Relations Between Forms and “Pauline Predication” in Euthyphro 11e4-12d4

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1980


Mathesis Publications


In a series of papers,1 Gregory VIastos has introduced into Plato scholarship the concept of "Pauline predication."2 He has argued that many, if not all, statements of the form, "F-ness is F" assert not that a given Platonic Form, F-ness, has the property of being F, but that the Form is of such a nature that all its instances have that property.3 Hence, not all instances of apparent self-predication are actually self-predications.4 If Vlastos' paraphrase of such statements is correct, it is possible for a Platonist to remove the teeth of the Third Man Argument by rejecting its essential but implicit premise of self-predication, at least for Forms that are not necessarily logically self-predicative (e.g. the Forms of Being, Unity, Sameness, and Difference).5 VIastos has used the "Pauline" interpretation not only for statements of the form, "F-ness is F," but also for statements of the form, "F-ness is G," in cases where the attribution of the property of being G to the Form of F seems as inappropriate as the attribution of the property of being F (e.g. "Piety is just" and "Justice is pious," Protagoras 331b).6