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Plato's most Challenging work?
(email@example.com) Yes, it seems to be pretty straightforward. Simply put:
• Deduction 1 - Hypothesis: If it is one. Conclusion: The one is nothing, does not exist, and is not the object of perception, knowledge or opinion.
Of course: The one = being = no thing = being is not a thing that "exists" in the world, not anything that can be perceived.
• Deduction 2 - Hypothesis: If the one is. Conclusion: The one is everything and is the object of perception, knowledge and opinion.
Of course: Everything appears in and to the one. Everything is of its essence, substance. The one as it is manifested, as it appears, is the object of perception.
• Appendix to Deductions 1 and 2 - Hypothesis: If the one is one and many, neither one nor many, and in time. Conclusion: The one comes to be and passes away in an instant outside of time.
Of course: The one (as perceiver, as consciousness, as that which knows) comes to be and passes away with that which is perceived, and is thus in the world and thus in time. The one as the essence and substance remains, unchanged, nothing added or taken from, is that from which the world is made and thus prior to/beyond/outside time.
• Deduction 3 - Hypothesis: If the one is. Conclusion: The many have contrary properties.
Of course: For example. The one is timeless, spaceless, uncaused. The many are in time, space and subject to causation. The many are contradicted in themselves and by themselves.
• Deduction 4 - Hypothesis: If the one is. Conclusion: The one is not in the many and the many not in the one; the many have no properties.
Of course: The one is not in the many because the one is not in the world, but transcendent. The many are not in the one when viewed as transcendent. The many have no properties because they are not; only the one is.
• Deduction 5 - Hypothesis: If the one is not. Conclusion: The one comes to be and passes away and neither comes to be nor passes away.
Of course: The one as consciousness comes and passes away (with that of which it is conscious). The one as pure being does not come and passes away (as the source in which consciousness and that which it is consious of may appear).
• Deduction 6 - Hypothesis: If the one is not. Conclusion: The one is nothing and in no state.
Of course: The one is no thing, not a thing. The one is not found in any state, because it is transcendent, that to which all states appear. (And it is immanent, in all, and can therefore not be distiguished from its background and can thus not be found in any state although it pervades all states.)
• Deduction 7 - Hypothesis: If the one is not. Conclusion: The many have contrary properties.
Of course: The many are contradicted by themselves and in themselves.
• Deduction 8 - Hypothesis: If the one is not. Conclusion: Nothing exists.
Of course: Nothing is, nothing is what it seems, not as real and solid as it seems, all is impermanent, just temporary, changing from one apparant thing into another, not really existing at all.
This article should lay out the best attempts to make sense of the challenging second section of the dialogue. It should discuss at least the interpretations of Proclus, Thomas Taylor, Cornford, Meinwald, Miller, Allen, and Sayre.
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