Saul Rosenthal

Associate Scholar

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Saul Rosenthal

SAS Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2012

Plato’s Explanatory Predication

My research focuses on Plato’s metaphysics and the self-predication of forms. Plato is often criticized for holding the view that all forms genuinely self-predicate; that is, that any form of F is itself an F thing. For instance, the form of tallness is itself a tall thing, etc. My view is that, in fact, Plato never endorses such a view, and that we have good reason to doubt all of the most influential interpretations of Plato’s apparently self-predicational language. I argue for a new interpretation called the Explanatory Predication view, according to which Plato uses his apparent statements of self-predication to emphasize the explanatory role of forms. My interpretation differs crucially from others because I claim that he emphasizes this explanatory role without being committed to any version of a genuine self-predication assumption. Plato does not hold that for all forms, the form of F is an F thing.