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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“No,” he replied, “for it might be like day, which is one and the same, is in many places at once, and yet is not separated from itself; so each idea, though one and the same, might be in all its participants at once.”

In the above sentence can you tell me what is the Greek for "He replied"?

That may affect your translation. Though the thought behind it is admirable and worth exploring.

I read in Proclus, by the way, that this analogy of the day that Socrates uses is one of the Forty Logoi of Zeno, which explains why Parmenides hesitates to criticise it publicly. Whether this is true or not I wondered whether this is why you attribute these passages to Zeno or Zeno/Parmenides and not simply to Parmenides himself.
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you are right. We better move on to the scarp leading down from your pinnacle, into the abyss of perplexity. I bid you to ask away.
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know your nature, O third man. I have no clue as to your disposition and where its perplexities lie, but if you are asking me to ask you a question I would follow the nature of my own perplexity on an account which may seem very facile.

It is to discover a little about the character of heteros - difference, the different, the other.

Socrates approaches this character in various ways in different parts of the dialogues: in the seventh book of Republic, in the Greater Hippias, in The Sophist to name a few. But this group of texts point to something more illusive than one first imagines. I also suspect new ground can be opened up.

If you find this at all interesting I should start in Phaedo, after an interesting preamble that should not be ignored. Socrates words are disarmingly simple and straightforward - the subject is anything but:

"I used to suppose it was an adequate view, whenever a large person standing beside a small one appeared to be larger just by a head: similarly with two horses. And, to take cases even clearer than these, it seemed to me that ten was greater than eight because of of the accruing of two to the latter, and two cubits were larger than one unit, because of their exceeding the latter by half."

He then intriguingly enlarges on the subject:

"I can assure you that I'm far from supposing I know the reason of any of those things, when I don't even accept from myself that when you add one to one, it's either the one to which the addition is made that's come to be two, or the one that's been added and the one to which it has been added, that have come to be two, because of the addition of one to the other. Because I wonder if, when they were apart from each other, each was one and they weren't two then; whereas when they came close to each other, this then became a reason for their becoming to be two - the union in which they were juxtaposed. Nor again can I any longer be persuaded , if you divide one, that this now has become a reason for its coming to be two, namely division; because if so, we have a reason opposite the previous one for it coming to be two; then [before] it was their being brought close together to each other and added, one to the other; whereas now it's their being drawn apart, and separated each from the other. Why, I can't even persuade myself any longer that I know why it is that one comes to be; nor, in short, why anything else comes to be, or perishes, or exists, following that method of enquiry. Instead I rashly adopt a different method, a jumble of my own, and in no way incline towards the other." Phaedo 96e.

It is this passage on which I would most like to ask you simple questions, put certain proposals but more importantly, generally discuss. We can be sure that most mathematicians have already thrown up their hands in frustration vacated the room and left us on our own to make ourselves seem as stupid as the speaker. But, as you know, Platonic Socrates is never naive. Philosophers know here what has been and what is to come. If you are amenable we will have to visit both.

We shall also want to see if Jacob Klein's deliberations on this very subject help or hinder us.

As ever, O David Tang, the decision is yours. Do we play or do you have an alternative strategy?
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erratum toto: I read "Phaedrus" for Phaedo. As usual I must abandon what is written, except the last bit, anyway, go on.

----

The spiritual atmosphere of Phaedrus is very peculiar. We come to sit under the ”Platon” tree, plane tree or sycamore, beside the Ilissus. I think it appropriate to remember that we are moving from the shade of the houses, Socrates’ usual haunts, for he is said to be a pale man, much like a woman who spends her days in gossip, and not out in the sun, to nature itself, which in no other dialogue is the place of Socrates. The opening lines of the novel Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, read:

“In the shade of the house, in the sunshine of the riverbank near the boats, in the shade of the Sal-wood forest, in the shade of the fig tree is where Siddhartha grew up, the handsome son of the Brahman, the young falcon, together with his friend Govinda, son of a Brahman. The sun tanned his light shoulders by the banks of the river when bathing, performing the sacred ablutions, the sacred offerings.”

Lysias the son of Cephalus speaks to us in absentia, and links us to a foreigner, as in the Republic, the other book that takes place beyond the walls of Athens, at Piraeus, where Cephalus, the rich man or “money maker” has his House, yet, this Piraeus is fortified, and not a “natural” place. The only other dialogue outside Athens is Laws which takes place with the old men on the island of Crete and does not explicitly name Socrates (though he seems to be the Athenian Xenos). The mention of Epicrates of Athens anchors us in the past of Athens herself, he was a notorious Democrat. We also have this intriguing link: Acumenus, the physician, is father of Eryximachus the physician, the latter appears in Symposium, both are discourses concerning eros.

Wikipedia notes, very tellingly, that the dialogue is given at first hand, immediately, and is not a relating of something that happened before. Though, to be sure, the discourse on eros of Lysias is of the former day. And so, perhaps less important.

What is inculcated in our souls by this slight retrospect is not clear, whatever it be, it is now here.

καὶ ἀναφὴς οὐσία ὄντως οὖσα, ψυχῆς κυβερνήτῃ μόνῳ θεατὴ νῷ, περὶ ἣν τὸ τῆς ἀληθοῦςἐπιστήμης γένος, τοῦτον ἔχει [247δ] τὸν τόπον.

For the colorless, formless, and intangible truly existing essence, with which all true knowledge is concerned, holds this region [247d] and is visible only to the mind, the pilot of the soul.

It is usually said that Socrates introduced the method of scientific definition, but Heidegger emphasizes his look to the genus. Saying that Socrates regards the genus as “lineage” or something like that, rather than “kind”. Therbey the lineage of this “ἕτερος” is perhaps in question.

From the even eminence, from which you are constantly glancing, you must proceed to kindle a noble light which shows the path. The responsibility rests with you, least we depart from the right track, remain as keen sighted as possible.

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Last edited by David Tang on Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm confused David Tang. Are you suggesting we should look at Phaedrus then? It's all the same to me, or did you mere miss my post?
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erratum toto: I read "Phaedrus" for Phaedo. As usual I must abandon what is written, except the last bit, anyway, go on.
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I simply want you to turn your attention on the passage I've given, aligning yourself with the strict precept of not referring to any other passage in Phaedo, except perhaps the below-mentioned. See what arises.
Would you consider agreeing to that?
The 'honour' is to be found in the alignment and in matching Socrates simplicity. It would not help, for example, if we were to suddenly think the two horses flip us over to Phaedrus and we are talking of the dark and light horse of the soul, or any such notion that there is a "bugle call over yonder hill" that takes us from what's in front of us.
What is here is the thing itself, like the equal itself mentioned at 74e, a kind of true remembrance.

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One entity cascades into many entities and each of those into many again
Where is there any direction in that? - Wise Sayings of Master Po to Glasshopah
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm indistinguishable from a landscape indented with the bays and inlets of these subject matters. Now which way shall I turn?
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The clearing of 'the way'

For there to be motion there has to be objects to be moved, or so it is within the body's reign. But we hear from Plato in the same work that things are not like that with soul - that the courses of the planets (their ambits) were brought into being before the planets had been constructed to move along them.

In the same way, it seems that, in that bodily realm, for 'difference' to be, there must also be those things which are the same as themselves - or that just exist in themselves. But can we stretch to complete the analogy and entertain, as we also read in Timaeus, that difference can exist without sameness and only after a struggle be persuaded to blend into the structure of very same soul?

Do you agree with this, O third man, or are my words wide of the mark?

Also have you any general comments (without making the proverbial meal) before we commence?
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you saying that distinctiveness prefigures the soul, just as the soul prefigures the planets?

Since the planets must have their paths, but, do you consider it this way, that planet and path must be distinguishable? So that distinctiveness is the stem, as it were, of both?

In this sense: soul is not only life, as in Aristotle, but the "inner" thing. Plato and Socrates are less exact, and therefore more expansive, than is Aristotle.

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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are things that prefigure the soul - which is essentially a 'middle' or mesos. Numbers prefigure soul for a Platonist. The Same and the Different also, as I see it. Just as condiments prefigure a stew. You wouldn't eat salt and pepper on their own, and they don't blend, but in a stew or soup we have the 'culinary experience'. I know Socrates demotes cookery to a knack, but you get the point. Soul is the mean between the intelligible and the body. When things enter soul they become part of a relationship, though soul is not that relation. It is its perceiver. I say these things with great conviction, but they should only be seen as things to talk about, agree or disagree with.

My purpose in the last post was to attempt to make it easier for myself, or any reader to contemplate The Different, heteros, in itself. Is this possible? It seems very difficult because when we try to look at any difference, the mind (and perception) moves immediately to the things that it thinks causes that difference - for example, the ten and the eight in the passage I gave. That is, difference becomes a kind of vagrant between two self-identities - a result rather than a cause, as Socrates points out.

In my next post I'd like to unfold this notion a little, but what I have said so far may not entirely please you (or anyone else who wishes to enter the topic). Therefore more might be said before continuing.

What then , I ask, is the nature of this difference - The Difference, which plays such a large part in our lives, as well as in other things, and yet so skilfully evades being looked at clearly?

I want to steer clear of Aristotle at the moment. What he means by soul doesn't correspond with what Plato says. He brings in dunamis and energeia two technical terms which everyone seems to have difficulty understanding. And the harmonics are missing.
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, it worries me that we have only the word soul, and each of us might mean a different kind of subject matter, and think, in addition, that it is for something different, than does the other. Those who have merely a word in common, may sullenly go on describing radically different realities, and never find true acquaintance in what matters most. For the divine intelligence of the philosopher wants to think that same subject matter in the same way, and not only to say the same word, as do the many when they talk with one another.

I for one, beside from the word or name, hardly know what you mean by “soul”. Except that the world, on the whole, is called soul, when considered as a place where there are kinds of things, books, humans, souls, equality, inequality, as opposed to their accidental qualities; that a book is black or aubergine in color, a man tall or short, equality that of 4 to 2 + 2, and all suh like are more like body. However, 4 to 2 + 2, though accidental to equality itself, is perhaps still absolutely enclosed in soul. On the other hand, if we say a man is of different height, the accident, that of his height at a given moment of a man’s life, is in nature, rather than soul. And yet, does not soul envelop nature, in this subject matter, that of the height of two men, when it is not the same?

There are these close to the subject matter you raise, or, partly including it:

αὐτός (autós), ὁμός (homós) ἶσος (îsos)


[74ξ]
τί δέ; αὐτὰ (autos, same) τὰ ἴσα (isos) ἔστιν ὅτε ἄνισά (un-isos) σοι ἐφάνη, ἢ ἡ ἰσότης (isos, equal) ἀνισότης;


“Well, then, did absolute equals ever appear to you unequal or [74c] equality inequality?”

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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take your point. We have a choice. We either continue to study heteros through the Platonic lens, that is through as much as we can gather from Plato's theory of soul and all its implications. Or we abandon that and pursue another approach. I would then hand the examination over to you and do the best I can to assist you. Until we have clarity on this I will leave responding to the other points in your post. Either way it might be useful to see what we can make explicit of Plato's doctrine of Soul.

A technical point that does bear looking at is the Perseus translation of the passage you cite (74bc): The translator seems to have an aversion to what Plato actually writes. You partially pick this up in your breakdown of the Greek text. However autos when outside the article means "itself" rather than the "same". What Plato writes is "Well now, were the equals themselves etc...". Fowler clearly is slanting things along the Aristotelian path. It doesn't do too much damage in that sentence but a little later in the same passage [74c] he substitutes "abstract equality" for auto ton ison - "the equal itself" and repeats it immediately in the next sentence. The idea that the equal itself is an abstraction as if sucked out of bodily equals is as wide of the mark of Socrates meaning as considering a universal (katholou) the same as a Form (eidos) or that the 'general' is the same as the 'unique'.

In themselves such points don't amount to a hill of beans, but they do tend to gather moss as an investigation like this rolls on. (apologies for mixing the proverbial)
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David Tang



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear third island,

I don’t know what you mean by soul. Is it a name for the region of things themselves, as in, “the equal itself”? So that the “equal itself” belongs to that region?

You don’t give an exact passage for “heteros”. But, you mentioned 74c, where other terms are used.

“"Itself" rather than the "same"” it seems like “absolute equals” in this sense could only apply to number in the sense Klein distinguishes from “counting numbers”, counting numbers are empirical, but what of one itself, as compared to one itself? As in the mathematical unit. An empirical thing, a cow, is never absolutely equal to another cow. But, the oness, is absolutely autos, is it not? Ergo, the problem of the day which is one and many.

It only seems to me, that near this, there is space where near terms live. Plato, in the Sophist, works with the politician, the philosopher, and the sophist. Attempting to distinguish them, and to show what the philosophos is.

I don’t share your view of Aristotle, since Aristotle said “in a way, the soul is all the things”, which is to say, he did not say, there are a bunch of concepts, or “abstractions”, that belong only to the formal intelligence: as in the modern interpretation of maths, as a closed circuit like a set of rules.

According to Heidegger there are three views, amongst the ancients. One favours the substance, rather than the accident. The other makes the accident come first. The third, that of Aristotle's, is a mix of the first, an island formed between the other two, what Aristotle calls “hyle”, material, that is ground to keep back the erosion of both . Hyle never means an “atom” stuff, as in Leucippus or Democritus, or anything empirical. Hyle is an answer to the question about the infinite regress. It is soul as ousia. It is phusis as ousia. It is dark.

If you insist, I shall say, when you say Aristotle, the modern Aristotle. Since, I think I can see what you are denominating Aristotle.

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