Plato's Sophist

Table of Contents


§ 1. The necessity of a double preparation for interpreting the Platonic dialogues. 5
a) Philosophical-phenomenological preparation. Method and aim of phenomenology 5
b) Historiographical-hermeneutical preparation. The basic principle of hermeneutics: from the clear into the obscure. From Aristotle to Plato. 7
c) First indication of the theme of the Sophist. The sophist. The philosopher. The Being of beings. 8
§ 2. Orientation toward Plato's Sophist, with Aristotle as point of departure. 9
a) The theme: the Being of beings.9
b) The way of access: knowledge and truth. Ἀλήθεια.10
§ 3. First characteristic of ἀλήθεια. 10
a) The meaning of the word ἀλήθεια. Ἀλήθεια and Dasein10
b) Ἀλήθεια and language (λόγος). Ἀλήθεια as a mode of Being of man (ζῷον λόγον ἔχον) or as a mode of life (ψυχή).12


The Securing of ἀλήθεια as the Ground of Plato's Research into Being.
Interpretations of Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Book VI and Book
X, Chapters 6-8; Metaphysics Book I, Chapters 1-2

Chapter One

Preparatory Survey of the Modes of ἀληθεύειν (ἐπιστήμη, τέχνη,
φρόνησις. σοφία, νοῦς) (Nic. Eth. VI. 2-6)

4. The meaning of ἀληθεύειν in Aristotle for Plato's research into Being. 15
a) The five modes of ἀληθεύειν (Nic. Eth. VI, 3). Ἀληθεύειν as ground of research into Being. Ἀλήθεια as the determination of the Being of Dasein (ἀληθεύει ή ψυχή). 15
b) The history of the concept of truth.17
§ 5. The first articulation of the five modes of ἀληθεύειν (Nic. Eth. VI, 2) 19
a) The two basic modes of λόγον ἔχον: ἐπιστημονικόν and λογιστικόν 19
b) Task and first outline of the investigation.21
§ 6. The determination of the essence of ἐπιστήμη (Nic. Eth. VI, 3) 21
a) The object of ἐπιστήμη: beings that always are (ἀίδιον). Ἐπιστήμη as ἕξις of ἀληθεύειν. The interpretation of Being on the basis of time (ἀίδιον, ἀεί, αἰών).22
b) The position of the ἀρχή in ἐπιστήμη (Nic. Eth. VI, 3; Post. An. I, 1). The teachability of ἐπιστήμη. Ἀπόδειξις and ἐπαγωγή. The presupposition of the ἀρχή. 24
c) Πρᾶξις and ποίησις as the first ways of carrying out ἀληθεύειν. Ἐπιστήμη as the autonomous "πρᾶξις" of ἀληθεύειν. 26
§ 7. The analysis of τέχνη (Nic. Eth. VI, 4) 28
a) The object of τέχνη: what is coming into being (ἐσόμενον)28
b) The position of the ἀρχή in τέχνη (Nic. Eth. VI, 4. Met. VII, 7). The double relation of τέχνη to its ἀρχή. Εἶδος und ἔργον. The παρά-character of the ἔργον. 28
c) The εἶδος as ἀρχή of the κίνησις of τέχνη as a whole (Met. VII, 7). Νόησις and ποίησις. Τέχνη as ground of the interpretation of Being through the εἶδος. 31
8. The analysis of φρόνησις (Nic. Eth. VI, 5) 33
a) The object of φρόνησις: Dasein itself. The determination of the τέλος of φρόνησις in delimitation against the τέλος of τέχνη. Its relation to ἀληθεύειν: prior identity in φρόνησις; difference (παρά) in τέχνη. 34
b) Φρόνησις as ά-ληθεύειν. Ἡδονή and λύπη. Σωφροσύνη. Φρόνησις as a struggle against Dasein's inherent tendency to cover itself over. Φρόνησις as non-autonomous ἀληθεύειν in the service of πρᾶξις. 36
c) The delimitation of φρόνησις versus τέχνη and ἐπιστήμη. Φρόνησις as ἀρετή. Φρόνησις as "unforgettable" conscience. Σοφία as ἀρετή τέχνης. 37
§ 9. The analysis of σοφία (Nic. Eth. VI, 6-7) 40
a) The dia-noetic relation of ἐπιστήμη, φρόνησις and σοφία to the ἀρχαί (Nic. Eth. VI, 6) 40
b) Νοῦς as ἀληθεύειν of the ἀρχαί. (Nic. Eth. VI, 7). Σοφία as νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη 41
c) The further outline of the investigation. Φρόνησις and σοφία as the highest modes of ἀληθεύειν. The priority of σοφία. The origin of this priority in the natural understanding of Greek Dasein. The phenomenology of Dasein as the method of the investigation. Θεωρία: clarification of the term and history of the concept. 42

Chapter Two

The Genesis of σοφία within Natural Greek Dasein (αἴσθησις,
ἐμπειρία, τέχνη, ἐπιστήμη, σοφία) (Met. I, 1-2)

§ 10. Introductory characterization of the investigation. Its guiding line: the self-expression of Dasein itself. Its course: the five levels of εἰδέναι. Its goal: σοφία as μάλιστα ἀληθεύειν. 45
§ 11. The first three levels of εἰδέναι: αἴσθησις, ἐμπειρία, τέχνη (Met. Ι, 1) 48
a) ΑἼσθησις. The priority of ὁρᾶν. Ἀκούειν as a condition of learning. Μνήμη and φρόνησις. 48
b) Ἐμπειρία. The referential connection: as soon as-then. Its temporal character. 49
c) Τέχνη. The modifications of the referential connection. The extraction of the εἶδος. If-then. Because-therefore. Τέχνη and ἐμπειρία. Καθόλου and καθ' ἕκαστον. 51
§ 12. Excursus: καθόλου und καθ' ἕκαστον. The way of philosophy (especially: Met. V, 26; Top. VI, 4; Phys. I, 1) 54
a) The manifold meanings of ὅλον. Καθόλου as ὅλον λεγόμενον (Met. V, 26) 54
b) The mode of access as distingens between καθ' ἕκαστον and καθόλου. Αἴσθησις and λόγος. Πρὸς ἡμᾶς γνωριμώτερον and ἀπλῶς γνωριμώτερον. The way of philosophy (according to Top. VI, 4 and Met VII, 3): from καθ' ἕκαστον to καθόλου. 57
c) The way of philosophy (Phys. Ι, 1). From the καθόλου τo the καθ' ἕκαστον. Resolution of the supposed contradiction between Topics VI, 4 und Physics I, 1. 59
§ 13. Continuation: τέχνη αnd ἐπιστήμη (Met. 1,1). The tendency residing in τέχνη toward an "autonomous" ἐπιστήμη. The further development of ἐπιστήμη. 62
§ 14. Σοφία (Met. I, 2). The four essential moments of σοφία (πάντα, χαλεπώτατα, ἀκριβέστατα, αὐτῆς ἕνεκεν). Clarifying reduction of the first three essential moments to the μάλιστα καθόλου. 65
§ 15. Excursus: General orientation regarding the essence of mathematics according to Aristotle. 69
a) Fundamental issues in mathematics in general (Phys. II, 2). Χωρίζειν as the basic act of mathematics. Critique of the χωρισμός in Plato's theory of Ideas. 69
b) The distinction between geometry and arithmetic. The increasing "abstraction" from the φύσει ὄν : στιγμή = οὐσία θετός; μονάς = οὐσία ἄθετος. 71
α) Τόπος and θέσις (according to Phys. V, 1-5). The absolute determinateness (φύσει) of τόπος; the relative determinateness (πρὸς ἡμᾶς) of θέσις. The essence of τόπος: limit (πέρας) and possibility (δύναμις) of the proper Being of a being. 72
ß) The genesis of geometry and arithmetic from τόπος. The acquisition of geometrical objects by extraction of the πέρατα (τόπος) of the φύσει ὄντα. The determination of their site (θέσις). Analysis situs. Μονάς: οὐσία ἄθετος. 75
γ) The structure of the connection of the manifold in geometry and arithmetic; συνεχές αnd ἐφεξῆς. 77
αα) The phenomena of co-presence as regards φύσει ὄντα (Phys. V, 3) 77
ββ) The structures of connection in the geometrical and the arithmetical: συνεχές αnd ἐφεξῆς. 79
γγ) Consequences for the connecting of the manifold in geometry and arithmetic (Cat. 6). 81
§ 16. Continuation: σοφία (Met I, 2; 1. Teil). The fourth essential moment of σοφία: the autonomy of its ἀληθεύειν (ἑαυτῆς ἕνεκεν. μὴ πρὸς χρῆσιν). 83
a) What is thematic in σοφία. The ἀγαθόν as τέλος and ultimate οὗ ἕνεκα; as αἴτιον and ἀρχή: as object of pure θεωρεῖν. 84
b) The origin of σοφία in Dasein itself. Θαυμάζειν and ἀπορεῖν as origin of philosophy. The tendency in Dasein itself toward pure θεωρεῖν. 86
§ 17. Summary: The modes of ἀληθεύειν as modifications of self-orienting Dasein. 89

Chapter Three

The Question of the Priority of φρόνησις or σοφία as the Highest
Mode of ἀληθεύειν (Met. I, 2, part 2; Nic. Eth. VI, 7-1 0, X, 6-7)

§ 18. The divinity of σοφία and the questionableness of σοφία as a possibility of man (Met. I, 2; part 2). Σοφία as constant dwelling with the ἀεί. Human Dasein as "slave" (δούλη) of ἀναγκαῖα and ἄλλως ἔχοντα. The priority of σοφία with respect to ἀληθεύειν. 91
§ 19. Φρόνησις as the proper possibility of man, and the rejection of φρόνησις as "σοφία". (Nic. Eth. VI, 7; part 2). The gravity of φρόνησις. The ἀκρότατον ἀγαθόν ἀνθρώπινον as object of φρόνησις. The ἄριστον ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ as object of σοφία. Predelineation of ontological superiority as criterion of the priority of σοφία. 93
§ 20. More radical conception of φρόνησις (Nic. Eth. VI, 8-9) 95
a) Φρόνησις as πρακτικὴ ἕξις (Nic. Eth. VI, 8)95
b) The mode of origin of φρόνησις and ἐπιστήμη (Nic. Eth. VI, 9). Φρόνησις: ἐξ ἐμπειρίας (life experience). Mathematics: δι' ἀφαιρέσεως. 96
§ 21. Exposition of the further tasks: the relation of φρόνησις and of σοφία to the ἀρχαί. Σοφία: νοῦς καὶ ἐπιστήμη. The task of the clarification of the βουλεύεσθαι of the mode of carrying out φρόνησις. 98
§ 22. Εὐβουλία as the mode of carrying out φρόνησις (Nic. Eth. VI, 10) 99
a) The structure of the βουλεύεσθαι 100
α) Structural analysis of action. The constitutive moments of action. Ἀρχή and τέλος of action. Εὐπραξία and εὐβουλία. 100
ß) Εὐβουλία as genuine φρόνησις. The correctness (ὀρθότης) of the εὐβουλία. The resolution (βουλή). The βουλεύεσθαι as συλλογίζεσθαι. The ὀρθὸς λόγος. 102
b) Delimitation of εὐβουλία against other modes of ἀληθεύειν. Knowledge (ἐπιστήμη), sureness of aim (εὐστοχία), presence of mind (ἀγχίνοια), opinion (δόξα) 104
c) The ὀρθότης of εὐβουλία. Being persistently directed to the ἀγαθόν. 106
§ 23. Φρόνησις and νοῦς (Nic. Eth. VI, 12) 108
a) Νοῦς in σοφία and in φρόνησις. The double direction of νοῦς. Σοφία: νοῦς → πρῶτα; φρόνησις: νοῦς → ἔσχατα. The practical syllogism. Practical νοῦς as αἴσθησις. 108
b) Practical νοῦς and αἴσθησις (Nic. Eth. VI, 9; 111,5). Αἴσθησις as the grasping of the ἔσχατα. Comparison with ἀνάλυσις in geometry. Modes of αἴσθησις. Geometrical and practical αἴσθησις. 110
c) φρόνησις and σοφία as opposite highest modes of ἀληθεύειν (= νοῦς). Ἀεί and the moment. Prospect: νοῦς and διαλέγεσθαι. Aristotle and Plato. 112
§ 24. The decision on the question of the priority of φρόνησις or σοφία in favor of σοφία (Nic. Eth. VI, 13). 114
a) The difficulty of the decision: merits and deficiencies of φρόνησις and σοφία. The question of the relation to human Dasein. The autonomy and non-autonomy of the ἀληθεύειν. 114
b) Criteria for the decision. The rank of the ἀληθεύειν as such. The autonomy of the "accomplishment" (ποιεῖν); σοφία as ὐγίεια of the ψυχή. Ontological priority according to the Greek concept of Being. 116
§ 25. The priority of σοφία with regard to εὐδαιμονία (Nic. Eth. X. 6 7). 118
a) The idea of εὐδαιμονία (Nic. Eth. X, 6). The ontological meaning of εὐδαιμονία as the fulfilled Being of the ψυχή. 118
b) The structural moments of εὐδαιμονία and their fulfillment through the θεωρεῖν of σοφία (νοῦς) (Nic. Eth. X, 7) 119
§ 26. Extent and limit of λόγος 123
a) λόγος und νοῦς. Νοεῖν and διανοεῖν. The grasping of the πρῶτα and ἔσχατα by νοεῖν. 123
b) λόγος and ἀλήθεια. 124
α) Λόγος σημαντικός (speech) and λόγος ἀποφαντικός ("judgment") (De Int., chapter 4; II, 8). 124
ß) Rejection of λόγος as the proper place of truth. Νοεῖν als ἀληθεύειν without λόγος. The λόγος ἀποφαντικός as the place of ψεῦδος. The synthetic structure of the λόγος ἀποφαντικός as the condition of ψεῦδος. 125
γ) Critique of the traditional theory of judgment. Σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις as basic structures of the λόγος ἀποφαντικός in general. 126
δ) The ἀληθές as a character of Being as encountered (Met. VI, 2 and 4) 128


Delineation of the Thematic Field, with ἀληθεύειν
as the Point of Departure

§ 27. What has been accomplished up to now and the future task. What has been accomplished: the acquisition of the point of departure (= ἀληθεύειν). The task: the delineation of the theme, with ἀληθεύειν in Plato (= διαλέγεσθαι) as the point of departure. First indication of the theme: a revolution in the concept of Being; the Being of non-beings ( = ψεῦδος). 131
§ 28. First characterization of dialectic in Plato. 135
a) Διαλέγεσθαι as ἀληθεύειν. Repetition and continuation of what has been established about λόγος: rejection of λόγος as the proper place of truth. Λόγος, as the most immediate mode of ἀληθεύειν and as concealing prattle. The basic meaning of "dialectic": breaking through the prattle, tendency toward seeing (νοεῖν). 135
b) Critique of the traditional conception of dialectic. Dialectic: not a technique of thinking but a preliminary stage of νοεῖν. Aristotle's position with regard to dialectic. 137
c) The meanings of the expression "λόγος" in Plato. 139
§ 29. Addendum: The innovation in Plato's Sophist with regard to
the ground of the Greeks' research into Being.
a) The double guiding line of the research into Being in Plato's Sophist: concrete Dasein (the philosopher, the sophist); λέγειν. 141
b) Λόγος as guiding line of Aristotle's research into Being ("ontology"). 142
§ 30. Aristotle on philosophy , dialectic, sophistry (Met. IV, 1-2). 144
a) The idea of first philosophy. First philosophy as the science of ὃν ᾗ ὄν. Delimitation of first philosophy versus the special sciences. Being as φύσις τις. The ancients' research into the στοιχεῖα. Further structures of Being. First and second philosophy. 144
b) Delimitation of dialectic and sophistry versus first philosophy. The common object of dialectic, sophistry, and philosophy: the "whole." How dialectic and sophistry are distinct from philosophy: philosophy = γνωριστική dialectic = πειραστική: sophistry = φαινομένη σοφία (εὗ λέγειν). 147
§ 31. First characterization of sophistry. Continuation. 149
a) The idea of παιδεία in sophistry and in Aristotle. Εὗ λέγειν. Concern with substantive content and unconcern with substantive content. Predelineation of ἀληθεύειν as the ground of sophistry. 149
b) Critique of the traditional interpretation of sophistry. 150
c) Sophistry and rhetoric. Plato's position on rhetoric as distinct from Aristotle's. Their common judgment on sophistry (φαινομένη σοφία). 151
d) Ἀληθεύειν as ground of the question of μὴ ὄν (= ψεῦδος). 152
§ 32. Continuation: The idea of first philosophy in Aristotle. 153
a) First philosophy as ontology (ὃν ᾗ ὄν) and as theology. Explication of this duality on the basis of the Greek understanding of Being (= presence). 153
b) Λόγος as guideline for the research into Being carried out by σοφία. Explication of the guiding function of λόγος on the basis of the Greek understanding of Being. 155


Plato's Research into Being
Interpretation of the

Preliminary Remarks

§ 33. 157
§ 34. 159
§ 35. 160
a) 160
b) 161


The Prelude to the Dialogue
(Sophist 216a-219a)

§ 36. 163
§ 37. 170
§ 38. 172
a) 172
b) 174
§ 39. 175
§ 40. 178


The Search for the Myoc; of the Factual Existence of the Sophist
(Sophist 219a-237b)

The Search for the Myoc; of the Factual Existence of the Sophist
(Sophist 219a-237b)

Chapter One

An Example of the Method of Defining. The Definition of
the amtaAt£ut1lc;. (219a-221c)

§ 41. 181
§ 42. 182
a) 182
b) 184
§ 43. 192
§ 44. 197

Plato's Sophist (GA 19) [GA App] {Sofist App}