[Name of Student]
[Date of Submission]
EVERY QUALITY COMES INTO BEING FROM ITS OWN OPPOSITE
In his philosophical dialogue, Plato argues that big things would not be bigger or small things smaller without their opposites; all things depend on their opposites for their existence. The aim of this paper is to explain a central argument from Plato’s dialogue encapsulating his views towards existence of things, and to consider some implications of the ideas within that argument. These implications will critique the idea that “every quality comes into being from its own opposite”.
Explaining the Argument
Plato’s argument is that “Every quality comes into being from its own opposite.” Plato here intends to explain that things can only be seen as they are by drawing inference from their opposites, for instance, big things would not be bigger or small things smaller without their opposites. In the same way, people who are awake are just people who were asleep but then woke up, while people who are asleep are just people who were once awake. Since nothing can suddenly come into being or cease to be, Plato argues that if death is the opposite of life, then death and life must be in a constant cycle, one appearing out of the other. At the end of our lives we turn out to be dead, yet comparably this implies that at the beginning of our lives we come into being out of dead souls.
The issues with this argument arise from the shifting question of what Plato implies when he talks about opposites. As he presents them, it appears he is discussing comparative opposites, for example, bigger and smaller. Something that turns out to be big is bigger now than it was before: It is presently big only when comparing to the way it was before. Plato contradicts his arguments by shifting to absolute comparison where there is no discussion of “more dead” or “more alive,” there is just “dead” or “alive” to choose between Somebody that is alive now is not said to be alive on the grounds that they are less dead than they were when they were not alive. There are no justification of being dead or alive as there are with being big or small, and it is not clear that in the case of absolute opposites, each one must come into being out of its opposite.
This paper has attempted to elaborate upon the structure and content of Plato’s argument that “every quality comes into being from its own opposite.” It has argued that while Plato raises some important points that; things can only be seen as they are by drawing inference from their opposites, it does not distinguish between absolute and comparative opposites. Something that turns out to be big is bigger now than it was before, however, somebody that is alive is not said to be alive on the grounds that they are less dead. Plato’s argument possesses some fundamental limitations on its ability to make various conclusions and judgements.
Fārābi., and Muhsin Mahdi. Philosophy Of Plato And Aristotle. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. 1969.
Dent, N.J.H. “Plato”. Philosophical Books 23 (3): 149-151.2009. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0149.1982.tb00159.x.
 Fārābi., and Muhsin Mahdi. Philosophy Of Plato And Aristotle. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. 1969.
 Dent, N.J.H. “Plato”. Philosophical Books 23 (3): 149-151. 2009.