Conclusion on My Posts Responding to Macklemore’s Same Love I: Differences with WBC

For quite some time now, since I wrote my two (people often forget the second) posts on Macklemore’s “Same Love” and the underlying issue of same-sex marriage both as a Christian and as a Platonist, the first post has been one of my more popular ones. However, I think, from the broader trends of our society (I was once told by a friend of mine that anyone who had an argument against same-sex marriage was hateful; she changed that position afterward) and out of the rather long comment that I answered in the first post, the author of which called my arguments “hateful” I need to explain a few things further. Of course, arguments, if they are valid, cannot be hateful. In fact, even if they are invalid, it does not follow that necessarily the person putting forth the arguments was doing so out of a desire to hurt the interlocutors and, as so, cannot be deemed hateful without additional information.

I think, however, that a very big part of why it is that most people today think that all who oppose same-sex marriage do so out of hatred for gay people is the Westboro Baptist Church and other similar pseudo-Churches. In this post, I will seek to conclusively disprove, based on the Bible alone (so as to satisfy their Protestant leanings) their position on issues such as salvation, whether God hates the US, etc., do not correspond with Scripture. Because I have heard that in some of their videos they complain about erroneous translations of the Bible, I will not use any translation, but will cite the original Greek (except I will give the quotations in English, because I am bamboozled by the Greek numbering system and suspect that the WBC may be just as lost as me in trying to decipher it).

1) Whether God wants all people to be saved.

This is an easy argument to make. I will give out the argument in syllogism  form and provide a short explanation afterward.

P1: God is perfect. (Basic premise of Christian theism)

P2: God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

1 Timothy 2:4–ος παντας ανθρωπους θελει σωθηναι και εις επιγνωσιν αληθειας ελθειν; “… who wants all humans to be saved and to come into the knowledge of the truth.”

P3: The believer must be perfect as God is perfect(Matt. 5:48)/The believer can truthfuly quote Galatians 2:20 about himself/herself.

Matthew 5:48–εσεσθε ουν υμεις τελειοι ωσπερ ο πατηρ υμων ο εν τοις ουρανοις τελειος εστιν; “Be ye perfect as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.” (note the difference between the usage of τελειος as opposed to ἄριστος)

Galatians 2:20–ζω δε ουκετι εγω ζη δε εν εμοι χριστος; “I, then, do not live at all, but Christ lives in me.” This is to say that the will of the believer and the will of Christ have no distinction. (which is to say the the believer is τελειος–finished, complete, perfect)

—————————–

C: Therefore, the believer must want that all humans be saved.

This does not mean that God will save all humans (presumably some against their desire) or that it is the job of people to save all humans, but that the believer, like God, should will that all men be saved. That is to say, the believer must do everything they can in order to make it as easy as possible for the people around them to be saved. We see this logic in Acts, in the Council of Jerusalem, where St. James says that the Gentiles need not adhere to Jewish dietary laws et al (except for some things, such as eating meat sacrificed to the idols) so that they may not make is unnecessarily hard for the people of God to be saved. As to how the WBC fails this standard will be discussed after all the points are made.

2) Whether it is necessary that the believer should love his neighbor (i.e. whoever he is engaging in any way).

Luke 10:27,  cf. Matthew 22:37-39– … αγαπησεις τον πλησιον σου ως σεαυτον; “love your neighbor (the person close to you) as your own self.” The parable that ensues explains this axiom. However, if some people claim to be confused about what this means, let us look at another point in which Christ explains whom to love.

Matthew 5: 43-47

ηκουσατε οτι ερρεθη αγαπησεις τον πλησιον σου και μισησεις τον εχθρον σου

 εγω δε λεγω υμιν αγαπατε τους εχθρους υμων ευλογειτε τους καταρωμενους υμας καλως ποιειτε τους μισουντας υμας και προσευχεσθε υπερ των επηρεαζοντων υμας και διωκοντων υμας

οπως γενησθε υιοι του πατρος υμων του εν ουρανοις οτι τον ηλιον αυτου ανατελλει επι πονηρους και αγαθους και βρεχει επι δικαιους και αδικους

εαν γαρ αγαπησητε τους αγαπωντας υμας τινα μισθον εχετε ουχι και οι τελωναι το αυτο ποιουσιν

και εαν ασπασησθε τους αδελφους υμων μονον τι περισσον ποιειτε ουχι και οι τελωναι ουτως ποιουσιν.

“You have heard that it has been said, ‘love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you: love your enemies, speak well of those who curse you, do good to your enemies, and pray for those who threaten and persecute you (this is a longer version, the standard version is: αγαπατε τους εχθρους υμων και προσευχεσθε υπερ των διωκοντων υμας; “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”), so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven who makes His sun rise upon the base and upon the good and [causes it to] rain upon the righteous and the unrighteous. For, if you love those who love you, you do not have any reward[.] Even the tax-collectors do this. Also, if you welcome your brothers only you do nothing that is remarkable[.] Even the tax-collectors do this to them [i.e. their brothers].”

In this passage, therefore, Christ clearly erases the “and hate your enemy,” part and instructs His believers that they should always love whomever they interact with (i.e. the person close to them), regardless of whether they are good or bad, righteous or unrighteous, just as God, it seems, treats the good and the base, the righteous and the unrighteous the same. Christ clearly states that if they love only the people who love them and behave in a welcoming way only to those whom they perceive as their brothers, they do no more than the tax-collectors and should, therefore, not expect any reward for it.

As if this point needed any more fleshing out, I will also add another verse.

1 John 4:8–ο μη αγαπων ουκ εγνω τον θεον οτι ο θεος αγαπη εστιν; “The one who has not loved (from the word agape) does not know God, because God is love (agape).”

This, taken in connection with the other two passages above connotes that unless a believer love all people (i.e. everyone with whom he/she has ever come to contact with), they do not know God. Please consider the fact that one can only love by God’s love, agape, if one loves all people, as instructed in Matthew 5, in a perfect manner. To subtract anyone from this kind of love would be to depart from the manner which God loves and, therefore, to not love according to agape.

3) Whether God is merciful toward His creation.

I feel sad that I should bring this into contention. The evidence that Christ came to this world so that the sins of all those who believe in Him are forgiven (as long as they are repentant of said sins) should itself seal the deal (because Christ did not need to come to our world to die, except that, because He loves all humans and desires that all humans should be saved, He gave His life so that we may have new life, or as  St. Athanasios said, God became man so that man may share into the Divine Life). However, some people miss this point, so let us try to show, by means of events in the Bible, that this principle is true.

(I will paraphrase here because this story is quite long) When Jonah came to Nineveh to deliver to them the message that, if they did not change their ways, God would destroy them, they did not repent. Jonah, therefore, left the city and sat on a hill to witness the city’s destruction. As he was sitting on the hill, God made a tree grow, so as to provide Jonah with shade (and, allegedly, welcomed-for back support). However, God did not destroy the city, so Jonah became angry onto death, because God did not destroy the “keep his word.” God, then, caused the tree that was providing Jonah with shade to wither. Seeing this, Jonah was angry onto death with God, because He destroyed the tree that was providing him with shade. God, then, pointed out to Jonah that that tree, which God had made appear in one single night and with which Jonah had been  for one single day, was dear to the prophet, even though he had not created it, nor labored in order to shape it. Nonetheless, he expected God to destroy the city, each of whose people God had created and labored in shaping.

Of course, Jonah forgot here that God was merciful with him when he disobeyed God and that He did not kill him for disobedience when he was thrown into the sea, but saved him.

God, is, therefore, merciful to his people, because they are His creatures, the works of His hands. Also, we ourselves must not forget that we have been forgiven of our sins, so we should never be hypocritical about demanding God to punish other sinners even though He has shown mercy and forgiven us (regardless of the fact that most of us go on to sin again).

The combination of these three points clearly shows that the WBC falls short of the standard of Christianity.

1-2) The Christian must want all humans to be saved and act out according to that act of the will (that is, by definition, what an act of the will is). In other words, the Christian must make it as easy as possible for other people to be saved, not put stumbling blocks in front of them. It is quite clear that, through their pickets, the WBC does nothing more than polarize people and make it harder for those who struggle with same-sex attraction to listen to the Christians who want to show them the truth of Christ and, at any rate, be a shoulder for them to cry on when they are in need. Of course, some may say that I, in my posts where I argue against same-sex marriage, am doing the same as these people, but I would call, in my defense, the fact that I am offering arguments, not publicly blaspheming God (which is what saying “God hates f*gs” is, because hatred is the correct response to sin, not people). I for one, believe that gay people are not defined by their sexual preference and, though I hope that they will come to the truth and choose to be brave and resist their attraction (which does not mean that they need to marry someone of the opposite sex or behave as if they are not attracted to the same sex. They simply need to not give into the temptation to have sex with someone of their same gender), but whether they ever reach that point or not, I am perfectly willing to love them and be a shoulder for them to cry on whenever they need it, though I disagree with a part of their decisions. I do this not because I am a particularly good person, but because it is my duty to do it. I have no say-so in the matter. Christ said, “if you love me, obey my commandments” and He was very clear that the Christian should love his neighbor always, be he a Samaritan or a gay person.

3) God is ever-merciful. God does not hate people or countries. As the Psalmist says, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities…” Though in the Old Testament, in preparing the people of God for the coming of the Messiah, God is often seen ordering violence and death both from the Israelites to other peoples and from other peoples to the Israelites (just like a father may spank his young child), upon the coming of Christ, who, in the words of St. Paul, is the unveiling of the veil, the full icon of the Father, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the perfection of the covenant between God and His people (the New Israel, those who are children of Abraham through faith) clearly shows that God, in His totality, is merciful and does not want any of His creatures to perish. In fact, those humans who go to Hell do not go the the place prepared for them; Christ, time and time again, says that Hell is the place prepared for the devil and his angles, not for men. Indeed, God shows His mercy even through the fact that people can go to Hell, for, as C. S. Lewis put it, He allows in those who bow to Him and say, “Your will be done,” or He bows to those who do not and says, “your will be done,” which is to be away from God, so they go to the only place where God is not.

The question as to whether Hell is a permanent place is a question to which there is no answer. Some notable Fathers, St. Gregory Nazarenes for example, have believed that all souls, eventually, understand their mistakes and come to Heaven. Of course, that is a matter of speculation and, if I may say so, one that we should not spend much time speculating, lest it take precedent over our job in this world, which is to be perfect. Perfection entails that we have proper reactions to all things, which means that we should hate what is supposed to be hated, which is sin (that is to say, un-being, but one should never hate being, which is the creation of God).

Therefore, for my part, I beg forgiveness of my gay brothers and sisters if my posts come off as offensive to them. I do not mean to offend them, but I do hope that they will consider what I am saying and, at least, ponder on whether (assuming that their sexual attraction and sex life is the second most important thing in their life) anything finite is a very small sacrifice for the most important thing in life, which is the love of and relationship with God (which is infinite).

That said, it is objectively true (I do not say this, God says this), that WBC commits a greater and graver sin by being, first, hateful toward people, and, second, by making it harder for people who are gay to find the courage and warm embrace of the Church and the knowledge that God and His mystical body on earth, the Church, will always be there to support them and love them regardless of how many times they fall short. God and those who love God, the Church, will be there to extend to them a hand with nothing other than love whenever they fall, never giving up on them. Because the WBC performs actions completely antithetical to this, their sin is greater than the one they seem to be so concerned with. Of course, Christ predicted this, because not for naught did He caution us to ever remove the plank out of our own eye before seeking to remove the speck in our brother’s eye.

I for one, however, love even the people of the WBC, though I hate the philosophy and theology of the WBC and hope that they will go back to the Word of God and discover for themselves the richness and beauty of truth and the healing of the true faith in Christ and let go of their false teachings. Of course, while I say this, I realize that I am a greater sinner even than them, because they, though with false teaching and spreading false messages, do much more (though what they do is wrong) than I do, who, by no other accident than being born into the “right” family, have come to know the truth faith and the fulness of the teaching of Christ, so, for my part, I beg the forgiveness of all humans, even the people of the WBC, for not doing more to spread the truth of Christ.

A Short Point About the News on Casey Anthony

Apparently, Casey Anthony is pregnant with twins. I do not see how this is such big news, but I digress.

The point of this post, however, is the reaction that people seem to be having (not to speak of the connection between her and Zimmerman, which I also think is unwarranted, because there’s levels of scum).

Consider this tweet:

Ouch!

Ouch!

Of course, you may see the irony in what is meant to be a reaction to someone who walked away after “allegedly” committing murder (not any kind of murder at that, she killed her own child), but that is completely beyond the issue. What I want to focus on is the outrage that many people are feeling about Anthony being pregnant again.

What frustrates me is that, while it is understandable that this young woman is upset that Casey Anthony (at least in her mind) killed a child and is now about to have custody over another one, is that this kind of predisposition is not present more often. For example, when the trial of Kermit Gosnell was going on, I do not think @charlottetruth bothered much to speak on how hundreds of babies were killed. When Planned Parenthood announced that even if a baby could survive outside the womb and the procedure to terminate it (i.e. kill it) was botched, it would not try to save the baby, all was quiet on the Western front.

Despite the fact that sex-selective abortions is something that everyone is going against in China, the ACLU said it would file a suit against the law in AZ and there was no noise on that. Of course, that’s to not speak of the elephant in the room, Planned Parenthood itself, who kills a baby every 94 seconds (going by the 2011 stats) and yet many women see it as an institution that protects them (from what I don’t know).

I ask you, if abortion is not wrong, why is Anthony’s alleged infanticide wrong? Is there some magical meaning to passing through the birth canal that makes not-a-baby a baby? I quite agree that there’s something rotten about Casey Anthony having a baby (and even saying that she wanted to name one of them after her first daughter), since she seems completely unrepentant about what she did (regardless whether the law finds her guilty), but let’s be consistent with our principles, shall we?

A Short Meditation on Philosophy

So, I started doing a graduate school application and ended up writing a short philosophy paper instead.

Any proper philosophical enquiry into any theme should start with an adequate definition of the terms in question, to avoid ambiguity. In the question at hand, namely why I, indeed why anyone, would desire to continue his or her studies in philosophy, defining this term is crucial to the whole question. From the word itself, philosophy is, as the Greek φιλοσοφία suggests, the love and subsequent pursuit of wisdom. It is, in other words, the search for the Logos in human existence, that overarching and underlying reason and structure which outlines the truths that are beneficial to the person. This definition commits one to certain other concepts, specifically the idea that, first of all, that truth exists. Those who seek wisdom had better believe that wisdom actually exists. Second, it commits the person to the Principle of Intelligibility, i.e. that we can know this truth.

This interpretive key in considering philosophy in the following manner immediately makes one aware to the fact that, going by the definition of those who coined the words, much of today’s philosophy is not, in fact, philosophy. Not only is there the question of objectivity and objective knowledge to consider, but the question of perspective. The ancient philosophers saw truth as the correspondence to ultimate reality, the objective judge to our own subjective thoughts and experiences, in accordance with which a thought is either correct and, therefore, true, or otherwise doomed to be incorrect and antithetical to the pursuit of wisdom.

Due to shifts in modern philosophy, of which Descartes seems to be the ultimate culprit, this definition has shifted. Whereas Plato and Aristotle judged themselves by the objective reality of the world, Descartes judged the whole world on the basis of his own experience in his famous cogito ergo sum in his Discourse on Method. Though seemingly unproblematic and in accordance to the teachings of Socrates, who instructed all his students to judge all things by reason, this idea departs its follower from the true pursuit of wisdom. After all, Socrates did also council to first have that same hermeneutic of suspicion toward the thinker himself. In the Meno, Plato reminds us to always question, before everything else, our own knowledge. Meno tells Socrates that he has mesmerized him and Socrates shows, through teaching his slave some basic geometry, that unless that first reaction of being lost is present, anyone would go on making speeches about how doubling the sides of a square makes its area double in size.

Under this frame lies a debate which has not much been explored, the question about which of the following two statements better describes one’s attitude toward philosophy and, perhaps, all things in life; Socrates’ γνώθι σαυτόν or Descartes’ cogito ergo sum. One asks for an initial introspection into the thinker, before one’s thoughts can be trusted. The other takes the existence of his thoughts as the hinge upon which all reality is hung.

Descartes teaches that all have privileged mental access to their own minds, saying that there could never be a thought that is hidden from the thinker. Socrates, on the other hand, presents a picture of the human soul that is shrouded in mystery. He goes so far as to say that all learning is, in fact, remembering. In short, he tells us that we are, deep inside, gifted with great wisdom, but that we have forgotten it and have sold ourselves short. This fits perfectly with the imagery of the cave in the Republic, where all men are brought into the world inside the cave, looking at shadows cast by puppets in front of a fireplace, not even able to see themselves.

Luckily, there is a way out of that initial darkness. When the prisoners realize that there must be more behind them, casting the shadows on the wall of the cave, there are able to see a way out, though it is long and difficult and, through the entrance to the cave, as a singe dart, pierce the pure rays of the Sun. Philosophy, then, requires the person to first climb out of the cave and into the plain which is illumined by that Sun, so the person may know first who he is and who the Sun is and then to go back into the cave and bring the others into the Sun as well.

However, this process comes with great risks, because one does not know what is outside the cave. Suppose, for example, that there are terrifying wild beasts roaming through the plain. Even worse, imagine if, upon coming out of the cave, the person discovers that they are themselves the terrifying beast. In yet another worst-case scenario, what if, upon coming out of the cave, they become the wild beast and seek to bring all that is out there under their own dominion. The aforementioned three worst-case scenarios are three attitudes that are antithetical to philosophy. The first is timidity and comfort, the view that what one has now is enough and that there is probably nothing more to discover. The second is the outlook of Machiavelli, who invites us to throw off the idea that our standard should be the God made Man of Christianity or even the half-man who has overcome the half-beast of Classical wisdom in Chiron, but the lion and the fox. The third is the outlook of Francis Bacon, Nietzsche, Sartre, et al., who invite us to bring nature and all that is in it under our dominion.

It is easy to accept that we must throw off the third view in order to develop philosophy, but the other two seem to be less relenting. What if there really are beasts roaming all but the cave? The answer to this view is love. Socrates first loves wisdom, then he can know it and his reward for this courageous jump is death. Yet, he is willing to continue in his path no matter what the consequences are, accepting as a lesser evil to die rather than to not keep onto the true path. However, what if we really are a beast, capable of nothing more than devouring? The answer to this view is self-control. For better or for worse, humankind can, always, though some times the struggle is of Herculean proportions, stop itself. Unless one exercises self-control, then they will never make it out of the cave. If they seek to voraciously charge into the unknown, they will probably bash themselves on the rocks or fall into a precipice.

All three attitudes can be refuted by one word, ethics. This is the one area of philosophy that no one can escape and, surprisingly, the one area of philosophy that, with the combined ideology of Machiavelli’s beastly teaching and Descartes’ internalistic picture of the world is most at peril in our culture. Nietzsche and Sartre strike at this very heart of philosophy and discover that, once it has been removed, philosophy itself becomes little more than mockery. Nietzsche advises his reader to go beyond good and evil into a new existence, which renders him limitless, but every attempt to put his work into practice has ended in horrific failure, even his own. Bacon invites his reader to put nature under the rack until she spits our all her secrets, but nature, that ever-cunning mistress, retreats only to entice him to pursue her further, ultimately ending in a horrific double-envelopment on her part which, on the contrary of forcing her to tell all her secrets, brings out the monstrosity of “men-without-chests.”

Instead, the Medieval Scholastic tradition of the West and the Eastern Patristic writings, in one breath, invite the person to have a sacramental and reverential view of the whole world. Some might be shocked to find out that this is also a Platonic teaching, to be found in the Symposium, in Eryximachus’ speech, who says that love occurs everywhere in the universe. It follows from that idea that love is the correct attitude toward all things. Ethics, therefore, maps out how that love is to be exhibited toward each thing. Only through this view can anyone ever reach true wisdom.

Third Man Argument Response: The Better Version

Hey guys, I know I posted something on this already, but this is the better, more scholarly essay that I had to write on it. As always, plagiarism is not cool.

What has come to be known as the Third Man Argument (TMA) has brought scholars of Plato and philosophers at large many headaches, due to the seeming end that it brings to the Platonic Theory of Forms. The most puzzling part is that it is included in the Platonic corpus itself, so it seems that there must be a solution to it, that it is a challenge from Plato beyond the grave to his philosophical successors. This paper will outline that one of the premises of the argument is not faithful to the Platonic corpus  and that there are at least two ways to solve the argument, thereby dissolving the infinite regress and keeping Plato’s theory of Forms intact.

The TMA (Parmenides 132a1-b2), relies on two basic principles. First, the Principle of Abstraction, i.e. that for every property F there must be a Form, F-ness, through which all objects with F get that property[1]. There are multiple places in the Platonic corpus where this is affirmed. The second principle, hereby to be referred as the Feedback Principle, asserts that the idea of F-ness and all the objects that it substantiates form a new class of things with the property F[2]. The Feedback Principle is drawn out of two hidden axioms, namely Non-Identity, which follows directly from Separation, and Self-Predication.

The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy cites four instances[3] in the Platonic corpus from which this principle can be concluded, however, in analysing them, the issue of pulling out the Principle of Separation is problematic. The first speaks about the doctrine of recollection, the central idea in the Meno, by which we have knowledge of the Forms, with the mention of “the Beautiful itself, the Good itself…[4]” The second quotation, also from the Phaedo makes the same mention, but its content does not relate to Separation. The third and fourth quotations are thematically very close, with the fourth one pointing out that there is a difference between those who love “beautiful sounds and colours” and those who love “the beautiful itself[5].” None of the four give sufficient evidence to postulate Separation. Rather, they indicate that there is a difference between an instance of a Form being substantiated in a sensible object and the Form itself. The last quotation makes the additional point that, even though, on the Metaphysical level, the Form is the first principle used to understand objects that instantiate it, on the Epistemic level, the formulation of it itself is the last step[6].

As if that were not enough to damn Separation (and with it Non-Identity[7]), there is the additional difficulty that, when taken together with the Principle of Self-Predication, they are mutually exclusive. If F-ness is an F, and yet is not one of the objects that begets F through F-ness, then it is obvious that there is an infinite regress, but to state the argument in such terms is to beg the question, because the strongest claim one can make about Separation, while still remaining faithful to the Platonic corpus is that “The F is itself by itself, at least in the sense of being separate from, and hence not identical with, the things that partake of it.[8]” It is obvious that F-ness is not identical with the (other) things it instantiates, but that does not mean that it is not an instance of instantiation itself. This points to the idea of degrees in instantiation, by which the Form is not perfectly instantiated in every object that has that property, but is instantiated perfectly in itself[9]. To deal with this concept at length would be to stray from the TMA, therefore, one must come back to it.

Be the issue with Separation as it may, there is an additional problem with the TMA, namely, the issue of the property of the ‘new Form’ formulated by the Feedback Principle. The expanded set with every object that has the property F and F-ness itself bring forth a ‘new Form’, F-ness1. However, it follows from this principle that F-ness is not an F, but rather an F1 and so on and so forth ad infinitum. In this case, if F-ness is, in fact, not an F but and F1, it cannot be included in the expanded set, because it is not one of the things which has the property F. To simply assume that F-ness gets the property of being F from F1 etc., would be to assume that one needs more than one Form for each property, but this is the conclusion of the TMA in proving that the Uniqueness Principle, i.e. that there is only one Form corresponding to each property F[10], is wrong. If so, to include it as an enthymic premise makes the argument invalid[11]. If the property which F-ness1 represents is any different than property of F-ness, then the argument makes no sense, if it is the same, then the argument is circular, because it assumes what it is trying to prove.

That being said, the reading that Self-Predication necessitates Self-Participation means that the Forms have to be understood (in terms of instilling the property F) as being a non-well-founded set. Though under Russell’s theory a set of the kind Ω={Ω}, would be an absurdity[12], Aczel introduces a variation of the Zermelo-Fraenkel plus the axiom of choice theory with the anti-foundation axiom[13] by using which one can keep the theory of the Forms consistent. Schweizer explains the contribution of this theory as follows:

This object induces an infinite descending chain of membership, but it is nonetheless hereditarily finite, since each member of the chain has only one element. ZFC, with the axiom of foundation replaced by the AFA, is provably consistent relative to the original system. Thus circularity is formally absolved … and the world of ‘hypersets’ is rendered just as axiomatically secure as the cumulative hierarchy[14].

By implementing this method, therefore, there is a consistent way to understand the Theory of Forms in terms of Self-Predication and Self-Participation, which leaves no room for the TMA.

That being said, it seems that Parmenides’ argument rests on one other shaky premise, namely the idea that being able to think about a scenario is suitable grounding for positing that such a thing exists. Even if the TMA were logically consistent, simply the fact that one can think of an infinite regression of Forms in not sufficient reasoning to postulate that this regress exists. However, to introduce this principle is to open the door to Nominalist criticism, because to implement a weak limit for the sets that correspond to Universals necessitates that it be defended from the stronger claim that no sets correspond to Universals as well as the idea that all sets do. The answer to both sides is functionality.

First, it is quite clear that Universals are necessary as a means of language. Let us take ‘red’ as an example. The Nominalist would argue that there is no such one thing as ‘red’ that one can pick out. We can talk about a chair being ‘red,’ but that definition of ‘red’ would have to be loose, because even a chair seemingly identical to it would be a slightly different kind of red. This, however, is explained within the Platonic corpus as Impurity-S, namely that, “sensible things are impure inasmuch as they can (and, in fact, often do) have contrary properties.[15]” The reason why most of the red things witnessed on Earth are different from most others is because their pigment is some mixture between red and other colours. In trying to produce colours digitally, the RGB model uses red, blue, and green in varying degrees in order to represent all colours. One has to abstract, out of the idea that there are many things that one would classify as red (that is, colours made up mostly by red), that there is a perfect or pure red that is not mixed with any other colour. Unless there is such a kind of red, it would not make sense to posit that we can mix red with other colours to produce mixtures. In fact, in recreating images in television or computers, one would have to otherwise log an infinity of colours as primitive, whereas this ‘flowing’ chart is simpler and works better.

In addition, there are cases where one can only speak in abstractions, thereby necessitating that there be Forms in order to be able to communicate about a scenario. The scenario B proposes in Max Black’s “The Identity of Indiscernibles” goes a long way in illustrating this case. In this possible world, there are two spheres, both made of chemical iron, both the same temperature and colour, both having one mile diameters, etc.[16] There would be no way to talk about them except by abstractions, which is to say, except by appealing to the Forms. As Black illustrates, one cannot pick one sphere and name it, because there is no reference to which sphere the name applies as opposed to the other. Nonetheless, one can say that they are both spheres, that they are both made out of iron, etc. However, in order for those statements to bear any meaning, there needs to be a Form of the sphere, the perfect sphere, by which one can discern that these two objects are spheres. Therefore, if the Nominalist wants to keep intact his ideology that there are no Universals, he would either have to say that the postulation of such a world is impossible, because the string of words “there are two spheres” has no meaning, or otherwise accept that words such as ‘sphere’ are necessary out of the convention of language, but that they have no intrinsic meaning, at which point we would be back to square one. Because the Forms have a function, i.e. of picking out the perfect or pure red that is mixed in order to make colours in nature, or the perfect sphere from which one can discern spheres, they have a function, whereas the expanded sets of the Universals do not derive any function and are, therefore, unnecessary. If they are unnecessary, one need not postulate them.

In conclusion, the TMA breaks down because the Principle of Non-Identity is drawn from a Principle of Separation that does not faithfully follow the Platonic corpus, which allows and indeed requires for the Forms to be Self-Participating if they have are instances of Self-Predicament. If this is so, the expanded sets, and with them the infinite regression of Forms, are dissolved. Forms, then, are instances of non-well-founded sets as defined by Aczel. Nonetheless, Parmenides’ argument against the Forms is problematic in that simply being able to think of the expanded sets does not give sufficient reason to believe they exist, since the expanded sets have no function. In saying this, it may seem to open the road for a Nominalist criticism, but the Forms are necessary as reference points to reality, therefore, one cannot extract them without damaging both language and philosophy.

Works Cited

Aczel, P., Non-Well-Founded Sets, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Lecture Notes Number 14, 1988.

Black, Max. “The Identity of Indiscernibles.” Mind 61.242 (1952): 153-64. JSTOR. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2252291&gt;.

McInerny, Ralph.  “Are There Moral Truths that Everyone Knows?” in E. McLean (Ed.),  Common Truths. (Wilmington: Intercollegiate Studies Institute Books, 1999), pp. 1-15.

Plato. Plato: Complete Works. Ed. John M. Cooper. Indianapolis, Indiana: Hacket, 1997. Print.

Rickless, Samuel, “Plato’s Parmenides“, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/plato-parmenides/&gt;.

Schweizer, Peter. “Self-Predication and the Third Man.” Erkenntnis 40.1 (1994): 21-42. JSTOR. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20012526&gt;.


[1] P. Schweizer, “Self-Predication and the Third Man”, pg. 23

[2] ibid.

[3] Phaedo 75c11–d2, 100b6–7; Republic 476b10, 480a11

[4] Phaedo, 75c11-d2

[5] Republic, 480a11

[6] R. McInerny,, “Are there Moral Truths That Everyone Knows?” pg. 14. The article has no relation to TMA, however, it outlines why it must be that, though the principle has to come first and be used to distinguish instances of it, the formulation of the principle, abstracted from particular instances, comes last.

[7] SEP, Parmenides

[8] Ibid.

[9] P. Schweizer, “Self-Predication and the Third Man”, pg. 34

[10] SEP, Parmenides

11 P. Schweizer, “Self-Predication and the Third Man”, pp. 27-28

[12] Ibid. pg. 38

[13]P. Aczel, Non-Well-Founded Sets, Lecture Notes Nr. 14

[14]P. Schweizer, “Self-Predication and the Third Man”, pg. 38

[15] SEP, Parmenides

[16] M. Black, “The Identity of Indiscernibles” pg. 156