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The Work of Justice in Parmenides B8

Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 23, 2019. 04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center Boardroom
Workshop: 
Ethics and Politics, Ancient and Modern 2018
Meeting Description: 

All EPAM sessions are pre-read. We will begin with a brief summary of the paper and comments by a graduate student, followed by a response from Professor Matt Evans. Afterward, the floor will be opened for questions.

Near the end of an important early argument in Parmenides B8, the personified figure of Justice (Dikē) is said to “hold” what-is (to eon) within “shackles,” so as to prevent it from being either generated or destroyed. According to most interpreters, this claim is to be understood, not as a free-standing premise of the argument, but as a picturesque expression of the logical or inferential necessity that binds our acceptance of its conclusion to our acceptance of its premises. Professor Edwards aims to show that this is a fateful mistake, in which case the role of Justice in the argument of B8, and in the poem as a whole, is far greater than we have often been led to believe. The implications of this discovery for our understanding of Parmenides in particular, and Greek metaphysics in general, are both momentous and unsettling.

Professor Matt Evans, at the University of Texas, Austin, works primarily on topics in ancient philosophy, with an emphasis on ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. He has published articles on Plato's account of the ethical status of pleasure and pain, Plato's response to Protagoras, Socratic intellectualism, and the Epicurean justification of friendship. He is currently writing a book on Parmenides.

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