Plato on Parts and Wholes: The Metaphysics of Structure

Paperback | October 6, 2005

byVerity Harte

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What is the relation between a whole and its parts? Is a whole identical to its parts, or is there some other relation of composition? These questions are much discussed in modern philosophy; but Plato's rich discussion of composition has been neglected. Verity Harte provides the firstsustained examination of this Platonic discussion and explains its relations to modern debates. She reveals how, in several late works, Plato criticizes the view that a whole is identical to its parts. She then goes on to discuss the intriguing alternative conception of wholes he offers in itsplace. This book is an invaluable resource both for scholars of Plato and for modern metaphysicians. For scholars of Plato, Harte's careful textual analysis provides fresh insights into some of his most difficult works. For modern metaphysicians, she illuminates the contemporary debate by placing it withinan historical context.

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What is the relation between a whole and its parts? Is a whole identical to its parts, or is there some other relation of composition? These questions are much discussed in modern philosophy; but Plato's rich discussion of composition has been neglected. Verity Harte provides the firstsustained examination of this Platonic discussion a...

Verity Harte is in the Department of Philosophy, King's College London.

other books by Verity Harte

Politeia in Greek and Roman Philosophy
Politeia in Greek and Roman Philosophy

Kobo ebook|Aug 1 2013

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:324 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.77 inPublished:October 6, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019927844X

ISBN - 13:9780199278442

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. The Problem of Composition1.1. Is a Whole (just) the Sum of its Parts?1.2. Mereology or Magic?1.3. Restrictions upon Composition?1.4. Ontological Innocence1.5. Composition and the Problem of the One and the Many1.6. Theaetetus 203-2062. Composition as Identity in the Parmenides and Sophist2.1. Socrates' Puzzle: The Conversation with Zeno2.2. Two Kinds of 'Part' in the Dilemma of Participation (131a-c)2.3. Atomic Ones and Infinite Collections: The First and Second Deductions2.4. Composition: Identity or Distinctness?2.5. Eleaticism and Ontological Innocence3. A New Model of Composition3.1. Composition: A Sui Generis3.2. Unity and Structure3.3. Bare Pluralities3.4. Restrictions on Composition4. Composition and Structure4.1. Two Ways of Thinking about Structure4.2. The Sophist: A First Platonic Example of Structure4.3. The Philebus: Structure and Content4.4. The Timaeus: Structures within Structures5. Plato's Metaphysics of Structure5.1. The Platonic Context5.2. Plato's Model of CompositionGeneral IndexIndex of NamesIndex Locorum