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Plato on Parts and WholesThe Metaphysics of Structure$
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Verity Harte

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198236757

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198236751.001.0001

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A New Model of Composition

A New Model of Composition

(p.117) Chapter 3 A New Model of Composition
Plato on Parts and Wholes

Verity Harte (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter, along with the next, focuses on the alternative model of composition that Plato develops to respond to the problems he has posed in his discussion of the rejected model. The focus here is first on the Parmenides, from which the outline of an alternative theory emerges, and then on the Theaetetus and the Sophist, from which some of the broader context of Plato's problem of composition is recovered within which his solution to the problem takes shape. Central to this solution is Plato's distinguishing of the part–whole relation from the relations of distinctness and, more importantly, of identity. On the alternative model, composition is restricted; it is ontologically committed or creative; and it centrally involves the existence of certain structural relations between the parts of a whole.

Keywords:   composition, distinctness, identity, ontological commitment, Parmenides, parts, Plato, Sophist, structure, Theaetetus, wholes

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