Event Detail

Fri Mar 10, 2017
Dwinelle 7205, 5–7 PM
Working Group in Ancient Philosophy
Verity Harte (Yale University)
Plato’s Butcher: Realism and Platonic Classification

Contemporary talk of ‘carving nature at its joints’ picks up an image from Plato’s Phaedrus and is generally associated with a world-view according to which there is, fundamentally, some unique and global, mind- or language-independent structure that it is the business of philosophy or science to know. Focused on the ur-text (Plato, Phaedrus 265c-266c) and, in particular, on a passage of Plato’s Philebus (16c-17a) and its surrounding context, this paper is driven by an interest in the extent to which Plato’s classificatory method reflects Plato’s own commitment to such a world-view, and aims to raise exploratory questions about the character of Plato’s realism in these contexts.