Wokół Platońskiej idei Dobra
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ABOUT PLATO’S IDEA OF THE GOOD
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My paper is an attempt to demythologize popular mythological readings of Plato’s metaphysics (as based on the concept of selfexistent immutable Ideas, of the Demiurge who ‘fashioned’ the sensible world of things in the light of the Ideas treated as their archetypes, of the metempsychosis, and so on). Instead of following explicit Plato’s formulas, most of which were metaphorical, at this point I would propose to follow the course of his thought and the problems he envisaged and tried to solve, including those of his unwritten teaching (agrapha dogmata). My hypothesis is that agrapha dogmata was, inter alia, Plato’s attempt to overcome a difficulty stemming from the strong ambiguity inherited in his fundamental Idea of the Good. From the axiological reading, it is a universal (= the common form of all generic values), therefore having the definite extension, and in terms of metaphysical reading (= a principle which brings all things together in the best possible way), it is transcendental and its extension is ‘everything’. (To put it in another, more modern way: in the first case the Universe is thought as the language of distributive sets, while in the second – it is the mereological language. And the two are not commensurable). In the first case, the famous ‘one-many’ problem is solved by Plato due to his concept of methexis, while in the second, the very concept is useless, and Plato has to refer to a kind of variational principle there. I claim that to remove this discrepancy, the late Plato replaced the Idea of the Good with the complementary concepts of One and the Indefinite Dyad as the first principles. My second claim is that Plato’s metaphysics was not a theory of subject-independent, objectively existing reality (the outer Universe, so to say), but a theory of (transcendental) subject-dependent, trans-subjective reality (i.e. virtual reality), which may be called the inner Universe. And each Plato’s Idea, conceived as sense (to be distinguished from the meaning and the reference) of the appropriate general term, inhabits the second, inner Universe. The problem is that while there is only one outer Universe, there are as many inner Universes as the people. And if it is so, then the question arises: ‘Which one is true and what can warrant its veridicality?’ It is my hypothesis that, according to Plato, the One of agrapha dogmata – conceived as impersonal Nous, equivalent to universally valid principles of rationality – can do it.
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