Theory and History of Ontology by Raul Corazzon | e-mail:

Annotated Bibliography on Plato's Sophist. Sixth Part: Pel - San


  1. Pelletier, Francis Jeffry. 1975. "'Incompatibility' in Plato's Sophist ." Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review no. 14:143-146.

    "I want to consider a much-disputed reading of a certain critical area of Plato's Sophist . It is widely agreed by most commentators that in this text, between 255E and 259E there occurs a refutation of Parmenides' dictum that "one cannot say that which is not", and that this is followed by an application of the foregoing discussion to the problems of sentential falsity. (For a partial list of commentators, see bibliography.) It is also generally agreed that Plato uses the Form, The Different, for this purpose. What is not generally agreed upon is how Plato uses The Different." (p. 143)


    Ackrill, J. L. (1955) "Symplokê eidôn", Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London (reprinted in Vlastos).

    Frede, Michael ( 1967) Prädication und Existenzaussage , Hypomnemata 18.

    Keyt, David ( 1973) "The Falsity of 'Theaetetus Flies' (Sophist 263B)" in Exegesis and Argument: Studies in Greek Philosophy Presented to Gregory Vlastos (ed.) E. N. Lee, A.P.D. Mourelatos. and R. Rorty; Phronesis Supplementary Volume I.

    Lee, E, N. (1972) "Plato on Negation and Not-Being in the Sophist" Phil. Rev .

    Lorenz, K. and Mittelstrauss, J, (1966) "Theaitetos Fliegt", Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie .

    Owen, G. E. L. (1970) "Plato on Not-Being" (in Vlastos).

    Philip, J, A. (1968) "False Statement in the Sophist's", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Society .

    Vlastos, Gregory (1970) Plato: A Collection of Critical Essays Vol. I.

    Wiggins, David (1970) "Sentence Meaning, Negation, and Plato's Problem of Not-Being" (in Vlastos).

  2. ———. 1983. "Plato on Not-Being: Some Interpretations of the συμπλοκή εἶδον (259e) and Their Relation to Parmenides Problem." In Midwest Studies in Philosophy VIII , edited by French, Peter A., Uehling Jr., Theodore E. and Wettstein, Howard K., 35-65.

    "We have witnessed," says Mourelatos (1979: p. 3), "in the 'sixties and 'seventies, in English language scholarship, that rarest of phenomena in the study of ancient philosophy, the emergence of a consensus." This interpretation is so agreed upon that "one may even speak of a standard Anglo-American interpretation of Parmenides." One of the presentations counted by Mourelatos as standard, indeed one of the paradigms, is that of Furth (1968). According to this interpretation, Parmenides' infamous ontological views follow as corollaries from his implicit views about language and meaning. I will briefly present this Parmenidean view about language, but I will not here try to justify the attribution (for these sorts of arguments see Furth, 1968; Mourelatos, 1979; and Pelletier, forthcoming [1990]).

    In this paper, I am interested in the Platonic response to Parmenides, especially the response that occurs in the middle portion of the Sophist (249-265). Since I am going to evaluate this as a response to the "standard interpretation" of Parmenides, it is clear that I owe a justification for my belief that Plato understood his opponent to be our "standard Parmenides." This issue, too, I will avoid here (further discussion can be found in Pelletier [1990], which discusses the "Parmenidean" arguments of Sophist 237-241, Theaetetus , 188-189, and Cratylus 429-430, with an eye toward showing that Plato was aware of these types of argument.)" (p. 35)

    "It seems that one way to clarify the details of the interpretation of Parmenides is to investigate the symplokê eidôn of the Sophist . Unfortunately, Plato's position is also open to a variety of interpretations and cannot be convincingly elucidated in the absence of a precise account of what Parmenides' argument was. One, therefore, wishes to set up all the possible interpretations of Parmenides and all the interpretations of the symplokê eidôn and then to inspect these lists to discover which pairs of Parmenidean/Platonic interpretations mesh the best. This, it seems to me, would provide the best evidence possible that one had finally gotten both Plato and Parmenides right. I will not attempt that Herculean task. Rather, I will state one interpretation of Parmenides, Furth 's, and ask which of the many ways to understand Plato's position best accords with that interpretation of Parmenides. (p. 36)


    Furth, Montgomery, “Elements of Eleatic Ontology.” Journal of the History of Philosophy 6 (1968): 111-32.

    Mourelatos, A. P. D., “Some Alternatives in Interpreting Parmenides,” The Monist 62 (1979):

    Pelletier. Francis Jeffry, Parmenides, Plato, and the Semantics of Not-Being (forthcoming) [Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1990].

  3. ———. 1990. Parmenides, Plato, and the Semantics of Not-Being . Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Contents: Acknowledgments IX; Introduction XI-XXI; 1. Methodological preliminaries 1; 2. Parmenides' problem 8; 3. Plato's problems 22; 4. Some interpretations of the symploke eidon 45; 5. The Philosopher's language 94, Works cited 149; Index locorum 155; Name Index 159; Subject index 163-166.

  4. Peramatzis, Michail. 2020. "Conceptions of Truth in Plato’s Sophist." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 102:333-378.

    Abstract: "The paper seeks to specify how, according to Plato’s Sophist , true statements achieve their being about objects and their saying that ‘what is about such objects is’. Drawing on the 6th definition of the sophist, I argue for a normative-teleological conception of truth in which the best condition of our soul –in its making statements or having mental states– consists in its seeking to attain the telos of truth. Further, on the basis of Plato’s discussion of original and image, his distinction between correct and incorrect image, and the 7th definition, I argue that achieving the telos of truth involves preserving the original’s proportions and appropriate features. The view that Plato’s conception of truth takes statements or mental states to be certain types of image is not ground-breaking. The important contribution of my argument is that it offers a plausible way to understand two recalcitrant claims made by Plato: first, that falsity obtains not only in the region of incorrect images (appearances) but also within correct images (likenesses); second, that some incorrect images are based on knowledge and so could be true."

  5. Perl, Eric D. 2014. "The Motion of Intellect On the Neoplatonic Reading of Sophist 248e-249d." The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition no. 8:138-160.

    Abstract: "This paper defends Plotinus’ reading of Sophist 248e-249d as an expression of the togetherness or unity-in-duality of intellect and intelligible being. Throughout the dialogues Plato consistently presents knowledge as a togetherness of knower and known, expressing this through the myth of recollection and through metaphors of grasping, eating, and sexual union. He indicates that an intelligible paradigm is in the thought that apprehends it, and regularly regards the forms not as extrinsic “objects” but as the contents of living intelligence. A meticulous reading of Sophist 248e-249d shows that the “motion” attributed to intelligible being is not temporal change but the activity of intellectual apprehension. Aristotle’s doctrines of knowledge as identity of intellect and the intelligible, and of divine intellect as thinking itself, are therefore in continuity with Plato, and Plotinus’ doctrine of intellect and being is continuous with both Plato and Aristotle."

  6. Petterson, Olof. 2018. "The Science of Philosophy: Discourse and Deception in Plato’s Sophist ." Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy no. 22:221-237.

    Abstract: "At 252e1 to 253c9 in Plato’s Sophist , the Eleatic Visitor explains why philosophy is a science. Like the art of grammar, philosophical knowledge corresponds to a generic structure of discrete kinds and is acquired by systematic analysis of how these kinds intermingle. In the literature, the Visitor’s science is either understood as an expression of a mature and authentic platonic metaphysics, or as a sophisticated illusion staged to illustrate the seductive lure of sophistic deception. By showing how the Visitor’s account of the science of philosophy is just as comprehensive, phantasmatic and self-concealing as the art of sophistry identified at the dialogue’s outset, this paper argues in favor of the latter view. "

  7. Philip, James Allenby. 1961. "Mimesis in the Sophistes of Plato." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association no. 92:453-468.

    "If a generalized use of mimesis was current in Plato's time, it was current as an extension of a more specific use. We shall find in Plato instances of both the specific and the generalized use and instances in which, because Plato allowed them to co-exist, the meaning and connotations of the one overlap those of the other, and ambiguities arise. Already in the Republic these two senses of mimesis, the specific or dramatic sense and the generalized or metaphysical sense, are both present. They are exhibited again in the final division of the Sophistes as two classes related to one another as genus to species. When we have delimited the two senses in the Republic we will consider their relation in the Sophistes and its implications." (pp. 453-454)


    "We must then ask ourselves: What enables us to know? and by what process of knowing do we make ourselves like the object of our knowledge?


    So we affirm that in the wide spectrum of meaning given to mimesis in the Platonic dialogues we can distinguish two principal senses: a restricted or dramatic sense of making oneself like another, and a wider sense describing the creative processes in all the productive crafts; and further that in the final division of the Sophistes we find the latter related to the former as genus to species." (p. 468)

  8. ———. 1968. "False Statement in the Sophistes ." Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association no. 99:315-327.

    "I shall limit myself to showing what are the moves he makes, and how he reaches the conclusion he does reach.

    The question whether Plato's doctrine is tenable, in whole or in part, in terms of modern logic is beyond the scope of this study.

    The discussion of false statement falls into five parts, each part corresponding to a move in the development of the thesis. It will be convenient to conduct our discussion conforming to these divisions:

    1. 256D11-258C7: Not-being and its two kinds.

    2. 258C7-260A1: Summing up against Parmenides.

    3. 260A1-261C6: The problem of statement (logos ).

    4. 261C7-263A1: Basic doctrine of meaning and statement.

    5. 263A1-263D5 : Test case : "Theaetetus flies" etc.

    It must be remembered throughout that Plato is single-mindedly pursuing his purpose, which is to show that false statement as τὸ μὴ ὄν λέγειν is possible; and further that this phrase means: (a) in the Parmenidean sense, (if anything) nothing relevant to our inquiry, (b) in a modified sense, to say what is not as what is other than (or different from) X, and (c) to make a false statement. This last sense is for Plato's purpose the important one. He will use it to differentiate between the activities of the sophist and the philosopher, and to justify his relegating the sophist to the class of purveyors of false statement.

    It must also be remembered that, here as elsewhere, Plato for all his frequent prolixity excludes from his argument what he does not consider essential to it. In the present instance he attempts no general logical doctrine." (pp. 315-316)

  9. ———. 1968. "The apographa of Plato's Sophistes ." Phoenix no. 22:289-298.

    Since Burnet's edition of Plato it has been recognized that B, T, and W are primary sources for the first half of the Platonic corpus, and for most of those dialogues, including the Sophistes , the only primary sources. (In the Budé Sophistes , edited by Diès, Y is cited in the apparatus as a primary source; though this has been shown to be the case for other parts of Y it is not the case for the Sophistes , as will appear below.) All other manuscripts are conceded to be apographa of these, and their mutual relations have been in part explored. They have not been examined systematically, on the basis of collations, to discover precisely how they depend on one another and whether any of the manuscripts other than the principal three can be primary sources for our tradition in whole or in part." (p. 289)

    Codices referred to by sigla are as follows: B = Clarkianus 39 of the Bodleian Library, Oxford; T = 4.1 (542 in the new numbering of Mioni's catalogue) of the Marciana Library, Venice; W =, Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna; Y =, Oesterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna. All other codices are referred to by the abbreviation of their library designations; a list is given in Post [L. A. Post, The Vatican Plato and its Relations (Middletown 1934)];. I shall discuss the primary source manuscripts, B, T, and W, in a separate study.

  10. ———. 1969. "The Megista Gene of the Sophistes ." Phoenix no. 23:89-103.

    "Five common concepts or megista gene -- being, identity, difference, motion and rest-play a key role in the Sophistes. (1) They are not an innovation. Allusion is made to them, and to similar concepts, in earlier dialogues. Already in the Phaedo (103E-105C) certain ideas having a mathematical character-equality, oddness, evenness-are recognized not as a special category but as functioning in special ways and having peculiar problems. It is in the Parmenides that we first encounter them as a grouping.(2) There Parmenides introduces them as similar ideas specially suited to the training of neophytes in dialectic. The ideas mentioned are (136A-B): unity/plurality, similarity/dissimilarity, motion/rest, being/non-being, coming-to-be/passing away. To these are later added identity/difference (139B) and equality/inequality (140B)." (pp. 89-90, note 1 partly omitted)


    "Let us now turn to the Sophistes . If we are to understand the role of the megista gene we must observe how and in what context they are introduced. The critical issue of the whole dialogue is approached by an episode to which Plato has given the name Gigantomachia , or Battle of the Giants. In this episode idealists and empiricists are pitted against one another in bitter conflict. Their ideological quarrel is about οὐσία.

    The giants maintain that only what has physical body and is perceptible to touch or contact may be said to be real, or to exist. The idealists maintain that the only genuine reality/substance is to be found in incorporeal, intelligible kinds or ideas, physical body being merely genesis or change and process.

    In the thesis of the idealists we have in its most uncompromising form Plato's chorismos of intelligibles and sensibles. But we find Plato not, as we might expect, championing the cause of the Friends of the Ideas, as he calls his idealists. Instead he attempts to mediate. Let us observe how he does so, remembering always that he develops only such aspects of his metaphysical assumptions as seems to him necessary for the theme he is treating." (p. 92)

    (1) I use for megista gene "common concepts." That equivalent is suggested by Tht. 185c 4, and Ryle has pointed out in Studies in Plato's Metaphysics , ed. R. E. Allen (London 1965) 146 that it is used also by Aristotle. So it may have had some currency in the Academy. To translate by "greatest," "highest," "very important," is to suggest that they occupy a place in some hierarchy of concepts or ideas, whereas their importance derives from the fact that they are topic-neutral and of almost universal application. Their logical importance has been pointed out by Ryle, loc. cit. , and in New Essays on Plato and Aristotle , ed. R. Bambrough (London 1965) 64-65. My debt to those discussions will be obvious.

    (2) By "first" I mean first in the order Plato assigned to the dialogues -- Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophistes, Politicus . I shall treat the Timaeus as subsequent to these. I shall not attempt to discuss again the actual date of writing of any dialogue or part of a dialogue. Relative dating does not affect my thesis here. It ceases to be of major importance if we accept even in part the Krämer/Gaiser theory of agrapha dogmata .

  11. Pippin, Robert B. 1979. "Negation and Not-Being in Wittgenstein's Tractatus and Plato's Sophist ." Kant Studien no. 70:179-196.

    "The origins of our contemporary fascination with language are, of course, quite complex and go to the very heart of that persistent twentieth-century attempt to see philosophy as a "critique of language". But, in investigating those origins, it does no one an injustice to insist upon the importance of Ludwig Wittgenstein and especially his little book, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus , in bringing the issue to the prominence it enjoys today."


    "In fact, [Wittgenstein] seems to return quite explicitly to Plato's account of language as an eidolon in a dialogue like the Sophist . In a certain sense, one could claim that the central problem of dialogues like the Theaetetus and the Sophist was Wittgenstein's major concern in his early work."


    "Further, in the opinion of some commentators, the Eleatic Stranger and Wittgenstein not only begin with very similar problems, they seem to arrive at very similar solutions.

    The picture theory's representational model of language's relation to the world, the ontology taken by some to be supported by the picture theory (Wittgenstein's infamous "simples"), the doctrines of logical space and the "form" of objects, and perhaps more than any other issue, Wittgenstein's "derivative" explanation of negation (the claim that any not-X depends on X for its intension and the claim that it has no negative extension, that there are no negative facts), all count as evidence for Platonic shadows stretching across the Tractatus . This seems especially true when we consider that Wittgenstein regarded as a major consequence of the picture theory its ability to account for meaningful, false propositions, that it could explain how "Thought can be of what is not the case".

    Plato's discussion of images is clearly and directly concerned with much the same problem in "capturing" the elusive sophist.

    In the following, I will consider two such comparable issues- the general theory of language involved in both accounts, and their specific solution to the problem of negation and false propositions. What I hope to accomplish by this contrast is to illuminate two very different kinds of analyses appropriate to the topic of "not-being", differences one could roughly characterize as "semantic" versus "ontological". Further, this difference in orientation and in emphasis will involve differences within each mode; specifically it will involve a "picture" versus an "image" theory of language, and atomistic versus nonatomistic ontologies." (pp. 179-180, notes omitted)

  12. Pirocacos, Elly. 1998. False Belief and the Meno Paradox . Aldershot: Ashgate.

    Abstract: "The Sophist is a dialogue that may be addressed as a sequel to the Theaetetus . It also finds Socrates suspended of his capacity as director of inquiry, and replaced by an Eleatic Stranger. The difficulty of the task is located in the form of refutative argumentation adopted by each, and therefore involves the evaluation of the justifying epistemological systems supporting each. The stage setting of the Sophist is even more involved than the three phased report of the dialogue in the Theaetetus . The philosophical persuasion of the Stranger deserves special attention, especially given that he has been assigned the role to designate the criteria of philosophical inquiry by way of establishing the true relations between the tripartite subjects of inquiry. Both Theaetetus and the Eleatic Stranger are agreed that being and not-being are equally puzzling terms; but Theaetetus seems to have understood the objective of the present dialogue in a slightly different way."

  13. Pitteloud, Luca. 2014. "Is the Sensible an Illusion? The Revisited Ontology of the Sophist ." Aufklärung no. 1:33-57.

    "I want to argue in this paper that, in the Sophist , behind the discussion about the nature of non-being, Plato provides the reader some elements about a revision of his ontology. First, the analysis of the notion of image gives some indications concerning the nature of the sensible, which is usually described as an image of the intelligible (Republic 509a9 and 509e1-2, Timaeus 52c).

    Second, since the dialogue seems to assume that not only Forms are part of the realm of being, but what is in motion too, it will appear that sensible objects must somehow belong to being. The focus of this paper is the revision of the nature of the sensible." (p. 33)


    "Conclusion: A new realm of being

    The Friends of the Forms have to admit that Forms are acted upon but not that they change. In this way, they could easily defend the idea that for a Form, to be known, does not imply any alteration or change. Nevertheless , they seem to accept another different thesis, namely that some objects that are in motion belong to the realm of being. The Eleatic Stranger asks the question of the pantelôs on (248e7): this does not refer to what is really being (ontôs on ), but to the total family of being. To this realm of being belong motion (κίνησις), life (ψυχήν) and intelligence (φρόνησιν). In this way, the Sophist does not only assert that an image cannot be reduced to non-being, but also that what is in motion is part of the realm of being. Those two elements seem to plead for a revaluation of the nature of the sensible, which has to be part of the set of being. We face an ontology with two degrees of being: the intelligible and its image, namely the sensible. The sensible is not reducible to an illusion or to falsehood (and nothingness), but is somehow a being. As the Timaeus will explain it, it is the image of the intelligible appearing into a milieu (the Receptacle), which guaranties to it some degree of existence (Timaeus , 52b3-d1)." (pp. 52.53)

  14. Planinc, Zdravko. 2015. "Socrates and the Cyclops: Plato’s Critique of ‘Platonism’ in the Sophist and Statesman ." Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy no. 31:159-217.

    Abstract: "The Eleatic Stranger plays a central role in all reconstructions of Plato’s “Platonism.”

    This paper is a study of the literary form of the Sophist and Statesman and its significance for interpreting the Eleatic’s account of the nature of philosophy. I argue that the Eleatic dialogues are best understood through a comparison with the source-texts in the Odyssey that Plato used in their composition. I show that the literary form of the Sophist is a straightforward reworking of the encounter of Odysseus and his crewmen with Polyphemus the Cyclops; and that the form of the Statesman is a somewhat more complex reworking of the narrative in which Odysseus and those loyal to him oppose Antinoös, leader of the Ithacan suitors. The comparison reveals that the Eleatic Stranger is no way Plato’s spokesman. On the contrary: by casting the Stranger in the role of Polyphemus and the Cyclopean Antinoös, Plato intends the Sophist and Statesman to be read as an explicit critique of the metaphysical and political doctrines that have since come to be identified as Platonism. In Plato’s characterization, the Eleatic Stranger is neither a philosopher nor a sophist. He is an intellectual—the sort of person who professes to be a philosopher and is often mistaken for one."

  15. Politis, Vasilis. 2006. "The Argument for the Reality of Change and Changelessness in Plato's Sophist (248e7-249d5)." In New Essays on Plato: Language and Thought in Fourth-Century Greek Philosophy , edited by Herrmann, Fritz-Gregor, 149-175. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales.

    "Plato’s metaphysics, from beginning to end, is tiered rather than tier-less.(1) This is because Plato’s general account of reality is characterized by a fundamental distinction between certain things, especially the changeless forms, which he argues are perfect beings,(2) and certain other things, the changing objects of sense-perception, which he argues are something, as opposed to being nothing at all, only in virtue of being appropriately related to and dependent on those perfect beings.(3) However, in a dialogue addressed to the very question, ‘What is there?’ – and to the related question, ‘What is being?’ – he defends an answer which, so it appears, makes no reference to two tiers of reality and indicates rather a tier-insensitive ontology. This is the argument in the Sophist (248e7–249d5) which, together with the arguments that precede it in the dialogue, is summed up in the conclusion that any changing thing (κινούμενον), and likewise any changeless thing (ἀκίνητον, στάσιμον), is something that is.(4) There can be no doubt that this conclusion is about any changing thing and any changeless thing, and there is no suggestion, moreover, that the things referred to must occupy one or the other of two tiers of reality.

    Following Julius Moravcsik and Gwil Owen, Lesley Brown has recently defended a tier-insensitive interpretation of this argument, such that the ‘upshot is an all-inclusive ontology’.(5) On the other hand, a number of critics, including David Ross, Harold Cherniss, and Michael Frede, have defended a tiered interpretation.(6) It seems to me, however, that the choice between these two interpretations – which evidently is of central importance for the understanding of Plato – has not been properly characterized, much less settled. My aim in this paper is to show, first, that the choice between these two fundamentally different and opposed interpretations of this argument, the tier-insensitive and the tiered interpretation, depends on how we read the single phrase, τὸ παντελῶς ὄν, at 248e8–249a1; and second, that the correct reading of this phrase commits us to a tiered interpretation beyond reasonable doubt, and that Plato’s formulation of the conclusion (249c10–d4), which sums up both this and the previous arguments in the dialogue, does not state a commitment to a tier-insensitive ontology." (pp. 149-150)

    (1) See for example Phaedo 74 (esp. 74d5–8), 78–9 (esp. 79a6–7), 100b1–e7; Republic 475e9 ff.; Symposium 210e6–211b5; Timaeus 27d6–28a4, 51d3–52a7 (I am assuming that the Timaeus is a late dialogue); Philebus 58e4–59a9, 61d10–e3.

    (2) παντελῶς ὄντα (Republic 477a3 and Sophist 248e8–249a1; see below). Also εἰλικρινῶς ὄντα (e.g. Republic 477a7, 478d6), ἀληθινὴ οὐσία (e.g. Sophist 246b8), ὄντως ὄν / οὐσία (e.g. Timaeus 28a3–4, 52c5 and Sophist 248a11), and sometimes simply οὐσία (e.g. Phaedo 78d1 and Sophist 246c2). Plato’s terminology is not fixed, indeed reconciling, or otherwise, his terms is an inquiry of long standing.

    (3) i.e. the relation of one-way dependence which Plato sometimes refers to as ‘participation’ and ‘communion’ (μέθεξις, κοινωνία).

    (4) The conclusion is stated at 249c10–d4. It is important to observe (as we will see in section 6) that this conclusion sums up not only the immediately preceding argument (248e7–249c9), i.e. the argument against the friends of the forms (which is our present concern), but also the earlier argument against the materialists (246e5–247c8, which is not our main concern at present).

    (5) Brown 1998, 204. Moravcsik (1962, 31 and 35–41) argues that Plato defends an ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘tier-insensitive’ answer to the question ‘What exists?’ So too Owen 1986b [originally 1966], 41–4 [336–40]. A tier-insensitive interpretation is also defended by Teloh 1981, 194–5 and Bordt 1991, 514, 520, 528.

    (6) see Ross 1951, 110–11; Cherniss 1965, 352; Frank 1986; Frede, 1996, 196; and Silverman 2002.


    Bordt, M. 1991 ‘Der Seinsbegriff in Platons “Sophistes” ’, Theologie und Philosophie 66, 493–529.

    Brown, L. 1998 ‘Innovation and continuity. The battle of gods and giants, Sophist 245–249’, in J. Gentzler (ed.) Method in Ancient Philosophy , Oxford, 181–207.

    Cherniss, H. 1965 ‘The relation of the Timaeus to Plato’s later dialogues’, in R.E. Allen (ed.) Studies in Plato’s Metaphysics , London, 339–78.

    Frank, D.H. 1986 ‘On what there is: Plato’s later thoughts’, Elenchos 6, 5–18.

    Frede, M. 1996 ‘Die Frage nach dem Seienden: Sophistes ’, in T. Kobusch und B. Mojsisch (eds.) Platon. Seine Dialoge in der Sicht neuer Forschungen , Darmstadt, 181–99.

    Keyt, D. 1969 ‘Plato’s paradox that the immutable is unknowable’, Philosophical Quarterly 19, 1–14.

    Moravcsik, J. 1962 ‘Being and meaning in the Sophist ’, Acta Philosophica Fennica , vol. 14, 23–78.

    Owen, G.E.L. 1986b ‘Plato and Parmenides on the timeless present’, in Owen, Logic, Science and Dialectic , London, 27–44.

    Ross, D. 1951 Plato’s Theory of Ideas , Oxford.

    Silverman, A. 2002 The Dialectic of Essence. A study of Plato’s metaphysics , Princeton.

    Teloh, H. 1981 The Development of Plato’s Metaphysics , Pennsylvania.

  16. Prior, William J. 1980. "Plato's Analysis of Being and Not-Being in the Sophist ." Southern Journal of Philosophy no. 18:199-211.

    "In this paper I offer an account of Plato’s analysis of Being and Not-Being in the Sophist . This account differs from those current in several important respects. First, although I take it that Plato distinguishes in the Sophist among existential statements, statements that are predicative in grammatical structure, and statements of identity, I do not believe that he distinguishes corresponding senses or uses of the verb “to be.” Second, I do not take Plato’s analysis to be linguistic or logical in nature, but rather metaphysical or ontological. In my view, the Greek verb “esti ” is analyzed in terms of a metaphysical theory, the Theory of Forms, and specifically in terms of the metaphysical concept of participation. This indicates a third difference between my view and that of commentators who believe that Plato’s late dialogues show a trend away from transcendent metaphysics and toward a more neutral sort of conceptual analysis. As I shall hold that the genuine conceptual breakthrough of the Sophist is made with metaphysical apparatus not much changed from the Phaedo , I deny that this passage, at least, can be taken as evidence for such a trend.

    The passage in which Plato makes his analysis is Soph . 251a-257c. I shall examine briefly the entire passage, but concentrate on 255e-256e, from which I draw the bulk of the material for my account." (p. 199)

  17. ———. 1985. Unity and Development in Plato's Metaphysics . London: Croom Helm.

    Contents: Acknowledgments; Introduction: The problem of Plato's development 1; The metaphysics of the early and middle Platonic dialogues 9; 2. The challenge of the Parmenides 51; 3. The response of the Timaeus 87; 4. The Sophist 127; Appendix: The doctrinal maturity and chronological position of the Timaeus 168; Bibliography 194; Index 199-201.

  18. Priou, Alex. 2013. "The Philosopher in Plato’s Sophist ." Hermathena no. 195:5-29.

    "The above observations suggest that only by situating the arc of the Sophist between the Theaetetus and Statesman does the larger significance of its issues emerge. Obvious though this may sound, scholars who treat the Sophist ’s place in the trilogy as a whole don't approach it from the perspective of Socrates’ failure to define false opinion in the Theaetetus . As we have seen, Plato presents the Stranger’s inquiry into being and non-being as a response to Socrates’ shortcomings in the Theaetetus ; and, as I hope to show, his response anticipates the specific inquiry taken up in the Statesman . Toward this end, I will walk the arc of the Sophist ’s argument from the Theaetetus to the Statesman as follows. First, I will consider how the initial definitions of the sophist frame the dialogue’s famous digression on images, being, and non-being (Section II). I will then consider how this frame necessitates the distinction of ‘spoken images’ (εἴδωλα λεγόμενα) into φαντάσματα and εἰκόνες, i.e. those that respectively distort and preserve the proportions of the beings, the very distinction that eventually allows the Stranger to distinguish between true and false opinions (Section III).

    Thereafter, I will discuss how this distinction in spoken images necessitates the acquisition of a ‘dialectical science’ (διαλεκτική ἐπιστήμη), which very acquisition appears intractably problematic (Section IV). I will then conclude with some general reflections on the stance of the dialogue as a whole, the possibility of defining false opinion, and how the interpretation advanced informs the search for the statesman in the Statesman (Section V). My basic aim throughout will be to show that, in so situating the Sophist between its prequel Theaetetus and sequel Statesman, we come to see the place of the philosopher in Plato’s Sophist ." (pp. 7-8, noted omitted)

  19. Przelecki, Marian. 1981. "On What there Is Not." Dialectics and Humanism no. 8:123-129.

    "It is my contention (which I shall try to defend in what follows) that the text of the dialogue contains thoughts and ideas that closely correspond to those characteristic of modern logical semantics. The difficulties which Plato is coping with and the solutions proposed by him find their explicit counterparts in the discussions of contemporary logicians and semanticists.

    This statement, however, needs some qualification. The text of the dialogue is comprehensive and indefinite enough to allow for different readings and interpretations. It is only some interpretation of some of its fragments that may be said to yield that version of its problems which is suggested below. I would, however, contend that the interpretation advanced is a warranted one and the fragments so interpreted essential for the author's standpoint. One more point should be explicitly stated beforehand. Referring to what I call modern logical semantics, I mean by this a definite semantic theory: model theoretic semantics in its standard version, which might be regarded as a "classical" form of contemporary logical semantics. Some deviations from this use will be indicated in what follows.

    The most important philosophical content of the dialogue is contained in its second part (esp. in the paragraphs 237-264). The main problem concerns the semantic characteristic of falsehood and, involved in it, notion of not-being." (p. 123)

  20. Quandahl, Ellen. 1989. "What is Plato? Inference and Allusion in Plato's Sophist ." Rhetoric Review no. 7:338-348.

    "In this essay I will suggest that when rhetoricians consider the Sophist , they will find the opposition of Plato to Sophists disturbed. My argument is not particularly new; for several decades scholars like E. A. Havelock, Mario Untersteiner, and G. B. Kerferd have been reevaluating, and indeed revaluing, Sophistic thought, and noticing similarities, rather than contradictions, between the Sophists and Plato's Socrates. And yet I think that for many rhetoricians "Plato" means Phaedrus , Gorgias and perhaps portions of the Republic and Symposium , dialogues that are all striking in their "literary" qualities and in their discussion of the "Forms," Plato's version of the "foundations" around which the recurrent foundational/antifoundational debate centers. But the Sophist , rather than disproving sophistic relativism, provides philosophical underpinnings for the view that meaning is contextual and not absolute. At the level of inference—and the Sophist has often been seen as prototypically "logical"—we see in this dialogue how logical categories are in fact metaphorical. And if we read it with "literary" or "rhetorical" eyes, although it lacks the "poetic" quality of other dialogues, we find an extended illustration of ways in which words are allusive, replete with covert histories which, fully as much as "logical" inference, contribute to conclusions." (pp. 338-339)


    "Whether Plato abandoned the theory of Forms or loyalty to his character Socrates in the late dialogues is not, at last, my concern. Rather, I want to question ways in which Plato has been appropriated and summarized, and the tradition in which the Plato of rhetoricians did not write the same texts as did the Plato of, say, logicians or ethicists. When rhetoricians add the Sophist to their Plato, Plato is no longer "Platonic," but a writer whose text acknowledges, both theoretically and by example, the power of contextual and contingent elements in rhetoric." (p. 347)

  21. Ray, A. Chadwick. 1984. For Images. An Interpretation of Plato's Sophist . Lanham: University Press of America.

    "Our dialogue is apparently an inquiry into the nature of the sophist. Theaetetus and Theodorus have kept their appointment with Socrates from the day before, when the Theaetetus is supposed to have transpired, (1) and after which Socrates was to go to the portico of the King Archon to meet the indictment of Meletus against him. (Theaet . 210d) Socrates, the lover of wisdom, has been indicted by Meletus on charges of "criminal meddling," inquiring into natural phenomena, making the weaker argument defeat the stronger, (Apol. 19b-c) and embracing atheism (Apol. 26c). The philosopher seems to have been mistaken in the popular mind for a sophist. His defense, the Apology , may be read largely as an attempt, adumbrated from the first sentence, to distinguish between appearance and reality; Socrates is not what his accusers make him appear to be. After Socrates has met the King Archon, it should not be surprising in the dramatic context if he shows a keen interest in the difference between the Philosopher and the Sophist. Thus the nature of the Sophist is to be today's topic.

    A further reason for Socrates to bring the discussion to the nature of the Sophist is that Theodorus and Theaetetus have brought with them a guest from Elea, a student of the school of Parmenides and Zeno. Briefly, the "Eleatic School", as will become clearer, affirms the reality of being and denies the reality of any non-being, the upshot being (so the Stranger will suggest) that there could be no such thing as mere appearance or any falsehood, such as might seem to be real without being so. If the Apology presents a personal defense against false images propagated about Socrates, the Sophist can be seen in large part as a philosophical defense of the logical possibility of images at all. In fact, this will be the perspective of the present interpretation. As Socrates at the end of his life must give an account of himself to answer his critics, so perhaps must Plato toward the end of his career answer some of his most astute critics.

    The concept of an image is central to Plato's metaphysics because he explains how many things may be called by one name by appeal to that concept. Where a number of individuals are all called F, this is possible because of F-ness itself, a Form which is different from the individuals but of which these are called images. The Form is said to make the many things F (Phaedo 100d) as these come to mirror that Form, to resemble it to one degree or another. The relationship of "the many" to the Form, which accounts for their somehow having its character, is called participation or sharing, but the nature of this relationship is somewhat problematic. Plato's diffidence on the subject is evident in the middle dialogues both in his refusal to let any explanatory terms harden into technical vocabulary and from his own explicit tentativeness, as Socrates expresses it at Phaedo 100d. That the uncertainty remains in Plato’s later thought, including the Sophist , will be evident in the present discussion. But the reality of images cannot be open to question.

    Now Plato in the Sophist will identify certain Eleatically inspired challenges to his theory of participation and images, challenges which he will be able to answer in part from the resources of his own "classical theory" as developed in middle dialogues like the Phaedo and the Republic . To the extent that those resources are sufficient, the Sophist is essentially a "conservative" dialogue upholding the adequacy of the classical theory to handle particular objections. On the other hand, new developments in Plato's thought are apparent in the dialogue, (the upgraded status of sensible objects, for instance), developments for which Plato probably would have found no need had he not taken seriously the problems of deceptive appearance and falsehood." (pp. 1-2)

    (1) Clearly Plato is using these details as a literary device. The historical Socrates never addressed the issues treated here.

  22. Reagan, James T. 1965. "Being and nonbeing in Plato's Sophist ." The Modern Schoolman no. 42:305-314.

    "I take it that the principal problem of the dialogue concerns the ontological status of the Forms, or true being: to discern a real differentiated plurality in being which will at once ground a true dialectic or science and repudiate the false dialectic of the Sophist . Plato is wholly lacking in any conception of what will later be called metaphysical analogy, which might permit an essentially differentiated plurality of being. The famous Hypotheses of the latter part of the Parmenides have established the controlling limits within which Plato must solve the problem of the metaphysical status of the Forms. In fact, he concludes to a plurality which is differentiated not in terms of essence but in terms of relations which remain outside the essence of the Forms. This in turn will require that he posit a new metaphysical factor, relative nonbeing. Finally, he will accept as the epitome of science or true knowledge the true but nonessential dialectic which this view of being will support." (p. 305)

  23. Reeve, C. D. C. . 1985. "Motion, Rest, and Dialectic in the Sophist ." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 67:47-64.

    "If discourse is to be possible at all, some Kinds (γενε) (1) must blend (μετέχειν) with one another (251d5ff.).(2) To follow the 'late learners' (251b5-6) in refusing to allow one thing to share in another is 'to make short work of all theories' (252a5-6). But nor can it be that all Kinds blend (252d2ff.), otherwise Motion itself would rest, and Rest itself would move, and both are impossible (252d6-11).(3) We need some science then 'to be our guide on the voyage of discourse' (253d10) and to tell us 'which Kinds are consonant, which incompatible' (253b10-c1). The science in question is dialectic (253d1-3).

    My present topic is one rather stormy section of that voyage, namely the Eleatic Stranger's dialectical remarks about Rest and Motion and their proper interpretation. However what I have to say bears directly on the larger issues of Dialectic and the Theory of Forms." (p. 47)



    If the foregoing discussion is cogent, the Sophist contains a cleverly constructed trap, and many of the Eleatic Stranger's remarks about Rest and Motion cozen us into it. If we take his bait, and fail to learn the lessons he teaches us in his discussion of Not-being, the Sophist presents us with paradoxes and contradictions of the sort I have been addressing. These lead us to believe that Plato was himself confused and urge us to import solutions from elsewhere. (49) If, on the other hand, we detect the trap, and learn the lesson the Stranger has to teach, we solve his puzzles about Being and being known, and the paradoxes and contradictions disappear.

    Of course no analytic philosopher would play tricks of this sort - we like our philosophy transparent not tricky. Thus we tend to mistrust, often rightly, readings of the great philosophers which exhibit them as other than plain. We all know, of course, that Plato was a great literary artist and a great teacher as well as a great thinker. And we know that art is artful and that teachers often leave dangling puzzles to test their pupils' acumen. But we often read Plato as if his art and pedagogical purposes were extraneous to his thought. The result is that we often get the thought wrong." (p. 62)

    (1) 1 The Eleatic Stranger calls the five μεγιστα γενε, Being, Rest, Motion, Identity, and Difference, both γενε (254d4) and ειδε (255c5). He applies both appellations to λόγος and δόξα (260a5, 260d7-8). At 255c12-d7 τὸ καθ᾽ αὑτό ανδ τὸ προς άλλο αρε ψαλλεδ ειδε. 'The question is thus unavoidably raised, Are all of these to be reckoned as Platonic Forms?', Peck (1962: 62). To postpone it for treatment on another occasion I adopt the following convention: I call all the items referred to either as γενε or as ειδε 'Kinds', and I leave open the question of whether or not Kinds are Forms.

    (2) 2 Line references are to Burnet (1900). References are fully explained in the Bibliography.

    (3) I have followed Vlastos (1970: 272n5) in using 'Motion' and 'Rest' as dummies for the Greek words κινεσις and στασις (and their cognates). I remind you that κινεσις covers all kinds of variation and that στασις stands for invariance in its most general sense.


    Burnet (1900). John Burnet, Platonis Opera: Recognovit Brevique Adnotatione Critica Instruxit , Oxford.

    Vlastos (1970). Gregory Vlastos, "An Ambiguity in the Sophist", in Vlastos (1973: 270-322).

    Vlastos (1973). Gregory Vlastos, Platonic Studies (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1973).

  24. Rickless, Samuel C. 2010. "Plato's Definition(s) of Sophistry." Ancient Philosophy no. 30:289-298.

    Abstract: "Plato’s Sophist is puzzling inasmuch as it presents us with seven completely different definitions of sophistry. Though not all seven definitions could be accurate, Plato never explicitly indicates which of the definitions is mistaken. Recently, Kenneth Sayre and Mary Louise Gill have proposed a clever solution to this puzzle. In this paper I explain why the Sayre-Gill solution is mistaken, and suggest a better solution."

    "There is something about the Sophist that has always bothered me. Why are there so many definitions of sophistry in the dialogue? Here is the problem: either all the definitions are right, or all of them are wrong, or some of them are right and some of them are wrong. But it can't be that all the definitions are right, because, after all, they are all different.


    In this paper, I want to consider one influential answer to what we might call “the puzzle of the many definitions”, criticize it, and then provide an answer of my own. The answer I am going to criticize appears most clearly in the work of Kenneth Sayre, and also perhaps in the work of Mary Louise Gill. It is, I think, a very clever and compelling answer, but, as I will argue, it is mistaken." (p. 289)


    Gill, Mary Louise. 2006. “Models in Plato’s Sophist and Statesman.” Journal of the International Plato Society 6.

    Sayre, Kenneth M. 2007. Method and Metaphysics in Plato’s Statesman . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  25. Rijk, Lambertus Marie de. 1981. "On Ancient and Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics. Part V. Plato's Semantics in His Critical Period (Second part)." Vivarium no. 19:81-125.

    "In concluding the previous section I argued (1980: nr. 4.9, p. 62) that Aristotle's Categories may be viewed as dealing with the several ways in which an individual man can be named without destroying his concrete unity. A well-known passage of Plato's Sophist (251 A 8ff.) was referred to in which Plato deals with the puzzle of one man with many names. It is true, Plato labels the puzzle as just 'a magnificent entertainment for the young and the late-learners' (251 B), and is more interested in the related question of how 'things' like Rest and Change (presently called Kinds) can also have several attributes (attributive names) and the general problem of attribution as implying the 'Communion' of Kinds. But it is obvious at the same time that in this shape too the puzzle is mainly concerned with the notions of naming, asserting and predication. So Plato's Sophist unavoidably has to be part of our discussion. A further argument for taking the Sophist into consideration may be found in Ammonios' commentary to Aristotle's De interpretatione . He remarks {ad 17 a 26ff. : Comm. in Aristot. graeca IV 5, p. 83, 8-13, ed. Busse) that the analysis of the apophantikos logos as given by Aristotle is to be found scattered all over Plato's Sophist (261 Cff.) right after that master's excellent expositions about Non-being mixed with Being (peri tou synkekramenou toi onti mê ontos ). For that matter, on more than one item of Aristotle's Categories and De interpretatione the Ancient commentators refer to related questions and discussions in Plato's later dialogues, especially the Sophist . I hope to show in sections (5) and (6) that the views found in the Categories and De interpretatione are most profitably compared with what Plato argues in the related discussions of the Sophist ." (p. 81)

    [* Parts (1), (2), (3) and( 4) are found in this Journal 15 (1977), 81-110; 16 (1978), 81-107, 18 (1980), 1-62; 19 (1981), 1-46.]

  26. ———. 1982. "On Ancient and Mediaeval Semantics and Metaphysics. Part VI. Plato's Semantics in His Critical Period (Third part)." Vivarium no. 20:97-127.

    "5. 8 Conclusion. From our analysis of Soph., 216 A-259 D it may be concluded that Plato did certainly not abandon his theory of Forms. We may try to answer, now, the main questions scholarship is so sharply divided about (see Guthrie [A History of Greek Philosophy ] V, 143ff.). They are, in Guthrie's formulation: (1) does Plato mean to attribute Change to the Forms themselves, or simply to enlarge the realm of Being to include life and intelligence which are not Forms?, and (2) is he going even further in dissent from the friends of Forms and admitting what they called Becoming --changing and perishable objects of the physical world -- as part of the realm of True Being?

    The first question should be answered in the negative. Indeed, Plato is defending a certain Communion of Forms, but this regards their immanent status and, accordingly, the physical world primarily, rather than the 'Forms themselves' (or: 'in their exalted status' as Guthrie has it, p. 159). As to the second question, to Guthrie's mind Plato's language makes it almost if not quite insoluble. I think that if one pays Plato's expositions the patient attention he asks for 'at 259 C-D and follows his analysis stage by stage, the exact sense and the precise respect in which he makes his statements (cf. 259 D 1-2: ekeinêi kai kat' ekeino ho physi ) about Being and Not-being, Sameness and Otherness, and so on will appear. It will be easily seen, then, that there is no recantation at all in Plato's development. He still maintains, as he will maintain in his later works (e.g. Philebus, 14 D ff.) the Transcendent Forms as what in the last analysis are the only True Being. But Plato succeeds in giving a fuller sense to the old notions of 'sharing' and 'presence in' without detracting the 'paradigm' function of the Forms in any respect. Matter, Change and Becoming is given a better position in the Theory of Forms in that their immanent status has been brought into the focus of Plato's interest. From his Parmenides onwards Plato has been searching for the solution of his metaphysical problems and has actually found it in the Sophist in a new view of participation. Forms in their exalted status are just a too eminent cause for the existence of the world of Becoming. But their being shared in, i.e. their immanent status, make them so to speak 'operable' and yet preserve their dignity of being paradeigmatic standards. What makes something to be a horse is, no doubt, the Transcendent Form, HORSENESS, but it only can partake of that Form and possess it as an immanent form. So the Highness of the Form and the unworthy matter can come together as matter 'informed', that is, affected by an immanent form.

    Plato never was unfaithful to his original view about Forms as the only True Being. In our dialogue, too, he brings the eminence of True Being (taken, of course, as a Transcendent Form) into relief by saying (254 A) that the true philosopher, through his devotion to the Form, 'What is' ('Being'), dwells in the brightness of the divine, and the task of Dialectic, accordingly, is described from that very perspective (see Part (5), 96ff.). Focussing on the immanence of the Forms does not detract anything from their 'exalted status', since immanent forms are nothing else but the Transcendent Forms as partaken of by particulars.


    In his critical period Plato never ceased to believe in the Transcendent World. The important development occurring there consists in his taking more seriously than before their presence in matter and their activities as immanent forms. In the Sophist he uses all his ingenuity to show that a correct understanding of the Forms may safeguard us from all extremist views on being and not-being and zealous exaggerations of the Friends of Forms as well." (pp. 125-127)

  27. ———. 1986. Plato's Sophist. A Philosophical Commentary . Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    Contents. Preface 9; Preliminary: Plato's Sophist to be reconsidered? 11; Introduction 13; Chapter 1. The dispute about interpreting Plato 22; Chapter 2. The evolution of the doctrine of Eidos 30; Reconsidering Plato's Sophist 69; Chapter 3. The dialogue's main theme and procedure 71; Chapter 4. On current views about 'what is not' 82; Chapter 5. On current views about 'what is' 93; Chapter 6. Plato's novel metaphysical position 103; Chapter 7. The variety of names and the communion of kinds 110; Chapter 8. An important digression on dialectic 126; Chapter 9. The communion of kinds; Chapter 10. How the five kinds combine 159; Chapter 11. The reinstatement of 'what is not' (256d-259d) 164; Chapter 12. On philosophic and sophistic discourse 186; The framework: semantics and philosophy in Plato; Chapter 13. Plato's semantics in the Cratylus 217; Chapter 14. Naming and representing 254; Chapter 15. Language and knowing 277; Chapter 16. Semantics and metaphysics 327; Bibliography 355; Index of passages quoted or referred to 365; Index of proper names 377; Index of terms and topics 383-394.

    "The way in which Plato announces (Sophist, 249C-D) his novel metaphysics has been puzzling modern scholars for a long time: 'What is and the All consist of what is changeless and what is in change, both together'. Did Plato really introduce Change into the Transcendent World and thus abandon his theory of Unchangeable Forms?

    Many of Plato's commentators have claimed that the use of modern techniques of logico-semantical analysis can be a valuable aid in unraveling this problem and other difficulties Plato raised and attempted to solve. However, not all modern distinctions and tools can be applied without reservation; for many of these are entirely alien to Plato's thought. Interpreters of Plato must also resist the temptation of applying methods as disjointing the dialogue and selecting specific passages only, in their eagerness to prove that Plato was explicitly interested in (their own favourite) problems of 'identity and predication' (not to mention such oddities as the 'self-predication of Forms'), or the distinctions between different senses (or applications) of 'is'.

    The present author has tried to understand Plato by a close reading of the complete dialogue and to relate the doctrinal outcome of the Sophist to Plato's general development. Close reading Plato involves following him in his own logico-semantical approach to the metaphysical problems, an approach which shows his deep interest in the manifold ways to 'name' (or to 'introduce into the universe of discourse') 'what is' (or the 'things there are').

    The reader may be sure that my indebtedness to other authors on this subject is far greater than it may appear from my text. Also many of those who have gone in quite different directions than mine have been of great importance to me in sharpening my own views and formulations. Two authors should be mentioned nominatim: Gerold Prauss and the late Richard Bluck; two scholars, whose invaluable works deserve far more attention than they have received so far.

    I owe my translations of the Greek to predecessors. Where I have not followed them, my rendering is no doubt often painfully (and perhaps barbariously) literal: I do not wish to incur the suspicion of trying to improve Plato by modernising him." (from the Preface)

  28. Ringbom, Sixten. 1965. "Plato on Images." Theoria no. 31:86-109.

    The purpose of the present paper is to discuss Plato’s use of the concept of picture in three different contexts. First, his use of the picture as a metaphysical model; secondly, the picture-object relation as a semantic explanation; and, thirdly this same relation as an argument of value.


    In his metaphysical model Plato regards the objects of our experience as pictures of the Ideas (1). But he also discusses the relationship between the visible things and the pictures of these things-for instance, the relation between a bed and a painting of a bed, or the name “bed”.


    The obvious procedure in approaching Plato’s theory of pictures is to discuss each aspect in turn. But this must not mean that we isolate the three functions from each other; the purpose of the following discussion is, on the contrary, to show that Plato’s line of thought in all three cases adheres to the same pattern, and that it is actually based on an analogy between the three aspects." (pp. 86-87)

    (1) D. Ross, Plato’s Theory of Ideas, Oxford 1953, p. 12 f.

  29. Roberts, Jean. 1986. "The Problem about Being in the Sophist ." History of Philosophy Quarterly no. 3:229-243.

    Reprinted in: Nicholas D. Smith (ed.), Plato. Critical Assessments, V ol. IV: Plato's Later Works , London: Routledge 1998, pp. 142-157.

    "It is by now a matter of firmly entrenched orthodoxy that Plato's discussion of being in the Sophist serves to distinguish different meanings or uses of "esti ." This claim has taken different forms in different hands.

    Nevertheless, almost everyone seems agreed that a large part of what Plato needs (and gets) in order to rescue negation and falsity from sophistic attacks is either a distinction between the existential "is" and one or more incomplete uses of "is," a distinction between the so-called "is" of identity and the copula, or some more subtle distinction between incomplete uses of the word which amounts to a distinction in kinds of predication.

    I shall argue that what Plato says about being in the Sophist is in no useful way described as a distinguishing of different senses or uses of the word "is."(1) The Eleatic puzzles Plato is out to solve here are solved, in large part, by demonstrating that being is something distinct from any or all of the things that might normally be described as being." (p. 229)


    "There is, moreover, reason for suspicion of any interpretation which reduces the discussions of being and not-being to discussions of positive and negative statement in general. The commentators have failed to notice how careful Plato is to separate questions about the nature of being and not-being and the bearing of alternative answers on the status of negative and false statement. When he first sets out the problem he begins by describing the Eleatic position on not-being (237b10-239a12) and then showing, in a separate argument (240c7-241b3), that this makes false statement and negative statement impossible. The pattern is repeated later. After he has shown that not-being is he goes on (260a5-264b8) to explain how statements in general are put together and how false statement is to be explicated. That the blending of not-being and logos is still taken as, at least in principle, an open question after the discussion of not-being is completed suggests that that discussion could not have been intended as an account of negative statement. Nor is there any reason to take the previous account of being as an account of positive statement. They are, just what they claim to be, and all that they need to be, purely metaphysical accounts of being and not-being." (p. 239)

    (1) I do not mean to deny that there is something to be learned from looking at Plato's use of esti , only that this is not his own object in the Sophist . For the record, I think that there is a complete use of "is" to be found in the Sophist for reasons I will not go into here. Much of what I would say in defense of this has been said by Robert Heinaman in "Being in the Sophist," Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie , vol. 65 (1983), pp. 1-17.

  30. Robinson, David B. 1999. "Textual notes on Plato's « Sophist »." The Classical Quarterly no. 49:139-160.

    "In editing Plato's Sophist for the new OCT [Oxford Classical Texts] vol. I, ed. E. A. Duke, W. F. Hicken, W. S. M. Nicoll, D. B. Robinson, and J. C. G. Strachan (Oxford, 1995), there was less chance of giving novel information about W = Vind. Supp. Gr. 7 for this dialogue than for others in the volume, since Apelt's edition of 1897 was used by Burnet in 1900 and was based on Apelt's own collation of W."


    "A reviewer counts 66 changes in our text of the Sophist , which may perhaps be a slight over-estimate. Classification of changes as substantive or as falling into different groups is sometimes difficult, but I think plausible figures are as follows. We (myself aided in the earlier sections by Nicoll) have in 25 places made a different choice of readings from the primary mss. and testimonia. We have printed conjectures where Burnet kept a ms. reading in 17 places, but conversely we have reverted to a ms. reading where Burnet had a conjecture in 8 places. We have printed alternative conjectures to conjectures adopted by Burnet in 6 places. So we have actually departed from the primary sources on at most 9 more occasions overall than Burnet. What must be noted is that Burnet had already printed conjectures (including readings from secondary mss.) on something like 87 occasions (12 from secondary mss., 75 from modern conjectures from Stephanus onwards), so our percentage addition to Burnet's departures from the primary sources is modest. Moreover Burnet printed about 25 readings from testimonia; we have followed him in 20 or so of these cases, and this in turn implies that the primary mss. are in error at these further 20 places." (p. 139)

  31. ———. 2001. "The Phantom of the Sophist : τo oυκ oντως oυκ oν (240a–c)." The Classical Quarterly no. 51:435-457.

    "A spurious phantom, Platonistic but non-Platonic, a non-entity by the name of ουκ όντως ουκ ον, made spectral appearances in manuscripts and printed texts of Plato’s Sophist over a long period. It perhaps first manifested itself a little earlier than Proclus and Damascius; but there seems to be no evidence of its appearing to Plotinus. It was rather strongly present in the primary MSS (give or take a little blurring). It still appeared in the Teubner edition by Hermann in 1852. But it was attacked by Bonitz in 1864, and on most views was successfully exorcized when Badham’s conjecture of 1865 was added to an earlier conjecture of Baiter’s, each removing an unwanted ουκ. Campbell’s edition of 1867 shows no awareness of Badham’s conjecture, but on an overall view, since then it might seem that the phantom had been left for dead by most interpreters. Apelt in 1897 said ‘locus . . . sanitati suae est redditus’ . Burnet, as we have seen, banished the phantom from his 1900–5 OCT." (p. 436)


    "The cruel deception practised by both phantoms turns upon readers making the erroneous assumption that we have exposition of doctrine in this passage, where in fact we have what is at least primarily intended as a reductio ad absurdum . This is not a situation where the Visitor is stating a Platonic view of ειδωλα; what is happening is that the supposed Sophist attempts to reduce the concept of ειδωλον to absurdity.

    The passage does not set out to show that Plato or his Visitor, or even his Sophist, thought that ειδωλα have some degree of phantom being, but that an enterprising Sophist could argue that they have no being at all. Plato will later refute his own imaginary Sophist (not by introducing intermediates); but here the Sophist must be allowed to make his challenging manoeuvre." (p. 437)

  32. Robinson, Jim. 1993. "A Change in Plato's Conception of the Good." Journal of Philosophical Research no. 18:231-241.

    Abstract: "One of the most interesting passages in the Republic is the comparison of the Form of the Good with the Sun. Although this depiction of the Good was never repeated, many hold that the Good retained its privileged place in Plato’s metaphysics. I shall argue that there are good reasons for thinking that Plato, when writing the Sophist , no longer held his earlier view of the Good. Specifically, I shall contend that he ceased to believe that as the Sun makes its objects visible, so the Good makes the Forms knowable. This being the case, it cannot also be said to illuminate either the Forms or the order they exhibit. My procedure will be first to consider briefly how, in the Republic , the Good can be said to iIluminate the Forms. I shall then determine the extent to which, in the Sophist , this function can still be credited to the Good. "

  33. Robinson, Thomas M. 2013. "Protagoras and the Definition of ‘Sophist’ in the Sophist ." In Plato's Sophist Revisited , edited by Bossi, Beatriz and Robinson, Thomas M., 3-13. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "I should like to begin by setting out as clearly as I can what seem to be the main things that can be said about Protagoras, and offer an evaluation of them. This will be in large part without reference to the final definition of ‘sophist’ in the Sophist . I shall then turn to the definition, and see where if anywhere it appears to fit into the picture, and what can be said about the definition as a definition." (p. 3)


    "As the dialogue draws to a close an intense, and uncompromisingly negative definition of the sophist is finally offered, and this one undoubtedly excludes what had earlier been called the sophist of noble lineage.

    The sophist (268c) is now described as a mimetes who operates on the basis of belief not knowledge, by contrast with mimetai who operate on the basis of knowledge not belief. More precisely the mimesis characterizing a sophist is said to be a) mimesis of that which is ‘insincere’, of that which is productive of ‘contradictions’, and of that which is non-knowing; b) mimesis of that specific form of copy–making that constitutes appearance-making; and c) mimesis of that species of production which is marked off as human not divine." (pp. 10-11)

  34. Rodriguez, Evan. 2020. "‘Pushing Through’ in Plato’s Sophist: A New Reading of the Parity Assumption." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 102:159-188.

    Abstract: "At a crucial juncture in Plato’s Sophist, when the interlocutors have reached their deepest confusion about being and not-being, the Eleatic Visitor proclaims that there is yet hope. Insofar as they clarify one, he maintains, they will equally clarify the other. But what justifies the Visitor’s seemingly oracular prediction? A new interpretation explains how the Visitor’s hope is in fact warranted by the peculiar aporia they find themselves in. The passage describes a broader pattern of ‘exploring both sides’ that lends insight into Plato’s aporetic method."

  35. Rosen, Stanley. 1983. Plato's Sophist: The Drama of the Original and Image . New Haven: Yale University Press.

    "I said previously that I prefer the dramatic to the ontological approach to the Sophist . It should now be clear that this does not require a suppression of the narrowly technical themes in the dialogue.

    On the contrary, it requires their meticulous analysis, both in themselves and as elements in a comprehensive dramatic structure.

    In this section, I should like to clarify this view from a somewhat different angle and to introduce a term to describe my reading of the Sophist . The term in question is dramatic phenomenology.

    Whereas a dialogue is not a "drama" in the sense of a poetic play written to be performed in the theater, it has a manifestly dramatic form. A dialogue is a poetic production in which mortals speak neither to gods nor to heroes, but to each other. At the same time, there is a hierarchy of mortals within a Platonic dialogue that is rooted, not in the contingencies of birth but in the natures of diverse human souls. Similarly, a dialogue is not a phenomenological description, but an interpretation of human life. As a poetic production, it so orders its scenes of human life as to provide an indirect commentary on the significance of the speeches delivered within those scenes.

    Adapting a distinction of the Stranger's to our own purposes, we may say that a dialogue is centrally concerned with the better and the worse, the noble and the base." (p. 12)

  36. Roupa, Vichy. 2020. Articulations of Nature and Politics in Plato and Hegel . Cham (Switzerland): Palgrave Macmillan.

    Chapter 3: Producing the Categories of Being: The Sophist

    "The Cratylus ’s aporetic ending inevitably raises the question whether this is Plato’s last word on names or whether the issue is explored further in another dialogue where a more positive outcome is reached. The aim of this chapter is to show that the dialogue where Plato carries forward the programme of the Cratylus is the Sophist .(1) Although it is sometimes argued that the Sophist breaks new ground completely unanticipated in the Cratylus, there is an area of shared concern between the two dialogues that warrants, I believe, reading the Sophist as a development of the Cratylus .(2) This area is marked, in the first instance, by the methodological approach adopted; the two interlocutors—it is set down early on in the dialogue—will strive to reach agreement not only as regards the name but, first and foremost, as regards the thing itself. Thus, the Eleatic Visitor, who leads the discussion in the Sophist , claims in 218c to have only the name (‘sophist’) in common with his discussant Theaetetus at this stage, but this is not enough because ‘in every case’ they ‘always’ need to be in agreement ‘about the thing itself [pragma auto ] by means of verbal explanation [dia logon̄], rather than doing without any such explanation [choris logou ] and merely agreeing about the name [tounoma ]’. So, the aim of the dialogue is to achieve an understanding of the sophist that goes beyond the un-stated assumptions that each of the discussants has about the sophist. (p. 43)

    (1) I thus follow the interpretative approach of Fine and Barney both of whom reject a sharp distinction between the analysis of the Cratylus (which is aimed at the level of the name) and that of the Sophist (which is aimed at the level of the statement or sentence). See Gail Fine, ‘Plato on Naming’, The Philosophical Quarterly 27, no. 109 (1977): 289–294; Rachel Barney, Names and Nature in Plato’s Cratylus (London: Routledge, 2001), 170–172. This view is reinforced by Kahn: ‘The contents of the Cratylus on the theory of naming, the problems of flux, Protagorean relativism and the paradox of false statement, all point ahead to discussion of these topics in the Theaetetus and Sophist’. Charles Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue: The Philosophical Use of a Literary Form (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 364. See also R.M. van den Berg, Proclus’ Commentary on the Cratylus in Context: Ancient Theories of Language and Naming (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 8–13.

    (2) The proponents of this view see in the Sophist a radical break in Plato’s thinking because in it Plato offers an account of language at the level of the sentence or statement rather than that of the name. The distinction between name and statement is not made in the Cratylus , nor is there any recognition in the earlier dialogue of the importance of syntax for the truth value of a proposition. See Barney’s summary of this view (which she calls the ‘syntactical reading of the Sophist’ ) in Barney, Names and Nature in Plato’s Cratylus , 170.

  37. Rowe, Christopher J. 1983. "Plato on the sophists as teachers of virtue." History of Political Thought no. 4:409-427.

    Abstract: "When he came to try to find a formal definition of the sophist, Plato found him an elusive creature; and with good reason. But there are two features which regularly recur in his references to them: the sophist is a professional teacher, and what he professes to teach is ἀρετή. Sophists are people who claim παιδεύειν ἀνθρώπους εἰς ἀρετήν;(1) they set themselves up as παιδεύσεως καὶ ἀρετῆς διδάσκαλον (2) The only apparent exception is Gorgias, who though classified as a sophist in other dialogues, is represented in the Meno as laughing at other sophists for claiming to teach ἀρετή;(3) and it may well be that Plato regarded this disclaimer as disingenuous. (4) But there is a difficulty here, in that on the face of it different sophists claimed to teach different things under the title of ἀρετή. Hippias, for example, is portrayed in the Hippias Major as professing to encourage a 'devotion to honourable and beautiful practices', (5) whereas in the Euthydemus the ἀρετή which the two brothers Euthydemus and Dionysodorus claim to impart is apparently coextensive with skill in eristic debate.(6) In that case, 'teacher of ἀρετή appears to be a highly ambiguous description, and therefore incapable of serving, even informally, to define the class. In general, historians of philosophy tend to suggest that behind the apparent differences between individual sophists in this respect lies a single shared purpose: the teaching of 'the art of success'."

    (1) Gorgias , 519e7.

    (2) Protagoras, 349a2. Cf. also Meno , 95b; Apology , 20b; Euthydemus , 273d; Hippias Major ,

    283c ff.

    (3) Meno , 95c.

    (4) cf. E.L. Harrison, 'Was Gorgias a Sophist?', Phoenix , 18 (1964) (hereafter Harrison),

    pp. 183-92.

    5) Hippias Major , 286a f.

    (6) See below, pp. 423-6; and Harrison, p. 189, note 34.

  38. ———. 2015. "Plato, Socrates, and the genei gennaia sophistike of Sophist 231b." In Second Sailing: Alternative Perspectives on Plato , edited by Nails, Debra and Tarrant, Harold, 149-167. Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica.

  39. ———. 2015. "Plato versus Protagoras: The Statesman , the Theaetetus , and the Sophist ." Diálogos no. 98:143-165.

    Abstract: "The Statesman is nowadays generally read either on its own, or with Republic and Laws . But more attention needs to be given to the fact that it is designed as part of a trilogy, alongside Theaetetus and Sophist. Reinstating the dialogue in this context gives a fuller perspective on its purposes. The Statesman (1) identifies existing so-called «statesmen», for whom the Protagoras of Theaetetus is chief apologist, as the greatest exemplars of sophistry as defined in Sophist : mere «imitators» and dealers in falsehood; (2) offers the Platonic alternative to the Protagorean vision of human life and organization sketched in the first part of Theaetetus ; and (3), in common with Sophist, illustrates –after the apparent failures of Theaetetus – both what knowledge is and how it can be acquired. Finally, and controversially, the Statesman emerges, along with Theaetetus and Sophist , as part of one and the same project as the Republic ."

  40. Rudebusch, George. 1990. "Does Plato Think False Speech is Speech?" Noûs no. 24:599-609.

    "Before Plato came along, there was no satisfactory account of the nature of false speech. This is not to say that no one had yet figured out how to tell a lie; the Greeks were notorious, even in their own literature, as skillful liars. What I mean is that there was a pair of puzzles floating around unanswered. These puzzles were expressed as arguments that false speech was impossible. One puzzle went like this: to say what is false is to say what does not exist, but to say what does not exist is to say nothing at all, and to say nothing at all is not to speak. Thus there can be no such thing as false speech. The other puzzle went like this: to say what is false is to say what is other than the things that are. Nonetheless (in view of the first puzzle), to say what is other is to say something that is. But to say what is is to speak the truth. Thus there can be no such thing as false speech.(1)" (p. 599)


    "In what follows, I shall look at (I) the problem of false speech which Plato faces, (II) the solution he gives in the Sophist , and (III) how that very solution is undermined by the argument of the Theaetetus . It will then be clear (IV) what sort of reconciliation is ruled out and what sort remains to be investigated, if we are to avoid paradox." (p. 600)

    (1) The distinction between these two puzzles is not always recognized. But the puzzles are two, and Plato presents them as a pair: Eud . 283e7-284a8 and 284bl-b7; Crat. 429d4-6 and 429e3-9; and Tht. 167a7-8 and 167a8-b1.

  41. ———. 1991. "Sophist 237-239." Southern Journal of Philosophy no. 29:521-531.

    "The text of the Sophist at 237-239 is aporetic: it leads any talk of non-being into perplexity. This passage shares with many other of Plato’s dialogues the following structure. A question is asked and an answer, given in a single sentence, is reached and accepted by the interlocutor. Then the interlocutor is examined further, his assent to that answer is undermined, and the interchange ends. After giving the details of this passage (in section I), I shall argue (section 11) that the Stranger does not share Theaetetus ’s perplexity and continues to hold the rejected answer. Such an interpretation needs an explanation: why should the Stranger behave this way? Sufficient reasons can be found in the Stranger’s pedagogy. What those pedagogical reasons are, and how good they are, I consider in section 111." (p. 521)

  42. Runciman, Walter. 1962. Plato's Later Epistemology . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Contents: Preface VII-VIII; 1. Introduction 1; 2. The 'Theaetetus': logic and knowledge 6; 3. The 'Sophist': ontology and logic 59; 4. Conclusion 127; Selected bibliography 134; Index 137.

  43. Ryle, Gilbert. 1939. "Plato's Parmenides ." Mind no. 48:129-151.

    Second part: Mind , 48, PP. 302-325.

    Reprinted in: R. E. Allen, Studies in Plato's Metaphysics , London, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1965 pp. 97-147; G. Ryle, Collected Papers. Volume I. Critical Essays , London: Hutchinson 1971 (reprint: New York, Routledge, 2009), Essay I pp. 1-44.

    On The Sophist see in particular pp. 42-46.

    "However, there is a pair of concepts which are forced upon our notice in the course of the operations which turn out to require a very different sort of elucidation, namely those of non-existence and existence. For a Sophist is a pretender who either thinks or says that what is not so is so.

    The puzzle which arose in the Theaetetus arises again here. How can what does not exist be named, described or thought of? And if it cannot, how can we or Sophists talk or think of it, falsely, as existing? So the question is squarely put: What does it mean to assert or deny existence of something?


    "Now the interesting thing is that it is true that existence and nonexistence are what we should call ‘formal concepts’, and further that if modern logicians were asked to describe the way in which formal concepts differ from proper or material or content-concepts, their method of exhibiting the role of formal concepts would be similar to that adopted here by Plato. But we need not go further than to say that Plato was becoming aware of some important differences of type between concepts.

    There is no evidence of his anticipating Aristotle’s enquiry into the principles of inference, which enquiry it is which first renders the antithesis of formal and other concepts the dominant consideration.

    There is, consequently, in Plato, no essay at abstracting the formal from the contentual features of propositions, and so no code-symbolisation for the formal in abstraction from the material features of propositions." (pp. 44-46 of the reprint)

  44. ———. 1960. "Letters and Syllables in Plato." The Philosophical Review no. 69:431-451.

    Reprinted in G. Ryle, Collected Papers. Volume I. Critical Essays , London: Hutchinson 1971 (reprint: New York, Routledge, 2009), Essay III pp. 57-75.

    "In his later dialogues Plato makes a lot of use of the notions of letters of the alphabet and the spelling of syllables out of these letters. He frequently uses these notions for the sake of analogies which help him to expound some more abstract matters.

    There is one of his uses of the letter-syllable model which is not of special interest to me, namely, for the exposition of some merely chemical theories about the combinations of a few material elements into multifarious compounds.

    Plato employs this model in this way in the Timaeus (48B–C), though he says that the analogy is not a good one. Here he is stating what is essentially an Empedoclean theory. Sextus Empiricus says that stoicheion , used thus to denote an ultimate material element, was a Pythagorean term.

    My interest is in Plato’s use of the alphabet model in expounding his logical or semantic views, namely his views about the composition of the thoughts, that is, the truths and falsehoods that we express or can express in sentences (logoi )." (p. 57 of the reprint)


    "Conclusion. Plato in his late dialogues was concerned with some of the same cardinal problems as those which exercised Frege and the young Russell, problems, namely, about the relations between naming and saying; between the meanings of words and the sense of sentences; about the composition of truths and falsehoods; about the role of ‘not’; about the difference between contradictories and opposites; and in the end, I think, about what is expressed by ‘if ’ and ‘therefore’. His admirable model, which Frege lacked, of the phonetic elements in syllables enabled Plato to explain more lucidly than Frege the notion of the independent-variability-without separability of the meanings of the parts of sentences. On the other hand, lacking the apparatus of algebra, he was nowhere near abreast of Frege’s and Russell’s symbolisation of substitution-places. Plato could not extract implications from their particular contexts or therefore codify implication patterns. A blackboard would have been of no use to him.

    Plato says nothing about the bearings of the alphabet model on the Theory of Forms, or of the Theory of Forms on the alphabet model. So I shall not say much. If the Theory of Forms had maintained or entailed that Forms are just subject-terms of a superior sort, that is, just eminent namables, then this theory could contribute nothing to Plato’s new question, What does a sentence convey besides what its subject name mentions?

    But if the theory of Forms had been meant or half-meant to explain the contributions of live predicates, including tensed verbs, to truths and falsehoods about mentioned subjects, then in his operations with the model of letters and syllables, Plato has raised to maturity things which, in his Theory of Forms, had been only embryonic. To his terminal questions about the composition of logoi and, therewith, about the roles of live, tensed verbs, the Theory of Forms was either quite irrelevant or else quite inadequate." (pp. 74-75 of the reprint)

  45. Saati, Alireza. 2015. "Plato’s Theory of the Intercommunion of Forms (Συμπλοκή Εἰδῶν): the Sophist 259, e4-6." Philosophy Study no. 5:35-43.

    "Plato’s lifelong confrontation with Parmenides and his metaphysical mire of believing that nothing (το μὴ ὂν) does not actually exist, gradually in the Sophist comes into finish, insofar as the philosopher after facing the foe and having the last laugh simmers down. In this paper after giving an interpretation of what Parmenides says, I shall present an analysis of Plato’s drastic answer to him (Sophist , 259 e4-6) to see how Plato opens the impasse way created by the Eleatic philosopher. Here the intercommunion of Forms is regarded as the final answer by which Plato devastates Parmenides infamous thesis. Since hitherto no in-depth analysis is given by the scholars who are puzzled with the subject, I have tried to analyze the intercommunion of Forms philosophically. Plato’s Eleatic challenge has always been crucial in Plato himself and philosophical development after him. As while as Parmenides thesis (Sph ., 238 a8-9) provides the sophists opportunity to reject the falsehood, Plato’s theory of Forms in contrast in order to cross off the extremely sly sophists tries to make Parmenides come down. In my opinion, the intercommunion of Forms, as the last step of the theory of Forms, basically determines Plato’s late ontology tightly knitted with logic. Vindicating this proposal depends on true understanding of the intercommunion of Forms. Since Plato’s late ontology, in my opinion, is closed to Frege’s ontology and discussion of language, we are armed to interpret the intercommunion of Forms with recent recent logico-philosophicus achievements, I think.

    In this respect, this is what I have done in my paper: analyzing sentence from Plato’s logico-metaphysical point of view. Ultimately, I have tried to show how the aim of the intercommunion of Forms, which Plato himself states, is demonstrating the possibility of dialogue and discourse. This statement explicitly sets forward that the discussion is bound up with several logical approaches, according to which finally full bright light is shed on different implications of the subject such as universals." (p. 35)

  46. Sabrier, Pauline. 2019. "Parts, Forms, and Participation in the Parmenides and Sophist: A Comparison." Etudes platoniciennes no. 15:1-9.

    Abstract: "This paper addresses the vexed question of the outcome of the second horn of the dilemma of participation in Plato’s Parmenides bringing in Sophist 257c7-d5 where the Eleatic Stranger accepts what he seems to reject in the Parmenides , namely that a Form can have parts and nevertheless remain one. Comparing Plato’s treatment of parts of Forms in both passages, and in particular the relation among Being, Change and Rest at Sophist 250a8-c8, I argue that unlike in the Parmenides , in the Sophist , parts and wholes are seen as offering a structure that can explain how things that may, at first, appear unrelated nevertheless belong together."

  47. ———. 2020. "Plato’s Master Argument for a Two-Kind Ontology in the Sophist: A New Reading of the Final Argument of the Gigantomachia Passage (249b5–249c9)." Apeiron :1-20.

    Abstract: "In this paper I defend a new reading of the final argument of the Gigantomachia passage of Plato’s Sophist (249b5–249c9), according to which it is an argument for a two-kind ontology, based on the distinction between the changing beings and the unchanging beings. This argument, I urge, is addressed not only to Platonists but to all philosophers – with one exception. My reading is based on the claim that this argument does not rely on the view that nous requires unchangeable objects – what I call the traditional reading – but on the view that nous itself is unchanging. The difference between the traditional reading and my reading is that on the former, Plato’s argument relies on a distinctive epistemological assumption, whereas on the latter, Plato’s argument is free from any such commitments. If the argument of this paper is along the right lines, then this implies that this argument has a much more far-reaching scope than critics have usually assumed. It also invites us to reconsider Plato’s

    approach to the question of being in the Sophist ."

  48. Sallis, John. 1975. Being and Logos. The Way of Platonic Dialogue . Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press International.

    Second edition with a new preface 1986; Third edition titled: Being and Logos. Reading the Platonic dialogues, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996.

    Chapter VI. The Way of Logos: Sophist, pp. 456-532.

  49. ———. 2013. "Plato’s Sophist : A Different Look." The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy no. 13:283-291.

    Reprinted in: Hallvard Fossheim, Vigdis Songe-Møller, Knut Ågotnes, Knut (eds.), Philosophy as Drama: Plato’s Thinking through Dialogue , New York: Bloomsbury Academic 2019, pp. 231-240.

    Abstract: "This paper deals with the question of difference in the Sophist . It begins with the difference that sets this dialogue apart from its dramatic predecessor, the Theaetetus , and with the task posed at the outset of determining the difference between the sophist, the statesman, and the philosopher. An account is then given of the critical engagements through which the question of being and of its intertwining with nonbeing is taken up. Outlining the discussion of the five kinds, it concludes with a close examination of the genos difference as “chopped into bits” and hence as a different “look”."

  50. Sampson, Kristin. 2013. "A Third Possibility: Mixture and Musicality." The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy no. 13:328-338.

    Abstract: "This paper considers two small textual places within Plato’s Sophist , namely 252d–253c and 259d–260b. First it turns to what is called a third possibility and looks at how this is described by examples related to the letters of the alphabet and the notes of music. Three words that are used to describe the mixing that these two examples display are συμμίγνυμι, κοινωνία, and μίξις. What is common for these three words is that they are shrouded in a similar kind of ambiguity of meaning, related to sexuality.

    This paper argues the relevance of taking this ambiguity seriously, something which has not, to my knowledge, previously been done. Next it considers how the exposition of this third possibility results in the emergence of the philosopher. At this point also a view of language and thinking (logos ) related to the philosopher is developed, and used in order to distinguish between the philosopher and the sophist. At the end of the paper, in the last textual fragment mentioned (259d–260b), it is indicated how this is a place where an echo of the musical and the philosophical resound, where these two elements are linked to each other, to logos, and to the necessity of mixture."

  51. SanWon, Lee. 2016. "The Dynamic Association of Being and Non-Being Heidegger’s Thoughts on Plato’s Sophist Beyond Platonism." Human Studies no. 39:385-403.

    Abstract: "This article examines Heidegger’s interpretation of Plato’s Sophist , focusing on his attempts to grasp Plato’s original thinking of being and non-being.

    Some contemporary thinkers and commentators argue that Heidegger’s view of Plato is simply based on his criticism against the traditional metaphysics of Platonism and its language. But a close reading of his lecture on the Sophist reveals that his view of Plato is grounded in Plato’s questioning struggle with the ambiguous nature of human speech or language (logos ). For Heidegger, Plato’s way of philosophizing is deeper than the metaphysical understanding of Platonism which sees only fixed ideas of being. In the Sophist, dialectical thinking of Plato constantly confronts the questionable force of the logos which betrays the natural possibility of non-being based on the tension between movement and rest. Thus, from Plato’s original insight Heidegger uncovers the dynamic association (koinonia ) of being and non-being as a natural ground of everyday living with others. However, although Heidegger’s understanding of the Sophist powerfully demonstrates the lively possibility (dunamis ) of being beyond the customary perspective of Platonic metaphysics, his interpretation fails to further disclose Plato’s political question of being emerging in the Sophist , which seeks the true associative ground of human beings."

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