Organon F

2022, Pages 1–22

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article

The Whole-Part Dilemma: A Compositional Understanding of Plato’s Theory of Form

Seong Soo Park

DOI: to be assigned


In this paper, I suggest a way of resolving the whole-part di-lemma suggested in the Parmenides. Specifically, I argue that grabbing the second horn of the dilemma does not pose a sig-nificant challenge. To argue for this, I consider two theses about Forms, namely, the oneness and indivisibility theses. More specifically, I argue that the second horn does not vio-late the oneness thesis if we treat composition as identity and that the indivisibility thesis ought to be reinterpreted given Plato’s later dialogues. By doing so, I suggest a com-positional understanding of Plato’s theory of Forms, which can resolve the whole-part dilemma.


Plato; Parmenides; theory of Forms; one and many.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)


Seong Soo Park


Sungkyunkwan University


Department of Philosophy, Sungkyunkwan University, Sungkyunk-wan-ro 25-2, Jongro-gu, Seoul, South Korea


About this article


17 September 2020


8 January 2021


23 June 2021

Published online

18 April 2022


Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as

Park, Seong Soo. "The Whole-Part Dilemma: A Compositional Understanding of Plato’s Theory of Forms". Organon F 2022, 1–22.

Copyright information

© Seong Soo Park

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