Works In Progress

Negative Predication in Parmenides’ Third Antinomy

The focus of this paper is the third antinomy in the second part of the Parmenides (160b-164b). How does this collection of arguments help the young Socrates grasp the truth with authority (136b6-c5; cf. 135d3-6), thereby saving the theory of Forms (135b5-c4)? I argue that Parmenides’ third antinomy lays the groundwork for the analysis of “is not” and “not-being” developed in the Sophist (256c-59b).

Parmenides’ Likeness Regress

My focus in this paper is Parmenides’ fifth criticism of the theory of Forms (132c12-133a7), which targets the paradigm-copy account of participation. While the scholarly literature is largely agrees that Parmenides’ criticism is unsound, there is disagreement over which of its assumptions is false. Here I argue that the real problem with Parmenides’ criticism has not yet been identified. Specifically, Parmenides’ criticism challenges Socrates to find a way for the Form of Likeness to partake of itself, where this explains its being “like,” instead of partaking of a second Form of Likeness. I show that Socrates can accomplish this if he specifies the sense in which the Forms are paradeigmata (132d2) — if he maintains that the Forms are the “blueprints” of their respective characters, and it is by being modeled on these “blueprints” that other things come to be characterized in some way. This would allow the Form of Likeness to be modeled on itself and for that reason be “like.” An upshot of my view is that Socrates resolves the problem of participation, the principal problem confronting him in the dialogue’s first part.