Public Defense of Florin Calian on From One to one, to many: the Parmenides 142b-144b

Doctoral Defenses
Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Senate Room
Monday, March 27, 2017 - 11:00am
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Monday, March 27, 2017 - 11:00am to 2:00pm

The Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to the Public Defense of the PhD Dissertation
Florin Calian
From One to one, to many: the Parmenides 142b-144b

Supervisor: Gábor Betegh
Members of the Defense Committee:
John Dillon (University of Dublin)
István Bodnár (CEU)

Chair:  Hanoch Ben-Yami


This dissertation is a contribution to the reassessment of Platonic ontology and mathematical conceptions as found in the beginning of the second hypothesis of the second part of the Parmenides (142b -144b), in what I argue to be Plato’s ontological argument and the argument for the generation of numbers. I support the reading of these two specific arguments as a coherent continuum: how the being of one was conceived by Plato as necessarily different from one, differentiating thus himself from Eleatic philosophy and setting the grounds for multiplicity, which leads Plato into a discussion on the primordial of numbers. There are numbers (the mathematical argument) only because one and being can be separated (the ontological argument).

My analysis of the argument for the generation of numbers is substantia ted by an evaluation of Aristotle’s testimony in Metaphysics A6, a testimony which, I argue, is built upon this passage of the Parmenides. The dissertation provides an analytical commentary of the stages of the arguments, in an attempt to place the arguments on the map of Plato’s philosophy. I demonstrate that the ontological and mathematical arguments are actual Platonic arguments, and not merely dialectic exercises, which have traceable conclusions in Plato’s philosophy of the so called late dialogues, especially the Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Timaeus.