Parmenides Publishing

Titles By Patricia Curd

Plato’s Late Ontology
A Riddle Resolved

pages • 6 x 8 3/4 • Paperback

Kenneth M. Sayre

is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of numerous books on philosophy, including Plato’s Analytic Method (1969), Cybernetics and the Philosophy of Mind (1976), Plato’s Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved (1983), Plato’s Literary Garden (1995), Parmenides’ Lesson (1996), and Belief and Knowledge (1997).

Professor Sayre is also the director of The Philosophic Institute at Notre Dame.
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       Prior to the publication of Plato’s Late Ontology in 1983, there was general agreement among Plato scholars that the theses attributed to Plato in Book A of Aristotle’s Metaphysics can not be found in the dialogues. Plato’s Late Ontology presented a textually based argument that in fact these theses appear both in the Philebus and in the second part of the Parmenides. The pivotal point of the argument is a number of synonyms for the expressions used by Aristotle in reporting Plato’s views, found in the Greek commentators on Aristotle's writing during the 3rd to the 6th Centuries A.D. These synonyms are also used by Plato himself in discussing the theses in question.

       The present book is a reprint of Plato’s Late Ontology along with a recent article showing that a subset of these theses can also be found in the section of measurement appearing in the middle of the Statesman. The argument to this effect is an extension of that in Plato’s Late Ontology, but is supported by a much expanded list of synonyms from the Greek commentators. The appearance of the theses in question in the Statesman augments the original argument for their presence in the Parmenides and the Philebus.

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"The transmission of the platonic thought, particularly its doctrine on the existence of universal or separate Ideas through writings of Aristotle, has always been a subject of controversy and it has not always been met by the fidelity of the Stageirian, ..." Read more (pdf English/Spanish)
Dialogo Filosofico
May/August Issue

“The re-publication of Kenneth Sayre’s Plato’s Late Ontology is most welcome, for it is a seminal work and its implications for our understanding of Plato have yet to be fully appreciated. By original argument and close scholarship, Sayre decisively alters the status of the question of Plato’s “so-called unwritten teachings,” breaking a new path into textual and conceptual terrain that has gone largely unexplored by modern commentary.”
—Mitchell Miller
Vassar College

“Many theories have been produced to explain Aristotle’s account of Plato’s teaching, because that account seemed to bear little resemblance to the extant dialogues..."
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—Frederick J. Crosson
University of Notre Dame

“A brief review such as this cannot do justice to the richness of Sayre’s book. Against the background of debates which were (and are) often acrimonious, this book conveys exciting ideas in a sober and calm way. ..."
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—Daniel H. Frank
Purdue University

“This work is absolutely essential for historians of philosophy and classicists, of interest to historians of mathematics, and obliquely to theologians because of its treatment of Plato’s idea of the Good and the Demiurge. Argued with meticulous cogency, it takes into account ancient commentaries and summaries as well as modern secondary literature..."
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—Anthony C. Daly
Saint Louis University