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Contemporary Encounters with Ancient Metaphysics$
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Abraham Jacob Greenstine and Ryan J. Johnson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474412094

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412094.001.0001

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The Muses and Philosophy: Elements for a History of the Pseudos [1991]

The Muses and Philosophy: Elements for a History of the Pseudos [1991]

(p.13) Chapter 2 The Muses and Philosophy: Elements for a History of the Pseudos [1991]
Contemporary Encounters with Ancient Metaphysics

Barbara Cassin

, Samuel Galson
Edinburgh University Press

Barbara Cassin’s “The Muses and Philosophy: Elements for a History of the ‘Pseudos’” (1991; translated by Samuel Galson), investigates Plato’s attempt in the Sophist to distinguish the philosopher from the sophist. Cassin pinpoints the slippery operation of the pseudos through the texts of Parmenides and Hesiod. Yet Parmenides’ rejection of not-being allows the sophist to claim infallibility. Plato’s Eleatic Stranger shows that Parmenides’ rejection of not-being is self-refuting (thus the Stranger’s famous parricide is just as much Parmenides’ suicide). Further, although the Stranger ultimately fails to find a criterion for truth or falsity, he nevertheless establishes a place for the pseudos in the distinction between logos tinos (speech of something) and logos peri tinos (speech about something). Ultimately, Cassin argues that reality of pseudos is a condition for the possibility of language, and indeed involves the very materiality and breadth of language.

Keywords:   Sophists, Pseudos, Parmenides, Plato, Logos, Hesiod, Language

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