Wholeness In Plato's Parmenides

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Plato’s Parmenides includes within it a series of seemingly contradicting proofs about the nature and consequences of “the one”. In Deduction 1 of Part II of the Parmenides, Parmenides states that the one cannot have parts nor can it be a whole; however, Parmenides later seems to contradict himself when, in Deduction 2, he argues that the one must both have parts and be whole. In this paper, I will demonstrate that Parmenides comes to such contradictory conclusions about having parts and being whole in these differing deductions because he starts from a unique hypothesis in each deduction (from “if it is one” in Deduction 1 and from “if the one is” in Deduction 2). From this, however, I will argue that Parmenides’ definition of wholeness (i.e. that it is only that which has all of its parts) is too narrow, and that oneness, thus, can…show more content…
This is, as oneness in itself, which I say is indivisible wholeness, cannot be said of the one unless the one partakes of being, as is evident from the being argument at the end of Deduction 1 (142a). Thus, this oneness can still be a part of the one, and only possibly a part of the one when in connection with being. It may seem that oneness, which I claim can be indivisible wholeness, cannot itself have parts, since it is indivisible, and, therefore, not allow the one to be unlimited in multitude in Deduction 2. On the other hand, by allowing oneness to be indivisible and only allowing it to exist when it participates in being, I do not believe this infringes the one’s unlimitedness. Rather, this indivisible oneness will be unlimited in itself, since it has no beginning nor end (as stated in Deduction 1). Furthermore, since being is completely distributed, so too will this indivisible oneness be distributed with being (144d); thus, the one that is can be “chopped up” into equal parts as being, can conform to
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