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Peter Worman



Joined: 04 Jul 2007
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Location: Durban, South Africa

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject: Analogy of the divided line Reply with quote

Dear Peter

While on the topic of the Republic, may I ask for your understanding of the above captioned? Our Friday morning Plato Group will be looking at this shortly so I would appreciate your input on this. I wonder also if you have English translations of the Greek words noesis, dianoia, pistis and eikasia?

Sincerely

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Peter Worman
School of Philosophy
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South Africa
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redundant fallibility
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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“Because the knowing is in the act, as Aristotle plainly says and Socrates in the Gorgias. An outside is nowhere. This is why Socrates cannot persuade his accusers at his trial that he has only ever acted for the good of others and the Athens. They cannot see whence he acts from.”


If this 'plainly' says it is under our nose, then we must at least consider its misleading character. That the obvious could mislead. Plainly can mean that a thing is largely so, that a Cretan who says that 'All Cretans tell lies' is plainly speaking the truth, while in a slightly confusing way lying. Because they themselves are Cretan, and they now, nevertheless, speak truly, but not for the most part. What is this 'plainly'? You mean that it is obvious. Where so?

‘In the act’ must be taken to mean being. It has to do with learning. A stone can not learn. Human beings can. But the knowing isn't self consciousness, it’s not I know I am just. It is being Just. Very simply: it is the difference between a theater actor or an apprentice, and a master of some art. I believe you are picturing a kind of a mens rea-like consideration utterly alien to the Greeks, not because they don'y know of such things, but because they reject physiological theory as a bad guide. The invisible is a bad guide, they base things on sight by methodological consideration. It is sound method.

You see, the Thirty Tyrants can't see that for the same reason an amateur can't judge if, say, a tennis swing is a professional-grade swing. They don't have the knowledge, they can't see it.

Just look over the Nicomachean Ethics a little bit, I think one must see what is meant by becoming. What you have in your mind is Kantian. What action of the soul means is not this dualistic soul you see here. For the right reason means acting in the right way, a soul acting in the right way. Not a self-awareness or ego.

What does Socrates say in the Gorgias? As I remember he says, disingenuously, that he does not even know what virtue is. Yet, the question is whether it can be taught. I would say, it is ‘obvious’ that what the question Gorgias [I realize, thinking over it, this must be corrected to read, not Gorgias, but Meno, his more mercenary student. I don't know if you mean to speak of Gorgias himself with some line in particular in mind?] is bringing is whether it can be taught, as through an apprenticeship. Just like learning to make bridles or anything else. Someone might claim that such knowledge, that of a master bridle maker, is inner. But that is surely not what the Athenians mean.

What causes this misapprehension? It is that we bring the idea of the division to the text. Of the positivist notion of a psychology of motive and a separate realm of tangible action. You yourself are inserting it, and then you claim that we, unlike the Greeks who saw these two as the same, are stuck in the division of 'a duty ethics' and being. The soul/law (or maxim) and the tangible. There is great confusion in all this.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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When Allan Turing sketched out the model for the modern computer in the ‘thirties’ what he did was to turn peoples notions away from the concept of having a different machine for every task (like adding machines, ticker tape etc.) and towards one single machine that could be programmed for any purpose. We are so accepting of that idea today that dedicated technology like say the satnav continually finds itself being transplanted by a single non-dedicated system such as the computer/tablet/mobile phone. The computer itself doesn’t need to know how to deal with all the different requirements, it simply is programmable.



Yes, but I don’t need to know anything about computers to use some program. Even if I use the computer and it makes all I do possible. Even if I ‘see’ , as it were, my word processor through the real existence of that good CPU.

I think we don’t make clear that that we are attempting to understand. We are retarded and everything remains inscrutable to us. What is an eidos? Is it not simply a pattern? We should discover it, find it through looking, before we question it.

If I look at a tree, a particular tree, I recognize it. Why, because I have the knowledge, the pattern. I don’t need to be aware of it as the philosophers were. The issue I believe is simpler than we have thus treated it. So far as situating the problem is concerned.

The knowledge is really a low thing, a common matter. Whereas knowing one has the knowledge is of a higher dignity. The issue of justice is not like that of knowledge of a tree, because it is not certain that we can point to it. So both the thing and the eidos are obscure.

However, the question of which justice is the true justice is simply the issue of epistemology which is that of the Socratic dialectic. It is spoken.

I believe we have been confusing ourselves needlessly, without placing the issues before us so as to question them, themselves, and not our own petty confusion.

Now, does the good concern a thing like a tree at all, so far as the Athenians are concerned? No. Yet, a tree is an eidos. It is knowledge. So the good seems to concern finding the aristos, as with the discussion on the highest form of love, for instance. Or of regimes. In this sense, the good is one eidos amongst others.

In fact, to go further, we must have some line about the good. Otherwise this strikes me only according to the rule pan, to one of the many. The many, may indeed, have for their essence the one, it is hard to see. All the edios seem to concern the things that are, and knowing them.

--

The real challenge would be to show why one would think the many eidos concern anything but generality. They are simply the patterns, but it is good to know that one has the pattern. It is solid truth. The question, 'which is the best?', is solved by dialectic, logos, logic, epistemology, not in the manner of the letter. Plato says, don’t make too much of what is learned about the fifth.

This explains why Heidegger takes no interest in dialectic, nor moral prescription, nor epistemology. Yet, he does take interest in the letter.

---

If the good is what makes philosophy possible, I might still partake of it without fundamentally knowing it. Just as I might use the pattern of all trees to see a tree without knowing it.

--

Quote:
To pre-empt the obvious, that surely seeing the good itself is a kind of knowledge, I would agree, but it is of a different order, like saying the knowledge of the fifth is also a kind of knowledge, but more like vedantic self-knowledge, and not to be confused with the kind of knowledge-of and compounded-from definition, shape, etc. Knowledge of the knower is, I argue, unlike knowledge of anything else, though there would be no other without it. But, of course, this last is debatable for it is not main-line Greek Philosophy, though Socrates often hints of it.


One might look at the simple part first, because without seeing that, we can't quite see what the good, which is more vague to the natural intellect, as you indicate, might concern. I know what a tree is. How? The what-to-do-there information is invisible. I mean a man who sees a tennis racket knows what to do with that thing. Or, say, an Orthodox Jew or a believing Muslim who sees swine. But that knowledge is not visible. It is, however, no religious question. It is a question that is truly strange, yet necessary and visible to thought. If someone answers, it is the neurons, that is inadequate. They only say that neurons show up in some formation when someone has, or (more rightly said) is believed to have, that knowledge. But the knowledge remains wholly mysterious. If someone says, it is the laws of gravity, that too just posits a tautology which never looks into the knowledge.
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Joseph Milne



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

redundant fallibility wrote:
Quote:
“Because the knowing is in the act, as Aristotle plainly says and Socrates in the Gorgias. An outside is nowhere. This is why Socrates cannot persuade his accusers at his trial that he has only ever acted for the good of others and the Athens. They cannot see whence he acts from.”


If this 'plainly' says it is under our nose, then we must at least consider its misleading character. That the obvious could mislead. Plainly can mean that a thing is largely so, that a Cretan who says that 'All Cretans tell lies' is plainly speaking the truth, while in a slightly confusing way lying. Because they themselves are Cretan, and they now, nevertheless, speak truly, but not for the most part. What is this 'plainly'? You mean that it is obvious. Where so?

‘In the act’ must be taken to mean being. It has to do with learning. A stone can not learn. Human beings can. But the knowing isn't self consciousness, it’s not I know I am just. It is being Just. Very simply: it is the difference between a theater actor or an apprentice, and a master of some art. I believe you are picturing a kind of a mens rea-like consideration utterly alien to the Greeks, not because they don'y know of such things, but because they reject physiological theory as a bad guide. The invisible is a bad guide, they base things on sight by methodological consideration. It is sound method.


I suspect I know what Aristotle means better than the anonymous writer says in the name of death. I also think I know what I meant when I used the word 'plainly', and it is rather absurd to be told what I was meant to have meant.

If he insists there is a real difference between being and knowing, he is not reading Greek philosophy correctly.


Joseph
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"If he insists there is a real difference between being and knowing, he is not reading Greek philosophy correctly."


I have to conclude you're not reading my posts at all. These terse responses are idiotic and merely egotistical.

I'll just note that it's obvious you haven't read Kant, but rather have been exposed to some commentary about types of moral systems, deontic and so on. For stronger reasons it's obvious you know nothing at all of Heidegger; perhaps you have read a few essays without getting much from them, and some commentary. Whereas I have studied him with demanding application.

With respect to Aristotle I don't know if you have read him, I admit my knowledge is limited with respect to him, but your comments seem quite frivolous. You should show it, it does no good to talk to you anymore because you are doing nothing but quoting an authority that you like. So no reason can penetrate your hubris.

I wonder what Peter thinks of this, I find he is being much more honest, and so more helpful.
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I’m reading in Joseph’s statement is regarding Metaphysics Theta. Here Aristotle talks of the complete action and the incomplete action. There is an ‘outside’ to consider only in the second. He gives the example of building a house. This produces an ‘end’ (telos) outside itself, whereas something such as contemplation, one of the perfect actions has no 'outside', being ‘complete in itself’ (telios). Knowledge is clearly a perfect action, but interestingly ‘knowledge of’ is not. The sort of applied knowledge of the cobbler produces outside itself a ‘where’ in the presence of a pair of shoes.

This of course is my own reading, and Joseph may not concur.

I think Joseph’s frustration has been harshly dealt with here because you, O third man, have merely criticized without giving an account. Without an account there is nothing to discuss and we are in a very unphilosophical area indeed, and unfortunately this begins to make you sound strangely like some 'trolls' who have temporarily set their stall up on this forum, before trundling on their way. I would be disappointed if that turned out to be the case with you.

I will respond to your last to me when I get the chance to complete it.
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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<< Yes, but I don’t need to know anything about computers to use some program. Even if I use the computer and it makes all I do possible. Even if I ‘see’, as it were, my word processor through the real existence of that good CPU.>>


You didn’t think much of my analogy, then? But then, you didn’t read it correctly. I wrote something and you read something else and then proceeded to talk about that, and missed my point which was genuinely meant to be helpful to our discussion. Directly you put yourself into the picture with your ‘using’ and ‘doing’ and ‘seeing’ the analogy was destroyed.

But enough of that.

This thread pulling away from its original aim although it is not yet ‘cascading’. I would just as soon go back to what we talked of initially but as Pandora’s box has been opened if we are to continue down this path much more has to be considered, that is, if we wish to talk of Form itself, rather than the singular Form of Justice.

If Plato’s Forms are on the table we must see that they are different to Aristotle’s. They are the unknown by which we know. The procedure of dialectic was adopted by Plato and Socrates in order to know began in not knowing. One would not necessarily adopt this method in a letter but in a Dialogue it can be laid out nicely.

In the Republic, which was the subject of our thread, not-knowing is not achieved until the end of Book One. What we have in its place is elenchus, where present opinions slug it out opponent vs opponent like a wrestling match (Plato’s favourite sport and where he received his nickname of Plato –‘stocky’).

The aim of elenchus is for the proponent to present a hypothesis and his opponent to attempt knock it down. If he succeeds the proponent must try to ‘save the appearances’ by amending it somewhat. If finally he can’t, the hypothesis falls - the opponent has won.

All jolly good fun, but there is a serious side to all this; it demonstrates that courtroom-style elenchus cannot fathom the truth. At the end of the First Book Socrates is forced to admit that although superficially he has ‘won the elenchus’ all he knows now is what justice is not – he still does not know what it is. This is the critical point (kairos) where the dialectic itself can start. But instead of it being a battle between opponents, and marinated fiercely with doxa, now at least everyone is facing the same direction which is towards the Form of justice. It is important that direction is the unknown.

A similar point is reached in Theaetetus where the ‘unknown’ is Knowledge itself, and this might be of interest to Joseph. Socrates decides to test the brilliant young geometrician “for virtue and wisdom”, and exhorts him: “Be courageous and hold to the agreement.” [145c].

My point is that that Theaetetus had already shown (if you know the history) that he had courage enough on the battlefield, but now he was to be tested for an even greater courage, that of following wisdom wherever it would lead him. I think Plato’s approach to the virtues bears much investigation and discussion. I do not think it is as straightforward as Aristotle’s in N. Ethics largely on account of his Pythagorean theory of soul; but that is not what I want to concentrate on now.

Whereas Book One preoccupies itself with the doxa that blinds, and in the case of Thrasymachus, downright obfuscation and deception, from the beginning of Book Two Glaucon reminds Socrates of Agathos, the formless Form

I don’t want a long post so I’ll continue this later.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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I think Joseph’s frustration has been harshly dealt with here because you, O third man, have merely criticized without giving an account.


I can’t see how that is anything but base abuse. I gave a detailed account with simple and excellent examples of my view of Aristotle’s understanding. I can only guess that it simply wasn’t read at all. It is always possible that only authority makes an impression on your minds, but then everyone must give no account except some few professors. This seems likely. However, one is tempted to believe this isn’t truly so, but only in appearance.


--


Quote:
the analogy was destroyed.


Well, if you would clarify it I could speak to it. Shouldn't we always do so, or are you maintaining only those who get it right at first are the worthy class of discussants?

Quote:
not yet ‘cascading’.


I agree. If your view can be understood to be that the “not yet” means, almost.

Quote:
They are the unknown by which we know.


This I think must be attacked. In the sense that the eidoi don’t chiefly concern knowing alone, at the very least we can not give knowing more weight than seeing the thing or speaking it.

Quote:
The procedure of dialectic was adopted by Plato and Socrates in order to know began in not knowing.


But the ‘not knowing’ then refers to opinion? Otherwise on what ground does Socrates start, except with the captivity of mere opinion?

Quote:
not-knowing is not achieved until the end of Book One


Is the knowing connected to the unveiling of the saying: justice is making excellent? Or to all the things made distinct by logos?

Quote:
Socrates is forced to admit that although superficially he has ‘won the elenchus’ all he knows now is what justice is not


Maybe you can bring us this line, which passage do you mean?

Is knowledge episteme, or something else? Aletheia is not knowledge, ontos (ὄντος) as being is not knowledge. Eidos is not knowledge and neither is form. In stating this positively my intent is to lay down the terms to be distinguished at least in the beginning. If we observe this, we might clarify to ourselves our subject and its basic ground. We can reach the light of the sun only by first descending into the darkness of the cave, where the objects stand in simple distinction one from the other.

--


Now, on another theme, so far as authorities are concerned I am perfectly willing to admit Jacob Klein as a good one. And then we would be all the more obligated to think through what he says. (obviously, then, not merely to repeat it as a harbinger of what is clearly correct) So if there is a passage that bears on these difficulties I would beg that it be brought forward.

There seems to be an objection to the ‘what always is’ interpretation of Greek episteme. I would say that is perfectly correct. Peter says that the Greeks understood math to be inside, or one might say, behind the things. Put another way the emptiness is always there behind the place. This is a necessary feature of Aristotle’s account of movement and time.

What might seem strange, and I wonder if it is what has struck Peter, is that something connected to the natural world could be called eternal or, more precisely: “always”. It is only strange for common sense. The argument is that for philosophy oppositions must share a ground, and philosophy finds identity in the “always” and the things that change in time. Put more clearly, “always” is understood here to be the sempiternal. It is what is frozen in time, enduring. It is, by analogon, like something standing still in contradistinction to something that moves. It is there in the emptiness which is natural, and not in the Cartesian space which is an abstracted representation.

The question that we should ask is this: Does the emptiness behind the things refer to an understanding of the heavens, outer space, as a sempiternal but natural surrounding? Or is it that only through philosophic thinking we clear away, say the city of Athens, in the mind, and then see mentally that something must remain there as a container? Is the container the “ether” (Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr, “upper air). Either way this kind of analysis is quite different than modern mathamatical analysis, ie, of algebraic geometry. Actually this question is of great importance, and quite exacting inner effort is required by it.

Further, to show it more clearly: the eidos comes from a leap, and is not arrived at by carrying through a discursive chain of thinking. It is not episteme or knowledge in this sense spoken of as the “always”. (In passing: it is where Heidegger opens History, as the taking over of the thought of his master Husserl, and to a lesser degree of the other historicists.) It is neither what always stands still in time, nor what perishes in time.

Now, I believe, beside from this there exists a more just challenge to that which is found in Heidegger, and so I should like to speak to it if someone would help me by presenting it.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Addendum:

If the knowledge is only internal, and can’t be seen, what did the assertion that unlike we moderns the Greeks saw it all as the same mean? That is exactly the modern understanding. Mens rea. Same thing in Kant.

"He argues that a dutiful action from any of these motives, however praiseworthy it may be, does not express a good will. Assuming an action has moral worth only if it expresses a good will, such actions have no genuine ‘moral worth’."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/kant-moral/

It's just that in undergrad courses, and now more and more widely, professors abstract the imperative, the duty part, and present it without the whole teaching.

The more serious problem has to do with whether physis and ontos are the same.
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
<< This I think must be attacked. In the sense that the eidoi don’t chiefly concern knowing alone, at the very least we can not give knowing more weight than seeing the thing or speaking it. >>


When you see something (with the mind) you understand it. If you understand it you know it. If you know it you speak it. Yet the knowledge itself, as knowledge, I maintain is unknown in itself. My intuition is that it is closely connected to Form (eidos). We are often in trouble when we start too precisely. What is really needed is an investigation, which when more than one are involved could be dialectical.

The richness of the Theaetetus shouldn’t disguise the fact that knowledge cannot be clearly accounted for if Form is to be set aside. That whole dialogue could be a necessary stepping-stone to Sophist which did reveal the Forms. The Theaetetus then was the aporia which demanded the catharsis of The Sophist. That is my hypothesis waiting to be knocked to the floor. Otherwise I stick by it: that Form is the unknown by which we know.

Quote:
<< But the ‘not knowing’ then refers to opinion? Otherwise on what ground does Socrates start, except with the captivity of mere opinion? >>


Your conclusion is not needed by the text. Not-knowing need not be opinion, it could just be ‘not knowing’.

Quote:
<< Is the knowing connected to the unveiling of the saying: justice is making excellent? Or to all the things made distinct by logos? >>


I think I may have mentioned this earlier. Even bad men know what is just in an action even though Justice ‘laid up above’ as mentioned in Phaedrus, may be unknown in definition. Logos has a hard time with Justice.

Quote:
<< Maybe you can bring us this line, which passage do you mean? >>

Certainly; 354b-ish

Quote:
<< Is knowledge episteme, or something else?


I find such statements disconcerting especially when Plato himself is ambiguous regarding episteme and techne. I gave Aristotle’s technical definition in an earlier post, won’t that do?

Quote:
<< Aletheia is not knowledge, ontos (ὄντος) as being is not knowledge. Eidos is not knowledge and neither is form. In stating this positively my intent is to lay down the terms to be distinguished at least in the beginning. >>


Good luck with that!

Quote:
<< If we observe this, we might clarify to ourselves our subject and its basic ground. We can reach the light of the sun only by first descending into the darkness of the cave, where the objects stand in simple distinction one from the other. >>


Again, all this sounds good, but can you make it so?

I'll tackle the next section of your post when I understand it.
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Plato DNA



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Peter says that the Greeks understood math to be inside, or one might say, behind the things. Put another way the emptiness is always there behind the place. This is a necessary feature of Aristotle’s account of movement and time.



Inside, outside, behind, below, or above…however you want to express it…math embraces all things and all things embrace math. Here you seem to equate math with emptiness, how so? Why would math be emptiness?


I am no expert; I am not familiar with Kant, Heidegger, or Klein. I am also not familiar with a lot of the Greek terms. But I do recognize that there is a huge gap between the understanding of Plato compared to that of Aristotle. I imagine the gap to be even greater between Plato and Kant, Heidegger, or Klein. There was a level of understanding in Plato that far surpassed that of Aristotle. With Socrates and Plato there was an immense faith and obligation to the invisible world, but Aristotle’s logic took on a lot more corporeal or ‘materialistic’ form. I am sure there are a lot of good commentators on Plato. But I for one; try to read and understand Plato as it is, knowing that there was something to it that has been forgotten or misunderstood since the time of Aristotle. But that is just my opinion.


Quote:

The argument is that for philosophy oppositions must share a ground, and philosophy finds identity in the “always” and the things that change in time. Put more clearly, “always” is understood here to be the sempiternal. It is what is frozen in time, enduring. It is, by analogon, like something standing still in contradistinction to something that moves. It is there in the emptiness which is natural, and not in the Cartesian space which is an abstracted representation.



How can you compare that which ‘always is’ to something that is frozen? In my opinion it is a dynamic entity. You say it is like something standing still? I am not aware of anything that stands still, maybe you know of something? One, very generalized way to view that which ‘always is’ would be to think of things as being either an object or subject. The objects would be the world of change and the subjects are what ‘always is’. But that does not mean the subjects do not change, they change but only according to how the objects change; either from the objects themselves changing through interaction or by a change in ones view of the objects. And again, the objects would represent the visible changing world and the subjects the invisible world that ‘always is’. Nowhere is there anything ever frozen or standing still.


Feel free to ‘attack’ these concepts, like that one character who was posting who thought he was Luke Skywalker, in here waving his light saber around like he was defeating me when in reality he was only defeating himself. As if discussions where some kind of battle. I do not have the answers and I don’t think I am right; there is no fight to be won, only ideas and speculations to be discussed.


I see your need to make clear the exact terms to be distinguished and to make everything clear and concise, like you mention here and also in your thread…A Small Reflection on the Tempore of Modern Philosophy…assuming that is you. But the truth of the matter is that things aren’t always clear, everything has more than one answer, even mathematical problems and formulas. Sure 1+2 equals 3 but 1+2 also equals 4-1. Or you could just say 3 equals 3. Maybe that’s an extreme example. Maybe we can clearly define something else, like let’s say, the color blue? Can you clearly define to me what blue is so that when I see something that I call blue I can know for sure that I am seeing the same color that you are?


Quote:
The question that we should ask is this: Does the emptiness behind the things refer to an understanding of the heavens, outer space, as a sempiternal but natural surrounding? Or is it that only through philosophic thinking we clear away, say the city of Athens, in the mind, and then see mentally that something must remain there as a container? Is the container the “ether” (Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr, “upper air). Either way this kind of analysis is quite different than modern mathamatical analysis, ie, of algebraic geometry. Actually this question is of great importance, and quite exacting inner effort is required by it.



No, not the emptiness, but the fullness that us moderns always seem to overlook. You can say the heavens, or maybe even spacetime if you follow Einstein. Where it’s curvature, what we know of as gravity, has an infinite, or you might say sempiternal , influence but yet is constantly dynamic and never frozen. Same with electromagnetism, which also has an infinite range, and which modern scientists say always travels at the same speed no matter the viewpoint, so it ‘always is’ the same, but it too is in a constant state of flux.


It is only through scientific thinking that we clear away the natural world where as philosophy embraces it.


There are a lot of things with ancient beliefs that are different than our modern way of thinking, but there are also a lot of things that are the same. Mathematically speaking, the only difference is that the ancient people had a lot of understanding that went with their geometry. And today we have a lot of mathematics and very little understanding. Modern mathematicians are so confused about math that they still debate whether man invented or discovered numbers and math. How could man have invented math? Math is found all throughout nature. Did man invent flight when he made the airplane? Man can only invent technologies but not things of nature.

So confused is modern thinking with its strict divide, observe, and conquer techniques, measuring and testing only the visible world, chasing those shadows and yet still thinking that they know more than all the previous generations.


Jason
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Peter Blumsom



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Now, on another theme, so far as authorities are concerned I am perfectly willing to admit Jacob Klein as a good one. And then we would be all the more obligated to think through what he says. (obviously, then, not merely to repeat it as a harbinger of what is clearly correct) So if there is a passage that bears on these difficulties I would beg that it be brought forward.


I would prefer to discuss a certain section of Klein's "Meno" that touches of The Divided Line. Have you access to this work?

Quote:
There seems to be an objection to the ‘what always is’ interpretation of Greek episteme. I would say that is perfectly correct. Peter says that the Greeks understood math to be inside, or one might say, behind the things. Put another way the emptiness is always there behind the place. This is a necessary feature of Aristotle’s account of movement and time.

What might seem strange, and I wonder if it is what has struck Peter, is that something connected to the natural world could be called eternal or, more precisely: “always”. It is only strange for common sense. The argument is that for philosophy oppositions must share a ground, and philosophy finds identity in the “always” and the things that change in time. Put more clearly, “always” is understood here to be the sempiternal. It is what is frozen in time, enduring. It is, by analogon, like something standing still in contradistinction to something that moves. It is there in the emptiness which is natural, and not in the Cartesian space which is an abstracted representation.

The question that we should ask is this: Does the emptiness behind the things refer to an understanding of the heavens, outer space, as a sempiternal but natural surrounding? Or is it that only through philosophic thinking we clear away, say the city of Athens, in the mind, and then see mentally that something must remain there as a container? Is the container the “ether” (Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr, “upper air). Either way this kind of analysis is quite different than modern mathamatical analysis, ie, of algebraic geometry. Actually this question is of great importance, and quite exacting inner effort is required by it.

Further, to show it more clearly: the eidos comes from a leap, and is not arrived at by carrying through a discursive chain of thinking. It is not episteme or knowledge in this sense spoken of as the “always”. (In passing: it is where Heidegger opens History, as the taking over of the thought of his master Husserl, and to a lesser degree of the other historicists.) It is neither what always stands still in time, nor what perishes in time.


If I discuss this it would be natural for me to frame the discussion according to Timaeus, which seems albeit in mythic form to cover this ground. Can you also direct me to my quote that you mention above concerning number?

Quote:
Now, I believe, beside from this there exists a more just challenge to that which is found in Heidegger, and so I should like to speak to it if someone would help me by presenting it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
“Now, on another theme, so far as authorities are concerned I am perfectly willing to admit Jacob Klein as a good one. And then we would be all the more obligated to think through what he says. (obviously, then, not merely to repeat it as a harbinger of what is clearly correct) So if there is a passage that bears on these difficulties I would beg that it be brought forward. ”

I would prefer to discuss a certain section of Klein's "Meno" that touches of The Divided Line. Have you access to this work?



Yes. However I have to get it from the library and return it when due. Even if it weren't for that exigency I would still say that it is preferable to bring the text in question and put it here on the forum, in a post. Of course if it is too lengthy it may not be possible.


Quote:
If I discuss this it would be natural for me to frame the discussion according to Timaeus, which seems albeit in mythic form to cover this ground. Can you also direct me to my cite that you mention above concerning number?


I’m not sure which passage to give. If we had something from Timaeus we might ask how it differs from this account. The thing about this account is that it traceable to our immediate understanding. Or it seems to me to be. In a certain sense this is the characteristic that makes Aristotle’s physics higher in cognitive dignity than the algebraic and modern mathamatical physics (which bare on the human world derivatively through the successes or things they bring into it, an FMRI machine, a megaton bomb etc.).


Quote:
“?”


I thought that it was you who somehow were questioning the Heidegger interpretation, but maybe you didn’t mean that at all. There is, beside from that, a question about whether alethea deserves to be called truth which Heidegger ‘itself’ has admitted into ‘itself’.




---






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When you see something (with the mind) you understand it. If you understand it you know it. If you know it you speak it. Yet the knowledge itself, as knowledge, I maintain is unknown in itself. My intuition is that it is closely connected to Form (eidos). We are often in trouble when we start too precisely. What is really needed is an investigation, which when more than one are involved could be dialectical.


Quote:
The richness of the Theaetetus shouldn’t disguise the fact that knowledge cannot be clearly accounted for if Form is to be set aside. That whole dialogue could be a necessary stepping-stone to Sophist which did reveal the Forms. The Theaetetus then was the aporia which demanded the catharsis of The Sophist. That is my hypothesis waiting to be knocked to the floor. Otherwise I stick by it: that Form is the unknown by which we know.


Is the eidos the ‘fifth’ mentioned in the letter? And is epistome the eidos [it seems that epistome is the ‘knowledge’ and not the eidos]? Can the answer to this be given clearly in the terms of the cave? If so please answer. If possible a example of both should be given clearly by us.


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<< But the ‘not knowing’ then refers to opinion? Otherwise on what ground does Socrates start, except with the captivity of mere opinion? >>


Your conclusion is not needed by the text. Not-knowing need not be opinion, it could just be ‘not knowing’.


Do the men of mere opinion know or not know? Remembering that the knowing that one does not know should not be herein confused with simpe ‘not knowing’.



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<< Is the knowing connected to the unveiling of the saying: justice is making excellent? Or to all the things made distinct by logos? >>


I think I may have mentioned this earlier. Even bad men know what is just in an action even though Justice ‘laid up above’ as mentioned in Phaedrus, may be unknown in definition. Logos has a hard time with Justice.


But then, you mean the view about remembering, recalling? They know, but don’t have the logos?

There is also another view.



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<< Maybe you can bring us this line, which passage do you mean? >>

Certainly; 354b-ish


Yes, but wouldn’t it be better to have it here. And then if I fetch it, and bring it, it may not be just the passage you mean. And likewise if each of us go look for it we might think you mean something different. Why subject ourselves to the running around in needles confusion. If there is no objection I would ask such lines be brought and put here.

The question of knowing that one does not know has a universal power for Platonic dialog, if I am not mistaken. And so it should not be despised as too low or, worse, as too obvious for close investigation. It is the veriest of strange things.

Quote:
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<< Is knowledge episteme, or something else?


I find such statements disconcerting especially when Plato himself is ambiguous regarding episteme and techne. I gave Aristotle’s technical definition in an earlier post, won’t that do?


What about in the letter? What is the word for knowledge there? It is episteme. Yes, and the 'technical definition' will help. Isn't it a fertile comparison, with the letter, in possibility?

My intent is to distinguish knowledge from the ‘fifth’. Is it not laid out there in the letter, that knowledge and the fifth are alike but not the same. Episteme is ‘most like’ the fifth. Is it not so?






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Quote:
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<< Aletheia is not knowledge, ontos (ὄντος) as being is not knowledge. Eidos is not knowledge and neither is form. In stating this positively my intent is to lay down the terms to be distinguished at least in the beginning. >>



“Good luck with that!”


I’m not speaking of an impossible task, but a simple one. Why not keep to our terminology? Otherwise we just wash about in confusion. Plato was certainly able to do so. And rightly thought we are Plato, if we take up the text in any serious way.

“Quote:
<< If we observe this, we might clarify to ourselves our subject and its basic ground. We can reach the light of the sun only by first descending into the darkness of the cave, where the objects stand in simple distinction one from the other. >>”


We need simply to begin looking at what the Greek word is in the text, and staying consistently with it instead of haphazardly using synonyms. In other words, we need to act like the classicists. And then speak to Plato, bringing our own voice to ourselves, who, are indeed Plato when we take up the work.

-----------------
---

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“Inside, outside, behind, below, or above…however you want to express it…math embraces all things and all things embrace math. Here you seem to equate math with emptiness, how so? Why would math be emptiness?


It’s because we ask what happens if you remove Athens. Picture it. Some air come in, no? Now they say, if there can be Athens or air, isn’t there something there, like a kind of emptiness always sitting there ready to receive whatever shows up. It’s not a riddle, but a straightforward reflection about nature.

Quote:
“I am no expert; I am not familiar with Kant, Heidegger, or Klein. I am also not familiar with a lot of the Greek terms. But I do recognize that there is a huge gap between the understanding of Plato compared to that of Aristotle. I imagine the gap to be even greater between Plato and Kant, Heidegger, or Klein. There was a level of understanding in Plato that far surpassed that of Aristotle. With Socrates and Plato there was an immense faith and obligation to the invisible world, but Aristotle’s logic took on a lot more corporeal or ‘materialistic’ form. I am sure there are a lot of good commentators on Plato. But I for one; try to read and understand Plato as it is, knowing that there was something to it that has been forgotten or misunderstood since the time of Aristotle. But that is just my opinion.”


Your statement or ‘opinion’ is very high-flying. No one can deny what you say, but at the same time it is wholly uncompelling to us all as argument. Someone might agree to it because they like to agree to it. But they won’t be driven to agree from what you show them. We need to look at it more closely. For example, I would argue, as I have above, Aristotle’s so-called materiality, ‘hyle’, is nothing other than the answer to a simple question. How is it that we can have twins, or any two things that are identical, in tangible experience? It is easy to picture in the mind, but the senses are supposed to be a true measure. What are they measuring in the case of individual things? Hyle. That is really nothing like what physicists mean by matter.

At least with an argument one can see it, one can see the logos, and so belittle something one nearly understands oneself. I would say we need to move from the tangible to the ungraspable if we want to have a discussion that brings itself to the level of a work. And so not just make ungraspable statements all the time, as we all often do.


Quote:
“How can you compare that which ‘always is’ to something that is frozen?...”


It could be that in extreme theoretical terms, that of mathamatical physics, nothing stands still [the first law of thermodynamics would not allow that at all]. Some ancient doctrines also, for other reasons, claim there is always motion. In ordinary terms, don’t we say that a car stands still when it is parked? The argument is that rest, or stillness, is a kind of extreme form of motion. Or, put another way, that if there were no rest, we would not be able to speak of motion. They go together in the way they oppose each other. For common sense rest or stillness is the opposite of movement, but philosophy claims they must share a ground if they are to be set together as opposites. One can take this as an argument that does or does not make sense, taking into account that we may get more out of it if we read it somewhere else, and expressed differently.

The point of this is really that the soul, the understanding, needs the logos to grasp all this. And that the logos, as logic, needs oppositions in order to get at reality.

Quote:
“only ideas and speculations to be discussed.”


That is what you need to disabuse yourself of. Think about tangible things too. The real world around you. It’s not just an ethereal game we want to bring ourselves to, we want to become Plato ‘itself’ here. Supposedly he
was a combatant.

Quote:
“aren’t always clear”


Don’t we assume that as English speakers we roughly understand the word ‘clear’? What if I thought you meant cow when you said ‘clear’? Isn’t that an extreme game we would be plaining with the idea that we can bring no clarity to the discourse?

In Heidegger there is a proposal for a higher form of discipline, over and above logical thought. But, the chief problem is getting bogged down in logic itself, as sophistry. As lack of clarity about the situation we want to bring ourselves to.

Quote:
“No, not the emptiness, but the fullness that us moderns always seem to overlook.”


If I have information about mass energy, I may be able to make an object. I have expressions in math that let me do it. But the math isn’t the world. It’s more like a recipe isn’t it? Did you ever see a physicist work, they sit looking at a computer screen. And imaginatively thinking mathematically.

In the simplest terms is the number one one thing? Don’t we have to know how to apply the number to things if we wish to count in the world we are all used to? It’s like saying, is there knowledge in a book? Is it really there in the book? Surely someone needs to understand it, and the methods of applying it. Isn’t everything we call science like that ‘knowledge’ that is and is not there in the book?

It doesn't mean that math is not part of nature, or that there isn’t knowledge. But there are great difficulties with these views, and they are extremely perplexing. For example, there is not one math, but an indefinite number of which we know a few, geometry, arithmetic, algebraic geometry, and so on to M theory etc. Now each of these seize on their object in a different way, and there is no end to the ways they master that object. The object taken up in this manner of mathematical science posits a contradiction in reality, it transcends itself.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My previous post should have included this quote from Socrates…

"But why should we dispute about names when we have realities of such importance to consider?"

Republic -533d


Oh the irony!


Quote:
It’s because we ask what happens if you remove Athens. Picture it. Some air come in, no? Now they say, if there can be Athens or air, isn’t there something there, like a kind of emptiness always sitting there ready to receive whatever shows up. It’s not a riddle, but a straightforward reflection about nature.



You say yourself if you remove Athens there is still something there. Of course there is always something there that is why it is not emptiness. We have space interwoven with time, and we could not come to know these without objects. So objects and space-time are interwoven also, it as if the objects are extensions of space-time. If there is something that ‘always is’, it must be eternal. If there is something with no beginning and no ending how is there any room left over for some emptiness to exist apart and separate from something that has no ending? Plato compares the receptacle to things like gold, a mother, or a neutral base. He doesn’t believe in a void, a vacuum, or emptiness. Emptiness is created in the mind only to help divide experiences and understand them. Eventually our understanding needs to reach a point where we lose these creations of mind to see the true nature. Man does not create truth, he discovers it. Another good example of this is the first law of thermodynamics; it relies on the concept of an isolated system. ‘Isolated systems’ do not actually occur in experiments or in nature. So we create this concept of an isolated system to help us understand things, but at some point of our understanding we have to remember that isolated systems are not part of the real world, and therefore do not convey truth about reality. This is kind of the point of Plato’s cave analogy, to show that some of us choose to remain in the cave chasing these shadows and reflections of reality when there is a whole lot more out there if we actually seek the truth.

“Then dialectic, and dialectic alone, goes directly to the first principle and is the only science which does away with hypotheses in order to make her ground secure; the eye of the soul, which is literally buried in an outlandish slough, is by her gentle aid lifted upwards;”
Republic -533c


Since you like to quote from Stanford’s Plato pages…

“There has been considerable discussion about whether the receptacle is to be thought of as matter, or as space, and whether it is possible to think of it coherently as having both of those roles. Consider, for example, what it would mean on either view for something to be a receptacle part. (An observable particular is said to be a specific “part” [meros, 51b4–6] of the receptacle.) If the receptacle is matter, there would be no difficulty in understanding how any receptacle part could be in motion: a given bit of “stuff” could be variously characterized over time, either in the same place or at different places, and still be re-identifiable as that same bit of stuff. On the other hand, spatial parts are fixed; if an observable particular were to travel from one place to another, that particular would be (and not just be in) a succession of distinct receptacle parts, and thus not strictly the same part throughout.

This difficulty can be overcome if we think of the receptacle as filled space…. as the filling of that space, it serves as the neutral underlying substratum from which a particular, once characterized in some way, is constituted.”
- http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-timaeus/#6



Quote:
Aristotle’s so-called materiality, ‘hyle’, is nothing other than the answer to a simple question. How is it that we can have twins, or any two things that are identical, in tangible experience? It is easy to picture in the mind, but the senses are supposed to be a true measure. What are they measuring in the case of individual things? Hyle. That is really nothing like what physicists mean by matter.


Two things that are identical? Twins we call ‘identical’ but they are not in truth. Not even two atoms of the same chemical element are identical. Maybe you can give me an example of two things that are identical because I myself cannot think of any? Physicists don’t even know what they mean by matter.


Quote:
but the senses are supposed to be a true measure.



I suppose if you’re content with being chained to a chair staring at a cave wall. Or if you plan on being a scientist and basing all your conclusions off of physical observations.


Quote:
I would say we need to move from the tangible to the ungraspable if we want to have a discussion that brings itself to the level of a work.



So the senses are not a true measure? Ungraspable as intangible, or ungraspable with the mind also? Is there anything our mind cannot grasp?
You say this here but then a little later you stab at me and say I “need to disabuse” myself of this. And to “think about tangible things too.”



Quote:
In ordinary terms, don’t we say that a car stands still when it is parked? The argument is that rest, or stillness, is a kind of extreme form of motion. Or, put another way, that if there were no rest, we would not be able to speak of motion...And that the logos, as logic, needs oppositions in order to get at reality.



Yes we usually say a parked car is standing still. But this is only because the limitations of our observable experiences, it is not the truth. It is always relative to the observer. Rest and stillness is just another concept of the shadows and reflections that our senses fall in to, as you say it is just motion. I agree that dualities help define things. Opposites create each other. But can’t we use dialectic to get at the first principle? So rest and motion is really one thing, we only distinguish between them in our sensory world because relative to us somethings ‘appear’ to be at rest, but in reality they are in motion.


Perhaps going off Plato’s concepts of that which ‘always is’, the changing objects (or reflections and images of that which always is) and the receptacle. Maybe we can say motion always is, and that rest or stillness is an image of motion created in our experience as the receptacle which divides and adds dimension. Perhaps that is not accurate. Maybe there are other ways of expressing it.


Quote:
Quote:
“only ideas and speculations to be discussed.”


That is what you need to disabuse yourself of. Think about tangible things too. The real world around you. It’s not just an ethereal game we want to bring ourselves to, we want to become Plato ‘itself’ here. Supposedly he
was a combatant.



I already commented on this, but might I add something from Plato himself…well Socrates at any rate…
you will understand me to speak of that other sort of knowledge which reason herself attains by the power of dialectic, using the hypotheses not as first principles, but only as hypotheses – that is to say, as steps and points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order that she may soar beyond them to the first principle of the whole; and clinging to this and then to that which depends on this, by successive steps she descends again without the aid of any sensible object, from ideas, through ideas, and in ideas she ends.”
-511b


Quote:
For example, there is not one math, but an indefinite number of which we know a few, geometry, arithmetic, algebraic geometry, and so on to M theory etc. Now each of these seize on their object in a different way, and there is no end to the ways they master that object.


I would have to disagree with this. There is only one math. Geometry, arithmetic, algebraic geometry, and whatever else, are just shadows and reflections of the Form that is Math. They are expressions of math. They all consist of number and their four interactions …or math. That is what math is isn’t it? What would be the simplest definition of math?


As far as my thoughts go on the original post of this thread, whether the city in republic is possible or not…

Joseph said…
Quote:
That it was a “pattern in heaven” which philosophers could contemplate....

.....In a sense, then, my concern as to whether the just polis is regarded by Plato as possible or not is beside the point.


And Pete said...
Quote:
The practicability of such a society was not my main concern but supported my main thesis which concerned the training of the soul


I think of it along these lines, maybe a “pattern of the divine”. I believe that it is a tool or guide in helping us understand our own psyche. I think that whether an actually city of this kind is possible or not doesn’t really matter. It is put forward as a way for us to examine ourselves as individuals and relate to the higher concepts that are easier to understand in a bigger system such as a city. It might be practical to see how these different parts of a city correspond to the different parts of our psychology.

“There is justice of one man, we say, and, I suppose, also of an entire city?

Is not the city larger than the man?

Then perhaps, there would be more justice in the larger object, and more easy to apprehend. If it please you, then, let us first look for its quality in states, and then only examine it also in the individual, looking for the likeness of the greater in the form of the less.”

-368e


…Which brings me to one of my thoughts about the ‘divided line’…

Doesn’t Plato frequently compare the likeness of the greater in the form of the less? This is why I suggest that one point that is meant by the divided line is that of the golden proportion or Phi, which is a line, divided unequally where the proportion of the smaller to the greater is the same as the proportion of the greater to the whole. This concept seems to be hinted at all throughout his works but to my knowledge never said directly.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You say yourself if you remove Athens there is still something there. Of course there is always something there that is why it is not emptiness. We have space interwoven with time, and we could not come to know these without objects. So objects and space-time are interwoven also, it as if the objects are extensions of space-time. If there is something that ‘always is’, it must be eternal. If there is something with no beginning and no ending how is there any room left over for some emptiness to exist apart and separate from something that has no ending? Plato compares the receptacle to things like gold, a mother, or a neutral base. He doesn’t believe in a void, a vacuum, or emptiness. Emptiness is created in the mind only to help divide experiences and understand them. Eventually our understanding needs to reach a point where we lose these creations of mind to see the true nature. Man does not create truth, he discovers it. Another good example of this is the first law of thermodynamics; it relies on the concept of an isolated system. ‘Isolated systems’ do not actually occur in experiments or in nature. So we create this concept of an isolated system to help us understand things, but at some point of our understanding we have to remember that isolated systems are not part of the real world, and therefore do not convey truth about reality. This is kind of the point of Plato’s cave analogy, to show that some of us choose to remain in the cave chasing these shadows and reflections of reality when there is a whole lot more out there if we actually seek the truth.

“Then dialectic, and dialectic alone, goes directly to the first principle and is the only science which does away with hypotheses in order to make her ground secure; the eye of the soul, which is literally buried in an outlandish slough, is by her gentle aid lifted upwards;”
Republic -533c


I think your post is too diverse to tackle. It is sufficiently important so we might take up just the issue of ‘space-time’. Now do you mean Einstein’s theory of gravity, that of modern physics or (it can also be named) relativity? If so, don’t you realize that quantum theory is in conflict with it? Of course you do, because anyone who is alive today can not fail to hear of these issues, provided they take any interest at all in learning. So you must know that attempts are now being made to find a new theory that allows the model of entropy to play a role at the quantum level in order to better master gravity, and so to assist mankind by better owning its power. It is a method of bringing successes. But there are no successes except by human fiat, we say what we consider a to be a success. What we like. It is making something 'work'. A megaton bomb is a 'success'. Why not a piece of dust? Not impressive enough? Recording any so-called fact has equal dignity in theory. This is not a problem for the scientific mode of knowing, but it should not be forgotten.

Now, what you're doing is usually called reifying, you're putting the theoretical models into the things. To spell it out in detail I give all that follows lengthily, and in all sort of varieties:

There is no ‘space time’, that is simply the way the model explains gravity. The model is a rule, it is used to take the measure of what we observe. We see light swinging about in the "curvature" of space. Well, can't we explain that curving in another way?

Think of the eminently simple case of Evolution. There are fossils, and then someone says, why did it happen? Then we get a theory, a model. Trait success, survival of the fittest. Then we need additions and modifications. Eventually the whole explanation falls away, since, after all this is a teleological theory. And not a physical law. Survival of the fittest is simply a slogan, gossip. Don't you see that? It is not a fact but a helpful idea. Perhaps predictive, ie, helpful. But only for the reason that we want to predict the answer to a specific question. Other questions can be put to those fossils.

Remember the epicycles, there are models which explain phenomena, but are not the simplest and best, that make more hypotheses than we want to make. What you're suggesting is like saying the thing there is the word and definition attendant on the symbol ‘apple’. The tacit problem is that you're dreaming. Your dream amounts to the belief that there will be some final model, some best rule, and then it will all be done, the whole task of owning nature in craft, in mastery.

That we take a pure case for the sake of testing our abilities to make calculations, such as the closed system in the case of an engine, to see what the optimal work we can get out of that system is, is a decidedly secondary issue. I’m not asking if we have a pure generality or not, ie, if the rule functions perfectly or not. I'm not driving at some quibble. The issue is that the formal rule or law is but one way to seize upon the phenomena that we humans see ourselves, with our senses.

Let us take the simplest examples, to make it clear to ourselves. By rule 1 + 1 is two. Now we go assess or take a look at reality, we look and see a coffee cup. And we characterize it as “one” cup. We apply the rule. Is that thing there truly “one”? It is a representation. It helps us get to the situation where we can say one cup, plus one table, equal two.

But, can we do other things with that cup and table? Apply some other rule than arithmetic to them? Make them regularly produce some successful outcome, some predictable and fitting work?

Look at the Monty Hall problem. I find out, through experience, making a switch helps me, and the probability equations, the rule, say that it will. But the fact that if I, eg, graph this probability as a function and it swerves in a certain way does not make the things I see with the eyes a swerve. You see how we can carry over the model, and then claim it is the reality? Ought we now proceed to call the experience the reality swerve, the swerve? Just as we speak of ‘space time?’ And is the probability rule the only piece of math we can apply to the experience here? It is simply that we assume the latest math is the most fundamental, and then are misled to the irrational idea that nothing more will follow. That is fantastically silly when you come to think it over.

Again, there is no such thing as ‘expansion of space’, it is just a model that we find in a crude and practical way useful to render in pictures, and cooked-up representations. Physicists know this perfectly well, but we here need to begin to make ourselves aware of this first simple level of confusion.

Now, on the other hand, what Aristotle does is literal. We really can think over the removal of an object, and its replacement by another. And the emptiness behind it suggests itself. It is not because the idea ‘functions’ or leads to some ‘success’. It is simply because it makes sense to the soul’s eye. This is where the ancients found geometry and the idea of what ‘always is’. That emptiness always is, where the things filling it change. Don’t you see that idea? I’m not asking if you agree with the argument, but if you see the argument. Geometry is not here founded as a formal rule used to measure the observable things, it’s in the nature of things.
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