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Plato's Sophist

One of Plato's later dialogues, the Sophist struggles with the problems that floated in the air after Parmenides.  The problems dealt with here are just as relevant today as ever before, and particularly well suited to recent reading (such as Levinas).

AUDIO:  if low on time -

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  • Brian B.

    Waiting downstairs on my twenty minute latte :(

    January 22, 2014

  • Brian

    is our spiritual home 'oneness'. Or is oneness JUST A NUMBER? I tend toward the latter. big question though

    January 22, 2014

    • Brian B.

      Oneness is the loneliest number...

      1 · January 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Stranger: And, can we divide his oneness into two parts, the first being that which is his oneness singularly, while the second being his oneness' not being a plurality?

      January 22, 2014

  • Mike B.

    Brian, your comment on the "hunter" got me wondering: Might not it be possible that Plato as teacher is more interested in our hunting, our search, the very process of trying to puzzle things out for ourselves? Clearly, I think we'd all agree, Plato is not concerned with our having the right answers. His concern is our developing our abilities to wrestle with questions on our own.
    Now I wonder if my comment here is too trivial to mention.

    January 21, 2014

    • Brian

      If socrates is a hunter then he is a sort of sophist, perhaps however of the separative rather than acquisitive art. But still a sophist. The dialogue entertains how this might be the case. And I might agree insofar as the elements of Eros and the good are excluded from the full picture. After all, look at how The Stranger is 'trapping' (net-wrapping) the sophist

      January 21, 2014

  • Brian

    RE: sophist as image-maker. I think Section 239 is important. It is crucial that we *ourselves* grasp why Socrates' ability to talk about non-being is also impossible in an importance sense. Otherwise we are simply being impressed with Socrates as someone able to authoritatively discourse on deep/all/any things. Sure, we can follow his logic but it is mere shadow-play till we see the point ourselves. I'm also fascinated by the statement "Since being and non being are equally puzzling, there is henceforward some hope that any light, whether dim or bright, thrown on the one will illuminate the other to an equal degree"[250e]

    1 · January 20, 2014

  • Brian

    Learning some new terms of art:

    Babblers: Eristic sophistry "which makes one neglect one's own affairs for the pleasure of spending time in that way, but is carried on in a style that gives no pleasure to the ordinary hearer"

    Wranglers: those who inspire others with a frenzy of controversy (See, Euclides of Megara)

    January 19, 2014

  • Rick O.

    Can I suggest we briefly discuss (i.e., skip) the first part and concentrate on the 2nd half? - I say this for selfish reasons - I like the 2nd half better.

    But since this is a Wed and not a Sat meetup I think it also makes more sense (not that I ever used that as a justification before).

    December 19, 2013

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