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Seventh Letter

 
 
Reply Thu 2 Feb, 2012 11:02 pm

"A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

Does he mean, the sound or also the written word, or something else?

The second thing is (Although I don't discount the difficulties of the first question should it seem best to take up only that one):

" Fourth, comes knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under this one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in words nor in bodily shapes, but in souls-from which it is dear that it is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things mentioned before. Of these things intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the others are farther distant."

Can anyone bring this out to me by adding examples, or in some other way. I find it obscure. I believe some material on this distinction between opinion, intelligence and knowledge is in the Republic. In the words of Whitman, disambiguate me!




I've included more of the pertinent passage bellow:

For everything that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted; fourth, there is the knowledge itself, and, as fifth, we must count the thing itself which is known and truly exists. The first is the name, the, second the definition, the third. the image, and the fourth the knowledge. If you wish to learn what I mean, take these in the case of one instance, and so understand them in the case of all. A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered. The second thing belonging to it is its definition, made up names and verbal forms. For that which has the name "round," "annular," or, "circle," might be defined as that which has the distance from its circumference to its centre everywhere equal. Third, comes that which is drawn and rubbed out again, or turned on a lathe and broken up-none of which things can happen to the circle itself-to which the other things, mentioned have reference; for it is something of a different order from them. Fourth, comes knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under this one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in words nor in bodily shapes, but in souls-from which it is dear that it is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things mentioned before. Of these things intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the others are farther distant.

The same applies to straight as well as to circular form, to colours, to the good, the, beautiful, the just, to all bodies whether manufactured or coming into being in the course of nature, to fire, water, and all such things, to every living being, to character in souls, and to all things done and suffered. For in the case of all these, no one, if he has not some how or other got hold of the four things first mentioned, can ever be completely a partaker of knowledge of the fifth. Further, on account of the weakness of language, these (i.e., the four) attempt to show what each thing is like, not less than what each thing is. For this reason no man of intelligence will venture to express his philosophical views in language, especially not in language that is unchangeable, which is true of that which is set down in written characters.

Again you must learn the point which comes next. Every circle, of those which are by the act of man drawn or even turned on a lathe, is full of that which is opposite to the fifth thing. For everywhere it has contact with the straight. But the circle itself, we say, has nothing in either smaller or greater, of that which is its opposite. We say also that the name is not a thing of permanence for any of them, and that nothing prevents the things now called round from being called straight, and the straight things round; for those who make changes and call things by opposite names, nothing will be less permanent (than a name). Again with regard to the definition, if it is made up of names and verbal forms, the same remark holds that there is no sufficiently durable permanence in it. And there is no end to the instances of the ambiguity from which each of the four suffers; but the greatest of them is that which we mentioned a little earlier, that, whereas there are two things, that which has real being, and that which is only a quality, when the soul is seeking to know, not the quality, but the essence, each of the four, presenting to the soul by word and in act that which it is not seeking (i.e., the quality), a thing open to refutation by the senses, being merely the thing presented to the soul in each particular case whether by statement or the act of showing, fills, one may say, every man with puzzlement and perplexity.

Now in subjects in which, by reason of our defective education, we have not been accustomed even to search for the truth, but are satisfied with whatever images are presented to us, we are not held up to ridicule by one another, the questioned by questioners, who can pull to pieces and criticise the four things. But in subjects where we try to compel a man to give a clear answer about the fifth, any one of those who are capable of overthrowing an antagonist gets the better of us, and makes the man, who gives an exposition in speech or writing or in replies to questions, appear to most of his hearers to know nothing of the things on which he is attempting to write or speak; for they are sometimes not aware that it is not the mind of the writer or speaker which is proved to be at fault, but the defective nature of each of the four instruments. The process however of dealing with all of these, as the mind moves up and down to each in turn, does after much effort give birth in a well-constituted mind to knowledge of that which is well constituted. But if a man is ill-constituted by nature (as the state of the soul is naturally in the majority both in its capacity for learning and in what is called moral character)-or it may have become so by deterioration-not even Lynceus could endow such men with the power of sight.

In one word, the man who has no natural kinship with this matter cannot be made akin to it by quickness of learning or memory; for it cannot be engendered at all in natures which are foreign to it. Therefore, if men are not by nature kinship allied to justice and all other things that are honourable, though they may be good at learning and remembering other knowledge of various kinds-or if they have the kinship but are slow learners and have no memory-none of all these will ever learn to the full the truth about virtue and vice. For both must be learnt together; and together also must be learnt, by complete and long continued study, as I said at the beginning, the true and the false about all that has real being. After much effort, as names, definitions, sights, and other data of sense, are brought into contact and friction one with another, in the course of scrutiny and kindly testing by men who proceed by question and answer without ill will, with a sudden flash there shines forth understanding about every problem, and an intelligence whose efforts reach the furthest limits of human powers. Therefore every man of worth, when dealing with matters of worth, will be far from exposing them to ill feeling and misunderstanding among men by committing them to writing. In one word, then, it may be known from this that, if one sees written treatises composed by anyone, either the laws of a lawgiver, or in any other form whatever, these are not for that man the things of most worth, if he is a man of worth, but that his treasures are laid up in the fairest spot that he possesses. But if these things were worked at by him as things of real worth, and committed to writing, then surely, not gods, but men "have themselves bereft him of his wits." "
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bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Feb, 2012 06:00 am
@gustoforplato,
gustoforplato wrote:

plato wrote:
A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered. The second thing belonging to it is its definition, ... as that which has the distance from its circumference to its centre everywhere equal. Third, comes that which is drawn and rubbed out again, or turned on a lathe and broken up-none of which things can happen to the circle itself-to which the other things, mentioned have reference; for it is something of a different order from them. Fourth, comes knowledge, intelligence and right opinion about these things. Under this one head we must group everything which has its existence, not in words nor in bodily shapes, but in souls-from which it is dear that it is something different from the nature of the circle itself and from the three things mentioned before. Of these things intelligence comes closest in kinship and likeness to the fifth, and the others are farther distant."



One thing that strikes me is the difference between a circle and a cat.

Whereas the "circle, itself" and "a cat, in itself" can only be an ideas, there is a difference between a particular circle and a particular cat. Circle turns out to be a description of a two-dimensional aspect of some object. Cat names a class of four-dimensional objects. So the name "circle" refers to a class of Pythagorean abstract objects, the name "cat" refers to an abstraction of a class of particulars?
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Feb, 2012 06:14 am
@gustoforplato,
All forms are conserved... All identities are conserved so that, if you are talking of circles, comparing this circle with that, or circles as abstractions with circles in reality, or circles with circular objects, there is no effect on the definition of circle... If, for example, the definintion of line did not remain the same it would not be possible to compare lines for length because every length would redefine line as a concept...We do not compare apples and oranges because their definition is diffeent and their comparison meaningless, but under the definition: Apple, we can compare all apples, and there the comparison is meaningful... In addition, all laws of nature are conserved just as the first law of thermodynamics is called the conservation of mass... All forms related to the physical world are conserved, but Ethical form, moral forms which war perhaps properly refered to as transendent concept, something like God, or Justice cannlot be defined hardly, let alone conserved... Every example of justice tends to redefine justice as every example of an apple, or a circle would not...

According to Kant, knowledge is judgement, but it is by way of forms which are themselves judgements that additional judgements are made...All human knowledge, primarily cultural, and already discovered is by way of forms, and only through refinement and addition to forms, and even the discarding of old and failed forms can we hope to add to knowledge...I Hope that helps...
gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 12:46 pm
@bluemist phil,
@bluemist phil


You ignored the first question i..e: "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

Does he mean, the sound or also the written word, or something else?


------

What is your definition of a cat?

Did you consider what Plato says here: "Every circle, of those which are by the act of man drawn or even turned on a lathe..."? Is a ball or sphere really two dimensional? Don't we say of a tennis ball that it is circular? The cat can be reduced to a two dimensional representation or definition also. That you attribute four dimensions to it seems arbitrary. I might attribute four to the circle, and say rightly that it is equidistant from its center, when I regard it as a 'shadow form' taken from the lathe or blown up with helium.

Plato gives three ways we can COMMUNICATE with 'the shadows', or what one might call "four-dimensional objects". If I understand you, you mean spatial dimensions plus the 'dimension' of time.

One thing to remember is Plato did not start from a theory of object subject relations or 'four dimensions' and then develop his theory as a perversion, he worked purely with the actual world as it presented itself to him & his contemporaries.

gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 12:53 pm
@Fido,
@Fido

You ignored the first question i..e: "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

Does he mean, the sound or also the written word, or something else?

----------

What you say, at least in the first paragraph & I haven't really understood it, seems to concern the third category: the definition. I would ask you to actually follow Plato and reply only when altogether glued to what he says, and not to divagate widely.

I am interested especially in precisification concerning his usage of opinion, intelligence and knowledge, where he says "Fourth, comes knowledge..."

I'm not particularly interested in the history of philosophy - unless it really responds to a passage of Plato directly - as it intersects with scientific or biological notions or even Kant's insight into this question, rather I want to see it at first hand directly from Plato. And apprehend it here and now as he did.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 04:31 pm
@gustoforplato,
gustoforplato wrote:

@Fido

You ignored the first question i..e: "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

Does he mean, the sound or also the written word, or something else?

----------

What you say, at least in the first paragraph & I haven't really understood it, seems to concern the third category: the definition. I would ask you to actually follow Plato and reply only when altogether glued to what he says, and not to divagate widely.

I am interested especially in precisification concerning his usage of opinion, intelligence and knowledge, where he says "Fourth, comes knowledge..."

I'm not particularly interested in the history of philosophy - unless it really responds to a passage of Plato directly - as it intersects with scientific or biological notions or even Kant's insight into this question, rather I want to see it at first hand directly from Plato. And apprehend it here and now as he did.
It is identity, or conservation... The name is the thing...

I guess I should have let you finger it out for yourself... I get much of what he says, but later explanations/theories of form are better... It takes a special twist of mind to get first causes and that sort of thing... My guess is, that rather than thinking of reality as perfection that he thought of reality as an imperfect take off of a perfect form much as one would build a house from a detailed and exacting drawing but never achieve that level of perfection in reality... But; I think it is the fact that our minds in order to function exclude the chaff of life and all the imperfections and that out of many imperfect examples of circles we arrive at a form called: Circle... Reality never provides a perfect circle, and the mind never works on less than one...

I just do not know if I have the time to revisit Plato, and so much of what I say comes from memory blank with forgetfulness... Plato and his Hero were once my dearest friends... When you are young it is nice to find some one who believes strongly enough in anything to die for it... The more I learned of Aristotle and of Plato the less I could stand Plato; but I can see how he became the darling of the church... He supported the view that the rich and powerful were good because they were rich and powerful...No wonder he struggled so with morality... He simply could not grasp it on an elemental level...And morality is primary to society, and elemental... A moral society produces moral people, and moral people produce a moral society... It cannot be taught part way through the process, and in fact, cannot be taught at all because we can only teach what can be conceived of...People learn dogma by rote... They can learn laws by rote... To know anything of physical reality it must be had as an object, like a circle, and it is only of finite reality that we may know... Of infinites we may believe, but never know, because judgment of them is impossible... Sorry.

btw: Aristipus would be a better friend to have and a ton more fun to drink with... I am not sure, but he may have been about the first real human being...I think he was right about the people of Athens be vicious..
gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 09:04 pm
@Fido,
"It is identity, or conservation... The name is the thing..." Are you answering the question about the name? Brilliantly opaque.

"and so much of what I say comes from memory blank with forgetfulness... " That much is evident. Whoever is to help here must engage the material like a bulldog and not simply attempt to explode rockets or to paint epic figures on the wall of the cave.

Read the text (with my would be italics made caps added): "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its NAME is that very word which we have just UTTERED."

Most likely, in my opinion, he means the sound of the word.

True enough, we might learn something from having someone examining the Greek. It would remain secondary to our purpose of assent through discourse.
0 Replies
 
bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 09:16 pm
@gustoforplato,
gustoforplato wrote:
One thing to remember is Plato did not start from a theory of object subject relations or 'four dimensions' and then develop his theory as a perversion, he worked purely with the actual world as it presented itself to him & his contemporaries.

Wow! You raise many thought-provoking issues. If I'm to stick to Plato and to withhold interpretation and opinion, I'll be even more boring than usual.

I think of Plato as a headmaster at *his* Academy, then as a teacher, and only as a consequence, a philosopher. This is because as he was competing against other, better established schools, he came up with the (recruting?) gimmick of teaching something beyond the art of argumentation and speech making. He claimed that he could teach the truth about things, as derived through logical reasoning. He turned out to be successful beyond belief.

The dialogues are a combination of text, workbook, and guide to in-class discussion among students and teachers at varied levels of experience and competence. We still are his students to some extent.

In introducing various topics, he carefully avoided giving his 'official' answer. For the most part this was left for logical discussion and speculation in the shade of the olive trees.

If I recall, for something like a circle, when he discussed naming, he suggested three possibilities. That the name itself was only conventional; that the name was natural in some way; that names have historical origins in the word roots. He argued both for and against the adequacy of all three theories.
bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 09:39 pm
@gustoforplato,
gustoforplato wrote:
One thing to remember is Plato did not start from a theory of object subject relations or 'four dimensions' and then develop his theory as a perversion, he worked purely with the actual world as it presented itself to him & his contemporaries.

I think Plato started with the philosophy that was already written at the time -- Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Protagoras, Parmenides.

He extensively argued against Protagoras's 'phenomenalism'. In the end, since it is not scientific, it can be ignored in Plato's metaphysical ladder.

In contrast, he does not argue against Heraclitus. Heraclitus pops up here and there in scattered places, carefully keeping it away from the freshmen and the sophs. But then, in the foundational 'divided line', the world of illusions is purely Heraclitean, rounded fuzzy objects in eternal flux. So, he does start with a 3+1 dimensional world. The problem, as he sees it, is that such a world is unknowable, because it never holds still long enough to be anything.

What to do? Plato, the genius, recognizes that Parmenides's odd, strictly logical metaphysics of a unique 'being' can be pluralized to make the world logically knowable. If only the world can be made to freeze, as a still picture of a waterfall, or as a picture of a horse in mid-leap. This works, because now objects can be marked and named, attributes are clearly visible, and relations can be measured. The result of this becomes the world of existent objects, the world that was later adopted by Aristotle, as "the" philosophy.
0 Replies
 
gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2012 09:55 pm
@bluemist phil,
I think a boring answer is exhilarating, it takes us off the ordinary road, and disdains cleverness. If we have the aim of keeping to Plato's orders at heart we might take day trips, and peregrinate. That is all I am pleading for, by the dog!

By the way I think this is very interesting: "So the name "circle" refers to a class of Pythagorean abstract objects, the name "cat" refers to an abstraction of a class of particulars?"

It assumes so much, has flown so far, includes much that we may know to be the case (even what we may believe Plato thought about Pythagoras & so on, apart from what he specifically mentions), but that is not present, as Plato's authoritarian instructions are.

"If I recall, for something like a circle, when he discussed naming, he suggested three possibilities. That the name itself was only conventional; that the name was natural in some way; that names have historical origins in the word roots. He argued both for and against the adequacy of all three theories."

That may be relevant, I beg that, and I appreciate this illuminating comment dearly, that it is with the core purpose of answering the very simple question at hand that such information is brought to our attention. I want to be naive, to answer without undue subtlety or historical reflection. That is my idea! What does he mean when he says :

"A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

Does he mean, the sound or the written inscription with pencil or ink, or is he trying to convey something else? I think he means the phonic quality, the sound.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Feb, 2012 01:59 pm
@bluemist phil,
bluemist phil wrote:

gustoforplato wrote:
One thing to remember is Plato did not start from a theory of object subject relations or 'four dimensions' and then develop his theory as a perversion, he worked purely with the actual world as it presented itself to him & his contemporaries.

Wow! You raise many thought-provoking issues. If I'm to stick to Plato and to withhold interpretation and opinion, I'll be even more boring than usual.

I think of Plato as a headmaster at *his* Academy, then as a teacher, and only as a consequence, a philosopher. This is because as he was competing against other, better established schools, he came up with the (recruting?) gimmick of teaching something beyond the art of argumentation and speech making. He claimed that he could teach the truth about things, as derived through logical reasoning. He turned out to be successful beyond belief.

The dialogues are a combination of text, workbook, and guide to in-class discussion among students and teachers at varied levels of experience and competence. We still are his students to some extent.

In introducing various topics, he carefully avoided giving his 'official' answer. For the most part this was left for logical discussion and speculation in the shade of the olive trees.

If I recall, for something like a circle, when he discussed naming, he suggested three possibilities. That the name itself was only conventional; that the name was natural in some way; that names have historical origins in the word roots. He argued both for and against the adequacy of all three theories.
as if myth and magic did not already exist as explanations... He could escape the gods, but not escape God as a first cause...
gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Feb, 2012 05:33 pm
Your making statements about the understanding of theory, in this thread the focus is only on very naively following Plato, letting ourselves assume he was sincere, and that what he is telling us about is a fundamental human possibility.

The theory is only fodder for the questioner on her journey out of the cave, and not an end in itself.

It doesn't matter what Plato knew or what we know. We can simply engage reality directly as Plato did, and step out of the cave. Only so long as one merely talks of it does it remain theory and endless disputation. It is not a matter of a spiritual awakening or journey, but of a different form of thinking. Quiet real, and quite wholly other to thought with language.
0 Replies
 
bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 10 Feb, 2012 07:53 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
as if myth and magic did not already exist as explanations... He could escape the gods, but not escape God as a first cause...

Hi,
Actually, that's not what it's about at all, at least not to begin with.

For Plato, all philosophy begins with, or should begin with a logically coherent theory of a possible world. He borrowed this from Parmenides and the mathematics of the Pythagoreans. Start with empirically reasonable axioms, then use a simple logic to unfold a complete metaphysics. This approach is deliberately in opposition to the older Homeric notion of superhuman gods doing senseless acts to mankind or causing human fate. Note that he, and other philosophers at that time rejected the city gods for a God of superior morality.

So, I start with Plato's metaphysics. You seem to think that some later ideas or someone else's metaphysics are superior. They are not. Plato is still the master.
0 Replies
 
gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Feb, 2012 04:50 pm
bluemist phil said:"For Plato..." Are you sure that isn't an interpretation of his corpus and times, bolstered by historical justification, that is properly & sternly repudiated by Plato in his Seventh Letter? I.e:

"Therefore every man of worth, when dealing with matters of worth, will be far from exposing them to ill feeling and misunderstanding among men by committing them to writing. In one word, then, it may be known from this that, if one sees written treatises composed by anyone, either the laws of a lawgiver, or in any other form whatever, these are not for that man the things of most worth, if he is a man of worth, but that his treasures are laid up in the fairest spot that he possesses. But if these things were worked at by him as things of real worth, and committed to writing, then surely, not gods, but men "have themselves bereft him of his wits".

------

Here is the summary of our alacritously resplendent thread, since it now seems to founder and be all but complete:

A question was put to the forum,i.e.: What does Plato mean by the name when he says: "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

An answer - ostensibly concerned with the question - was given, i.e.: "One thing that strikes me is the difference between a circle and a cat...." This seems to treat or entertain a formal logic question, by way of philosophical reason, and so is far outside the ambit of the question about the name in the specific context of the letter. Remember, Plato says: "For everything that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted." This shows that Plato is interested in the name qua vehiculator or conveyor of knowledge; with how it ferries or traffics knowledge.

Then we sighted a Condor, far up in the clouds, another answer:

"It is identity, or conservation... The name is the thing..." Sure enough, such statements are often underwritten by convincing argumentation. And if it had answered the question at hand we would be ready to explore it. Yet, this seems to answer not our question, but rather the question: "What is the essence of the name?"

Our question was:

When Plato says "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered." does he mean the sound, or the written inscription with pencil or ink, or is he trying to convey something else?
bluemist phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Feb, 2012 10:01 pm
@gustoforplato,
gustoforplato wrote:

bluemist phil said:"For Plato..." Are you sure that isn't an interpretation of his corpus and times, bolstered by historical justification, that is properly & sternly repudiated by Plato in his Seventh Letter? I.e:

"Therefore every man of worth, when dealing with matters of worth, will be far from exposing them to ill feeling and misunderstanding among men by committing them to writing. In one word, then, it may be known from this that, if one sees written treatises composed by anyone, either the laws of a lawgiver, or in any other form whatever, these are not for that man the things of most worth, if he is a man of worth, but that his treasures are laid up in the fairest spot that he possesses. But if these things were worked at by him as things of real worth, and committed to writing, then surely, not gods, but men "have themselves bereft him of his wits".

Plato did not write any treatises, but there are many passages scattered throughout the dialogues that are fragments of treatises in need of assemblage. This method hides the dearest philosophy from all but those who have access to all the fragments and have the will to assemble them into a coherent structure. For this reason, most people think of Plato as only a moral philosopher, or the philosopher who got Aristotle's forms all wrong. He was a moral philosopher. But moral philosophy is applied philosophy that applies metaphysics and epistemology to the field of ethics. Without coherent metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy is empty chatter. To answer your question, no, Plato did not repudiate metaphysics. By treatises, I think he was referring to Aristotle's treatises, with their didactic style.

------

Quote:
What does Plato mean by the name when he says: "A circle is a thing spoken of, and its name is that very word which we have just uttered."

An answer - ostensibly concerned with the question - was given, i.e.: "One thing that strikes me is the difference between a circle and a cat...." This seems to treat or entertain a formal logic question, by way of philosophical reason, and so is far outside the ambit of the question about the name in the specific context of the letter. Remember, Plato says: "For everything that exists there are three instruments by which the knowledge of it is necessarily imparted." This shows that Plato is interested in the name qua vehiculator or conveyor of knowledge; with how it ferries or traffics knowledge.

Forums are not the best way to untangle complex issues. So, I'll skip the next five posts and jump forward to try to answer your question.

The divided line creates four worlds of objects (not counting Parmenides and the sun). Circle is a Pythagorean object of the intellect (level 3), and it has a geometric constructive definition in that world: A circle is the connected loci equidistant from a central point as drawn on a flat plane. There is no object that is equivalent to a circle in the sensible Aristotelian world of existents (level 2). There, the form (level 4 knowables) of a circle is used as a property of shape. The form of a circle is the Idea of perfect roundness. This Idea is known, or can be known, by intuition. To know that a figure drawn in the sand partakes in or participates in the roundness of a circle, we must first know the Idea (or concept) of roundness and its relation to the geometric circle.

At this point, the vast majority of people think that Plato is talking nonsense. But let's look at an analogous (or so I claim) modern example. We all know that one of Newton's equations is F=mA and Einstein has E=mc2 (more or less). Platonic analysis will reveal that almost noone knows these equations in a Platonic sense. This is because the equations relate not the Ideas or concepts, but their measures. To know, a person would first have to know what the forms of Force, =, mass, and Accelaration (or momentum) actually, really signify. Same for Energy, the speed of light, and squared. I've never heard of anyone who fully qualifies. Einstein, Feynman and others come close, but not the rest of us.

Then there is that cat. Plato unhappily get to that muddy, furry animal until the Sophist. I hate what he did, so I'll take a picture book of cats as a valid definition.
0 Replies
 
gustoforplato
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2012 09:05 pm
It's deplorable how far we are from being able to answer a straightforward question. Not yet a breath about my question.

"...with a sudden flash there shines forth understanding about every problem, and the intelligence is flooded with light." This names an experience, and is not metaphor. Plato doesn't repudiate metaphysics, his and Socrates' experience of thaumazein make it moot. In a modest way, an unjustifiable conviction, such as that of the vegetarian, sometimes befalls one in similar fashion.

"But if these things were worked at by him as things of real worth..."
Unfortunately this translation is not so good, it should make the action involved more explicit. Plato is not speaking of theory, but of action, that of realizing the Forms in a live lived moment. It is also described in the Theaetetus , but, suffice to say, dragging one from the cave, by laying hands on violently, does not really interest me, nor do I imagine I have the ability, one must find the willing. Thanks for the time, philosophers will rise again one day, with some luck!

----

P.S.

By the way, perhaps you are correct, but you do realize that Aristotle was Plato's student? "I think he was referring to Aristotle's treatises"

What you say is quite brilliant and correct, and at bottom, you, or Plato, have arrived at the position beyond that of Kant who speaks of a priori synthetic, transcendental, judgments. I.e., of analytic a posteriori. (Parenthetically, this is the grounds of the great onto-aesthetic adventure of contemporary theory.)

"Circle is a Pythagorean object of the intellect" The sign circle CAN BE a Pythagorean figure (as in, for example, Descartes or Kant, i.e., where it is an a priori analytic object, or object of pure reason or of the understanding as opposed to of experience), in which case you are correct (that is if you change circle for circle qua Pythagorean object in ever instance of your argument).

In the Seventh Letter Plato says "If you wish to learn what I mean, take these in the case of one instance, and so understand them in the case of all." Either Plato is mistaken, or all words, whether connected to some previous storehouse of theory or not, can be wrestled and pinned by this method.

In the Seventh Letter it is a name, that can be, as Plato explicitly tells us, be changed with ANY name (that is the word uttered, the sound as distinct from the inscription, I maintain) - even cat - , it is a definition (one uttered, that is, as I maintain, the sound, or verbalization, and not the written definition), & an object made on a lathe or elsewhere, as Plato says, then too, it is the 'knowledge, opinion, and right understanding' & past that the Form.
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