n e g a t i v e p r e d i c a t i o n and a n e g a t i v e e x i s t e n t i a l judgment. The g i s t of t h i s d i f f i c u l t and i m p o r t a n t fragment i s t h e r e f o r e t h i s : "Either i t i s r i g h t o n l y t o t h i n k o r say of a t h i n g , ' i t i s ...' (_i.e_., * i t i s so-and-so, e.g. w h i t e ' , o r e l s e i t i s r i g h t t o t h i n k or say o n l y ' i t i s not ...' (i_.e_., ' i t i s not somet h i n g e l s e , e.g. b l a c k ' . The l a t t e r i s t o be f i r m l y r e j e c t e d on t h e ground £a m i s t a k e n one, owing t o the c o n f u s i o n between e x i s t e n t i a l and p r e d i c a t i v e ] ] t h a t i t i s imp o s s i b l e t o c o n c e i v e o f N o t - B e i n g , the n o n - e x i s t e n t . Any p r o p o s i t i o n s about N o t - B e i n g are n e c e s s a r i l y m e a n i n g l e s s ; the o n l y s i g n i f i c a n t t h o u g h t or s t a t e m e n t s c o n c e r n B e i n g " .  I have quoted a t l e n g t h from t h e K i r k and Raven commentary because I do  not  u n d e r s t a n d t h e i r argument w e l l enough t o s t a t e i t m y s e l f .  argu-  Whatever the  ment, however, l e t us a t l e a s t note the extreme i m p l a u s i b i l i t y o f the i n d i v i d u a l c l a i m s i n t h i s passage. s e t out t o a t t a c k 'those who  b e l i e v e ...  f i c a n t negative p r e d i c a t i o n ' : e.£.,  'what i s i s u n c r e a t e d  F i r s t , i t seems u n l i k e l y t h a t Parmenides  and  t h a t i t i s p o s s i b l e t o make a s i g n i -  his^ownvwork abounds i n such c l a i m s ; he  says,  i m p e r i s h a b l e , f o r i t i s e n t i r e , immovable  18  and w i t h o u t end* (fragment 347).  Second, K i r k and Raven appear t o t h i n k  t h a t i t was due t o some c o n f u s i o n  over n e g a t i v e  p r e d i c a t i o n s and n e g a t i v e  e x i s t e n t i a l s t h a t Parmenides b e l i e v e d ( i n t h e i r w o r d s ) :  'Any p r o p o s i t i o n s  about Not-Being a r e n e c e s s a r i l y meaningless} t h e o n l y s i g n i f i c a n t thought or s t a t e m e n t s c o n c e r n B e i n g ' .  But I t h i n k i t f a r more l i k e l y t h a t Parmeni-  des was l e d t o t h i s view by t h e f e a t u r e l e s s c h a r a c t e r  of the nonexistent  r a t h e r than by some c o n f u s i o n  over n e g a t i v e  p r e d i c a t i o n s and n e g a t i v e  exis-  t e n t i a l s ( f o r which c o n f u s i o n  the t e x t u a l evidence i s a t best i n c o n c l u s i v e ) .  Note t h a t ( 3 ) above i s e q u i v a l e n t t o t h e f o l l o w i n g : (3*) i . . e_.»  (Vx)(Gx-Ex)  i f any p r e d i c a t e a p p l i e s t o x , i t e x i s t s .  ( 3 * ) e n t a i l s t h a t , however  'G* i s u n d e r s t o o d , we c o u l d not know something t o be G . u n l e s s  i t exists;  hence, we c o u l d not i s o l a t e t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f the n o n e x i s t e n t , tify i t .  Thus, ( 3 * ) might w e l l be thought t o imply  and i d e n -  t h a t ' p r o p o s i t i o n s about  Not-Being a r e n e c e s s a r i l y m e a n i n g l e s s ' , s i n c e we c o u l d never i s o l a t e a subj e c t f o r our d i s c o u r s e . As we have i n t e r p r e t e d him, Parmenides i s c o n c e r n e d , n o t w i t h the problem o f a t t r i b u t i n g n e g a t i v e  p r e d i c a t e s t o something, b u t r a t h e r w i t h t h e  problem of a t t r i b u t i n g any p r e d i c a t e s ( p o s i t i v e o r n e g a t i v e ) t o what does not e x i s t .  I n t h e Parmenides t h e r e i s an a c u t e passage ( I 6 0 c - 2 e ) where P a r -  menides i s made t o u n f o l d t h e problems i n h i s own p h i l o s o p h y ,  as f o l l o w s :  Now suppose one s a y s , " i f l a r g e n e s s does not e x i s t " , o r " i f s m a l l n e s s does n o t e x i s t " , o r any o t h e r s t a t e m e n t o f that type. O b v i o u s l y i n each case i t i s a d i f f e r e n t t h i n g t h a t i s spoken o f as n o n e x i s t e n t . And so i n t h e p r e s e n t c a s e , i f a man says " i f a one does n o t e x i s t " , i t i s p l a i n t h a t t h e t h i n g he i s s a y i n g does n o t e x i s t i s something d i f f e r e n t from o t h e r t h i n g s , and we know what he i s s p e a k i n g o f . So i n s p e a k i n g o f a "one" he i s s p e a k i n g , i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e , o f something knowable, and i n t h e second o f something d i f f e r e n t from o t h e r  19  t h i n g s , no m a t t e r whether he a t t r i b u t e s e x i s t e n c e t o i t o r n o n e x i s t e n c e ; even i f he s a y s i t i s n o n e x i s t e n t , we n e v e r t h e l e s s know what i s s a i d not t o e x i s t , and t h a t i t i s d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from o t h e r t h i n g s . S t a r t i n g a f r e s h , t h e n , from t h i s s u p p o s i t i o n , " i f a one does not e x i s t " , we a r e t o c o n s i d e r what consequences follow. F i r s t , i t seems, t h i s must be t r u e of i t , t h a t t h e r e i s knowledge o f i t ; o t h e r w i s e the v e r y meaning o f the supp o s i t i o n t h a t "a ons does not e x i s t " would be unknown. The p o i n t i n Parmenides's p h i l o s o p h y w h i c h p e r p l e x e s P l a t o comes t o t h i s : The a s s e r t i o n s (i) and  L a r g e n e s s does not e x i s t ,  ( i i ) S m a l l n e s s does not e x i s t .  are p l a i n l y d i f f e r e n t .  S i n c e ( i ) and ( i i ) have t h e same p r e d i c a t e , t h e a s -  s e r t i o n s as wholes must d i f f e r because o f a d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e i r s u b j e c t s . Assuming ( i ) and ( i i ) a r e t r u e , however, how c o u l d l a r g e n e s s d i f f e r from smallness?  When t h i n g s d i f f e r , they d i f f e r i n t h e i r p r o p e r t i e s .  But on P a r -  menides's p r i n c i p l e s what does not e x i s t i s p r o p e r t y l e s s . Today, we may be i n c l i n e d s i m p l y t o d i s m i s s P l a t o ' s d i f f i c u l t y .  We a r e  not t r o u b l e d by t h e f a c t t h a t ' l a r g e n e s s ' and ' s m a l l n e s s ' do not d i f f e r i n e x t e n s i o n (assuming ( i ) and ( i i ) t o be t r u e ) because we know t h a t they in intension.  differ  I t i s t h i s i n t e n s i o n a l d i f f e r e n c e , we would s a y , w h i c h ex-  p l a i n s t h e d i f f e r e n c e between ( i ) and ( i i ) .  B u t , o f c o u r s e , the d i s t i n c t i o n  between i n t e n s i o n and e x t e n s i o n was unknown t o P l a t o and Parmenides.  Even  when we make i t , however, t h e r e w i l l be a problem on Parmenides's p r i n c i p l e s i n accounting f o r the t r u t h of negative e x i s t e n t i a l s :  i f t h e r e i s n ' t any-  t h i n g w h i c h does not e x i s t , t h e n Pegasus, e.£., cannot be something which does n o t e x i s t .  On t h e o t h e r hand, we do not want t o say t h a t Pegasus i s  20  something which does exist. Recalling that Kahn said that 'the Greeks did not have our concept of existence*, let us set aside the charge of equivocation and consider Kahn's view relative to Parmenides. Though Russell claimed that his philosophy of logical analysis put an end to the twenty five centuries of .'metaphysical-error' allegedly begun by Parmenides, there are in fact a number of significant parallels between Parmenides and Russell.  E..£»» in connection with the Parmenidean belief that  •propositions about Not-Being are necesssarily meaningless', note Russell's related view that failure of reference for a proper name suffices to make meaningless the propositions in which i t occurs as subject; he writes:* Whenever the grammatical subject of a proposition can be supposed not to exist without rendering the proposition meaningless, i t is plain that the grammatical subject is not a proper name. Moreover, a somewhat more sophisticated version of (3*) above is embodied in *14.21 of Principia Mathematica, about which Russell comments:  'If Ox)Fx  2  has any property whatever, i t must exist'. A good deal of the Parmenidean outlook in fact finds i t s way into modern 3 quantification theory; Quine, £.£.» writes: To say that somethinq does not exist, or that there i s something which i s not, is clearly a contradiction in terms; hence "(yxT(x exists)" must be true. Moreover, we should certainly expect leave to put any primitive name of our language for the "x" of any matrix "...x...",  •'•Russell, B.,and Whitehead, A., Principia Mathematica (Cambridge: vol. I, p. 66. 2  Ibid., vol. I, pp. 174-5.  3  Quine, U., Mathematical Logic (New York:  1962), p. 150.  1967),  21  and t o i n f e r the r e s u l t i n g s i n g u l a r s t a t e m e n t from "(Vx)(••• ••)"> i t i d i f f i c u l t t o contemplate any a l t e r n a t i v e l o g i c a l r u l e f o r r e a s o n i n g w i t h names. But t h i s r u l e o f i n f e r e n c e l e a d s from the t r u t h "(Vx)(x e x i s t s ) " not o n l y t o the t r u e c o n c l u s i o n "Europe e x i s t s " but a l s o t o the c o n t r o v e r s i a l c o n c l u s i o n "God e x i s t s " and the f a l s e c o n c l u s i o n "Pegasus e x i s t s " , i f we a c c e p t "Europe", "God", and "Pegasus" as p r i m i t i v e names i n our language. The at h e i s t seems c a l l e d upon t o r e p u d i a t e the v e r y name "God", thus d e p r i v i n g h i m s e l f of v o c a b u l a r y i n which t o a f f i r m h i s a t h e i s m ; and those o f us who d i s b e l i e v e i n Pegasus would seem t o be i n a s i m i l a r p o s i t i o n . s  As we a l l know, Quine would a v o i d t h e s e t r o u b l e s by not t r e a t i n g 'Europe', 'God'  and  'Pegasus' as ' p r i m i t i v e names i n our language'.  T h i s move a l s o  s u g g e s t s the Parmenidean p h i l o s o p h y , as i s shown by the f o l l o w i n g passage ( P a r m e n i d e s , 164b), i n which Parmenides s a y s : '  C o n c e r n i n g "what i s n o t " t h e r e cannot be any knowledge o r o p i n i o n , o r p e r c e p t i o n o f i t ; we cannot say t h a t i t has a n y t h i n g , even a name, so as t o be the s u b j e c t of discourse.  L i k e o u r s e l v e s , Parmenides i s tempted ( b u t u n l i k e us does not r e s i s t  the  t e m p t a t i o n ) t o t r e a t n e g a t i v e e x i s t e n t i a l s as u n t r u e on the: grounds t h a t there i s n ' t anything  nonexistent.  A g a i n l i k e o u r s e l v e s , he r e j e c t s the  t i o n o f an i n t e r m e d i a t e between the e x i s t e n t and the n o n e x i s t e n t ,  no-  saying:  The words " i s n o t " mean s i m p l y the absence of b e i n g from a n y t h i n g t h a t we say i s not. We do not mean t h a t the t h i n g i n a sense i s n o t , though i n another sense i t i s . The words mean w i t h o u t any q u a l i f i c a t i o n t h a t t h e t h i n g which i s not i n no sense or manner i s , and does not poss e s s b e i n g i n any way. (Parmenides, 163c-d) These remarks tend t o undermine V l a s t o s ' s 'degrees of r e a l i t y ' t h e s i s . In 'The  Greek v e r b "To  Be" and t h e Concept of E x i s t e n c e ' (p. 248)  d i s p u t e s the adequacy of q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y f o r e x p r e s s i n g c e p t of e x i s t e n c e . w e l l s u i t e d indeed  Kahn  the Greek c o n -  But we have seen t h a t q u a n t i f i c a t i o n t h e o r y seems v e r y t o e x p r e s s Parmenides's c l a i m s , and  t h a t , thus e x p r e s s e d ,  22  the c l a i m s a r e c o n s i d e r a b l e .  To u n d e r s t a n d t h e t e x t , t h e r e f o r e , we do not  seem c a l l e d upon t o a t t r i b u t e a f o r e i g n c o n c e p t o f e x i s t e n c e t o Parmenides, A f t e r r e f e r r i n g t o W e t a p h y s i c a , D e l t a 7, i n which A r i s t o t l e g i v e s 'to be t r u e * as a fundamental meaning f o r VXVpti*» Kahn o f f e r s h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Parmenides as f o l l o w s : * Parmenides' t h e s i s JL 6-8~xj. means " i t i s the c a s e " , where I t i s the s u b j e c t ( o r t h e o b j e c t ) w h i c h we know, Parmenides i s making the o b v i o u s , b u t not e n t i r e l y tri«* v i a l c l a i m t h a t whatever we know, whatever c a n be known, i s — a n d must b e — d e t e r m i n a t e l y s o , t h a t i t must be a c t u a l l y t h e case i n r e a l i t y o r i n the w o r l d . I f we r e s t a t e Parmenides* c l a i m i n the m o d e r n , f o r m a l mode, i t might r u n : "m knows t h a t £" e n t a i l s "p". f  On Kahn's a c c o u n t , Parmenides's poem i s more a t r e a t i s e i n e p i s t e m o l o g y than 2 ontology.  I agree t h a t the verb 'c:XVgtt* c a r r i e s the sense o f ' t o be t r u e ' ,  b u t d i s a g r e e w i t h Kahn over what i s fundamental i n Parmenides.  I t i s hard  f o r me t o b e l i e v e t h a t Parmenides would have s a i d ' i t i s the c a s e * t o mean 'whatever we know must be t r u e * ; the l a t t e r view c o u l d a t most be a consequence of the f o r m e r .  There i s an e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l s i d e t o Parmenides's  d o c t r i n e ; b u t my i n t e r p r e t a t i o n does j u s t i c e t o i t .  I f we may  take:Kahn's  ' a c t u a l l y the case i n r e a l i t y ' t o mean ' e x i s t e n t * , t h e n as we saw the unk n o w a b i l i t y o f what i s not ' a c t u a l l y the case i n r e a l i t y ' emerges as an immediate consequence o f ( 1 ) above.  But I t h i n k t h a t e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l  side  i n Parmenides i s l a r g e l y undeveloped; f o r i t s development we must t u r n t o the s o p h i s t s and P l a t o ,  ^ a h n , C , 'The T h e s i s o f Parmenides', Review o f M e t a p h y s i c s , v o l . 22 ( 1 9 6 8 / 9 ) , p. 711. ^Kahn's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Parmenides i s a n t i c i p a t e d by H i n t i k k a , who c r e d i t s 'the o l d man' w i t h an ' e a r l y r e c o g n i t i o n of the i m p o s s i b i l i t y o f " f a l s e knowledge",' H i n t i k k a , J . , Knowledge and B e l i e f ( I t h a c a , New Y o r k ) , p. 22n7.  23  1,3  The  Sophists  The  s o p h i s t s were i t i n e r a n t t e a c h e r s  i n ancient  G r e e c e — o r , as P l a t o p r e f e r s t o put i t ( S o p h i s t 223b), ' p a i d h u n t e r s of r i c h young men'.  A p a r t from i t s h i s t o r i c a l c o n t e x t , n e i t h e r the s o p h i s t movement  nor P l a t o ' s r e a c t i o n t o i t i s i n t e l l i g i b l e .  Therefore,  though of c o u r s e  the  h i s t o r y of Greece i s f a m i l a r t o a l l , l e t us b e g i n our d i s c u s s i o n of the soph i s t s w i t h some r e m i n d e r s of the cimcumstances which caused them t o  prosper.  S c h o o l s — i.e_., immovable p l a c e s of e d u c a t i o n — c a m e r a t h e r l a t e t o Greece; and, when they d i d come, they were not welcomed by a l l .  For i n the o l d a r i s -  t o c r a t i c t r a d i t i o n (which many were r e l u c t a n t t o abandon) e d u c a t i o n an i n t i m a t e u n i o n between a youth and  an o l d e r man,  i n which the o l d e r  assumed r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the c h a r a c t e r of the youth and and model.  I would guess t h a t t h i s h i g h l y p e r s o n a l  had  meant man  s e r v e d as h i s q u i d e  system of e d u c a t i o n  fell  i n t o d i s r e p u t e p a r t l y because o f the l a r g e p a r t which p e d e r a s t y i n e v i t a b l y played  in i t .  1  But  i n any case the r i s e o f d e m o c r a t i c commonwealths made  the a r i s t o c r a t i c ways o b s o l e t e . skill  i n hunting  and  S k i l l i n o r a t o r y became more i m p o r t a n t than  other sports.  d e v e l o p e d out of the new  The  s o p h i s t s , and a f t e r them the  e d u c a t i o n a l needs of the p o l i s .  the s o p h i s t s p r e f e r r e d a f e e t o the f a v o r s ofyoung men. they were r o u n d l y  condemned by P l a t o , an a r i s t o c r a t who  For t h e i r For t h i s  schools, services  preference  r e s i s t e d the  spread  2 of democracy.  For a ' p a i n s t a k i n g a n a l y s i s of what i s a f t e r a l l a d r e a d f u l a b e r r a t i o n ' , I r e f e r the r e a d e r t o Marrou, H., A H i s t o r y o f E d u c a t i o n i n A n t i q u i t y (New York: 1956), pp. 50-62. l  2 N e e d l e s s t o say, not every c l a s s i c a l s c h o l a r would agree w i t h my r e marks c o n c e r n i n g P l a t o ' s a n t i p a t h y toward the s o p h i s t s . For a b a l a n c e d account of the r e l a t i o n s between P l a t o and the S o p h i s t s , I r e f e r the r e a d e r t o J o w e t t ' s t h o u g h t f u l commentary, as c o n t a i n e d i n : J o w e t t , B., t r , The D i a l o g u e s of P l a t o ( O x f o r d : 1964), v o l . I l l , pp. 321-31. On the s o p h i s t s g e n e r a l l y , I r e f e r the r e a d e r t o G u t h r i e , Ui., The S o p h i s t s (Cambridge: 1971).  24  Economic c o n s i d e r a t i o n s r e q u i r e d the s o p h i s t s t o aim a t a b r o a d No doubt, g i v e n the s t a t e of t h e i r s o c i e t y ,  1  appeal.  the moral r e l a t i v i s m f o r which  the s o p h i s t s are famous today found a r e c e p t i v e a u d i e n c e , p a r t i c u l a r l y moral r e l a t i v i s m i s i n any case a p o p u l a r  p o s i t i o n w i t h those who  since  have g i v e n  2 m o r a l problems a l i t t l e v i s m was  thought.  For the s o p h i s t s ,  but a s p e c i a l case of an a l l - e n c o m p a s s i n g  however, moral  relati-  r e l a t i v i s m , which must  have seemed p a r a d o x i c a l t o t h e i r a u d i e n c e ; " e v e r y t h i n g i s t r u e ' , remarked Prot a g o r a s , the g r e a t e s t s o p h i s t .  3  Truth and  falsity,  not o n l y i n moral d i s -  c o u r s e but i n a l l d i s c o u r s e , seem t o have been a m a t t e r of mere  convention  w i t h the s o p h i s t s .  survived.  But  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , not much s o p h i s t w r i t i n g has  from P l a t o and o t h e r near contemporary s o u r c e s we know the  t a u g h t t h a t any  sophists  o p i n i o n , however a b s u r d , can be e s t a b l i s h e d by argument;  and,  coming t o us v i a P l a t o and A r i s t o t l e , we have a number of s i m p l y a w f u l soph i s t arguments p u r p o r t i n g t o prove p a t e n t a b s u r d i t i e s .  For example, i n Euthy-  demus 298a-e P l a t o has the s o p h i s t Euthydemus argue t h a t t h e puppies of Ctesippus's f a t h e r and  dog  are the b r o t h e r s ' of Ctesippus,- as f o l l o w s :  s i n c e t h i s dog  is a  y o u r s , i t i s your f a t h e r ; t h e r e f o r e , i t s p u p p i e s are your b r o t h e r s .  S e e de S e l i n c o u r t , A., t r , Herodotus: the H i s t o r i e s ( M i d d l e s e x , Engl a n d : 1972), pp. 219-20; and Warner, R., t r , Thucydidest The H i s t o r y of the P e l o p o n n e s i a n War ( M i d d l e s e x , E n g l a n d : 1970), pp. 126-7, i  ^ S p e c i a l i s t s d o u b t l e s s would o b j e c t t o my s p e a k i n g of 'the s o p h i s t s ' as i f t h e y were a s c h o o l o r movement w i t h a common p r a c t i c e and body o f belief. To be e x a c t , when I speak of 'the s o p h i s t s ' , I mean ( u n l e s s a p a r t i c u l a r f i g u r e o u t s i d e the group i s named) 'Protagoras and h i s p e o p l e ' . (Euthydemus 286c) Even then our c o n c e r n i s not w i t h P r o t a g o r a s ' s p o s i t i o n as he u n d e r s t o o d i t , but r a t h e r w i t h t h a t p o s i t i o n as P l a t o u n d e r s t o o d i t and p r e sented i t i n the d i a l o g u e s . J  vard:  H i c k s , R., t r , Diogenes L a e r t i u s : 1 9 5 8 ) , v o l . I I , p. 465.  L i v e s of Eminent P h i l o s o p h e r s  (Har-  25  Wost of the s u r v i v i n g sophisms c o u l d f o o l o n l y a r e a l d u l l a r d ; and  so,  i f t h e r e weren't more a r t t o some o f them, the s o p h i s t s c o u l d h a r d l y have s u s t a i n e d the heated i n t e r e s t of P l a t o and A r i s t o t l e .  It i s , I think, chief-  l y the a m b i g u i t y of ViV«U' which made some of the sophisms p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t t o P l a t o and A r i s t o t l e . b o t h 'to e x i s t ' and we may  F o r , when we r e c a l l , ' t h a t 'fMfWL' meant  'to be t r u e ' , then i n Parmenides's d e n i a l of non-being  a l s o see P r o t a g o r a s ' s  d e n i a l of f a l s e h o o d .  Thus, i n the  Cratylus  429d-e we f i n d t h i s exchange: Socrates: Does your statement amount t o t h i s , t h a t i t i s a l t o g e t h e r i m p o s s i b l e t o speak f a l s e l y ? For t h e r e are many who say t h i s , my dear C r a t y l u s , and t h e r e have been many i n the p a s t . C r a t y l u s : Why, S o c r a t e s , how can a man say t h a t which i s n o t ? — s a y something and y e t n o t h i n g ? For i s not f a l s e h o o d s a y i n g the t h i n g which i s n o t ? Diogenes L a e r t i u s s a y s t h a t P r o t a g o r a s  was  the f i r s t t o h o l d t h a t  'there  are two s i d e s t o every q u e s t i o n ' . * . For t h i s s e e m i n g l y b l a n d t r u i s m i t i s odd t o see a u t h o r s h i p  a s c r i b e d , but what P r o t a g o r a s  meant by i t was  something  2 wildly paradoxical. any p r o p o s i t i o n A and  As P l a t o p o i n t s out i n d i r e c t l y , i t s n e g a t i o n -A,  t r a d i c t i o n , since everything  i s true.  t r a d i c t , however, then (as P l a t o saw) disagreement i s l o s t .  he meant t h a t , g i v e n  b o t h are t r u e — j i . e _ . , t h e r e i s no conI f one c l a i m cannot be s a i d t o conthe very p o s s i b i l i t y of i n t e l l i g e n t  The e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l analogue t o the Parmenidean  paradoxes o v e r n o n e x i s t e n c e i s the problem of f i n d i n g a p l a c e f o r e r r o r i n one's t h e o r y of judgment, and t h a t t a s k i n t u r n r e q u i r e s t h a t a p l a c e f o r * L i v e s of Eminent P h i l o s o p h e r s , v o l . I I , p.  465.  S e e Euthydemus 385d-386e. P r o t a g o r a s ' s views i n t h i s c o n n e c t i o n are r i d i c u l e d by P l a t o i n Euthydemus 287a-b, 297a-b, 300b-e, and f i n a l l y 303d-e. 2  26  falsehood  be found i n one's t h e o r y o f t r u t h .  connection 1.4  I t i s , I think, i n this  latter  t h a t t h e s o p h i s t s were p r i m a r i l y o f i n t e r e s t t o P l a t o . The Euthydemus  Though r a r e l y s t u d i e d o r even r e a d , t h e Euthy-  1  demus e x h i b i t s t h a t p e r f e c t i o n o f form which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f P l a t o ' s f i n e s t work.  The s t r u c t u r e o f t h e Euthydemus i s bound t o be p l e a s i n g t o  t h o u g h t f u l r e a d e r s , who must enjoy s e e i n g introduced  i t s apparently  unrelated  topics  u n e x p e c t e d l y o n l y t o f i n d them i n t h e end drawn t o g e t h e r  i n Plato's  u s u a l manner when they a r e r e l a t e d by i m p l i c a t i o n t o a s i n g l e theme o f o v e r r i d i n g importance.  That theme f o r t h e Euthydemus i s t h e f a l l a c y o f e q u i v o -  9  cation.  The Euthydemus, as J o w e t t remarks, 'may f a i r l y c l a i m t o be t h e  o l d e s t t r e a t i s e on l o g i c * ;  i t i s p a r t l y f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t I here o f f e r  a commentary on t h i s n e g l e c t e d  work, b u t we w i l l see t h a t i t i s r e l e v a n t t o  the o n t o l o g i c a l and e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l problems w i t h which we a r e now c o n c e r n e d . Perhaps b e t t e r than any o t h e r d i a l o g u e  does, t h e Euthydemus  introduces  us t o the p r a c t i c e o f s o p h i s t r y , and r e v e a l s P l a t o * s a t t i t u d e toward i t . The  two s o p h i s t s , Euthydemus and O i o n y s o d o r u s , have such s k i l l  ' i n t h e war  o f words, t h a t they c a n r e f u t e any p r o p o s i t i o n whether t r u e o r f a l s e * . Socrates  hopes t h a t they w i l l a p p l y t h e i r s k i l l  (272b)  i n d i s p u t a t i o n * t o h i s young  l A l l t r a n s l a t i o n s from t h e Euthydemus a r e by J o w e t t . ^The Euthydemus i s t h u s an i m p o r t a n t d i a l o g u e i n c o n n e c t i o n charge t h a t Parmenides i s g u i l t y o f an e q u i v o c a t i o n , 3  J o w e t t , B., t r , The D i a l o g u e s o f P l a t o ( O x f o r d :  w i t h the  1 9 6 4 ) , v o l . I , p. 193.  * I am here u s i n g ' d i s p u t a t i o n ' a s a name f o r what was a l m o s t a p a r l o r game w i t h t h e G r e e k s , i n which one person p u t s a s e r i e s o f q u e s t i o n s t o a n o t h e r , q u e s t i o n s t h a t c a n be answered o n l y w i t h a 'no' o r 'yes'. ( N o t i c e i n t h e Euthydemus how t h e s o p h i s t s o b j e c t t o S o c r a t e s q u a l i f y i n g h i s answers; s e e , » 296a-b), The o b j e c t o f t h e game i s f o r the q u e s t i o n e r t o d r i v e t h e answerer i n t o c o n t r a d i c t i o n , and o f c o u r s e f o r t h e answerer t o a v o i d b e i n g s o driven.  27  f r i e n d C l e i n i a s , so t h a t t h r o u g h a d i s c u s s i o n of knowledge and wisdom h i s c h a r a c t e r might be improved. (275b) care nothing  But  about C l e i n i a s ' s c h a r a c t e r  the two s o p h i s t s , u n l i k e ' i f the young man  Socrates,  i s only w i l l  to  answer*. (275b) Taking advantage of a m b i g u i t i e s  o n l y p a r t l y r e f l e c t e d i n E n g l i s h , Euthy-  demus a s k s C l e i n i a s a s e r i e s of q u e s t i o n s , b e g i n n i n g l e a r n the w i s e or the i g n o r a n t ? * the boy  (275d)  answers 'the w i s e ' . (276a)  with:  'Are  Equating 'wise' with  those  who  'intelligent',  S h i f t i n g the ground somewhat, Euthydemus  t h e n draws out of C l e i n i a s the a d m i s s i o n t h a t l e a r n e r s must be i g n o r a n t t h a t which they a r e about t o l e a r n ( 2 7 6 a - c ) , 'Then the u n l e a r n e d l e a r n , and The  dialogue continues  w a t e r ' ( 2 7 7 d ) , warns  and t r i u m p h a n t l y  of  concludes:  not the w i s e , C l e i n i a s , as you i m a g i n e * . (276b)  i n t h i s v e i n u n t i l S o c r a t e s , s e e i n g the boy  ' i n deep  him:  ...you have j u s t gone through t h e f i r s t p a r t of the soph i s t i c a l r i t u a l , w h i c h , as P r o d i c u s s a y s , b e g i n s w i t h i n s t r u c t i o n i n the c o r r e c t use of terms. The two f o r e i g n gentlemen, p e r c e i v i n g t h a t you d i d not know, wanted t o e x p l a i n t o you t h a t the word " t o l e a r n " has two meaninge, and i s used, f i r s t , i n the sense o f a c q u i r i n g knowledge, and a l s o , when you have the knowledge, i n the sense o f r e v i e w i n g t h i s same m a t t e r , whether something done or spoken, by the l i g h t of t h i s newly a c q u i r e d knowledge; the l a t t e r i s g e n e r a l l y c a l l e d " u n d e r s t a n d i n g " r a t h e r t h a n " l e a r n i n g " , but the word " l e a r n i n g " i s a l s o used; and you d i d not s e e , as they e x p l a i n e d t o you, t h a t t h e term i s employed o f two o p p o s i t e s o r t s o f men, of those who know, and of t h o s e who do not know. There was a s i m i l a r t r i c k i n the second q u e s t i o n , when they asked you whether men l e a r n what they know or what t h e y do not know. These p a r t s of l e a r n i n g are not s e r i o u s , and t h e r e f o r e I say t h a t the gentlemen a r e not s e r i o u s , but are o n l y p l a y i n g w i t h you. For i f a man had a l l t h a t s o r t of knowledge t h a t ever was, he would not be a t a l l w i s e r about the t r u t h of t h i n g s . ... (277e-8c) Toward t h e end o f S o c r a t e s ' s sophistry:  w a r n i n g t o C l e i n i a s , we  see P l a t o ' s judgment o f  i t i s a mere game w h i c h does n o t a d v a n c e u n d e r s t a n d i n g . *But, /of (  28  c o u r s e , through h i s e x a m i n a t i o n of s o p h i s t r y P l a t o hopes t o advance understanding.  And as the s o p h i s t r y becomes more s u b t l e , he does.  When S o c r a t e s i s through w i t h h i s warning and w i t h some d i s c u s s i o n between C l e i n i a s and h i m s e l f , Dionysodorus  a s k s him whether he and  Ctesippus  ( C l e i n i a s ' s l o v e r ) t r u l y w i s h C l e i n i a s t o become w i s e , t o which S o c r a t e s of c o u r s e answers t h a t they do. (283b-c)  'You w i s h him t o become what he i s  n o t , and no l o n g e r t o be what he i s ? ' a s k s Dionysodorus.  (283d)  At t h i s  sug-  g e s t i o n S o c r a t e s i s 'thrown i n t o c o n s t e r n a t i o n ' , as Dionysodorus  equates  the  d e s i r e t o see C l e i n i a s 'become what he i s n o t ' w i t h a d e s i r e t o see him t r o y e d . (283d-e) equates  That i s , Dionysodorus  des-  ( t o put the matter i n g e n e r a l terms)  'x i s n o t - F ' w i t h 'x i s n o t * , where the l a t t e r c l a i m i s t a k e n t o  mean *x does not e x i s t ' .  Dionysodorus  thus c o n f u s e s n e g a t i v e p r e d i c a t i o n a l  c l a i m s w i t h n e g a t i v e e x i s t e n t i a l c l a i m s i n p r e c i s e l y the way K i r k and Raven s a i d t h a t Parmenides does; and so P l a t o ' s h a n d l i n g o f the matter would not be w i t h o u t i n t e r e s t t o us.  But b e f o r e S o c r a t e s can d i s c u s s  s t a t e m e n t s , he i s i n t e r r u p t e d by C t e s i p p u s , who  Dionysodorus*s  a t the s u g g e s t i o n t h a t he  and S o c r a t e s would wish C l e i n i a s d e s t r o y e d 'got v e r y angry ( a s a l o v e r w e l l m i g h t ) and s a i d :  " S t r a n g e r o f T h u r i i — i f p o l i t e n e s s would a l l o w me  s a y , A plague upon you!  What can make you t e l l such a l i e about [ u s ] " , ' (283e)  With t h i s i n t e r j e c t i o n , the t o p i c o f d i s c u s s i o n changes.* now  I should  speaking i n s t e a d of Dionysodorus, asks:  Euthydemus,  'do you t h i n k , C t e s i p p u s , t h a t  A t 285a-c, " S o c r a t e s '-returns, .to t h i s f a l l a c y i n which n e g a t i v e p r e d i c a t i o n a l c l a i m s are c o n f u s e d w i t h n e g a t i v e e x i s t e n t i a l c l a i m s , but i s c o n t e n t .there - t o d e a * ^ * I f £the s o p h i s t s ] know how t o d e s t r o y men i n such a way as. t o make good and s e n s i b l e men out of bad and f o o l i s h ones let.them,, i n t h e i r p h r a s e o l o g y , d e s t r o y the youth and c r e a t e him a g a i n w i s e * . x  29  i t i s possible to t e l l a l i e ? *  (283e)  C t e s i p p u s o f c o u r s e answers t h a t i t  i s ( 2 8 3 e ) , and here i s the exchange which  follows (283e-4c): J  And i n t e l l i n g a l i e , do you t e l l the t h i n g o f which you speak o r n o t ? You t e l l the t h i n g o f which you speak. And he who t e l l s , t e l l s t h a t t h i n g which he and no o t h e r ? Yes, s a i d  tells,  Ctesippus,  And t h a t i s a d i s t i n c t t h i n g a p a r t from o t h e r  things?  Certainly. And he who s a y s t h a t t h i n g s a y s t h a t which i s ? Yes. *  And he who s a y s t h a t which i s , says the t r u t h . And t h e r e f o r e D i o n y s o d o r u s , i f he says t h a t which i s , s a y s the t r u t h about you and no l i e . Yes, Euthydemus, s a i d C t e s i p p u s ; s a y s t h a t which i s n o t . Euthydemus answered:  b u t i n s a y i n g t h i s , he  And t h a t which i s not i s n o t ?  True. And t h a t w h i c h i s not e x i s t s nowhere? Nowhere. And can anyone do a n y t h i n g about t h a t w h i c h has no e x i s t e n c e ? Can anyone, whosoever he be, a c t on t h i n g s which e x i s t nowhere? I think not, s a i d  Ctesippus.  To put t h e m a t t e r b r i e f l y , i f l y i n g i s s a y i n g the t h i n g which i s n o t , then l i a r s have n o t h i n g t o say. gests  T h i s i s perhaps a ' q u i b b l e ' , as P h i l i p Rouse sug-  i n h i s e d i t i o n o f the Euthydemus;  1  but i t i s one which has the s u p p o r t  l-See H a m i l t o n , E. and C a i r n s , H., e d s , P l a t o : (New York: 1964), p. 420.  The C o l l e c t e d D i a l o q u e s a  30  o f Parmenides (Parmenides 142a-b):  i f *a t h i n g i s not  i t i s n o t named  o r spoken o f . Except f o r an b r i e f remark by C t e s i p p u s a t 2 8 4 c , t h e s o p h i s t argument a g a i n s t f a l s e h o o d and l y i n g .  1  no r e p l y i s g i v e n t o  Instead, a short  exchange  on c o n t r a d i c t i o n (285d-6d) f o l l o w s , i n which D i o n y s o d o r u s s a y s t h a t t h e r e can be no such t h i n g as c o n t r a d i c t i o n , s i n c e 'no man c o u l d a f f i r m a n e g a t i v e ; f o r no one c o u l d a f f i r m t h a t which i s n o t * . (286a)  S o c r a t e s then p o i n t s out  t h a t t h i s view o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n i s i n v o l v e d w i t h t h e P r o t a g o r e a n d i c t u m t h a t ' t h e r e i s no such t h i n g as f a l s e h o o d * , l y a s s e n t s . (286c-d)  2  a dictum t o which Dionysodorus r e a d i -  B u t , i f e v e r y t h i n g a man s a y s i s t r u e , c o n t i n u e s Soc-  r a t e s , i t would seem t h a t t h e r e i s no such t h i n g as i g n o r a n c e , s i n c e a man can speak t r u l y on any t o p i c .  A g a i n Dionysodorus a s s e n t s . (286d-e)  But, i f  t h e r e i s no i g n o r a n c e , then what, a s k s S o c r a t e s , have t h e s e s o p h i s t s come t o teach?  To t h i s q u e s t i o n Dionysodorus responds by c a l l i n g S o c r a t e s 'an o l d  f o o l ' . (287b)  Having t h u s t r a d e d argumenta  becomes t h e t o p i c , w i t h t h i s exchange  ad homines, e q u i v o c a t i o n a g a i n  between D i o n y s o d o r u s and S o c r a t e s :  Are t h e t h i n g s which have sense a l i v e o r l i f e l e s s ? They a r e a l i v e . And do you know o f any word which i s a l i v e ?  w h e r e C t e s i p p u s u n s a t i s f a c t o r i l y s a y s t h a t he who speaks f a l s e l y 'says what i s i n a c e r t a i n way and manner, and n o t as i t r e a l l y i s ' . (Significantl y , i t i s C t e s i p p u s r a t h e r than S o c r a t e s who makes t h i s remark.) A  2 p i t o s l y l y s a y s t h a t t h e P r o t a g o r e a n d i c t u m of u n i v e r s a l t r u t h ' i s s u i c i d a l as w e l l as d e s t r u c t i v e ' . (286c) A r i s t o t l e l e s s s l y l y s a y s (ffletap h y s i c a 1 0 1 2 b l 5 ) : 'he who s a y s t h a t e v e r y t h i n g i s t r u e makes even t h e s t a t e m e n t c o n t r a r y t o h i s own t r u e , and t h e r e f o r e h i s own n o t t r u e ' . a  31  I c e r t a i n l y do n o t . Then why d i d you ask me what sense my words had? Why, because I was s t u p i d and made a m i s t a k e . * A t 293b-d Euthydemus u n d e r t a k e s t o show S o c r a t e s , who had always made a p r o f e s s i o n of h i s own i g n o r a n c e ( s e e Apology 2 1 a - 3 c ) , t h a t he i s o m n i s c i e n t : . . . t e l l me [ a s k s Euthydemus] do you know a n y t h i n g ? Yes, I s a i d , I know many t h i n g s , b u t not a n y t h i n g o f much i m p o r t a n c e . That w i l l do, he s a i d : And would you admit t h a t anyt h i n g c a n be what i t i s , and a t t h e same time not be what i t i s ? Certainly not. And d i d you n o t say) :that you knew something? 1  I did. I f you know, you a r e knowing. C e r t a i n l y , o f j u s t t h e knowledge w h i c h I have. That makes no d i f f e r e n c e j — a n d must you n o t , i f you are knowing, know a l l t h i n g s ? C e r t a i n l y n o t , I s a i d , f o r t h e r e a r e many o t h e r t h i n g s which I do not know. And i f you do n o t know, you a r e n o t knowing. Yes, f r i e n d , p f ^ t h a t w h i c h - I do n o t know. S t i l l you a r e not knowing, and you s a i d j u s t now t h a t you were knowing; and t h e r e f o r e you a r e and a r e n o t the i d e n t i c a l y o u , a t t h e same time and i n r e f e r e n c e t o t h e same t h i n g s .  -••Apparently m i s s i n g t h e i r o n y o f t h i s passage, E d i t h H a m i l t o n says t h a t Dionysodoru8*s remarks 'are acknowledged ... t o be a knockout blow', and i n f e r s t h a t o u r t h i n k i n g i s more advanced than t h a t o f t h e a n c i e n t s , whose • r e a s o n i n g was l a r g e l y v e r b a l * . See H a m i l t o n , E. and C a i r n s , H., e d s , P l a t o : The C o l l e c t e d D i a l o g u e s , p. 385.  32  Imagining h i m s e l f t o have reduced S o c r a t e s t h i n k s t h a t he has won t h i s d i s p u t a t i o n .  t o c o n t r a d i c t i o n , Euthydemus  I t i s c l e a r , however, from how Soc-  r a t e s q u a l i f i e s h i s answers t h a t P l a t o I s not f o o l e d by t h i s sophism i n g t o prove t h a t , i f S o c r a t e s knows a n y t h i n g , he knows e v e r y t h i n g . ing ( o r pretending  Believ-  t o b e l i e v e ) t h a t ' ( 3 x ) - ( S o c r a t e s knows x ) * i s t h e c o n t r a -  d i c t o r y o f * (j y ) ( S o c r a t e s know y ) ' , Euthydemus I n f e r s t h a t knows y ) * e n t a i l s t h e n e g a t i o n course,  purport-  o f ' ( ^ x ) - ( S o c r a t e s knows x ) , which i s , o f  *-("3x)-(Socrates knows x ) ' .  l e n t to '(Vx)(Socrates  '(By)(Socrates  Since t h i s l a s t p r o p o s i t i o n i s equiva-  knows x ) * , Euthydemus c o n c l u d e s t h a t  *(3y)(Socrates  know y ) * e n t a i l s * ( y x ) ( S o c r a t e s knows x ) ' — i_.e., he c o n c l u d e s t h a t , i f Socr a t e s knows a n y t h i n g , he knows e v e r y t h i n g .  S i n c e , however, ( a f y ) ( S o c r a t e s f  know y ) ' and ' ( J x ) - ( S o c r a t e s knows x ) * a r e n o t c o n t r a d i c t o r i e s , S o c r a t e s  may  know some t h i n g s w h i l e b e i n g i g n o r a n t o f o t h e r s ; and t h e argument i s t h e r e fore f a l l a c i o u s . To u s , t h e f a l l a c y i n Euthydemus's argument i s o b v i o u s . the m a t t e r i n i t s c o n t e x t .  By p h i l o s o p h e r s  and s o p h i s t s a l i k e t h e r e had been  a good d e a l o f m y s t i f y i n g t a l k about knowledge. by  But c o n s i d e r  Protagoras  had s a i d ( a t l e a s t  i m p l i c a t i o n ) t h a t we know e v e r y t h i n g ; whereas G e o r g i a s o f L e o n t i n o i , a n o t h -  e r s o p h i s t , had s a i d t h a t we know n o t h i n g .  The o b v i o u s t r u t h , o f c o u r s e ,  i s t h a t we know somethings and n o t o t h e r s .  But t h i s o b v i o u s t r u t h was ob-  s c u r e d by t h e s o p h i s t c o n f u s i o n  (perhaps d e l i b e r a t e ) o f *x i s n o t - F * w i t h *x  i s n o t ' , where t h e l a t t e r p r o p o s i t i o n I s u n d e r s t o o d as a n e g a t i v e F o r , h a v i n g t h u s equated n e g a t i v e  existential.  p r e d i c a t i o n a l claims with negative  t i a l c l a i m s , t h e s o p h i s t s c o u l d then invoke  existen-  the a u t h o r i t y o f Parmenides t o  prove t h a t no n e g a t i v e  predicational claim i s true:  t o see how e a s i l y t h e  Parmenidean p h i l o s o p h y  c a n be made t o degenerate i n t o s o p h i s t r y , we have on-  33  ly  t o r e c a l l the commentary o f K i r k and Raven.  As we saw,; Parmenides  t r e a t e d 'x i s n o t * , u n d e r s t o o d e x i s t e n t i a l l y , as s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y when •x' i s r e p l a c e d by a name. course, a negative  The c l a i m ' S o c r a t e s  predicational claim.  Therefore,  gued, no such c l a i m s a r e t r u e , then S o c r a t e s t h i n g and would be o m n i s c i e n t a f t e r a l l .  does n o t know x* i s , o f i f , as t h e s o p h i s t s a r -  c o u l d not f a i l t o know some-  The p e r f e c t l y good word 'know'  had been t h u s r u i n e d by t h e v a i n s p e c u l a t i o n s o f s o p h i s t s and p h i l o s o p h e r s . By p u t t i n g m a t t e r s i n c o n c r e t e c r e a t e d by t h e s e v a i n  terms P l a t o t r i e s t o d i s p e l t h e m y s t e r i e s  speculations:  I a d j u r e y o u , s a i d C t e s i p p u s , i n t e r r u p t i n g , g i v e me some p r o o f [ t h a t you a r e omniscient]]. What p r o o f s h a l l  I g i v e you? [ D i o n y s o d o r u s a s k e d j  W i l l you t e l l me how many t e e t h Euthydemus h a s ? and Euthydemus s h a l l t e l l how many t e e t h you have. W i l l you not t a k e our word t h a t we know a l l t h i n g s ? C e r t a i n l y not, s a i d Ctesippus: you must f u r t h e r t e l l us t h i s one t h i n g , and t h e n we s h a l l know t h a t you a r e speaki n g t h e t r u t h ; i f you t e l l us t h e number, and we count them, and you a r e found t o be r i g h t , we w i l l b e l i e v e t h e rest. (295b-d) But t h e s o p h i s t s  refuse.  I come a t l a s t t o t h e p a r t o f the Euthydemus which i s always c i t e d t o demonstrate how f a r t h i n k i n g has p r o g r e s s e d s i n c e a n c i e n t t i m e s , c o u r s e , t h e famous s t o r y o f C t e s i p p u s and h i s dog. (298a-9e) l y be a b s u r d t o s u g g e s t t h a t t h e argument p u r p o r t i n g  I mean, o f  I t would s u r e -  t o e s t a b l i s h t h e kin-.-.,  s h i p o f Ctesippus and h i s dog i s one which c o u l d have f o o l e d P l a t o ' s a u d i e n c e . On t h e c o n t r a r y , g i v e n t h e c o n t e x t  i n which t h i s argument o c c u r s , P l a t o c a n  have b u t one purpose i n t e l l i n g i t :  he i s r e a s o n i n g  with  'logical  analogies';  S e e C o p i , I . , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o L o g i c (New York: 1968), pp. 157-9, and t h e n compare Euthydemus 293b-d t o Euthydemus 297c-Bc. 1  34  t h a t i s , he i s p r e s e n t i n g a c l e a r l y i n v a l i d argument and thereby the i n v a l i d i t y o f a p e r p l e x i n g argument o f t h e same form. argument i s , o f c o u r s e , t h e one which moves from  revealing  That p e r p l e x i n g  '(-^yX S o c r a t e s  knows y ) '  t o ' ( y x ) ( S o c r a t e s knows x ) * . L e t me c i t e t h e r e l e v e n t passages a t some l e n g t h , b e g i n n i n g a s f o l l o w s : i . . i s P a t r o c l e 8 your b r o t h e r [, S o c r a t e s ] ? Yes, he i s my h a l f - b r o t h e r , t h e son o f my mother, b u t n o t o f my f a t h e r . Then he i s and i s n o t your b r o t h e r . Not by t h e same f a t h e r , my good man, I s a i d , f o r Chaeredemus was h i s f a t h e r , and mine was S o p h r o n i s c u s . And was S o p h r o n i s c u s a f a t h e r , and Chaeredemus a l s o ? Yes; t h e former was my f a t h e r , and t h e l a t t e r h i s . Then, he s a i d , Chaeredemus was o t h e r than a f a t h e r . Than my f a t h e r , I s a i d . But was he then a f a t h e r , b e i n g o t h e r than a f a t h e r ? or a r e you t h e same a s a s t o n e ? I c e r t a i n l y do n o t t h i n k I am a s t o n e , though I am a f r a i d t h a t you may prove me t o be one. Are you n o t o t h e r than  stone?  I am. And b e i n g o t h e r than s t o n e , you a r e n o t s t o n e ; and b e i n g o t h e r than g o l d , you a r e n o t g o l d ? Very  true.  And so Chaeredemus, b e i n g o t h e r than a f a t h e r , i s n o t a father? I suppose t h a t he i s not a f a t h e r , I r e p l i e d . For i f , s a i d Euthydemus, t a k i n g up the argument, Chaeredemus i s a f a t h e r , then S o p h r o n i s c u s , b e i n g o t h e r than a f a t h e r , i s not a f a t h e r ; and y o u , S o c r a t e s , a r e w i t h o u t a father. (297d-8b)  35  I t i s sometimes and  said  (by R u s s e l l , £_•£•) t h a t b e f o r e  our c e n t u r y  relations  r e l a t i o n a l i n f e r e n c e had been r e j e c t e d f o r poor r e a s o n s or s i m p l y  altogether.  In t h i s passage, however, P l a t o i s c l e a r l y aware o f the  l o g y between 'x i s a s t o n e ' and  a stone',  'bBing  i s a r e l a t i o n a l predicate.  a stone',  Given  from the c l a i m 'x i s o t h e r  i t f o l l o w s t h a t x i s not a s t o n e a t a l l .  a l predicate  dis-ana-  'x i s a f a t h e r ' a r i s i n g out of the f a c t t h a t  'being a f a t h e r ' , u n l i k e 'being a s t o n e ' , the n o n - r e l a t i o n a l p r e d i c a t e  ignored  But, g i v e n the  relation-  'being a f a t h e r ' , from the c l a i m 'x i s o t h e r than S o c r a t e s ' s  f a t h e r ' , i t does not f o l l o w t h a t x i s not a f a t h e r a t a l l , s i n c e x may someone e l s e ' s f a t h e r . is like The  than  be  I t i s l e f t t o the r e a d e r t o observe t h a t 'to know'  'to f a t h e r ' , not l i k e dialogue  .  'to be  stone'.  continues:  C t e s i p p u s , here t a k i n g up the argument, s a i d : And i s not your f a t h e r i n the same case [ a s S o c r a t e s ' s f a t h e r ] , f o r he i s o t h e r than my f a t h e r ? Assuredly  n o t , s a i d Euthydemus.  Then he i s the same? He  i s the same.  The i d e a does not p l e a s e me; but i s he o n l y my f a t h e r , Euthydemus, or i s he the f a t h e r o f a l l o t h e r men? Of a l l o t h e r men. Do you suppose the same p e r s o n t o be a f a t h e r and not a f a t h e r ? C e r t a i n l y , I d i d so i m a g i n e , s a i d  Ctesippus.  And do you suppose t h a t g o l d i s not g o l d , or t h a t a man i s not a man? (298b-c) N o t i c e t h a t the s o p h i s t must a g a i n r e t u r n t o n o n - r e l a t i o n a l p r e d i c a t e s , such as 'being g o l d ' or 'being a man',  i n o r d e r t o make i t seem t h a t t h e r e i s a  c o n t r a d i c t i o n i n v o l v e d i n a s s e r t i n g t h a t the same man a f a t h e r [ t o some] and  not be a f a t h e r [ t o o t h e r s ] .  may  simultaneously  Again, i t i s l e f t  be to  36  the r e a d e r t o observe t h a t a man may know some t h i n g s and not o t h e r s , j u s t as he may f a t h e r some c h i l d r e n and not o t h e r s . C t e s i p p u s remarks t h a t ' i t i s monstrous t o suppose t h a t your f a t h e r i s the f a t h e r o f a l l ' . (298c) sea-urchins ing  For t h a t view e n t a i l s t h a t he 'has a progeny o f  and gudeons and p u p p i e s and l i t t l e p i g s ' , (298d)  t h i s remark t h a t t h e o f t - q u o t e d  It i s follow-  s t o r y o f C t e s i p p u s and h i s dog comes:  I f you w i l l answer my q u e s t i o n s , s a i d D i o n y s o d o r u s , I w i l l soon e x t r a c t t h e same a d m i s s i o n s from y o u , C t e s i p pus. You have a dog? Yes, a v i l l a i n o f a one, s a i d And  Ctesippus.  he has p u p p i e s ?  Yes, and they a r e v e r y l i k e And  himself.  t h e dog i s t h e f a t h e r o f them?  Yes, he s a i d , I c e r t a i n l y saw him and t h e mother o f t h e p u p p i e s come t o g e t h e r . And  i s he n o t y o u r s ?  To be s u r e he i s . Then he i s a f a t h e r , and he i s y o u r s ; e r g o , he i s your f a t h e r , and t h e p u p p i e s a r e your b r o t h e r s . (298d-e) This t a l k of sea-urchins  and gudgeons and dogs i s t h e death-blow t o t h e sop-  h i s t t r e a t m e n t o f knowledge.  Discounting  a few t h e i s t s who t h i n k God i s the  f a t h e r o f a l l , no one would t h i n k t h a t h i s f a t h e r , o r anyone e l s e ' s , i s the father of a l l .  But on P r o t a g o r a s ' s a u t h o r i t y someone who had been s u i t a b l y  c o n f u s e d by Parmenides may w e l l have thought t h a t man, b e i n g t h e measure o f a l l t h i n g s , i s i n some sense o m n i s c i e n t .  I t i s P l a t o ' s reasoned  conclusion  t h a t t h i s view o f knowledge i s no l e s s a b s u r d than t h e analogous view o f fatherhood.  Moreover, t h i s i s a c o n c l u s i o n f o r which the t h o u g h t f u l  i s s y s t e m a t i c a l l y prepared.  reader  37  We c o n c l u d e our commentary on the Euthydemus w i t h the f o l l o w i n g remarks. The  Euthydemus f o l l o w s the p a t t e r n of the e a r l y d i a l o g u e s i n t h a t i t r a i s e s  q u i t e g e n e r a l q u e s t i o n s w h i l e answering o n l y s p e c i f i c arguments, and f o r e somewhat u n s a t i s f y i n g t o the r e a d e r . t a i n s o p h i s t arguments.  i s there-  P l a t o has perhaps d i s c r e d i t e d c e r -  But we have a l r e a d y seen t h a t , c o n t r a r y t o K i r k and  Raven, the Parmenidean paradoxes about e x i s t e n c e and knowledge a r e not mere sophistry.  Given P l a t o ' s a l l i a n c e w i t h Parmenides, t h e r e f o r e , we are  wondering how and  he would account f o r the p o s s i b i l i t y o f (1) f a l s e s t a t e m e n t ,  (2) s i g n i f i c a n t d e n i a l s o f e x i s t e n c e .  For h i s treatment  o f the  general  i s s u e s which make the Euthydemus i n t e r e s t i n g , we must t u r n t o a l a t e the  left  dialogue,  Sophist. ^•5  P l a t o on F a l s e Statement;  260e-4c*  The  P l a t o concludes  A Commentary on the S o p h i s t 236e-9b and  o s t e n s i v e aim of the S o p h i s t i s t o d e f i n e ' s o p h i s t r y ' , and the S o p h i s t (268c-d) w i t h the f o l l o w i n g d e f i n i t i o n :  The a r t o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n making, descended from an i n s i n c e r e k i n d o f c o n c e i t e d m i m i c r y , o f the semlilance-making b r e e d , d e r i v e d from image making, d i s t i n g u i s h e d as a p o r t i o n , not d i v i n e but human, o f p r o d u c t i o n , t h a t p r e s e n t s a shadow p l a y o f w o r d s — s u c h a r e the b l o o d and l i n e a g e which c a n , w i t h p e r f e c t t r u t h , be a s s i g n e d t o the a u t h e n t i c Sophist. One  o f the d e c e i t f u l t h i n g s which the s o p h i s t s d i d i n the Euthydemus, as  saw,  t o argue t h a t , s i n c e t h e r e i s no f a l s e h o o d , d e c e i t i s i m p o s s i b l e .  we To  g i v e h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f ' s o p h i s t r y * a non-empty e x t e n s i o n , P l a t o s e t s out i n the  Sophist t o f i n d c o r r e c t terms i n which one may say or t h i n k t h a t f a l s e h o o d s have a r e a l e x i s t e n c e , w i t h o u t b e i n g caught i n a c o n t r a d i c t i o n by the mere u t t e r a n c e o f such words. (237a)  Unless Cornford. 1  otherwise  i n d i c a t e d , a l l t r a n s l a t i o n s from the S o p h i s t a r e  by  38  Though t h e Euthydemus d i d not so much a s mention Parmenides, t h e c h i e f speaker o f t h e S o p h i s t  (the Stranger) i s introduced  t h e s c h o o l o f Parmenides and Zeno*. (216a) s p e a k e r an E l e a t i c p h i l o s o p h e r  as one who 'belongs t o  The r e a s o n f o r making t h e c h i e f  r a t h e r than a s o p h i s t i s t h a t P l a t o sees i n  Parmenides some u n i n t e n d e d b u t p e r n i c i o u s p h i l o s o p h i c a l s u p p o r t f o r what would o t h e r w i s e be an u n i n t e r e s t i n g a b s u r d i t y — v i z . , t h a t t h e r e i s no f a l s e hood; t h u s he s a y s : The a u d a c i t y o f t h e s t a t e m e n t [ t h a t f a l s e h o o d e x i s t s ] l i e s i n i t s i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t "what i s n o t " has b e i n g , f o r i n no o t h e r way c o u l d a f a l s e h o o d come t o have b e i n g . B u t , my young f r i e n d [ T h e a e t e t u s ] , when were were o f your age t h e g r e a t Parmenides, from b e g i n n i n g t o e n d , t e s t i f i e d a g a i n s t t h i s , c o n s t a n t l y t e l l i n g us what he a l s o s a y s i n h i s poem, "Never s h a l l t h i s be p r o v e d — t h a t t h i n g s that are not are". (237a-b) U n w i l l i n g t o b e l i e v e t h a t t h e r e i s no f a l s e h o o d ,  P l a t o proposes ' t o p u t  [ P a r m e n i d e s ' s ] s t a t e m e n t t o a m i l d degree o f t o r t u r e . . . , s t u d y i n g own m e r i t s ' . (237b)  i t on i t s  He b e g i n s by showing e x a c t l y how i n h i s view Parmenides's  s t a t e m e n t i m p l i e s t h a t t h e r e i s no f a l s e h o o d , as f o l l o w s : Stranger: . . . t e l l us t o what t h i s name c a n be a p p l i e d — " t h a t w h i c h i s n o t " . ... Theaetetus:  That i s a hard q u e s t i o n .  ...  Stranger: W e l l , t h i s much i s c l e a r a t any r a t e , t h a t the term "what i s n o t " must n o t be a p p l i e d t o a n y t h i n g that exists. Theaetetus:  Certainly not.  Stranger: And s i n c e i t cannot be a p p l i e d t o t h a t which e x i s t s , n e i t h e r c a n i t p r o p e r l y be a p p l i e d t o "something". Theaetetus:  How s o ?  Stranger: S u r e l y we can see t h a t t h i s e x p r e s s i o n "somet h i n g " i s always used o f a t h i n g t h a t e x i s t s . We cannot use i t j u s t by i t s e l f i n naked i s o l a t i o n from e v e r y t h i n g t h a t e x i s t s , c a n we?  39  Theaetetus:  No  Stranger: Is your a s s e n t due t o the r e f l e c t i o n t h a t t o speak o f "something" i s t o speak of "some one t h i n g " ? Theaetetus:  Certainly.  Stranger: Because you w i l l a d m i t t h a t " s o m e t h i n g " s t a n d s f o r one t h i n g , as "some t h i n g s " s t a n d s f o r two or more. Theaetetus:  Yes.  Stranger: So i t seems t o f o l l o w n e c e s s a r i l y t h a t t o speak o f what i s not " s o m e t h i n g " i s t o speak o f no t h i n g a t a l l . Theaetetus:  Necessarily.  Stranger: Must we not even r e f u s e t o a l l o w t h a t i n such a case a person i s s a y i n g s o m e t h i n g , though he may be s p e a k i n g o f n o t h i n g ? Must we not a s s e r t t h a t he i s not even s a y i n g a n y t h i n g when he s e t s about u t t e r i n g the sounds "a t h i n g t h a t i s n o t " ? Theaetetus:  That would c e r t a i n l y end our  bewilderment. (237d-e)  P l a t o ' s . p o i n t i n t h i s passage i s t h a t on Parmenides's premises every meaningf u l a s s e r t i o n i s t r u e , implying that apparently  f a l s e a s s e r t i o n s are i n f a c t  e i t h e r t r u e or m e a n i n g l e s s . Our  a p p r e c i a t i o n of P l a t o p o i n t i s a i d e d by the f o l l o w i n g passage i n  A r i s t o t l e ( M e t a p h y s i c a 1051b31-2a5): As r e g a r d s the " b e i n g " t h a t answers t o t r u t h and the " n o n - b e i n g " t h a t answers t o f a l s i t y , i n one c a s e t h e r e i s t r u t h i f the s u b j e c t and the a t t r i b u t e are r e a l l y combined, and f a l s i t y i f they are not combined; i n the o t h e r c a s e , i f the o b j e c t i s e x i s t e n t i t e x i s t s i n a p a r t i c u l a r way, and i f i t does not e x i s t i n t h i s way i t does not e x i s t a t a l l . And t r u t h means knowing these o b j e c t s , and f a l s i t y does not e x i s t , nor e r r o r , b u t o n l y i g n o r a n c e — a n d not an i g n o r a n c e which i s l i k e b l i n d n e s s ; f o r b l i n d n e s s i s a k i n t o a t o t a l absence of the f a c u l t y of t h i n k i n g . I t a k e i t t h a t i n t h i s passage A r i s t o t l e i s s a y i n g something l i k e the f o l l o w ing:  The  p r o p o s i t i o n 'Socrates  i s P e r s i a n ' , e.g.,  a s s e r t s the e x i s t e n c e  of  40  a c e r t a i n o b j e c t — v i z . , a P e r s i a n S o c r a t e s , and i s f a l s e because t h e r e i s no such o b j e c t . *  On the o t h e r hand, ' S o c r a t e s i s Greek* l i k e w i s e a s s e r t s  the e x i s t e n c e o f a c e r t a i n o b j e c t — v i z . , a Greek S o c r a t e s , but i s t r u e because i n t h i s c a s e t h e r e i s such an o b j e c t .  But, i f we f o l l o w Parmenides  and h o l d t h a t e v e r y t h i n g e x i s t s , then i t would seem t h a t the P e r s i a n Socr a t e s e x i s t s , i m p l y i n g (on the correspondence t h e o r y o f t r u t h here assumed) t h a t 'Socrates i s P e r s i a n ' i s t r u e .  On Parmenidean p r e m i s e s ,  t h e n , the o n l y  a l t e r n a t i v e t o t h i s r e s u l t which P l a t o can e n v i s a g e would be t o h o l d t h a t • S o c r a t e s i s P e r s i a n ' i s not f a l s e b u t m e a n i n g l e s s . T h e a e t e t u s t h i n k s he sees an 'end  In t h i s a l t e r n a t i v e  t o our b e w i l d e r m e n t * , (237e)  S t r a n g e r q u i c k l y c a u t i o n s him a g a i n s t t h i s c o n c l u s i o n . (237e)  But the . F o r , as P l a t o  w e l l knows (see 2 6 1 e - 4 c ) , t h e r e i s a d i f f e r e n c e between s p e a k i n g f a l s e l y  and  c h a t t e r i n g w i t h o u t meaning. But b e f o r e P l a t o can account f o r m e a n i n g f u l  f a l s e h o o d , he must make some  g e n e r a l remarks about meaning, as f o l l o w s (261d-3e): Theaetetus:  What are you going t o ask me about words?  S t r a n g e r : Whether they a l l f i t t o g e t h e r , or none of them, o r some w i l l and some w i l l n o t . Theaetetus: not.  That i s p l a i n enough.  Some w i l l , some w i l l  S t r a n g e r : You mean perhaps something l i k e t h i s . Words w h i c h , when spoken i n s u c c e s s i o n , s i g h i f y something, do f i t t o g e t h e r , w h i l e those which mean n o t h i n g when they a r e s t r u n g t o g e t h e r , do not. Theaetetus:  What do you mean?  •••Elsewhere ( m e t a p h y s i c s 1024b25-30) A r i s t o t l e s a y s 'A f a i s e account i s the a c c o u n t of n o n e x i s t e n t o b j e c t s , i n so f a r as i t i s f a l s e ' .  41  S t r a n g e r : What I supposed you had i n your mind when you gave your a s s e n t . The s i g n s we use i n speech t o s i g n i f y b e i n g a r e s u r e l y o f two k i n d s . Theaetetus: Stranger: Theaetetus:  How? One k i n d c a l l e d "names", t h e o t h e r " v e r b s " . Give me a d e s c r i p t i o n o f each.  S t r a n g e r : By " v e r b " we mean an e x p r e s s i o n which i s app l i e d to actions. Theaetetus:  Yes.  S t r a n g e r : And by a "name" t h e spoken s i g n a p p l i e d t o what performs t h e s e a c t i o n s . Theaetetus:  Quite so.  S t r a n g e r : Now a statement never c o n s i s t s s o l e l y o f names spoken i n s u c c e s s i o n , n o r y e t o f v e r b s a p a r t from names. Theaetetus:  I don't f o l l o w t h a t .  S t r a n g e r : E v i d e n t l y you had eomething e l s e i n mind when you agreed w i t h me j u s t now, because what I meant was j u s t t h i s — t h a t these words spoekn i n a s t r i n g i n t h i s way do not make a s t a t e m e n t . Theaetetus:  Naturally.  S t r a n g e r : And a g a i n , i f you say " l i o n s t a g h o r s e " and any o t h e r names g i v e n t o t h i n g s t h a t p e r f o r m c a c t i o n s , such a s t r i n g never makes up a s t a t e m e n t . N e i t h e r i n t h i s example n o r i n t h e o t h e r do t h e sounds u t t e r e d s i g n i f y any a c t i o n performed o r n o t performed o r n a t u r e o f a n y t h i n g t h a t e x i s t s o r does n o t e x i s t , u n t i l you comb i n e v e r b s w i t h names. The moment you do t h a t , they f i t t o g e t h e r and the s i m p l e s t c o m b i n a t i o n becomes a statement o f what might be c a l l e d the s i m p l e s t and b r i e f e s t k i n d . Theaetetus: kind?  Then how do you make a statement o f t h a t  S t r a n g e r : When one s a y s "A man u n d e r s t a n d s " , do you agree t h a t t h i s i s a statement o f t h e s i m p e s t and s h o r t est possible kind? Theaetetus:  Yes.  42  Stranger: Because now I t g i v e s i n f o r m a t i o n about f a c t s or e v e n t s i n the p r e s e n t or p a s t or f u t u r e ; i t does not merely name something but g e t s you somewhere by weaving t o g e t h e r v e r b s w i t h names. Hence we say i t " s t a t e s " something, not merely "names" something, and i n f a c t i t i s t h i s complex t h a t we mean by the word "statement". The  d i s t i n c t i o n s which P l a t o makes i n t h i s passage are d o u b t l e s s  from the grammarians o f h i s day. mensely c l e v e r l a d w e l l v e r s e d that philosophers  had n e g l e c t e d  But  elementary character  has  such d i s t i n c t i o n s .  abound i n l i n g u i s t i c a n a l y s i s , t h e r e The  the d i f f i c u l t y which T h e a e t e t u s , an  i n philosophy,  dependent e v i d e n c e f o r t h i s n e g l e c t  taken im-  i n f o l l o w i n g them s u g g e s t s Indeed, we have some i n -  i n the f a c t t h a t , a l t h o u g h the i s n ' t a t r a c e of i t i n the  of P l a t o ' s g r a m m a t i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n s may  dialogues  pre-Socratics. thus b e l i e  the h i s t o r i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t f a c t t h a t p r o b a b l y f o r the f i r s t time a p h i l o s o pher i s a t t e m p t i n g sis.  t o r e s o l v e o n t o l o g i c a l problems through l i n g u i s t i c  analy-  Woreover, h i s main p o i n t — v i z . , t h a t a p r o p o s i t i o n s t a t e s but does not  name s o m e t h i n g — i s echoed by R u s s e l l i n these w o r d s :  1  I t i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t t o r e a l i z e ... t h a t p r o p o s i t i o n s are not names f o r f a c t s . I t i s q u i t e o b v i o u s as soon as i t i s p o i n t e d out t o you, but as a m a t t e r of f a c t I never had r e a l i z e d i t u n t i l i t was p o i n t e d out t o me by a former p u p i l of mine, W i t t g e n s t e i n . It i s perfectly e v i d e n t as soon as you t h i n k of i t , t h a t a p r o p o s i t i o n i s not a name f o r a f a c t , from the mere c i r c u m s t a n c e t h a t t h e r e are two p r o p o s i t i o n s c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o each f a c t . Suppose i t i s a f a c t t h a t S o c r a t e s i s dead. You have two p r o p o s i t i o n s : " S o c r a t e s i s dead" and "Socrates i s not dead". ,.. There are two d i f f e r e n t r e l a t i o n s , as you see, t h a t a p r o p o s i t i o n may have t o a f a c t : the one t h e : r e l a t i o n that, you "may.'.'call b e i n g t r u e t o the f a c t , and the o t h e r b e i n g f a l s e t o the f a c t . Both are e q u a l l y e s s e n t i a l l y l o g i c a l r e l a t i o n s which may s u b s i s t between the two, whereas i n the case of a name, t h e r e i s o n l y one r e l a t i o n t h a t i t can have t o what i t names. A name can j u s t  i R u s s e l l , B., 'The P h i l o s o p h y of L o g i c a l Atomism', as c o n t a i n e d Marsh, R., ed., L o g i c and Knowledge (London: 1956), p. 187.  in:  43  name a p a r t i c u l a r , o r , i f i t does n o t , i t i s n o t a name at a l l , i t i s a n o i s e . I t i s i m p o r t a n t f o r both R u s s e l l and P l a t o t o d i f f e r e n t i a t e p r o p o s i t i o n s from names, s i n c e i n t h e i r view names ' s i g n i f y b e i n g * (261e) and a r e o t h e r wise meaningless.  Whereas, i f t h e s t a t e o f a f f a i r s i n d i c a t e d by a p r o p o s i -  t i o n does not o b t a i n , the p r o p o s i t i o n i s not m e a n i n g l e s s b u t f a l s e . concedes  t o Parmenides  Plato  ( a s would R u s s e l l a l s o ) t h a t 'Whenever t h e r e i s a  s t a t e m e n t , i t must be about something; i t cannot be about n o t h i n g * . (262e) How t h e n a r e t r u e and f a l s e s t a t e m e n t s t o be d i s t i n g u i s h e d ?  Plato  S t r a n g e r : I w i l l make a statement t o y o u , t h e n , p u t t i n g t o g e t h e r a t h i n g w i t h an a c t i o n by means o f a name and a v e r b . You a r e t o t e l l me what t h e statement i s about. Theaetetus:  I w i l l do my b e s t .  S t r a n g e r : "Theaetetus s i t s " . . . . Now i t i s f o r you t o say what i t i s a b o u t — t o whom i t b e l o n g s . Theaetetus:  C l e a r l y about me:  S t r a n g e r : Now t a k e a n o t h e r ... t o a t t h i s moment) f l i e s " .  i t b e l o n g s t o me. "Theaetetus (whom I am  T h e a e t e t u s : That t o o c a n o n l y be d e s c r i b e d a s b e l o n g i n g t o me and about me. S t r a n g e r : And moreover we agree t h a t any statement must have a c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r . Theaetetus:  Yes,  S t r a n g e r : Then each of t h e s e ? Theaetetus:  what s o r t o f c h a r a c t e r can we a s s i g n t o  One i s f a l s e , the o t h e r t r u e .  S t r a n g e r : And t h e t r u e one s t a t e s about you t h e t h i n g s t h a t a r e ( o r t h e f a c t s ) as they a r e . Theaetetus:  Certainly.  S t r a n g e r : Whereas t h e f a l s e statement s t a t e s about you t h i n g s d i f f e r e n t from t h e t h i n g s t h a t a r e ,  answers:  44  Theaetetus: Stranger: as b e i n g . Theaetetus:  Yes. And a c c o r d i n g l y s t a t e s t h i n g s t h a t a r e - n o t No doubt.  S t r a n g e r : Yes, b u t t h i n g s t h a t e x i s t , d i f f e r e n t from t h i n g s t h a t e x i s t i n your c a s e . F o r we s a i d t h a t i n t h e case o f e v e r y t h i n g t h e r e a r e many t h i n g s t h a t a r e and a l s o many t h a t a r e n o t . Theaetetus:  Quite so.  S t r a n g e r : So t h e second statement I made about y o u , i n the f i r s t p l a c e , a c c o r d i n g t o our d e f i n i t i o n o f t h e nat u r e o f a s t a t e m e n t , must i t s e l f n e c e s s a r i l y be one o f the s h o r t e s t p o s s i b l e . Theaetetus: Stranger: Theaetetus:  So we agreed j u s t now. And second i t must be about  something,  Yes.  S t r a n g e r : And i f i t i s n o t about y o u , i t i s not about anything else. Theaetetus:  Certainly.  S t r a n g e r : And i f i t were about n o t h i n g , i t would not be a s t a t e m e n t a t a l l ; f o r we p o i n t e d o u t t h a t t h e r e c o u l d not be a statement t h a t was a statement about n o t h i n g . Theaetetus:  Quite true.  S t r a n g e r : So what i s s t a t e d about y o u , b u t so t h a t what i s d i f f e r e n t i s s t a t e d as the same o r what i s n o t a s what i s — a c o m b i n a t i o n o f v e r b s and names a n s w e r i n g t o t h a t d e s c r i p t i o n f i n a l l y seems t o be r e a l l y and t r u l y a f a l s e statement. (262e-3d) As i n t h e Euthydemus (284c) we a r e s a i d t o speak f a l s e l y when we say 'what i s i n a c e r t a i n way and manner, and n o t as i t r e a l l y i s ' . t o say ' S o c r a t e s w i s h e s C l e i n i a s d e s t r o y e d ' , £.3.,  I t i s false  though o f c o u r s e b o t h  S o c r a t e s and C l e i n i a s e x i s t , and t h e r e a r e d e s t r u c t i v e d e s i r e s .  Thus, f a l s e  p r o p o s i t i o n s a r e r e s o l v e d i n t o e l e m e n t s , a l l o f which have b e i n g ; and y e t  45  the p r o p o s i t i o n as a whole a s s e r t s what i s n o t . the Euthydemus!  How f a r P l a t o has come from  There C t e s i p p u s i s f o r c e d t o admit t h a t 'no one says t h a t  which i s n o t * , (2B4c) t h e v e r y t h i n g which i s d e n i e d i n t h e S o p h i s t . We may measure P l a t o ' s achievement i n t h e S o p h i s t a g a i n s t t h i s passage from t h e C r a t y l u s (385b-d)s Socrates: ... You would acknowledge t h a t t h e r e i s i n words a t r u e and a f a l s e ? Hermogenes: Socrates: Hermogenes:  Certainly. And t h e r e a r e t r u e and f a l s e  propositions?  To be s u r e .  Socrates: And a t r u e p r o p o s i t i o n s a y s t h a t w h i c h i s , and a f a l s e p r o p o s i t i o n s a y s t h a t w h i c h i s n o t ? Hermogenes: Socrates: false? Hermogenes:  Y e s , what o t h e r answer i s p o s s i b l e ? Then i n a p r o p o s i t i o n t h e r e i s a t r u e and Certainly.  Socrates: But i s a p r o p o s i t i o n t r u e a s a whole o n l y , and a r e t h e p a r t s u n t r u e ? Hermogenes:  No, t h e p a r t s a r e t r u e a s w e l l as t h e whole.  Socrates: Would you say t h e l a r g e p a r t s and n o t t h e s m a l l e r ones, or every p a r t ? Hermogenes:  I should say that every part i s t r u e .  Socrates: I s a p r o p o s i t i o n r e s o l v a b l e i n t o any p a r t s m a l l e r t h a n a name. Hermogenes: Socrates: tion? Hermogenes: Socrates: Hermogenes:  No, t h a t i s t h e s m a l l e s t . Then t h e name i s a p a r t o f t h e t r u e p r o p o s i Yes. Y e s , and a t r u e p a r t , as you s a y . Yes.  46  Socrates: And i s not the p a r t o f a f a l s e h o o d falsehood? Hermogenes:  also a  Yes.  Socrates: Then, i f p r o p o s i t i o n s may be t r u e and names may be t r u e and f a l s e ? Hermogenes:  false,  So we must i n f e r .  In t h i s passage, where names and p r o p o s i t i o n s a r e a s s i m i l a t e d , P l a t o far  s h o r t o f the s o p h i s t i c a t i o n he d i s p l a y s i n the S o p h i s t .  falls  In h i s l a t e r  work he knows t h a t p r o p o s i t i o n s and names do not b e l o n g t o the same semantic category.  I t i s f a l l a c i o u s then t o i n f e r t h a t , i f a p r o p o s i t i o n i s t r u e ,  i t s terms a r e as w e l l , j u s t as i t i s f a l l a c i o u s t o i n f e r t h a t , i f men a r e numerous, S o c r a t e s i s numerous. there  I t i s also f a l l a c i o u s to i n f e r that, i f  i s something which e v e r y term i n a p r o p o s i t i o n names, t h e r e  i s some-  t h i n g i n a d d i t i o n t o t h e s e t h i n g s which the p r o p o s i t i o n i t s e l f names, i n the absence o f which the p r o p o s i t i o n would be m e a n i n g l e s s .  Because  propositions  are not names, we can a s s e r t what i s not the case ( i . . e . , f a l s e ) w i t h o u t thereby a s s e r t i n g that there  i s a name which names n o t h i n g .  we have P l a t o ' s answer t o the S o p h i s t  d e n i a l of  falsehood.  P l a t o i s attempting t o f i n d a place f o r falsehood Parmenidean m e t a p h y s i c .  In t h i s f a c t  w i t h i n an e s s e n t i a l l y  He concedes t o Parmenides:  One cannot l e g i t i m a t e l y u t t e r the.words, o r speak o f t h a t which j u s t s i m p l y i s n o t ; i t i s u n t h i n k a b l e , not t o be spoken o f or u t t e r e d o r e x p r e s s e d . (238c) He a p p a r e n t l y  a l l u d e s t o these words when he l a t e r s a y s :  So f a r as any c o n t r a r y o f the e x i s t e n t i s c o n c e r n e d , we have l o n g ago s a i d good-by t o the q u e s t i o n whethe r t h e r e i e such a t h i n g o r not and whether any a c c o u n t c a n be g i v e n o f i t o r none whatsoever. (258e) N e i t h e r Parmenides nor P l a t o admit t h a t t h e r e  i s a l e g i t i m a t e use f o r nega-  47  t i v e e x i s t e n t i a l c l a i m s — i _ . e , , t h e r e i s never an o c c a s i o n on which '...does not e x i s t * can be s u p p l i e d w i t h a term such t h a t i t e x p r e s s e s a t r u e proposition.  Thus, he s a y s ( 2 5 7 b ) : When we speak of " t h a t which i s n o t " , i t seems t h a t we do not mean something c o n t r a r y t o what e x i s t s b u t o n l y something t h a t i s d i f f e r e n t .  'x i s n o t ' , when t r u e , i s always (on t h i s v i e w ) e l l i p t i c a l f o r 'x i s d i f f e r ent  from y' and i s never the e x p r e s s i o n o f x's n o n e x i s t e n c e .  1  Jowett there-  f o r e remarks r i g h t l y t h a t i n the S o p h i s t P l a t o a n t i c i p a t e s Hegel's n a t i o n o f " n o t - B e i n g " as d i f f e r e n c e ' , To s a t i s f y h i s Parmenidean  'expla-  but e r r s i n t h i n k i n g t h i s d e s i r a b l e .  i n c l i n a t i o n s , P l a t o assumed t h a t a l l terms  ( b o t h s i n g u l a r and g e n e r a l ) a r e non-empty, and t h e r e b y committed h i m s e l f t o the view t h a t n o n e g a t i v e e x i s t e n t i a l p r o p o s i t i o n i s t r u e .  To u n d e r s t a n d  why P l a t o s h o u l d have a c q u i e s c e d i n t h i s view (which i s c e r t a i n l y c o u n t e r i n t u i t i v e ) , l e t us t u r n b r i e f l y t o h i s t h e o r y o f Forms.  'Any d i s c o u r s e we  can have', P l a t o s a y s ( 2 5 9 e ) , 'owes i t s e x i s t e n c e t o the weaving t o g e t h e r of f o r m s ' .  I u n d e r s t a n d t h i s t o mean t h a t language i s i m p o s s i b l e w i t h o u t  general expressions.  The f o r m s , a c c o r d i n g t o P l a t o , a r e the f e a t u r e s o f  r e a l i t y which answer t o g e n e r a l e x p r e s s i o n s — j L . e . , they a r e p r o p e r t i e s .  I n ' L o g i c a l S t r u c t u r e o f P l a t o ' s S o p h i s t ' , Review o f m e t a p h y s i c s , v o l . 22 ( 1 9 6 9 ) , pp. 482-98, van F r a a s s e n c i t e s t h e s e v e r y passages (257b and 258e) t o show t h a t P l a t o i s not even a t t e m p t i n g an a n a l y s i s of the e x i s t e n t i a l uses of ' t o be', b u t i s merely e l u c i d a t i n g v a r i o u s i n c o m p l e t e u s e s — e . g . , *x i s [ o r i s n o t j i d e n t i c a l t o y' and 'x i s [ o r i s n o t ] F'. But P l a t o c l e a r l y i n t e n d s h i s a n a l y s i s t o be c o m p r e h e n s i v e — . i . e . , t o c o v e r ' t o be* i n a l l i t s i n t e l l i g i b l e u s e s . At 251c he s a y s 'we want our argument to be a d d r e s s e d t o a l l a l i k e who have e v e r had a n y t h i n g t o say about e x i s t e n c e * . In the passages van F r a a s s e n c i t e s P l a t o has not s e t a s i d e the complete use o f 'to be', perhaps t o be a n a l y s e d on a f u t u r e o c c a s i o n : he has s c r a p e d i t , on the grounds t h a t i t i s d i s c r e d i t e d by the paradoxes i n t r o d u c e d a t 236e-9b. x  J o w e t t , B,, t r , The D i a l o g u e s o f P l a t o ( O x f o r d : 335-6. 2  1964), v o l . I l l , pp.  46  In t h e Euthydemus (299e-300c) P l a t o s a y s : Why, S o c r a t e s , s a i d D i o n y s o d o r u s , d i d you e v e r see a beautiful thing? Yes, D i o n y s o d o r u s , I r e p l i e d , I have seen many. Were t h e y o t h e r than t h e b e a u t i f u l , o r the same as t h e beautiful? Now I was i n a g r e a t quandary a t h a v i n g t o answer t h i s q u e s t i o n , and I thought t h a t I was r i g h t l y s e r v e d f o r h a v i n g opened my mouth a t a l l : I s a i d however, They are n o t t h e same as a b s o l u t e b e a u t y , but they have a beauty p r e s e n t i n each o f them. Is n o t the honourable h o n o u r a b l e , and t h e base base [ a s k s Socrates]? That, he s a i d , i s as I p l e a s e . And do you p l e a s e ? Certainly. In t h i s passage t h e p r o p e r t y o f beauty i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d from the p a r t i c u l a r s which i n s t a n t i a t e t h i s p r o p e r t y , * b u t b o t h t h e p r o p e r t y and t h e i n d i v i d u a l s i n s t a n t i a t i n g i t a r e s a i d t o be b e a u t i f u l .  That F-ness i t s e l f  i s F i s even  more c l e a r l y a s s e r t e d i n t h e P r o t a g o r a s (330c-d) than i n the Euthydemus ( 3 0 0 c ) : Is t h e r e such a t h i n g as j u s t i c e o r n o t ? is.  I think there  So do I , he s a i d . W e l l , i f someone asked you and me, " T e l l me, you two, t h i s t h i n g t h a t you mentioned a moment a g o — j u s t i c e — i s i t i t s e l f : j u s t o r u n j u s t ? " I m y s e l f s h o u l d answer t h a t i t was j u s t . Which way, would you v o t e ? The same as y o u , he s a i d . Then we would b o t h answer t h a t j u s t i c e i s o f such a nat u r e as t o be j u s t ? He agreed.  •Lin P l a t o ' s language we would s a y here t h a t t h e Form o f Beauty i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d from t h e v a r i o u s i n d i v i d u a l t h i n g s ' p a r t a k i n g ' i n i t .  49  I f , as seems e x t r e m e l y l i k e l y ,  1  P l a t o b e l i e v e d t h a t every p r o p e r t y  i s an i n -  s t a n c e o f i t s e l f , t h e n i n h i s view t h e r e w i l l be no u n i n s t a n t i a t e d p r o p e r t i e s . I f , moreover, every n e g a t i v e w h i c h i s F',  e x i s t e n t i a l c l a i m has the form 'there i s n o t h i n g  t h e n we cannot a s s e r t the n o n e x i s t e n c e of a n y t h i n g w i t h o u t c o n -  t r a d i c t i n g P l a t o ' s metaphysics.  Thus, h i s m e t a p h y s i c s p r e p a r e s him v e r y w e l l  i n d e e d f o r t h a t Parmenidean r e j e c t i o n of non-Being t o w h i c h , as we saw,  he  commits h i m s e l f a t 258e. I t must not be supposed t h a t P l a t o ' s m e t a p h y s i c s commits him merely t o the view t h a t t h e r e i s a p r o p e r t y  a n s w e r i n g t o every g e n e r a l  term, w h i l e a l -  l o w i n g him t o say t h a t s u c h a p r o p e r t y c o u l d be u n i n s t a n t i a t e d by any i n d i v i d u al.  I t might seem, e.£.,  t h a t the c l a i m ' t h e r e are no u n i c o r n s ' means f o r  P l a t o t h a t t h e r e a r e no i n d i v i d u a l u n i c o r n s , a l t h o u g h t h e r e i s a p r o p e r t y being a unicorn. position.  On the c o n t r a r y , more than r e a l i s m i s i n v o l v e d i n P l a t o ' s  F o r , i f we  the p r o p e r t y  introduce  the term 'being an i n d i v i d u a l u n i c o r n * ,  e x p r e s s e d by these words w i l l be i n s t a n t i a t e d by an  i f by a n y t h i n g :  and  ween s i n g u l a r and g e n e r a l  ( i n d i v i d u a l and  property)  In  The d i s t i n c t i o n  i s thus obviated  bet-  i n Plato's  As A r i s t o t l e remarks ( M e t a p h y s i c s 1 0 8 6 b l 0 ) , ' i t f o l l o w e d  P l a t o ' s p r i n c i p l e s ] t h a t u n i v e r s a l e and  then  individual,  i n P l a t o ' s view i t i s i n s t a n t i a t e d by something.  t h i s c a s e , we have a Form which i s a l s o an i n d i v i d u a l .  metaphysics.  of  [on  i n d i v i d u a l s were a l m o s t the same \  s o r t of t h i n g ' . In h i s commentary on the S o p h i s t T a y l o r c l a i m s t h a t P l a t o ' s a n a l y s i s of f a l s e s t a t e m e n t i s i n a p p l i c a b l e t o p r o p o s i t i o n s about w i t c h e s because on  F o r an i n t e r e s t i n g (though I t h i n k m i s t a k e n ) c o n t r a r y i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , see: A l l e n , R,, ' P a r t i c i p a t i o n and P r e d i c a t i o n i n P l a t o ' s M i d d l e D i a l o g u e s ' , as r e p r i n t e d i n : V l a s t o s , G., P l a t o I (New York: 1970), pp. 167-83. A  50  t h a t a n a l y s i s e x i s t e n t i a l i m p o r t i s assumed f o r a l l t h e terms i n t o which a proposition i s analysed.  In P l a t o :  The S o p h i s t and t h e Statesman (London:  1961), p. 68, A. E. T a y l o r remarks: 'There i s c e r t a i n l y a f i e l d o f e n q u i r y here which P l a t o has l e f t u n e x p l o r e d ' .  As we suggested  e a r l i e r , however,  P l a t o i n t e n d s h i s a n a l y s i s t o be comprehensive; and i n f a c t t o those who, l i k e T a y l o r , would o b j e c t t h a t t h e r e a r e no w i t c h e s , he can answer t h a t the Form o f W i t c h n e s s i s i t s e l f a w i t c h , and t h a t c o n s e q u e n t l y  the property i s  not u n i n s t a n t i a t e d a f t e r a l l . P l a t o i s t h u s d e l i v e r e d from t h e T a y l o r - o b j e c t i o n by t h e assumption t h a t , f o r e v e r y g e n e r a l e x p r e s s i o n 'F-ness', which i s i n s t a n t i a t e d a t l e a s t by i t s e l f . to c o n t r a d i c t i o n .  t h e r e i s a p r o p e r t y o f F-ness  This assumption,  however, l e a d s  The p r o p e r t y o f n o t b e i n g a s e l f - i n s t a n c e , e.g_., i s a  s e l f - i n s t a n c e i f and o n l y i f i t i s n o t .  I t f o l l o w s t h a t not e v e r y  expression p i c k s out a s e l f - i n s t a n t i a t i n g property. d i c t o r y g e n e r a l e x p r e s s i o n , such a s 'round-square', stantiated property. s i s o f f a l s e statement  Consequently, are mistaken,  Moreover, a s e l f - c o n t r a must e x p r e s s an u n i n -  both P l a t o ' s metaphysics 1  general  and h i s a n a l y -  (Though t h e a n a l y s i s o f f a l s e  state-  iThough I have s a i d n o t h i n g I would w i s h t o r e t r a c t , I a p o l o g i z e f o r having d e a l t so b r i e f l y w i t h t h e t h e o r y o f Forms. A l l o w me, t h e n ; here t o r e f e r t o some l i t e r a t u r e , and make some remarks i n a n t i c i p a t i o n o f p o s s i b l e o b j e c t i o n . C o r n f o r d , F,, P l a t o ' s Theory o f Knowledge (London: 1967); Mor a v c s i k , J . , 'Being and Meaning t h e S o p h i s t ' , A c t a P h i l o s o p h i c a F e n n i c a , v o l . 14 ( 1 9 6 2 ) ; Ross, W., P l a t o ' s t h e o r y o f I d e a s " ( O x f o r d : 1963); v l a s t o s , G., 'The T h i r d Man Argument i n t h e Parmenides, a s r e p r i n t e d i n : A l l e n , R., S t u d i e s i n P l a t o ' s Metaphysics (London: 1967). The assumption t h a t t h e r e i s a p r o p e r t y (Form) answering t o e v e r y g e n e r a l e x p r e s s i o n seems q u e s t i o n e d a t 130c-e and then a c c e p t e d a t 135a-d of t h e Parmenides. A c c o r d i n g t o Ross (p. 168) and C o r n f o r d ( p . 2 9 3 ) , however, i n t h e P o l i t i c u s ( 2 6 2 ) P l a t o d e c l a r e s h i m s e l f a g a i n s t n e g a t i v e Forms (B_.(J., t h e n o t - B e a u t i f u l ) . B u t , as Ross and C o r n f o r d themselves remark, t h i s i s c e r t a i n l y not t h e view taken i n t h e Soph i s t , t h e d i a l o g u e w i t h which we a r e here p r i m a r i l y concerned. Moreover, t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e P o l i t i c u s i s d o u b t f u l ; see M o r a v c s i k , p. 72. I r e f e r t h e r e a d e r t o V l a s t o s f o r t h e b e s t account o f t h e c o n c e p t u a l d i f f i c u l t i e s i n t h e t h e o r y o f Forms.  51  ment c o u l d i n f a c t be s e p a r a t e d  from i t s ( P l a t o n i c ) m e t a p h y s i c a l  and made more p l a u s i b l e , t h i s i s n o t a t a s k I w i l l u n d e r t a k e . true negative  background,  F o r by making  e x i s t e n t i a l c l a i m s i m p o s s i b l e , t h a t a n a l y s i s as i t s t a n d s  helps  us t o u n d e r s t a n d P l a t o ' s c o n f u s e d t r e a t m e n t o f t h e c o p u l a ; and here we a r e more concerned w i t h b e i n g t h a n w i t h 1.6  P l a t o and t h e C o p u l a :  falsehood.)  A Commentary on t h e S o p h i s t 250a-60d  If  t h e r e i s one g r e a t i s s u e on which t h e s c h o l a r l y i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e S o p h i s t is divided, i t i s this: and  D i d P l a t o i n 250a-6d d i s t i n g u i s h the e x i s t e n t i a l  p r e d i c a t i o n a l uses o f ' t o be'?  r e j e c t e d ) , he d i d ; a c c o r d i n g not. ing  According  t o the majority o p i n i o n *  t o the m i n o r i t y o p i n i o n  2  (here  (here a d o p t e d ) , he d i d  T h i s i s a s u b s t a n t i a l d i s p u t e which cannot be s e t t l e d merely by a t t e n d t o P l a t o ' s syntax.  S y n t a c t i c a l l y , an e l l i p t i c a l  o c c u r r e n c e o f '^Tvs^' i n  i t s i n c o m p l e t e use i s i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from a n o n - e l l i p t i c a l o c c u r r e n c e o f  *^rVo(L'  i n i t s complete u s e .  The s i t u a t i o n i s t h e same i n E n g l i s h .  ' I am',  e_.£., depending upon c o n t e x t , may be ( 1 ) s h o r t f o r ( s a y ) * I am w e a l t h y ' o r ( 2 ) an e x p r e s s i o n The  context  o f p e r s o n a l e x i s t e n c e , as i n D e s c a r t e s ' s famous argument.  f o r P l a t o ' s use o f  argument; and i t i s how we c o n s t r u e  i n the Sophist  i s a c e r t a i n body o f  t h a t body o f argument w h i c h d e t e r m i n e s  whether P l a t o a p p e a r s i n p l a c e s t o d i s t i n g u i s h t h e e x i s t e n t i a l and p r e d i c a -  *For t h e m a j o r i t y o p i n i o n see t h e f o l l o w i n g : A c k r i l l , J . , ' P l a t o and the C o p u l a ' , a s r e p r i n t e d i n : V l a s t o s , G., e d . , P l a t o I (New York: 1970), pp. 210-2; C o r n f o r d , F., P l a t o ' s Theory o f Knowledge (London: 1 9 6 7 ) , p. p. 296; M o r a v c s i k , J . , 'Being and Weaning i n t h e S o p h i s t ' ( c i t e d i n f t n 1, p. 5 0 ) , pp. 42 and 51; Shorey, P., What P l a t o S a i d ( C h i c a g o : 1933), p. 298; T a y l o r , A., P l a t o : The S o p h i s t and t h e Statesman (London: 1 9 6 1 ) , pp. 81-2 2For the m i n o r i t y o p i n i o n , see the f o l l o w i n g : Malcolm, J . , ' P l a t o ' s A n a l y s i s o f To o v and T o i n t h e S o p h i s t ' , P h r o n e s i s , v o l . 12 ( 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 130-45. Runciman, W . T P l a t o ' s L a t e r E p l s t e m o l o q y (Cambridge: 1 9 6 2 ) , pp. 84-5.  52  t i o n a l uses o f ' t o be*. To r e f u t e the view t h a t i n the S o p h i s t P l a t o d i s t i n g u i s h e d the e x i s t e n t i a l and p r e d i c a t i o n a l uses o f ' t o be', I cannot do b e t t e r than t o c i t e c i m a n , as f o l l o w s :  Run-  1  [ P l a t o ' s ] f a i l u r e t o d i s t i n g u i s h the e x i s t e n t i a l sense as such i s c l e a r l y demonstrated by the argument o f 256d-e, which runs as f o l l o w s : Str. For the n a t u r e o f D i f f e r e n c e makes each one o f a l l the k i n d s d i f f e r e n t from B e i n g i^o CM) and t h e r e f o r e something t h a t i s not (ottfc \5y*)> and on t h i s p r i n c i p l e we s h a l l be r i g h t i n s p e a k i n g o f a l l o f them as t h i n g s w h i c h i n t h i s sense " a r e n o t " (obK and a l s o as t h i n g s which, s i n c e they partake i n Being ^ , UfrTcVet to*? D V f o f ) . have b e i n g and a r e (61V0U.  Qvtay)*  Th.  So i t seems.  Str. So about each o f the Forms t h e r e i s much t h a t i t i s and a c o u n t l e s s number o f t h i n g s that i t i s not. T h i s passage [ c o n t i n u e s Runciman] i s t a k e n by b o t h Cornf o r d and A c k r i l l t o be r e f e r r i n g a t 256e3 t o the e x i s t e n t i a l sense o f t~T\/o(,\. But t h a t the phrase l ^ f c T ^ A ^ L TC$ fty-rpr cannot here be the p h i l o s o p h e r ' s f o r m u l a t i o n o f the e x i s t e n t i a l use i s shown by the S t r a n g e r ' s next r e mark. For t h i s makes i t c l e a r t h a t i t i s the c o p u l a t i v e sense w h i c h i s c o v e r e d by the phrase. The S t r a n g e r would be t a l k i n g nonsense i f he s a i d t h a t f o r each one o f the Forms " t h e r e a r e many t h i n g s t h a t i t e x i s t s " or " i t i s e x i s t e n c e i n many r e s p e c t s " . I t i s i n any case not t h e e x i s t e n c e o f the Forms which r e q u i r e s t o be d e m o n s t r a t e d , but t h e f a c t t h a t they can b o t h be and not be i n the c o p u l a t i v e sense. What the S t r a n g e r goes on t o say (257a) i s t h a t B e i n g C T ^ ^ A / ) must t h e r e f o r e be marked o f f from the o t h e r k i n d s . T h i s I s t r a n s l a t e d by C o r n f o r d " E x i s t e n c e " . But from the p r e v i o u s sentence i t i s c l e a r t h a t t h i s i s not e x i s t e n c e but the B e i n g w h i c h each of the. Forms can be i n many r e s p e c t s . In f a c t , throughout the d i s c u s s i o n t h e r e i s an a s s i m i l a t i o n to each o t h e r o f the e x i s t e n t i a l and c o p u l a t i v e s e n s e s .  r1nH o ir£r £  JL  rrF  EP*»temoloq PP. 84-5. (The q u o t a t i o n which f o l l o w s i n c l u d e s a t r a n s l a t i o n from the S o p h i s t by Runciman, not C o r n f o r d . ) P  y>  53  Having warned the r e a d e r t h a t t h e r e are v a r i o u s c o n f l i c t i n g ways of v i e w i n g t h e S o p h i s t , we w i l l now  adopt the c r i t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e of Runciman and ana-  l y s e the argument i n the S o p h i s t a c c o r d i n g l y . For a l l h i s t a l k a g a i n s t non-Being, P l a t o r e c o g n i z e s t h a t t h e r e i s a sense i n which we t a l k about what does not e x i s t .  In a d d i t i o n t o such prima  f a c i e f a l s e h o o d s as ' S o c r a t e s i s P e r s i a n * , t h e r e are such prima f a c i e t r u t h s as ' H e r a c l e s does not e x i s t ' .  B u t , i f we can say n o t h i n g about what does  not e x i s t , t h e n presumably even t h i s p r o p o s i t i o n would be m e a n i n g l e s s ,  and  we would not be a b l e t o d i s t i n g u i s h the n o n e x i s t e n t H e r a c l e s from what e x i s t s . For H e r a c l e s would not have a c h a r a c t e r i n terms of which he c o u l d be tified.  How  then c o u l d we know he does not e x i s t ?  P l a t o seems t o have c o n c l u d e d  iden-  From such c o n s i d e r a t i o n s  t h a t t h i n g s which do not e x i s t cannot be  v o i d of c h a r a c t e r (see Parmenides 160c-2d).  I f they were, observes P l a t o  ( 2 3 8 c ) , then we c o u l d a t t r i b u t e n e i t h e r p l u r a l i t y t o ' t h i n g s t h a t are nor u n i t y t o ' t h a t which i s n o t ' .  de-  not*  In the o f t - q u o t e d fragment which I take  as h i s fundamental p r e m i s e , however, Parmenides h i m s e l f speaks of ' t h i n g s which are n o t ' , and thus v i o l a t e s h i s own  prohibition.  I t i s c l e a r then  t h a t we do a t t r i b u t e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s (e.g_., s i n g u l a r i t y and p l u r a l i t y ) t o the n o n e x i s t e n t . bly  Thus, P l a t o s a y s ( 2 5 B c ) , '"That which i s n o t "  unquestiona-  i s a t h i n g t h a t has a n a t u r e of i t s own*. We  s h a l l understand  of i t s own' the form  the s u p p o s i t i o n t h a t the n o n e x i s t e n t  'has a  nature  t o mean t h a t , f o r some empty e x p r e s s i o n <X> some p r o p o s i t i o n of  (X i s 8  i s t r u e — . i . e . , t o mean t h a t 'Pegasus i s w i n g l e s s ' ( o r some  o t h e r such p r o p o s i t i o n ) i s t r u e , though Pegasus does not e x i s t . s i t i o n , thus u n d e r s t o o d ,  c o n t r a d i c t s the f o l l o w i n g : (3)  (Vx)(-Ex -  -Ex),  The  suppo-  54  w h i c h , as we saw i n s e c t i o n 1.2, i s e n t a i l e d by t h e fundamental Parmenidean premise:  (1)  -4Qx)-Ex.  Thus, f o r P l a t o t o e s t a b l i s h t h a t 'the n o n e x i s t e n t *  has a n a t u r e o f i t s own--  . i . e . , f o r him t o e s t a b l i s h t h e d e n i a l o f ( 3 ) — h e must r e f u t e ( 1 ) , from which (3) f o l l o w s . (1) i m p l i e s t h a t t h e r e i s n ' t a n y t h i n g  which does n o t e x i s t .  To argue  a g a i n s t i t i n any s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d f a s h i o n , t h e r e f o r e , one must argue t h a t t h e r e e x i s t t h i n g s which do not e x i s t .  T h i s does n o t seem a very  l i n e o f argument, n o r one which anybody would f o l l o w .  promising  But a f t e r c i t i n g t h e  s a y i n g o f Parmenides 'never s h a l l t h i s p r o v e d , t h a t t h i n g s t h a t a r e n o t a r e ' , A r i s t o t l e t h e n adds t h a t t o a v o i d Parmenides's r e s u l t s c e r t a i n (unnamed) t h i n k e r s 'thought i t n e c e s s a r y t o prove t h a t t h a t which i s n o t i s * . s i c a 1089a3-7)  (Wetaphy-  T h i s i s i n f a c t p r e c i s e l y the c o u r s e which P l a t o f o l l o w s :  We s h a l l f i n d i t n e c e s s a r y i n s e l f - d e f e n s e ... t o e s t a b l i s h by main f o r c e t h a t what i s n o t , i n some r e s p e c t has b e i n g . ... (241d) A f t e r an argument p u r p o r t i n g t o r e v e a l 'the r e a l c h a r a c t e r o f (258e), P l a t o concludes:  "not-being"'  '"What i s n o t ' has been found t o have i t s share i n  existence*. The  argument by which t h i s absurd c o n c l u s i o n  i s reached i s o f c o n s i d e r -  a b l e h i s t o r i c a l i n t e r e s t s i n c e j i t e x p l o i t s t h e e x i s t e n t i a l / p r e d i c a t i o n amb i g u i t y o f ' t o be*.  In t h e c o u r s e o f h i s counter-argument a g a i n s t  P l a t o examines s e v e r a l n e g a t i v e tall*. and  Parmenides,  predicates—e.£., ' n o t - b e a u t i f u l * and 'not-  He r i g h t l y c o n c l u d e s t h a t what i s n o t - b e a u t i f u l o r n o t - t a l l e x i s t s ,  has a n a t u r e o f i t s own.  From t h i s u n e x c e p t i o n a l  remark,! however, he  lf t h i s remark were i n t e n d e d o n l y a s a r e f u t a t i o n o f t h e s o p h i s t view t h a t 'a i s not-F* e n t a i l s 'a does n o t e x i s t ' and not a l s o a s a s t e p i n t h e r e f u t a t i o n o f Parmenides, i t would n o t l e a d P l a t o i n t o t r o u b l e . l  55  t h e n makes the i l l i c i t s t e p t o *uie have shown t h a t t h i n g s t h a t are [do e x i s t ] , are [do e x i s t ] ...'.  (258e)  In f a c t , however, a l l he has shown i s  t h a t t h i n g s t h a t are n o t ( - F ) , are ( e x i s t ) . doubt f o r P a r m e n i d e s , not e x i s t .  The  1  T h i s , however, was  and does not imply t h a t a n y t h i n g  never i n  both e x i s t s and  P l a t o t r i e s t o make i t out  that  i s n o t r e a l l y a s s e r t i n g t h a t t h e r e e x i s t s something w h i c h does not  (see 258e-9a)  does  c o n t r a d i c t o r y of (1) t h e r e f o r e remains undemonstrated.  R e a l i z i n g the a b s u r d i t y of '(Jx)^*'* he  not  'When we  exist,  speak of " t h a t which i s n o t " , ' he s a y s ( 2 5 7 b ) ,  'we  do not mean something c o n t r a r y t o what e x i s t s but o n l y something t h a t i s d i f ferent'.  But a t 256d-e he makes i t q u i t e c l e a r t h a t he i n t e n d s t o c o n t r a -  d i c t Parmenides's c l a i m 'Never s h a l l t h i s be p r o v e d , t h a t t h i n g s t h a t not, are*.  Dn our i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h i s c l a i m (which as we  by P l a t o ' s P a r m e n i d e s ) , P l a t o must a s s e r t '(3x)-Ex* this claim.  Thus, P l a t o ' s remarks are w o r t h l e s s  saw  are  i s supported  I f he i s t o c o n t r a d i c t  as a r e p l y t o Parmenides i f  we c o n s t r u e those remarks as a p p l y i n g o n l y t o 'what i s n o t - F ' ( t h e D i f f e r e n t ) and not a l s o 'what i s not' i n Parmenides's sense ( t h e N o n e x i s t e n t ) .  The  t r u t h o f the m a t t e r i s t h a t , when P l a t o i s t r y i n g t o make h i s t h e s i s sound p l a u s i b l e (even t o h i m s e l f ) , he uses the p r e d i c a t i o n a l sense of 'to be'} t h e n , when he i s t r y i n g t o r e f u t e Parmenides, he s h i f t s ( u n c o n s c i o u s l y , t h i n k ) t o the e x i s t e n t i a l sense.  I  On our i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , t h e n , P l a t o more  than Parmenides i s g u i l t y of the c o n f u s i o n and  and  he i s a l l e g e d t o have  recognized  exposed. In ray. view P l a t o made, t h e s e s e r i o u s m i s t a k e s i n h a n d l i n g  the concept  i..e_., on our i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , but r e c a l l the K i r k and Raven i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Perhaps t h e y would be i n c l i n e d t o t r e a t P l a t o ' s argument more s y m p a t h i c a l l y than I ; most commentators a r e .  56  of e x i s t e n c e because he c o n f l a t e d t h e o n t o l o g i c a l paradoxes o f Parmenides with the epistemological puzzles of the s o p h i s t s . i s always e l l i p t i c a l  f o r ' I know x'.  When we s a y * I know*, t h i s  The a b s o l u t e c o n s t r u c t i o n  i s p a r a s i t i c a l on t h e i n c o m p l e t e c o n s t r u c t i o n '...know(s)  '.  *.,,know(s)* In t h e Euthy-  demus, as we saw, P l a t o used t h i s f a c t t o r e f u t e t h e s o p h i s t c o n t e n t i o n i f a man knows a n y t h i n g , ter  he knows e v e r y t h i n g .  o f ' t o know*, t h e p r o p o s i t i o n ' S o c r a t e s  e.£.,  Owing t o t h e i n c o m p l e t e  knows [ x ] and does not know  i s not s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y — i _ , e _ . , S o c r a t e s  that, charac-  £y3'»  c a n be b o t h knowing and un-  knowing.  Now, j u s t as he r e f u t e d t h e s o p h i s t s , so P l a t o hopes t o r e f u t e  menides.  J u s t as a man may know some t h i n g s and not o t h e r s , so he may be  some t h i n g s and not o t h e r s . (a)  Par-  Hence:  T h i n g s b o t h a r e and a r e n o t .  P l a t o t h i n k s ( a ) c o n t r a d i c t s t h e Parmenidean c l a i m t h a t t h e r e a r e no t h i n g s which a r e not.  In o r d e r t o make ( a ) t r u e , however, we must u n d e r s t a n d i t s  o c c u r r e n c e s o f ' t o b e ' p r e d i c a t i o n a l l y , a s i n *a man may be [ F ] and not be [ G ] ' . When ( a ) i s t h u s u n d e r s t o o d , however, i t does not c o n t r a d i c t t h e Parmenidean claim.  Plato r e f u t a t i o n therefore f a i l s .  The r e a s o n f o r t h i s f a i l u r e , o f  course,  i s t h a t ' t o b e ' , u n d e r s t o o d e x i s t e n t i a l l y , i s l i k e ' t o be g o l d ' o r  • t o be a man' r a t h e r than ' t o know* o r ' t o f a t h e r * :  S o c r a t e s , £.£., c a n no  more b o t h e x i s t and n o t e x i s t than he c a n b o t h be a man and not be a man. T h i s i m p l i e s t h a t *x i s ' , u n d e r s t o o d e x i s t e n t i a l l y , i s not e l l i p t i c a l f o r *x i s  ', where '  tent',*  Existence  • i s t o be f i l l e d i n w i t h some p r e d i c a t e — s a y ,  t h e n i s not a r e l a t i o n w h i c h , l i k e f a t h e r h o o d ,  'exis-  a thing  But see Quine: 'We may indeed t a k e "(3x)(x = a ) " a s e x p l i c a t i n g "a exists". John Bacon has noted a n i c e p a r a l l e l h e r e : j u s t as "a e a t s " i s s h o r t f o r "a e a t s s o m e t h i n g " , so "a i s " i s s h o r t f o r "a i s s o m e t h i n g " , ' • E x i s t e n c e and Q u a n t i f i c a t i o n * , as c o n t a i n e d i n M a r g o l i s , J . , e d , , F a c t and Existence (Toronto: 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 3.  57  may bear t o some t h i n g s and not o t h e r s . *  I t i s f o r t h i s reason t h a t ' t o be*,  u n d e r s t o o d e x i s t e n t i a l l y , r e s i s t s a n a l y s i s i n terms o f the r e l a t i o n a l verb •to be d i f f e r e n t * . 1.7  The Greek Concept o f B e i n g  L e t us r e t u r n now t o Kahn's view  t h a t 'the Greeks d i d n o t have our n o t i o n o f b e i n g * .  As we have u n d e r s t o o d  P l a t o , he wrongly a s s i m i l a t e s the e x i s t e n t i a l ( c o m p l e t e ) and p r e d i c a t i o n a l (incomplete)  uses o f ' t o be*.  According  t o Kahn, however, the s y n t a c t i c a l  d i s t i n c t i o n between the i n c o m p l e t e and complete c o n s t r u c t i o n s f o r ' t o be' i s o f t e n t r e a t e d by Greek a u t h o r s 'as o f no consequence whatever'.2 B u t , as W i l l c o m p l a i n e d ,  E n g l i s h