The Mereology of Potentiality (Thursday - Week 8, HT19)

mereology of potentiality

As is well known, in the Sophist Plato deals with the issue as to the ontological weight of appearance and how it is connected to falsehood in speech, in order to seize the tricky figure of the sophist. To this purpose, Plato extensively discusses fundamental metaphysical categories, their relations and the basic structure of logoi. Keeping in the background the question concerning the correspondence between reality and language, I will focus on the central definition of being as dynamis (247d-e), i.e. power, capacity, possibility, etc. More precisely, the definition equates being to the power to act and to be acted upon (or be affected). This definition is open to a variety of interpretations, which are also made difficult by the fact that the term and its cognates appear throughout the text. However, in my paper, I will briefly consider the many readings and focus on their theoretical consequences. After that, I will provide a new interpretation of the way the definition of being as dynamis fits into Plato’s ontology of (natural) kinds, with particular regard to their relational nature. To conclude, I will first analyze what model of composition seems to be implied by Plato’s ontological employment of dynamis and then present some interesting modal aspects of his view

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Seminar coveners: Anna Marmodoro and Andrea Roselli