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David Charles offers 14 new essays via best specialists concerning definition in Greek philosophers from Socrates to Plotinus.

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John C. Hall, ‘Plato: Euthyphro 10a1–11a10’, Philosophical Quarterly 18 (1968), 1–11, at p. 5; see also pp. 43–4 and p. 46, n. 39 below. PLATO ON DEFINITION 43 philosophical argument) the explanation comes to this: Plato saw the need for this step if the argument was to go through, but could not think of a better way of securing it than to portray Euthyphro as ready to go along with anything. 30 John H. ’31 But if this is all we can say, and the reasons agreement is needed to refute Euthyphro’s definition, then Socrates is simply begging the question against Euthyphro.

There are major historical questions to address at this point. The differing Stoic and neo-Platonist approaches, so understood, point in radically opposed directions. The Stoic account (on one interpretation) encourages the view that we should (after some preliminary definitional work) engage in scientific investigation, unconstrained by the ideal of essence-directed definition, to uncover laws and necessities in nature. If definition has any role in this latter project, it is simply (as for more recent scientific essentialists) to record the results of empirically based scientific enquiry, governed by independent explanatory principles.

Now the fact that the idea of a causal relationship does not fit the case of being loved casts some doubt on the interpretation. This doubt is not, perhaps, decisive: we might suppose that the error is Plato’s, and that he mistakenly extends to the ‘target’ case—being loved—a view that holds of his illustrative cases. 20 Whatever the ontological character of X’s being carried by Y is, it is obviously relational in some way. One might think of it as having two cosubjects, or, to use a slightly picturesque metaphor, as jointly owned by X and Y.

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