The Logos in Plato’s Sophist

Michel Fattal

Trying to prove against the sophists that the false speech exists, Plato gives us progressively and for the first time, through this dialogue, a clear definition of Logos as “proposition”, and let us discover the fundamental role played by the megista genè in order to explain the false and the true speech.
In other terms, the originality of the Sophist lies in showing the semantical, syntaxical, logical and eidetical (or thematical) conditions of a correct or a true logos where “being” and “alterity”, characterized by a certain dynamism – which is new comparing to the classical dialogues – defi ne the complexity of speech in general and let us grasp the complexity of reality.
Through the importance assigned to alterity, to multiplicity and to the “power of communication” (dunamis koinônias in 251e 8, dunamis epikoinonias in 252d 2–3) of eidè and genè, ordered by the science of the philosopher (dialectic), Plato off ers a new ontology related to his accomplished theory of langage where “relation” seems central.


Keywords: Logos · the Sophist · conditions of a true and a false speech · megista genè · power of communication · dialectic · relation

Michel Fattal — Member of the Centre of Research on Ancient Thought at Paris IV-Sorbonne since 1980, Member of the International Plato Society since its foundations in 1989, and Expert in Ancient Philosophy for the French Ministry of Research for the past eight years, is currently Professor of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at the University of Grenoble II (France). He has published fifteen books and over fifty articles on the philosophical theories of Logos in antiquity from the Presocratics to Plato and Aristotle, Plotinus and Saint Augustin as well as the medieval reception of Greek Philosophy.   »  

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