Volume 26, Issue 1, Fall 2021
Parmenides’s Love of Honor and Lessons about How (Not) to Do Philosophy from Plato’s Parmenides
In this paper, I show that the Parmenides provides important insight into how to properly engage in philosophical discussion—or, more accurately, how not to engage in it. From references to age, love-of-winning and love-of-honor, and a parallel to the Phaedo, I show that Parmenides is ruled by the spirited part of his soul in a way that compromises his ability to philosophize, and that the Parmenides is a warning about doing philosophy from a love of honor. Ideally, we should do philosophy from a love of wisdom. When we are honor-loving, we are not only motivated by the wrong kind of thing, but our love of honor can also blind us to the specific ways in which we might be falling short of ideal philosophical engagement, such as missing the potential dangers of engaging in philosophy with certain kinds of interlocutors.