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Plato's "Side Suns": Beauty, Symmetry and Truth. Comments concerning semantic monism and pluralism of the "Good" in the Philebus (65A 1-5)


Ferber, Rafael (2010). Plato's "Side Suns": Beauty, Symmetry and Truth. Comments concerning semantic monism and pluralism of the "Good" in the Philebus (65A 1-5). Elenchos, 31(Fascic):51-76.

Abstract

Under semantic monism, I understand the thesis “The Good is said in one way” and under semantic pluralism, the antithesis “The Good is said in many ways”. Plato’s Socrates seems to defend a “semantic monism”. As only one sun exists, so the “Good” has for Socrates and Plato only one reference. Nevertheless, Socrates defends in the Philebus a semantic pluralism, more exactly trialism, of “beauty, symmetry and truth” (Phlb.65a2). Therefore, metaphorically speaking, there seem to exist not only one sun, but three suns. If the platonic Socrates defends a semantic monism on the one hand and pluralism on the other, how can we unite his pluralism with his monism?

My thesis is that the three references are “qualities” (poia) (cf. Ep. VII.343b8-c2) of the one single reference, or again, speaking metaphorically, “side suns” (Nebensonnen) of the single sun. For this I propose an exegesis of Plato’s last written word on the Good in Phlb.65a1-5 by dividing it into five sentences.

Second, I ask a philosophical question on this monism and the corresponding hierarchy of values (Phil. 66 a 6-c 6).

Abstract

Under semantic monism, I understand the thesis “The Good is said in one way” and under semantic pluralism, the antithesis “The Good is said in many ways”. Plato’s Socrates seems to defend a “semantic monism”. As only one sun exists, so the “Good” has for Socrates and Plato only one reference. Nevertheless, Socrates defends in the Philebus a semantic pluralism, more exactly trialism, of “beauty, symmetry and truth” (Phlb.65a2). Therefore, metaphorically speaking, there seem to exist not only one sun, but three suns. If the platonic Socrates defends a semantic monism on the one hand and pluralism on the other, how can we unite his pluralism with his monism?

My thesis is that the three references are “qualities” (poia) (cf. Ep. VII.343b8-c2) of the one single reference, or again, speaking metaphorically, “side suns” (Nebensonnen) of the single sun. For this I propose an exegesis of Plato’s last written word on the Good in Phlb.65a1-5 by dividing it into five sentences.

Second, I ask a philosophical question on this monism and the corresponding hierarchy of values (Phil. 66 a 6-c 6).

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sun and side-suns, semantic monism and semantic pluralism, symmetry, beauty and truth, fact of oppression
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:01 Oct 2010 07:14
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 03:19
Publisher:Bibliopolis
ISSN:0392-7342
Related URLs:http://www.bibliopolis.it/rivis2.html (Publisher)
http://www.zora.uzh.ch/32732/

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