Kosman on a Characteristic Strategy of Plato

Rather than siding with one or the other moment of a controversial distinction, Plato often reframes the terms of the controversy in order to reveal lines of priority and to reveal the modes of dialectical dependence and underlying kinship that explain why thinking people could have in the first place held each side of the controversy.

Thus appearance is not (as though on some false Parmenidean model) figured as unreal by Plato, but rather (as on a true Parmenidean model) thought to constitute–although posterior to being–the very condition of its human appropriation, the condition, we might say, of being’s appearance.  Similarly with rhetoric and other modalities, both ontological and cognitive, in which the hierarchical relation of prior and posterior provide a more accurate model for reading Plato’s thought than do Gnostic-like models in which appearance is figured as illusion or rhetoric as lie.  –“Nature’s Law and Second Nature:  Philoosphers on Nomos and Physis”

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