Volume 26, Issue 1, Fall 2021
One One, or the Unity of Being in Plato’s Parmenides
Being can no longer be thought, for Plato, in accordance with Parmenides’ either/or; rather, it is both/and, both present in and absent from things, which is how they can come-to-presence and go-out-into-absence. But as the Parmenides demonstrates, Greek grammar hints at a fundamental ontological truth: the expression, “one one,” ἓν ἕν, shows that being can be implied, neither present nor absent—for being is an implication. But then participating must be rethought in terms of implying: being is implied in everything that is and is one, which is how it is present in beings and absent therefrom. But this understanding of participation—as Aristotle insists—is contradictory. Luckily, there is another way: implication qua belonging—being no longer participates-in, but belongs-to things, which is how it is one with them, distinct but inseparable. But this too, betrays implication, fails to grasp being’s way of being, and the meaning of being qua implied, and so cannot illuminate how being and beings are and are one—for as the suspension of presence and/or absence, implying is irreducible to participating or belonging. Rather, if being is implied, it is because implication is suspension, which is why it is so suspenseful.