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I offer a plausible reading of Sophist 248a-249d and its relation to Parmenides 133a-135a. My thesis supports the reconstruction of the 'worst difficulty' as a valid argument, thus allowing it to live up to its description in the text. This view contributes to a portrait of Plato who developed a sophisticated theory of relations, who then had the honesty and insight to see and record the 'worst difficulty' that the theory had for the hard-won theory of Forms, and who then tenaciously worked out a viable and integrated solution to that difficulty. It should come as no surprise - and it is the overriding virtue of this thesis - that the 'man of wide experience and natural ability' of the Parmenides should turn out to be Plato himself.


Mark McPherran presented “Plato’s Reply to the Worst Difficulty Argument of the Parmenides: Sophist 248-249d” to the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy at its meeting with the Western Division of the American Philosophical Association in Chicago, April 25, 1985. It was published in Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 68.3 (1986) 232-252 and reprinted in John P. Anton & Anthony Preus, eds. 1989. Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Vol. III: Plato, State University of New York Press, 227-246.

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