Plato ’ s Forms , Pythagorean Mathematics , and Stichometry *


This essay advances a series of strong theses about Plato’s philosophy and aims to corroborate the view of Aristotle and other members of the early Academy that it was fundamentally Pythagorean. The argument reconcep tualises the literary strategies of the dialogues and thus requires some his torical stage-setting. The argument is inductive in form. This means that it gains in strength by accumulating a variety of independent, yet mutually reinforcing kinds of evidence. Stichometric analyses find unexpected evidence for Pythagoreanism in the dialogues themselves, and thereby develop a pregnant argument made by Sayre. He observed, in short, that the structure of the text of the Statesman seemed to reflect its metaphysics. There is at the mathematical centre of the dialogue ‘reference to the middle between Excess and Deficiency,’ and thus ‘the dialogue begins with a reference to a beginning, ends with reference to an ending, and includes reference at its midpoint to a mean or middle.” This correspondence between textual structure and metaphysics is substantially amplified here. In fact, the

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@inproceedings{Kennedy2010PlatoS, title={Plato ’ s Forms , Pythagorean Mathematics , and Stichometry *}, author={James Kennedy}, year={2010} }