79 DISCUSSION NOTE Vlastos on Pauline Predication JOHN MALCOLM In the period following his epoch-making attention to the Third Man Argument' Gregory Vlastos was converted to the cause of what he has termed Pauline Predication.2 Sentences such as "Justice is pious" or "Fire is hot" seem, on the surface, to be attributing a characteristic to a Form - a situation labelled by Vlastos "ordinary predication" (AS,3 p. 273). But, Vlastos suggests, such cases are really to be read as assigning this property to instances of the Form. As applied to putative cases of self-predication,4 "F-ness is F" becomes, from the Pauline perspective, equivalent to "Necessarily, for all x, if x partakes of F-ness, x is F" (AS, p. 273; UVP, p. 235). In UVP (pp. 257-8) Vlastos urges that two notorious candidates for self-predication, "Justice is just" and "Piety is pious," at Prot. 330c and d respectively, must be read in the Pauline fashion. We may or may not agree with him here,5 but Vlastos proceeds to reject his former thesis that, for Plato, all Forms are self-predicative. He will grant (pp. 259-63) 1 It hardly needs mentioning that the seminal paper was "The Third Man Argument in
Phronesis – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1985
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