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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents a reading of the Parmenides. The Parmenides uniquely depicts Socrates as perhaps 15 or 19 years old in conversation (dialegesthai) with Parmenides Plato’s other dialogues show an older Socrates that uses dialegesthai to engage youths and to test professionals and pretenders. Scholars have questioned whether the difficulties that Parmenides poses for the adolescent Socrates’s admissions about forms seriously damage what Plato’s other dialogues say about forms. Scholars give various answers, for example: Plato thinks none of the objections were worthwhile as objections to his views about forms; the objections record Plato’s “honest perplexity” about forms; Plato is admirably self-critical in revealing difficulties as to his earlier views. The assumption that Plato’s other dialogues intend a theory with which the Parmenides must be reconciled is natural. The assumption’s implications are worth pursuing. In this chapter I defer that assumption as an experiment, and I pursue the results of such deferral.

Keywords: Plato, dialogues, Parmenides, Socrates, forms

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