Untying the gorgianic ‘not’: Argumentative structure in on not-being

Classical Quarterly 69 (1):87-106 (2019)
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Gorgias’ On Not-Being survives only in two divergent summaries. Diels–Kranz's classic edition prints the better-preserved version that appears in Sextus’ Aduersus Mathematicos. Yet, in recent years there has been rising interest in a second summary that survives as part of the anonymous De Melisso, Xenophane, Gorgia. The text of MXG is more difficult; it contains substantial lacunae that often make it much harder to make grammatical let alone philosophical sense of. As Alexander Mourelatos reports, one manuscript has a scribal note that reads: ‘The original contains many errors; no one should blame me; I just copy what I see.’2 The treatise's state of preservation has aptly prompted Michael Gagarin to liken it to a black hole: ‘something we cannot see directly but know must exist because of certain effects it has on other objects.’3.
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