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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: !!!Help please Plato Theaetetus 152c translation!!! Reply with quote

Plato Theaetetus 152c

Σωκράτης
αἴσθησις ἄρα τοῦ ὄντος ἀεί ἐστιν καὶ ἀψευδὲς ὡς ἐπιστήμη οὖσα.

Most translations have:

Socrates
Perception, then, is always of that which exists and, since it is knowledge, cannot be false.

But one has:

Socrates
So perception is, after all, always of that which is, and it's without falsehood inasmuch as it is knowledge.

They are quite different, and I really want to believe the second.
The first asserts perception is knowledge, the second does not.

Can any of you Ancient Greek experts help me please?

I will be very happy Very Happy and very grateful Wink if you can and very sad Sad if you can't!

And if you like, and if I can, I will answer any general Plato question that's haunting you in return! Idea


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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don’t know why but I suspect a tripwire here.

Dear Platodotcom, you seem to be saying that there is a conditional in the translation you like ‘in as much as it’s knowledge’ where in the other there is none. Is that what you mean?

But are we not simply following the hypothesis that perception is knowledge? (see 151e). Socrates thinks this is remarkably similar to the theory of Protagoras, and in your passage he beginning his examination of that theory. At some later stage the investigation will show definitively that perception is not knowledge but at the moment, as is Socrates’ way, he is seeing if the hypothesis of the ridiculously talented Theaetetus will ‘hatch’ or merely show itself to be a ‘wind-egg’, so he is proceeding as if it’s true. That seems to worry you, but it shouldn’t do for by the time we reach 168d the whole concept has been shown to be fallacious.

I’m sorry that all the Ancient Greek experts are down the pub at the moment so you’ll have to deal with me. The problem with the translation I believe revolves around that little word ὡς which is translatable in many different ways, one of the possibilities being ‘since’, which is what is generally employed in this passage. I think, if you have Liddell available you might see if you can search out a meaning for ‘hos’ that corresponds to ‘in as much as’. That would be a good exercise for you. It is our policy to help people help themselves. But of course if you find something, please let us know as we are always on the look out to replenish our rather impoverished lexicon.

Now, you promised to answer a question coming from the forum. What do you consider the Perfect number cited at Republic 546? It’s something that has long puzzled me. It’s not just the answer that is important, because there are likely suspects, but also the ‘why?’

Regards Pete
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Peter,

"It is our policy to help people help themselves." Alas my friend no man is an island, my specialty is understanding Plato not translating Greek. I think I am reasonably good at what I do, but I am totally and utterly hopeless at what I do not.

And my question is extremely simple, "cannot be false since it is knowledge" and "cannot be false inasmuch as it is knowledge" are completely different translations, are you saying it's 50-50 or what?

So I am afraid you haven't helped me which makes me sad Sad not happy Very Happy, but I appreciate you tried.

Now you in turn have asked me an impossibly difficult and hard to answer question in return for not answering what I thought (clearly wrongly as you point out) was my impossibly easy and hard not to answer one, but I will give it my best shot anyhow:

I think it's perfectly obvious to anyone who reads Plato seriously that there is something like what snooty academics deride as "numerology" inside Plato. Pythagoras said all is number, Plato talks about learning the odd and even then going on to other numbers. For example, the trinity, the four elements, the five great types, the 9, 10 12 etc etc. Although the structure of the dialogues can appear hopelessly random to the uninitiated, to experts (eg Jay Kennedy) it's clear Plato was counting lines and writing in archetypal patterns and doing all sorts of complicated things that nobody does today. So we have to assume that Plato was either as mad as hatter, or some kind of god who knew far more about the world that anyone today, and not just in academic philosophy, but also far more than the Dalai Lama and all the other supposed gurus of today. And the question you asked is a symptom of that, and shows how ridiculously complex his secret doctrines were.

But my friend if you'll take my advice you'll not bother going in search of the construction of his perfect number, you'll start at the bottom and work your way up. And I don't mean odd and even, I mean things like what is the difference between "the things that are" and "the things that are not". If you don't know even that much, well then you're in a really hopeless place aren't you. Shocked


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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<And my question is extremely simple, "cannot be false since it is knowledge" and "cannot be false inasmuch as it is knowledge" are completely different translations, are you saying it's 50-50 or what?>>

Well, the first translation will do for me as it follows the Greek. If you think it really important, there’s even more important stuff coming up at 156. But the stock answer from these kind of enquiries would be “But I didn’t ask you about 156” and that is when I realise we are playing a game and Plato is being forgotten.

Your answer regarding 546 was informative. A little tripwire of my own.
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, the "cannot be false inasmuch as it is knowledge" translation comes from Seth Benardete. He is usually pretty good and has helped me on many occasions, but I guess this time he went AWOL.

I have found the lines 152a to 152c extremely difficult. Notice that as well as knowledge we have (a) what something is being, (b) how we perceive it, (c) how it appears. And all these mysterious things are brought together very rapidly and obscurely, with words such as "appearance and perception are the same when it comes to hot things and everything of that sort". I think it's worth thinking very carefully about these lines, and I myself have been wresting with them for the last few days and feel like it was worth it.

Given what you have said, the line "Perception, then, is always of that which exists and, since it is knowledge, cannot be false" is contradicting man is the measure only because perception can not grasp the things that are not, provoking the "By the Graces! I wonder if Protagoras did not utter this dark saying to the common herd.." response and setting up the hunt for the secret meaning that ends only at 160c.


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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me think about this passage you've pointed out above. I did scribble some notes on it a couple of months ago. It seems to me that in Theaetetus, Plato is finding out just how far one can go while suppressing the Eide - Forms. That's why Socrates' three attempts fail to reach a final solution to his problem. What I like about 156 is that it it gives (what I believe is ) a fictitious 'secret doctrine of Protagoras' which is also a perfect description of 'becoming' or gignomenon.

The 'follow up' was Sophist in which Plato unfolded the Forms as the proper solution. I don't know if that was a conscious thing, or whether it simply arose from his theoria. Have you any thoughts on this?

Pete

PS Do I call you Plato for short?
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Peter,

I have published some thoughts on this section of Plato's Theaetetus. I would be delighted for any feedback (here or by email):

Plato's Theaetetus - Introduction to Relativistic Flux Theory

Many Thanks,

TP
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter, it occurred to me, thinking about your school that combines economic science with Plato, to add a paragraph illustrating economic flux. It runs as follows and I would love you feedback on this:

Let's bring together the idea of "aesthetic sensibilities", "the things that are", and "the things that are not", in a famous example from the world of contemporary economic and political science. Margaret Thatcher did not claim to be a philosopher, but she was nevertheless wise and understood human nature. She famously contemplated the British People, and understood how anarchism and sloth had overrun the masses (think striking workers), and bohemianism had overrun the political class (think failing state owned enterprises run by men such as The Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP and his sidekick Sir Humphrey Appleby), and so she modelled her policies on correcting those un-virtuous properties, not caring about short term pain, but rather even embracing it as part of the spiritual healing process. We are talking here about "aesthetic sensibilities" grasping "the things that are". Now the specific political and economic policies she designed to address these deficiencies in the British soul were deregulation and privatization. These polices prised economic enterprises out of the hands of men such as Jim Hacker MP, and also broke the hold Trade Unions had on society, and forced the slothful to get on their bikes and go in search of work. As a result the British personality was famously transformed for the better, and the country rejuvenated dramatically. However, in the same way that sailing ships that spend too long on the same tack can run out of water, her polices, which were slavishly sustained and even intensified by all those who followed in her for decades to come, eventually began damaging the British soul. If you kick your children out of the family home to fend for themselves, it will obviously toughen them up, but it can also turn them into drifters like Arthur Dailey the used car salesmen. So given too much of this medicine, you can destroy the sort of German part of the soul that devotes its life to craftsmanship, and you turn the person into a bohemian would be entrepreneur business and marking school type who doesn't have any real skills, and as time goes by this tragic fellow gets more and childlike and helpless. Of course, his disregard for professionalism can pay handsomely in the sort term, but ultimately it all comes crashing down. So outside Thatcher's comprehension of economic polices creating virtue, the specific policies she formulated for a certain type of person and a certain time in a certain place etc are mindless, are part of the world of "that which is not", and people without the ability to grasp "the things that are" with their "aesthetic sensibilities" can latch onto them like robots, and follow them slavishly like lemmings over a cliff. On the other hand, in the masses, because people don't think they know anything, they are often much closer to their aesthetic sensibilities, and behold polices not as slavish rules in the land of what is not but rather a psycho-dynamic symphonies in the land of what is, and that's why when a great leader has transformed a country, and is succeeded by a lot of slavish types who keep feeding everyone the same food and drink long after it has gone out of date, political cohesion can start to unravel, and ordinary people can be heard to say things such as "I know nothing about economic policy, but I can somehow perceive that elite are complete fools." Indeed, Margaret Thatcher rose to power in precisely this environment, she talked about the mindlessness of the everyone around her, and she was revived across the establishment, and was sustained in power only by the aesthetic sensibilities of the common man.
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear TP,

I am about to read your paper, so forgive me if I just address your previous post first. The passage cited is of interest to me also. As Seth Bernadette says: “It looks much easier to tell knowledge apart from perception than to make a distinction between ‘to appear’ and ‘to appear to me’.” Distinguishing between what we know and our knowing which SB whittles down to ‘to know’ = being // ‘knowing’ = perceiving; and both are attached to appearance.

And there the basic duality of ‘becoming’ (gignomenon) is stated: “Nothing is one thing by itself’ mimicked by the Bard as “Thou single wilt prove none.” - describing how a single note in music falls away in apology for inadequately describing the celestial choir (Sonnet Eight).

But Cornford sees two doctrines presented here by Plato, side by side and in contradistinction. A simple one which says: ‘The wind is warm (to me)’ // ‘The same wind is cold (to you)’; that is, a wind that is both warm and cold and dependent upon a suffix ‘to me/you’; and a more sophisticated doctrine which tells us in the style of Anaxagoras that the wind has the properties of both hot and cold and ‘it exists outside us’. What’s more, it is not directly perceivable.

What seems important here is that Socrates has drawn a distinction between the sense-object and the physical-object, two things which are often confounded in the shorthand of philosophy.

Sorry this is only the beginning of a conversation not a summation. There is much more to say here.

I’ll follow up later with some other thoughts especially of 156.

Pete
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear TP

I suppose I must refer you to the Seventh Letter, where Plato makes a distinction between the thing itself (a circle, in that case), and the other things predicated of it, such as shape, definition, name, and even knowledge. Without the thing itself, the attributes, which seem to be effects or reflections, would have a hard time of it. So I don’t hold fast with Popper but gently point out what I consider the Platonic view, which is what I suppose I’m here to do. There is one navy, populated by those trained to perform a function. If the navy itself disappeared over night, the functions would cease. Every whole has its parts. One has this instinct to know when someone is being maneuvered into the confines of another’s conclusions.

Pete
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
<<Doesn't he talk about three things in the Seventh letter, the thing itself, the predicates, and the image everywhere? And then it gets multiplied by two or three or something? But we are warned not to talk about it right? We must never give it to the unworthy lest we go to hell right?>>


Well, it’s best if you read that again for yourself. It's not accurate.

Quote:
<<But tell me, Peter, when you talk about "someone being maneuvered into the confines of another’s conclusions", do you think that what teachers do when they teach, and what students do to each other when they start to learn from their master's books and want to explore his teachings with one another? And wouldn't it be the case that if you came across someone who hated being confined, you would know he wasn't a worthy fellow student but rather a layman or tyrant, and you would be scared if you told him anything lest he take it and go mad and hurt others and you are punished for it?>>


My disapproval was mild. I didn’t really mind being maneuvered so, but thought it right to point out that Popper was by no means the exclusive alternative to your view. The cod-Socratics that followed were a trifle hyperbolic, don’t you think? Yes, limit is essential to learning, but not any old limit.

When you’ve responded to my main point of my last post I would like you to say a little more about this:

Quote:
<<Let's roll up our sleeves and try a problem. say accountancy - it's a great one and very topical with all the debate in journals between rules and spirits and principles etc. can you define three levels of accountancy, the principle in of itself, the spirit at work, the worldly appearance. Remember the story of Socrates in the Symposium staring into space for hours on end contemplating some great truth, explore it in your mind until some divine flash comes to you.>>
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ThePlatonist DotCom



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter,

You ask me to address your post properly:

You say:

But Cornford sees two doctrines presented here by Plato, side by side and in contradistinction. (1) wind is both warm and cold and dependent upon a suffix ‘to me/you’ (2) wind has the properties of both hot and cold and ‘it exists outside us’.

On (1): Socrates says in the dialogue "Isn't it true that sometimes the wind is cold for one and not for the other? Therefore we can argue..." Compare that to "wind is both warm and cold and dependent upon a suffix to me/you." Ie it seems to me Cornford is repeating the obvious premise here, but it's just a jumping off point into the argument, it's not a doctrine, it's a trivial observation. (Notice by adding the word "suffix" to the original observation he has jazzed up the language obscuring the emptiness of his point)

On (2): Socrates says in the dialogue "Nothing is one thing by itself, nothing exists except in conjunction with the observer it is for." But Cornford seems to be saying the opposite here, he seems to be making the mistake of thinking the wind exists apart from the people it was meant to touch (outside them). He is talking as if the wind contains two properties, one of which is touched by one and the other by the other, like a bag of presents that is not one thing but lots of things, so the boy gets a sword and the girl gets a brush, but this is completely the opposite of what Socrates and Protagoras are saying. There are no presents in the wind, they appear as the two sides come together, like children born to mothers and fathers.

Then you say:

What seems important here is that Socrates has drawn a distinction between the sense-object and the physical-object, two things which are often confounded in the shorthand of philosophy.

But the wind isn't a physical-object, and that's whole reason why it's one thing for one and another for another. If Socrates meant by wind one of those things "you can grip in the palm of your hand" then it would be the same for everyone, the only difference is that some would associate it with pain and some with pleasure (eg boys love swords and girls brushes). But the wind is more like a piece of music that moves people in different ways, so it's not just pleasant for one and painful for another, it gives rise to entirely different temperatures.

Now you could say that music is played on instruments that make a noise even animals can hear, but I am saying that the music that really is goes right past the physical-object appearance layer and into our psychic perceptions, resonating in our spirit creating images of watery pastoral tranquility or raging revolutionary fires etc, and I think that's what you are trying to get at when you talk about a "distinction between the sense-object and the physical-object". Therefore, we shouldn't talk about music as a physical thing or we sound like the scientists who look at music as waveforms on oscilloscopes like cave me, instead we must be philosophers who talk about real things.


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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear TP

I hope you have read the relevant Cornford and now realise that I have done him a disservice by adumbrating his comments almost to the point of obscuring his meaning.

I for my part have opened my copy of The Being Of The Beautiful which had lain untouched on my library shelf because I had on first glance considered him a little flowery and over complicated. I now see that he has both charm and perspicuity (what more would one need?)

I think we ought to lay the ghost of this section of Theaetetus before embarking on your article which I am also reading. Things often turn as slowly as the tides on this forum (and sometimes as quickly!). Any sense of hurry is therefore viewed as suspiciously as a path of unturned stones.

As I read Seth Bernadette's commentary I am comparing it and his translation with Frances Cornford and Jacob Klein. This is a fascinating passage and has to be seen in liaison with others in the Dialogues.

I also think there are things to be said about your aligning the wind, with its elemental source, to music, which, although often windy, has quite another point of genesis - if, that is, we are discussing Plato. To save you commenting, I am aware that soul - psuche - primitively meant breath. This needs more discussion.

By the way, you have me at a disadvantage: you know my first name - I don't yours. You don't come over as shy, so unless it is a secret (that you are married to another forum and are merely having an illicit affair on this) it would be nice to be able to call you by something a bit more evocative than 'TP'.

Pete


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