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Robert Elkins
When Robert Elkins entered UCI, he was a biological sciences major; however, after a year and a half, he changed majors because according to him, "philosophy is the single most important aspect of a good education and of anyone's personal identity." As an undergraduate, Rob was able to enroll in a graduate philosophy course with Professor Santas. By tackling this ambiguous and problematic topic, Robert proved to himself he could produce the high-caliber work necessary for his future doctorate pursuits.
Degrees of Reality in the Republic
In the Republic Book V (476a-478e), Plato correlates three kinds of objects­that which "is," that which "is not," and that which both "is and is not"­with three states of mind: knowledge, ignorance, and opinion. This paper will attempt to understand the sense of einai (the Greek infinitive for "to be" or "to exist") used by Plato in this context by analyzing the existential and predicative interpretations of Republic Bk. V (476a-478e). It will be argued that, due to the inherent ambiguity of the passage, and the word einai itself, we are not justified in adopting one reading over the other. By taking into account the fact that Plato does not present an explicit notion of change, or flux, we can consistently ascribe both the existential and predicative interpretations to the text.
Degrees of reality by Plato is one of the most difficult interpretive issues in modern Platonic scholarship. Plato's texts on this topic are ambiguous and obscure and the contemporary secondary literature intricate and sophisticated. Undergraduates enrolled in this graduate course never touch this topic. Robert Elkins navigates its muddy waters remarkably without shipwreck.
~ Gerasimos Santas
School of Humanities
Gerasimos Santos
Robert Elkins ~
The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal
Faculty Mentor
Key Terms:
¨ Metaphysics
¨ Ontology
¨ Epistemology
¨ Existential Use of Einai
¨ Predicative Use of Einai
¨ Degrees of Reality
¨ Sensibles (particulars)
¨ Flux