Palmer, John A. Plato's Reception of Parmenides.
However, danger seems to present itself when Palmer with a methodology oriented in detail utilizes a particular interpretation of Parmenides and a similarly particular interpretation of Plato to discern where each thinker's influence and creativity dwells in the Platonic corpus. He picks up scraps of Parmenides and brings them to light, thereby revealing new problems and minute influences; even the slightest misconjecture will lead him down a path of rather serious mistakes. Still and all, he is careful. Palmer claims sophists made use of the Parmenidian assertion that there exists an inability to speak about what is not, clearly a Parmenidian notion, when defending their arbitrary, nihilistic positions. The idea is not new but the manner and level of detail in which Palmer makes use of his hermeneutic is. He claims that for Plato one must be able to speak of what is not as a defense against sophisticated nihilism, and he finds specific passages in Sophist relating to opinion and distortion of opinion's epistemological status. Thus the difference between knowledge and opinion becomes a Parmenidian problematic explored by Plato. Palmer illustrates Sophists' misconstruction of Parmenides in that there is a significant difference between what is not (something) and what is not anything at all. Again, the detailed problems of Plato's epistemology reveal bits and pieces of Parmenides and generate genuine problems that Plato addressed. One of the more interesting sections of the text occurs when Palmer shows how Plato makes use of Parmenides' dialectical exercise in order to delve more deeply into specific philosophical problems; Plato illustrates and investigates specific points by a sort of metaphysic of examination. Thus Parmenides' dialectical exercise becomes a part of Plato's metaphysic. Still the entirety of Parmenides' stance is not present in Plato and this illustrates a level of and a limit to agreement between the thinkers within the mind of Plato. Awareness of this adaptation helps to comprehend what use and rejection of Parmenides Plato incorporates into his own work. The experienced Platonist and the lover of wisdom will find their views not challenged but expanded, even if they are not in complete agreement with Palmer. They may light upon some portion of Plato's interpretation of Parmenides that has been lost within Plato's corrective assimilation.--Kirk Csoltko, Loyola University Chicago.
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|Publication:||The Review of Metaphysics|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2002|
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