Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved : With a New Introduction and the Essay, "Excess and Deficiency at Statesman 283c-285c"

Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved : With a New Introduction and the Essay, "Excess and Deficiency at Statesman 283c-285c"

Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved : With a New Introduction and the Essay, "Excess and Deficiency at Statesman 283c-285c"

Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved : With a New Introduction and the Essay, "Excess and Deficiency at Statesman 283c-285c"

Excerpt

In Metaphysics M, Chapter 4, Aristotle gives a succinct account of the relationship between Socrates and those who first affirmed the existence of the Ideas. While Socrates was "busying himself with moral excellence" 1078b17-18), they were concerned with questions of knowledge and its ontological requirements. As Aristotle puts it:

Those who stated the theory of Forms were led to it because,
as regards truth, they were persuaded by the Heraclitean ar
gument that all sensible things are always in flux


1078b12-15"; so that if there is to be knowl
edge of anything, or practical wisdom, there must be other
objects that are permanent besides those that are sensible

1078b15
16". For there is no knowledge of things in flux "
I078b16-17".

Although Socrates was concerned with universals, Aristotle then observes, "he did not make the universals separate" 1078b30). But the others "made them separate, and called these entities Ideas" 1078b31-32). Such at least was the way those who first affirmed the theory of the Ideas "understood it originally" 1078b11).

The implied distinction between an original and a subsequent understanding of the theory is made explicit in an earlier passage . . .

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