Skip to main content

Some Remarks on the Notion of the Instant in Plato's Parmenides


Speaker: Marcel Lebow, UNM, Department of Philosophy

When: Feb 16, 2018 - 03:00pm - 05:00pm

Where: Department of Philosophy Library, HUM 519



Amongst a sea of interrelated contradictions in Plato’s Parmenides, one conclusion—the instant(156c–e)—appears at an asymmetrical point in the dialogue. Whereas the treatment of the later three out of the four hypotheses in the text comes in deductive pairs, the first hypothesis considered contains a curious third deduction(155e–157b), one in which we find this notion of the instant. In this paper, I analyze the outcome of Plato’s third deduction of the work’s first hypothesis, and argue that the solution of the instant proffered fails, yielding a contradiction no matter how we interpret the argument. Although such a contradiction presents nothing surprising given the trajectory of the dialogue, I claim that the notion the instant reveals an array of issues concerning the metaphysics of unity, being, time, and sense. (This paper is part of a larger project which argues that some of the writings of Husserl encounter a nearly identical issue.)