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PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 10:36 pm    Post subject: A Primer on Questions and Problems Reply with quote

A Primer on Questions and Problems According to the Thought of an Earlier Time

If the things of the past are no more, and if we have to rely on what we remember, what we recollect and then remember in the running forward into the memory, we must not be able now to raise the past. It would be only something that sits as an antique and amuses us, at the very best, but likely that makes no impression and does not excite us. One would have to show that time moves in the way becoming brings it (and not linearly).

My name for the dispute between dancing and being is the Genetic Circle. Heidegger says: I really don’t know what philosophy has to do with dancing. Philosophy does not here say metaphysics, or rationality, or the most general, it is spoken loseley, it means his own practice. One may say, nonetheless, that to dance is to reflect in time, ie, to think. This is the specific sense of dancing in Heidegger. Thinking does not mean excogitation or deliberation but rather it is what we usually name experience, thus life. This life is the centerpiece of the world-project called Will to Power, thus it sits in the dancing which is the name for the fact that chaos, as chaos, or nihilism, as the Western nihilism, is but a concept. And then that a world-project is willed as the deepening of the dance.

Amongst the Germans of a former time, which means also Strauss and most of all Husserl, amongst all of the dozens of thinkers like Dilthey who cropped up before the war, a problem has for its content information, it is a closed thing. This information means the American, it evokes most of all the American way of life. It means the receptionist at the counter must have our information, so that what is necessary, so our needs can be met. Husserl troubles himself to bring, in English, the word prosperity into his thought. This is the flavour of the Last Man. Thus, the problem is not the question. It is more like the possibility.

Abraham Heschel speaks of the question under the title “problem.” We must take this merely as a verbal change, but the substance is the same. When he says with great simplicity, a question is a request for information, it is not a problem. A problem, he tells us, is a struggle, it is man himself. It is a wrestling with the ways of becoming. This understanding of what Heschel calls problem is like what the Germans call the question, the verbal confusion is of no importance to us here. The substance of the issue is analogous. The method of the sciences, when they become scientific nature, when they stand like a huge table, the periodic table, waiting to be filled out, is a problem (that which Heschel calls a mere request for information or a question).

The question is the inquiring. The beseeching of the world, the history which was called not so long ago Natural History, thus the true inquiry into the things by experience. Thus in the Apology Socrates says: the life without inquiry is no human life. This is the philosophical project. If this were a rule it would say, when I measure this one, I assess and find one lost in problems, and thus I find no human being. Lost in the tasks that were already there, that one grew into, and not in the movement to truth. When I take up this swan, I find its feathers are black, thus it is no swan. But, is this a rule at all? This question is no question in the sense of dancing, nor in the sense of Heidegger, for the reason that it demands a stricture. Socrates already had an orientation for this questioning that could not find the nothing of the privative which stands betwixt and between all concepts. It was inspired chiefly by the search for truth. In Nietzsche one rests in this dancing of the nothing that is the privation of the real concept (the thing-itself interpreted as ontic being, or the ready-at-hand), but in Heidegger the nothing is taken to being, and held as a being of being. Herein lies the confrontation but only in one aspect and to give its whole horizon one would need further work.

Herman Hesse says the price of entry is identity, it is the mind. The mind is the demand for the ground of a reason, why is there not enough time in the day? Are the days growing longer? Why do the stars twinkle? How come the earth is here at all and what is our place in all this? The question and the dance are not identities in this sense. Presumably not every title, every name, such as Nietzsche or Heidegger, that sets up a world-project, is an identity. This questioning is a dancing, but it claims not to draw towards another world-project. Nietzsche, the rubric, says that one always goes to another world project, else one rests in the questioning which is a dancing.

There is a tree, or a car. A person, blue, the sky. If something simply is lighted upon it is not yet taken up in the terms of its why. It is merely thought or experienced. It is thought and then thought as there. Over there. And it is then thought by the categories of near or far, it is taken up as higher or lower. As this spins out it turns the things. It is moving or still, there turns out to be no stillness in the fields of force, eg in the electric, as one peers into the turning of the thing as it is there. One grows into what has long been turned out. One grows into the project of the world, it is already directed, in motion and with its demand. To find reason is the demand of a science, but in the end this can not sustain it, it must also have a goal, to bring happiness or to make what is needed. What is necessary must be provided, what can not be had must be hidden, whoever wants much should have their desire drained out. This they must request. This is the way a project stands as a mental flowing, as a humanity. The thing taken up can always be turned because there is no fact that is not also held in the world, and then it must come to be wielded. So far as one stays with the turning of the thing one does not come into the question or the dance.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
One would have to show that time moves in the way becoming brings it (and not linearly).

So you strongly criticize Pete for his views on Eternity. Then you go on to criticize his views of duration in your most recent post on your thread “A Change of Timaeus”. But you don’t seem to even understand what time is. Maybe I am too simple minded and don’t get it myself. Time moves? Really? Please don’t comment on eternity or duration if you don’t even have a firm grip on what time is. Or if you do have a firm grip on time, can you explain it to me so that I know? How does it move, can you explain to me how time moves?

In your other recent post on “A Change of Timaeus” you say…
Quote:
in Plato everything happens in the matter itself. Matter says this world as it stands up above and down here, it is vague.

What does this mean? Have you actually ever read any of Plato’s writings? Or only people’s commentaries on Plato? You seem to post about a lot of different people’s opinions but very seldom from Plato’s ideas, then when you do they seem to be incorrect or inaccurate. I am merely a simpleton constantly trying to learn, or more accurately, remember what it is that this world of becoming consistently has me forgetting. I have read most of Plato’s works but it has been awhile, maybe I have forgotten. Can you point me to where it says these things?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"One would have to show that time moves in the way becoming brings it (and not linearly)."

So you strongly criticize Pete for his views on Eternity. Then you go on to criticize his views of duration in your most recent post on your thread “A Change of Timaeus”. But you don’t seem to even understand what time is. Maybe I am too simple minded and don’t get it myself. Time moves? Really? Please don’t comment on eternity or duration if you don’t even have a firm grip on what time is. Or if you do have a firm grip on time, can you explain it to me so that I know? How does it move, can you explain to me how time moves?

In your other recent post on “A Change of Timaeus” you say…


The point I was endeavoring to convey is that if duration is understood in the Bergsonian manner it is closed down, a closing down of thought. Closed down in the sense that it is theorized as an absolute. A person, from the inside, is absolute, the things they find here and there are relative to that absolute. Bergson tries to think inside time, to grasp what it is on its own ground.

Peter speaks of a single indestructible moment, a band pulled from either side without end. That is an absolute, a kind of time from inside what is temporal. Scientific time has many moments, the tic-tic time we all are familiar with. It is relative time.

The thing Plato does is attempt to locate, through the myth, the situation of time which has both these aspects. I.e., why is it both these are genuinely worthy of the name time?. They both take part in the god. In the god the way Plato grasps the gods as he explains in the way he conceives of them, as differentiated from his ground, that of the Greek ontological region where he grew up in the shade of the Athenian houses. Looked at formally, for the sake of saying something that leads us to the problem, without being quite right but also without misleading too violently, the god is a possibility. Looked at merely formally the universe bears within it the possibility of inner eternity and of relative time. That is, independently of all subject beings. So we want to ease into the situation of the element. That is the work of the Timaeus myth. This myth trains us on the hard going way to the thinking that situates the ambiguity of the being.





Quote:
Quote:
"in Plato everything happens in the matter itself. Matter says this world as it stands up above and down here, it is vague."

What does this mean? Have you actually ever read any of Plato’s writings? Or only people’s commentaries on Plato? You seem to post about a lot of different people’s opinions but very seldom from Plato’s ideas, then when you do they seem to be incorrect or inaccurate. I am merely a simpleton constantly trying to learn, or more accurately, remember what it is that this world of becoming consistently has me forgetting. I have read most of Plato’s works but it has been awhile, maybe I have forgotten. Can you point me to where it says these things?


I hold that there is simply an indestructibly changeful flux. So in looking at the commentaries peculiar to periods of different tempores we watch the movement. This is of great help. It is perhaps our only true help. There is no recognizing ‘Plato’s ideas’ for the simple reason that we don’t live in ancient Athens. Consider the theological discourse of the the Christians of the Seventeenth Century, there is no partaking in the intensity of this constant polemic. These issues have no spirit or life with us, they are handed down as petrified formal indications of little help. I give that simply as one example. If it does not impress the reader, another should be provided. One good example is sufficient, but the examples that impress the individual differ.

Consider simply what Socrates says in many of the dialogues, that some know of the genus and the particular. They see that in the immediate knowing of the things, a fisherman or angler, the one there, that particular under the genus. Whereas the uninitiated, who are without the teaching, do not see it. But this appearance, of the thing under the mental, the non-visual, is utterly lost to us in living spirit. We have but the words, which are perhaps partially intelligible, but wholly petrified in their higher meaning. While, true, in the basic sense, when one names an angler or fisherman, that is not ambiguous. Not in the sense of discovering the thing, since we, of course, can point to a thing like that, a fisherman. But the teaching of the genus is hard to gain serious knowledge of, it has reference to that surging out of a new seeing.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It’s fair to ask what you mean by genus and particular. You probably know what your saying but I’m trying to think of where in particular Socrates says this. Otherwise how are we protected from it simply being your own version of Plato? - some sort of disguise. This is also alright if it is stated.

Genus in the way you use it – isn’t it an Aristotelian term? In Plato I can only think of Sophist where genus intrudes, but I may be wrong. Socrates in early Plato hardly ever says Form – eidos – even. He uses terms like ‘collected under a single character’ etc. This would mean ‘species’ really, for eide are not genus but species.

None of this would matter except for when you say
Quote:
“the teaching of the genus is hard to gain serious knowledge of”
The species contain the differentia and therefore are more of knowledge than genus, which in Aristotle is more abstract. For example, man has this power of reason therefore possessing something not in the genus ‘animal’, and it differentiates him from other animals. But this has the darkness of Aristotle about it - Plato is far from using abstractions and universals in this way. The Form is vibrant and alive for him, and, of course, transcendent rather than immanent (i.e. above and beyond the body) But it’s an interesting subject.

Quote:
“the teaching of the genus is hard to gain serious knowledge of, it has reference to that surging out of a new seeing.”

It 'surges' from potentiality into 'a new seeing', an actuality, then eventually ‘falls from grace’, back into the hidden. This again is more or less Aristotle, if I have you right. Plato’s eide surge nowhere, all movement, metabole and kinesis, is in soul. Form is without motion. This becomes interesting when a cat walks across the lawn. Everything is in motion, especially morphe - shape, but form is motionless. It is very beautiful and full of delight.

This is a quiet non-poetic settling down of the material, before a proper discussion can take place. But do you see it like that way, O third man? Perhaps not.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
“It’s fair to ask what you mean by genus and particular. You probably know what your saying but I’m trying to think of where in particular Socrates says this. Otherwise how are we protected from it simply being your own version of Plato? - some sort of disguise. This is also alright if it is stated.”


I think in Plato the strict use of terms refers at times to Socrates’ instructions to his interlocutors, but the dialogue is never strict, and often it has a cloven hoof. It misleads, ruses. So the formal, the use in definitions, and in the ‘real’ [the worthy] eidos, and the form all peek out at various moments without becoming torn away from what is simply cogent to everyone in daily life. Plato has the purpose to show everything, and not to favour the high [the eidos is not 'high', even if the knowledge of it might be, in relation to the ignorance of it as that is common]. Thus there are often moments of the nastiest laughter, if you will, in the moments where the things of reverence are demanding a cessation of laughter.

E.g from the Phaedrus:
‘For a man must have intelligence of universals, and be able to proceed from the many particulars of sense to one conception of reason;-this is the recollection of those things which our soul once saw while following God-when regardless of that which we now call being she raised her head up towards the true being. ‘

http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/phaedrus.html

Nearer the end of 265d:

That of perceiving and bringing together in one idea the scattered particulars [each one as one], that one may make clear by definition the particular thing which he wishes to explain

‘εἰς μίαν τε ἰδέαν [idea] συνορῶντα ἄγειν τὰ πολλαχῇ διεσπαρμένα, ἵνα ἕκαστον [each one]'

Here we have idea, which is customarily translated form. Now, it is clear to me that genus can not mean simply a classification even if idea means merely formal genus (that a triangle is a closed shape, specifically one of three sides is what is stated formally, but it must be maintained in life for Aristotle, thus the exclusion of wild syllogisms as the logic of Aristotle was utterly dependent, as he well knew, on the premise, ergo, on the knowing of a reliable person). I see a bear, and then another and a third. Thus I find what belongs together. I don’t believe Aristotle anymore than Plato took the matter in the frivolous merely formal way you ascribe to him. One must exclude such an absurd modern prejudice. It simply happens the matter can be stated formally, but that is not serious knowledge of the matter. Aristotle most of all was aware of that, even more than Plato. Precisely because he was already on the slope of the down-going movement, where everything becomes more difficult to hold to. [Dialogues, you know, are meant to say different things to different people, i.e., they are meant to overcome the defects of written language, but Aristotle's have not come down to us, and so consider if you had the lecture notes and treatises of Plato, and the dialogues of Aristotle, how then?]

There is a beautiful thing adduced somewhere in Heidegger with concern to Aristotle, he says that a 'peculiar remark' occurs, what is said is that those who came before spoke of a strange fear, that of the disappearance of being itself. With the sense of the animal that had come to being, and seen its essence therein, I mean what is most themselves.

Now, surely eidos seems to have another life [than that of the idea or form], and I find it closer to the Letter [so therefore, possibly to Plato, whereas the definition is closer to the concern of Socrates as dialogic participant, even if not in his deepest being as resolute enquirer or historian proper]. But, do you hold the two, eidos and idea [form], are simply and in a strong way distinct in Plato? We are confronted, it seems to me, with a petite chaos. Is form motionless? I don’t hold it so. I take it that words are open to the possibility of new life. But, taking what you say from the point of view of (modernly secured) Platonic dogma, still, I don’t think Plato considered idea that way, it may be that he uses that word in proximity to definition [as with the line above], that which he held to be static (the definition) in the way that you seem to indicate.

I assume form as idea is not to be confussed with episteme or knowledge, which of course is also mentioned in the Letter.

At other places what we get is the claim that what is a-visible (not invisible) is the place of the idea or eidos. This usally happens when the sensorium [skepsis] is set up against the a-visual.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0173%3Atext%3DPhaedrus%3Asection%3D265d

The surge I speak of refers first of all to the early Greeks as the preparers of the explicit coming to language. I’m not referring to the content [as you take me to be], but the history. I mean simply to name the fact that these experiences in all their profundity emerged at a particular hour. And no one had had them prior to that time in that unveiling by logos. Now, we can not walk back the cat, and experience what is worn out does not stand there as new. For the whole atmosphere of our lives is aware of all these things in some way.

In passing, many signs point to an uproarious and forcible need to bring all this to explicit language. As far back as the Homeric period there is evidence of life under the partial knowledge of the eidos. The Aorist tense, for instance, a tense peculiar to early Greek, suggests it. In this way there is a special justification with respect to the case for the Athenian theoretical stop to the earlier impulses of a more affect ridden and in a way more genuine life of absorption in the matters of life. Plato, therefore, is acting under pressure that is most far from a whim when he takes up the common terms and begins to mold them into language adequate to the task of giving expression to the eidos.

Because the eidoi are gods, they can surely not be taken up as are entities, in the manner of the absolute and the relative. And so the talk of duration must be excluded.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, O Third Man, I ask you, are you trying to learn in these discourses, or to merely distribute your ‘prior knowings’? It is stimulating to speak, and be spoken to even in the more lowly form of the written word. And one always learns in discourse, by perhaps the interlocutor having his mind opened - sometimes ‘by force’ and sometimes by having to clarifying his own hitherto badly arranged thoughts. That is how it is for me at any rate.

Your post is quite absorbing. If I were writing a novel, or a poem, I would be tempted to ascribe all kinds of things to eidos. But if I were being forensic I would ask, out of philosophical curiosity, what sort of movement would you ascribe to a Form? Surely it doesn’t waddle with the duck to the lakeside, i.e. kinesis; nor does it suffer genesis-phora – birth and destruction (i.e. metabole). Perhaps, though, it is tied to Necessity – a really cruel notion to the lovers-of-forms - and moves in an ‘evolutionary’ way. I wonder what Jason might say to that? Or does it neither move nor not-move, a thought that appeals to me, though I could hardly describe such a non-moving motion, or moving motionlessness? So if you equate a god to eidos his life could not be described by at least the first two movements. A god does not move hither and thither, nor is he/she born or slain except mythically. But it leaves open the possibility that a god moves only to itself in an environment we cannot understand. Is that what you mean?

I am aware that these do not exhaust the possibilities, but what say you, O Third Man, to these fairly straightforward questions and statements?
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By forensic I meant gathering evidence on which to make a case. But thinking is not evidence. One can consider the very venerable opinion: no ought from an is. I.e., one gathers evidence tendentiously according to what one takes to make sense, here or there, at this time or at a later time. That is of little value. One never keeps to the same way of making sense of the things, or the same character, one changes. One’s forbears said other things.

Necessity is what is said to be easy to tame by comparison to what is ‘truly monstrous’. Plato is like Pan, he dissimulates, he is nasty. Ergo, above all he knows the mind. Wiktionary says: idéa, “notion, pattern”. What has this to do with that mind? It is only grasped inadequately, tenuously. It is much better than form or idea, as those words are coloured by connotations of the ideal and the shape-like. Pattern is what it is simply from a naive approach. The things seen and noticed to belong together ‘belong’ as it were, under that pattern. Why? One does not grasp that so easily. Now, unlike your idiotic insinuations, the reality is that Plato himself tells us these are gods, as a reader of the Timaeus you should see that. And endeavour not to remain always crude, and claiming that people who would learn anything don’t wish to learn, but only to expound what ever they have supposed themselves in lonely observation to divine. It is in the Laws as well. Of course god does not mean some person walking about, you seem to have caught that, it means what always is, as Plato tells us. Or, better, it means the ability to stay with what is. It is the human possibility of staying with reflection that makes humans like the gods for Plato, that is everywhere in Plato’s understanding. The contemplation of the eidoi is the drawing away from the changeful woebegone world according to Plato and Aristotle, and into the inner gravity of the wise.

“But it leaves open the possibility that a god moves only to itself in an environment we cannot understand. Is that what you mean?”

Perhaps.

Movement is something we say of appearances. Likewise necessity. But the eidoi are a-visible [they aren't things for the sensorium, the skepsis]. They don’t appear. And they are not subject to force, if even the mind that contemplates them is not, how much less they themselves? Environment is likewise misleading. There is no question of a space for eidoi.

Your chief mistake is attributing the time of the mind to the eidoi themselves. They are not human. In doing this one closes down the way to a glance of this matter that would be worthy.

Concerning this matter of movement of eidoi, what else is there to say? Can there be such movement? Yet, in a certain sense it seems there is something like that. The matter is very dark. The difficulty of finding it is set before everyone who comes to this most worthy confrontation so surrounded with insufficient clarity as it is.

I hope you will become somewhat more intelligent in your coming posts. Now, if you say, nothing put down was answered sufficiently. Instead of your customary stupid manner of shrugging your shoulders dramatically, and adding a cataract of further questions, I should thank you to clarify, perhaps by paraphrasing, what is already written.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

O Third Incarnation (or is it fourth?)

I suspect that you do not think me half the idiot you make out. It's just that, try as you might, your, what I can only describe as ‘philosophical Asperger syndrome’ gets the better of you. You need to work on that. There's a lot of it about and it’s not impressive.

Quote:
Now, unlike your idiotic insinuations, the reality is that Plato himself tells us these are gods, as a reader of the Timaeus you should see that.


I promise you I do read Timaeus quite a lot, but am careful in trying to avoid conclusions. I find Timaeus unclear on this. Perhaps you can quickly sort it out for us, first as doctrine and then as everyday reality - as this is your speciality.


Are you calling these gods presented here forms (or whatever your preferred designation)? They are, like everything the Demiurge fashions, holy copies of some even holier original that we know little about. Especially when studying phusis (or again whatever you like to call it). Everything in this sphere ‘came into existence along with the Heaven’ which was ‘made after the pattern of Eternal Nature’. The traditional gods, whom Timaeus claims to be beyond his powers to tell of, are the one’s that Socrates describes in Phaedrus as living beyond the heavens and have never been, nor ever will be adequately described by earthly poets.These I take it are the Forms, though there are others.

So I think I find my main question unanswered by you, as to what motions you ascribe to both God and Form.

But don’t get worked up again as I myself find the question unanswerable; all I am sure of is that motion is only truly measured by that which moves not.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that may be true. The eidoi are not being as such. Although, clearly, if you say the eidoi are created, like some host of angels, they must in some way have emerged. And that suggests a kind of motion. On the other hand, the fact that human beings came into explicit knowing of them is not a matter of their revealing themselves by emergence, or because they were just then created, but of the humans, or, rightly said, the material that became human, evolving and coming to that glittering beginning.

Putting aside your habitual compulsion to make surprisingly idiotic preambles [especially for a relatively cultured individual], you have made a rather vague but not altogether useless remark this time out. To clarify: I speak of the pattern [as mentioned in the Parmenides' lines bellow], the eidos or idea. That is the verbal manner of indicating the thing to be situated. In simple schematic terms it is but the so-called universal, ergo: book. The Meno is a book, and so too the Collected Tales of Edgar Allen Poe. (Ergo, we explicitly repudiate the frivolous view about conventions. Although we know of it.] According to Socrates such eidoi are denied to the simple things,

Quote:
“And is there an abstract idea [εἶδος, eidos] of man, apart from us and all others such as we are, or of fire or water?”
“I have often,” he replied, “been very much troubled, Parmenides, to decide whether there are ideas of such things, or not.”
“And are you undecided about certain other things, which you might think rather ridiculous, such as hair, mud, dirt, or anything else particularly vile and worthless? Would you say that there is an idea of each of these distinct and different from the things [130d] with which we have to do, or not?”

“By no means,” said Socrates. “No, I think these things are such as they appear to us, and it would be quite absurd to believe that there is an idea of them; and yet I am sometimes disturbed by the thought that perhaps what is true of one thing is true of all. Then when I have taken up this position, I run away for fear of falling into some abyss of nonsense and perishing; so when I come to those things which we were just saying do have ideas, I stay and busy myself with them.”

Now, if Plato held writing to be defective then why did he write? And why does one expect to learn anything from reading them (the books of Plato)? Socrates is a dissembler, and he is Plato’s chief spokesperson. Plato did not hold writing to be defective, rather he found it one view amongst the abundance of all the views. The more fool the one who takes these things as fixed without a view to the endless turning of this group of things, the books.

Some books are unusually viscous. The eidos or pattern is simply indifferent to that. Or put more seriously, it has nothing to do with that mental realm of the monstrous and the good. It is not opposed to all that, but radically silent about all that. The eidoi seem to twinkle, in so far as they are far away, and it is held that what is close by does not twinkle.

Now, why do you think the matter of the eidos has to do with motion? Do you identify motion with becoming as such? Even, for instance, karmic cycling? That seems absurd. According to Aristotle, by way of solving the problem of Zeno, one may say that motion involves no point. Only finding one when it comes to rest. But is this ‘solution’ in any way satisfactory?

It is said that Plato departed from the animism of earlier times, in this characteristic manner: the sharp distinction between necessity and the mind were forever established and so all their abundant modifications in later times. Is it not that the eidoi are not grasped in the manner of a mental image such as the picturing of a house I have once seen, but somehow in a way that does not quite belong to the mind, ordinarily understood? Plato speaks of the leaping of fire (in the Letter).

I think these eidoi must be of the simple things as well as the high things. How else can there be a stone or a phone? It is as if this that is ourselves as what makes up life was always in the stock of what might be grasped. That a certain material necessity accompanies this is not incompatible with this view, on the contrary, it is suggested by it. In addition, clearly, there is a mental condition for the coming to an eidos.

Here I don't approach what is behind these eidoi, that which you have evoked. There’s a smokey atmosphere around the issue, but does that not suggest the presence of fire?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don’t think Plato thought writing a useless pastime for that would have made him a considerably useless person. But consider this, and remember, we are talking of ultimates here, the spoken word addresses something beyond our control, and we are not talking of pre-packed speech that is merely the mutterings of what has already been written. This isn’t what Socrates is talking of. He means the speech that is the knowledge that (uniquely and subjectively) arises from not knowing. Here is an example of Socrates talking of this, in words that have been written down by another.

“But there’s no reason to be surprised if we can’t convince the majority of people. They have never seen our words come true. They are used to carefully matched phrases, not the kind of spontaneous argument we are having now; … Nor have they heard enough free and fair discussion, which strains every nerve to discover truth out of sheer desire for knowledge …” Republic 498d (You might try other translations)

Obviously for Socrates, spontaneity doesn’t mean idly scraping the air with his tongue but giving voice to the moment out of the deep and dark pool of unknowing that is our inheritance. People think that noesis is a kind of more supercharged version of dianoia, but I see it as merely ‘access’. It has no system, nor is it interested in patterns. It simply opens the door and shows the direction. When however noesis does shows its presence dianoia is able to systematize ‘upwards’, in the way Socrates outlines a bit later.

“It treats assumptions not as principles, but as assumptions in the true sense, that is, as starting points and steps in the ascent to something which involves no assumption and is the first principle of everything; when it has grasped that principle it can again descend, by keeping to the consequences that follow from it, to a conclusion.” 511b

It is the nature of dianoia that it “discovers the one [Socrates’ first principle] not by itself alone but among many ones …” – Jacob Klein – Greek Mathematical Thought. P.77. He goes on to say that “it is not able to come face to face with the one as it is in itself. For the dianoia always deals with a multitude of ones. It cannot grasp the one except through an aggregate of ones …” p.78

Why am I saying all this Pythagorization? In fact to construct an elaborate geometric analogy: that of equating the noetic circle with the pure oral tradition, and the carefully constructed written speechification with the dianoic circle ‘turned on the lathe’ – technically constructed in the way of Archimedes by use of an infinitely sided polygon, thereby imprisoning it in the tangential. The difference is that no matter how painstakingly put together the written word is, as Socrates tells us, it can never defend itself. It can never be spontaneous, even ‘accidental’ in the best meaning of the word. Plato knows this, and is forced to resort to the ‘second sailing’ of ambigouity and irony (and to be sure, as you noted, sometimes sheer craftiness).

When noesis opens the door and lets us in we take dianoia with us, at least as far as it can. But whereas noesis is equipped to ‘see’ the first principle, dianoia is only equipped to sytemetize it vis a certain multiplicity of thought – like the infinitely sided polygon. When we discuss strange things like the motionless motion of the eidos we have to somehow leave the systematizing of dianoia behind, or better still, allow it to merely follow in the train of more godly thought. Perhaps, O Third Man, this is a kind of ‘systematising' of what you mean. Or perhaps it isn’t.

................................................

Notes for those puzzled.

Dianoia: ordinary discursive thought which can be raised 'above itself' in liaison with noesis. Plato also uses it as a generic term for both noesis and dianoia

'Noesis' equates with philosophical insight which is the Platonic way of approaching Nous (divine mind) and the Forms - eide or eidoi.

Circle: Archimedes invented an ingenious method of finding the area of a circle by deducing the areas of progressively sided polygons. In this visualisation, a square is more 'circular' than a triangle, a pentagon more so than a square , a hexagon more so than a pentagon, and a regular polygon with, say, a hundred sides is already very 'circular' to the eye if not the mind. But of course it is still in fact straight sided, and will always be so even if it has infinite sides. Hence the mention of a lathe in the Seventh Letter of Plato where this subject surfaces, although 'at a tangent'.

Second Sailing (deuteron ploun) is a term Socrates sometimes uses for the worthy but second best. For example he described his theory of forms 'second sailing' because Anaxagoras couldn't give him a true definition of nous (pronounced 'noose' not 'nouse'!) which would have presumably been 'first sailing'.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2015 2:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dianoia names an activity of the mind (Heidegger calls this, merely, circumspectness, and considers it the matter of taking up the thing thoroughly, thus, the example of the polygon with indefinite sides, the taking it all to consideration, it is the-looking-about-to-get-the-matter-under-sight). I’m not speaking of the mind when I name the pattern, I’m speaking of the eidos, a god amongst gods. Things belong together. A stone and another stone. This is the issue of the eidoi. Patterns, likely the best word for the eidoi, or gods. A bookish repetition of the Greek words is facile. No one knows what they are saying, least of all ourselves. Plain English: If things belong together does that not name a pattern? I.e., that a circle belongs with another circle, not because of the essence, in contradistinction to the material, and not for the reason that it is a universal upon which all the individual cases lean.

I call this god of the circle, the pattern. That is not important. I don't see what is misleading in it, not particularly.

The eidos has two cogent explications, they point to the situation of the thing thus pointed at by the words, and not with the finger or a stick. The explication is not the thing therein named, but the pointing to it. The two explications are that the eidoi are that which Plato shows by proceeding through the whole range, form worst to best, with respect to any matter. The eidos bears no relation to human endeavour, it is the very opening of human being. That there are houses, not that there is a blueprint, and an actual thing. That there is this being in its range of being. This goes as much for a stone as for an Iphone.

There is another explication. The eidoi are the things discovered as the peaks, as the way of life. Such that what devolves form the way is the life. So that the beginning of the thing is not overwhelmed by its elaboration, but as with the work of Plato, it is the fountain that recedes form grasp whilst giving life-bright water.

I don’t see any reason to take the doctrine of recollection to be anything but irony, I follow the suggestion of Jacob Klein. The procedure of the letter is not a matter of brutish leading questions, which one does well to remember is the method of teaching law students (that is, in our own time), as with the amusingly absurd example of geometrical recollection in the Meno.

Plato says, it is better to make little of all this. And not to become exalted or reverent with respect to these matters.

What is unusually worth pointing to, is that something like dianoia can not have the character of a technical knowledge, as it is usually explicated. Not, indeed, if it is the part of the mind, different from that which simply pictures what the senses have kept, and open to the things of the Timaeus’ myth. The mere word edios, taken etymologically, points to the seeing of the look of things, the tangible shapes, the face (as, then, in the transformation of the term, Moses spoke to the angel of the face; thus the turning aside to look at the fiery thing on mount Horeb is also a description of the befalling of the eidoi upon this mortal life. Of course, there is no connection between the words here, but it is what is described in the letter, which is to say the matter is not one of discovering primary information, or cause, but of a befalling.), but the word as used by Plato (as in the letter and the myth of Timaeus) can not be classified as a technical innovation in the ordinary sense. It is a bringing to langauge of what had to brought. The indestructible demand came from Greek life itself. It is not like the technical term that is fabricated for the sake of conveying something that is not usually spoken of, and has now become part of a group of experts. It is not a coming out of ordinary life in order to find something else. As if to say, beside from seeing a chair, I can also see the object subject to entropic forces. It is not a something of life and a something added on.

You are taken in by the irony of Plato, which is not only what is first obvious to the defective minds and cursory reading, but even covers the entirety of the work. The work is a stimulus to going beyond the political sphere. That of promoting this and that plan of life. For he counts the higher things, math, no better than the lower, mere force of hands.

Does not Plato say what goes for the circle can be taken as well for any other matter? I’m not sure where you speak at all of eidoi, you speak of mathematical knowing. It seems to me that all the eidoi must not be understood according to the common sense of moving and its limit state, rest. This is the ground approached in the Timaeus’ myth.

It is certainly not necessary to think of, e.g., of geometrical things in order to reach the eidoi. Is not nous a name of the demiurge, insofar as the human when it comes to the scene of these matters must still move in the circle of its own devices? I.e., it is a ‘demi-’ god. Thus this situation of the myth names the ground of knowing experience, in its outmost presence. But we can see that it is something insufficient. This that is that stimulus for the history or inquiry of being insofar as whatever one says of the bunk metaphysical swoon, of the unwholesome and the obtuse, it is indeed, even for average sense, an experience given to us. Such that then, only after, can one say of that matter, it speaks of errors and fanciful things. Or, it is nonsense and infantile. It leads to nothing but talk. I.e., because the truth and the followers of truth are like these chaps over here. Who, themselves, are engaged in some operations that take flight from daily life, e.g., the physicists and the rest. As a human being is first themselves and then, incidentally a physicist. And what they learn in the poetical regions in which mathematical thought moves, although of great practical importance, is applicable to life only derivatively, and on its own ground is entirely alien to life.

Now is dianoia supposed to be physics, or is it just blather? If it is physics one must repudiate it as true knowledge. For it is always changeful, and never cultivates true knowledge.

I don’t see what your explication of the circle and the indefinitely sided polygon is in the service of. It would only show that dianoia itself is radically defective. Presumably that is what you mean already. Yet, I would deny that following that path is the only way to see the eidoi, as that which is not subject to these contradictions and difficulties, but neither more perfect nor infinitely at variance from perfection.

Now, you have not said much about motion. Presumably, however, you admit and allow to enter into the discussion, the forging of the eidoi by the demiurge. Then does it not, I ask you once more, suggest motion? But, clearly, not of the kind usually spoken of.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<Does not Plato say what goes for the circle can be taken as well for any other matter? I’m not sure where you speak at all of eidoi, you speak of mathematical knowing. It seems to me that all the eidoi must not be understood according to the common sense of moving and its limit state, rest. This is the ground approached in the Timaeus’ myth.>>

Numbers etc. are good, they are less likely to deceive. For a similar reason I also give references, subtle deceptions can arise by speaking in the voice of someone without the listener knowing who really speaks. I think my analogy re the circle demonstrated without holding anything back. That’s why I was satisfied with it. It was well thought through, stood on its own two feet. and was at least worthy of discussion, not dismissal. What are you offering that can be so discussed? You constantly move all discussion onto the shifting sands of your own doxa, which have no feet to stand on. What does it matter what we call eidos? Taxis, koinon, ‘look’? These are all partial descriptions. Pattern is more aligned with shape – morphe than eidos. Koinon, commonality is better than pattern for the use you want to express. But does it matter. As for Greek words, this week you don’t want to use them – next week you might, according to your whim.

Generally I don’t disagree with much of what you say, but there is little hope for us having a constructive discourse, as you are too keen to pull things down rather than construct. Thus we remain always at ground zero. I put it down to inexperience and your redundant fallability. You should take more note of the passage I quoted in my last post regarding ‘fair and free discussion’ and desist from claiming Pyrrhic victories regarding things that don’t really matter.

O Third Man, I suspect our conversation is at an end.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Far from dismissing the example of the circle I let it suffuse the meditation of my whole answer. The sense of dismissal came only from the fact that I already knew of that example, and so moved within the thought of it at once. But to move in a thought is not to be done with it. As if some request for a solution had been adequately met, and the matter of the concern dispensed with.

Numbers refer first to things with shapes, but then they continue to count. One that vase, two a chair, three some strange man. Four, one utters, in pure counting (thus, pointing to no thing, but there is a peculiar intelligibility in this four!). And so, on to infinity in pure counting.... A circle is not a number. Yet, there is a similarity, we see the circular things, a Frisbee or the flat sphere of the world, and then we go on speaking about circles when there is nothing there. Both these, thought collectively, are patterns or commonalities, they are grasped but have no shape or face. As patterns they string out like the fires, which fall at infinite distance, one from another, in the night sky.

There is a difficulty because eidos has two grounds in Plato, the common doxa and the one he brings it to. The way it was bruited about before Socrates and Plato was very direct. That thing, the look of it: direct presence, its face, its shape, a table, the vault of the sky.

Now, if you would say words are useless, you would not bother with them. But what is the systematic manner of delimiting the seriousness in which comes to words? Under what rule does one philosophize? At first there is the question: If one is to have any discussion at all, what terms shall one use? And then, must we not give the terms some content so that they point to something which gives the discussion substance? Yet words, are not the eidoi in the way Plato means it, in contradistinction to the way Greek doxa was given to thinking them.

There is the shape as the singular thing there. A cat. But if, as Socrates frequently points out, we find they belong under a genus, we find the things that belong together, all cats. It stands directly in contact with the things of the sensorium. Do we not, in philosophy, come out of what can pointed to, to the other eidoi?

Why would a number be less likely to deceive then a word? I point and say circle. I point and count one. It is unintelligible why the one is supposed to be more reliable. If you say, that is one person, I say, only if he is himself. One says, he is not himself today. What is reliable in the count? One must look deeper. Is it the one we know, or some other? One what?

Thus, however much we count the parts of the thing there, the body of the person we know, like the indefinite sides of the circle, we can not come to certainty. Does it not suggest that numbers risk floating way into a ghostly realm of pure knowledge without content? Why are numbers to be praised? Surely not for the sake of calculation and knowledge of things. It is because they lead out of the things seen to being. They lead to the sniffing out of being. Being, as one, then becomes given to openness. It lets itself be seen. Ergo, just as I count one sidewalk, one tree, one human dog, likewise I can say this is being, i.e., that that is about me in my life, the whole visible horizon and what is thought and the rest, and at another time I see again, this is being. Being becomes intelligible as what is situated in such a way that circumspection begins to notice something more mysterious.

Words are somewhat better at speaking the human things, numbers at the operative count.

One must, then, not let the matter of terms be taken to be one of fatuous doggerel. The ground of being, according to the metaphor, is not the circle or the indefinite movement of the growth of sides in the polygon, which being interpreted means that the human being, the circle, and the count, the quantification of all things, stand according to the being. Thus the being must be noticed at all.


--

addendum:

I notice you have scorned to give honorific notice to my simple question:
Quote:
Now, you have not said much about motion. Presumably, however, you admit and allow to enter into the discussion, the forging of the eidoi by the demiurge. Then does it not, I ask you once more, suggest motion? But, clearly, not of the kind usually spoken of.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me honour your addendum: before tackling the rest of your post.

Quote:
addendum:

I notice you have scorned to give honorific notice to my simple question:
Quote:
Now, you have not said much about motion. Presumably, however, you admit and allow to enter into the discussion, the forging of the eidoi by the demiurge. Then does it not, I ask you once more, suggest motion? But, clearly, not of the kind usually spoken of.


Your insistence on this seems to reveal you have something in mind, but mark that the demiurge doesn’t fashion the eidoi. It is very clear that they are the model he uses to fashion his perfect copies. For Plato states this at the outset:

"For God’s purpose was to use as his model the highest and most completely perfect of intelligible beings ...” Timaeus 30c

These being the eide.

I have things to say in general about motion, in the way one encounters it in everyday life and in the Aristotelian sense, but whatever I say is contingent upon the above fairly normative point being accepted.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding:

Quote:
Numbers refer first to things with shapes, but then they continue to count. One that vase, two a chair, three some strange man. Four, one utters, in pure counting (thus, pointing to no thing, but there is a peculiar intelligibility in this four!). And so, on to infinity in pure counting.... A circle is not a number. Yet, there is a similarity, we see the circular things, a Frisbee or the flat sphere of the world, and then we go on speaking about circles when there is nothing there. Both these, thought collectively, are patterns or commonalities, they are grasped but have no shape or face. As patterns they string out like the fires, which fall at infinite distance, one from another, in the night sky.

This is an extremely disappointing response from my point of view, apart from the poetry of your final sentence. I was hoping you would cut a little slack and let your kite fly - give it something we could work with. Alas, if you are going to limit number to mere ‘tallying’ we’ll get nowhere. For example, why does Socrates so often give the odd and the even as twofold principles of number? Surely because they effectively ‘tame’ your infinity. Number is no longer the endless tally but the even and the odd, and thereby eidos. I can argue this more fiercely if you wish, but I think these sentences show that I am laying my stall out quite differently to you.
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