• god must be atheist
    583
    I've been long troubled by the image-theory of the Republic. Images can be analyzed, synthesized, interpreted, computed, combined, reasoned. There is no reason why reality -- the thing, from the silhouettes of which the images are cast -- can't be computed by correctly reconciling the images and their interactions. We ought to be able to build, therefore, the ideal Chair, or the ideal Face-Losing or any of the rest of the ideals. It may take some time, and some brains, maybe also a little luck, but theoretically it ought to be possible.

    Would this be in line with Plato's - Socrates' reasoning, but of which the two did not think?
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    From the image of a chair one can build a chair but it is not clear what you mean by an ideal chair. We can imagine the eidos or idea or look or kind or Form of the chair itself, of which all chairs that we can see or touch or sit on are images or copies, but any chair we build is itself a copy of that Form.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Good question, Fooloso4.

    What I am saying, is that Forms or Ideals are not impossible, according to Plato and Socrates; they are real, they exist.

    If that is true, then all the chairs whose silhouette images we see on the cave walls, can be combined (properly) to produce the Form of a chair.

    This ought not to be impossible, given enough data (observation of silhouettes) and combining power (human mind possibly with computer help).

    My question remains, can you see this opinion of mine (once properly understood) as a way to get to the Forms of things, and Plato and Socrates just did not think of this approach?

    Of course if there exists a proof that it is impossible to create the Forms, then the Forms don't exist, and the images on the cave wall are not a good analogy of how we ought to observe reality.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Furthermore, one questions what shadow sorrow casts on walls; gladness, hunger, sleepiness, thougths, feelings. If they don't have a shadow, they don't have a form (this I admit is debatable) and if they don't have a Form, they don't exist. But hunger exists. Therefore it has a Form. What image do we see on the cave wall that corresponds to hunger?

    Obviously the wall shadows are not the only projections that we experience in life, but shadows of other Forms, which can't be projected as shadows.

    How did Socrates or Plato deal with the Forms that must exist, yet they have no objects that form shadows?
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    The cumulative combination of imperfect images of a Form will not eliminate the imperfections of those images.

    The shadows on the cave wall are shadows of the things paraded in front of the cave fire. The image of the cave is “an image of our nature in its education and want of education, likening it to a condition of the following kind.” (514a)
  • god must be atheist
    583
    The cumulative combination of imperfect images of a Form will not eliminate the imperfections of those images.Fooloso4

    You are right that in each individual case the imperfections will not be eliminated; but you could be (notice the conditional) wrong, and my proposition is that you are wrong, when you say that cumulative images won't eliminate imperfections.

    For instance, you have one image of a chair, and it's in one projection. From top of the chair. You get another image, from a projection from the side. You have a quantum difference in your knowledge of what a chair is; having the two projections combined you have an idea what a chair looks like,much more than having just one single projection. You a have a third projection, still at a different angle, you get much more information again.

    Obviously having three projections is worth more in knowing what a chair is, than just one single projection.

    The idea here is that CUMULATIVE COMBINATION OF IMPERFECT IMAGES OF A CHAIR WILL ELIMINATE IMPERFECTIONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL IMAGES.

    Therefore it is NOT true what you claimed, your claim being that cumulative combinations of images will not eliminate imperfections in our knowledge of what the object looks like in reality.

    I admit, this is not precisely what you claimed. But I see no reason why learning has to stop at three projections; I see no reason why enough projections still will NEVER yield enough knowledge, since knowledge accumulates, to arrive at the Form. This is, I feel, an arbitrary declaration by you, or by Plato and Socrates, if the two really said what you claimed.

    Furthermore, your quote which I presume is from the Republic, (you did not indicate that) has nothing to do with your claim. It is not a backing up of your claim. The quote you used is irrelevant to your claim.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    The cumulative combination of imperfect images of a Form will not eliminate the imperfections of those images.Fooloso4

    If Plato or Socrates really said this, I blame their inability to see the strength in combination of things and computing the differences into a combined difference.

    Their inability to see the stength in combination was evident in the beginning pages of the Republic, where Socrates put forth the proposition: why does the Doctor charge money to cure a disease by giving the patient a tea from a certain weed, and why does the weed not get any money? Some in the crowd replied (sorry, the book is not in front of me, I can't quote his name) that the doctor is a combination of human, know-how and knowledge, and it is the combination that enables him to charge a fee. Socrates replied, no, there must be a SINGLE SOMETHING in doctors that enable them to charge money.

    This demonstrates an inability or unwillingness to admit, that combinations are effective. Socrates denied the effectiveness of combinations.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    Without so-called ‘imperfection’ what is there left to behold?
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Without so-called ‘imperfection’ what is there left to behold?I like sushi

    Well, what? You tell us.
  • god must be atheist
    583
    Nothing at all.I like sushi

    You are actually wrong, but I don't deem you worthy of explaining why you are wrong.
  • I like sushi
    1.3k
    I’ll quietly cry myself to sleep tonight then ...
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    Relocated from here

    They would only be mistaken if, using your example, the books we [i.e. 'the prisoners in the cave'] see are only images of the one real book which exist in an eidetic realm. Two peculiar things about this - first, the connection between eidos (Forms) and images in the mind, second, since the Forms are singular, what would be contained in the book and how does this relate to the content of books as they exist in our experience, that is, within the cave?Fooloso4

    I believe there is an 'eidetic realm' in the same sense of there being 'a realm of natural numbers'. In other words, 'realm' is here a metaphor, as is a 'place' or 'domain', but ought not to be interpreted literally to mean an actual place or realm. I say that because, in long experience, the idea of a 'ethereal realm' constantly haunts these discussions. But it's not located anywhere, it's not a realm in that sense.

    Second - I don't know what 'the forms' really are. But I think in the Platonist view, geometric forms and real numbers are real in somewhat the same sense as the forms are - that is, as intelligible objects.

    As for the relationship between ideal and particular, that would be the subject of many a book-length study. But I think some of Feser's examples help to understand the matter:

    Consider that when you think about triangularity, as you might when proving a geometrical theorem, it is necessarily perfect triangularity that you are contemplating, not some mere approximation of it. Triangularity as your intellect grasps it, is entirely determinate or exact; for example, what you grasp is the notion of a closed plane figure with three perfectly straight sides, rather than that of something which may or may not have straight sides or which may or may not be closed. Of course, your mental image of a triangle might not be exact, but rather indeterminate and fuzzy. But to grasp something with the intellect (nous) is not the same as to form a mental image of it. For any mental image of a triangle is necessarily going to be of an isosceles triangle specifically, or of a scalene one, or an equilateral one; but the concept of triangularity that your intellect grasps applies to all triangles alike. Any mental image of a triangle is going to have certain features, such as a particular color, that are no part of the concept of triangularity in general. A mental image is something private and subjective, while the concept of triangularity is objective and grasped by many minds at once.

    Feser, Some Brief Arguments for Dualism.

    That's close to the Platonic sense of an 'ideal object' (which actually is also close in meaning to the term 'noumenal', meaning, 'an object of nous'.)


    Platonism is a misunderstanding of Plato.Fooloso4

    Certainly Platonism is not ‘the philosophy of Plato’ but I think that's too strong a description. Lloyd Gerson has a book, From Plato to Platonism, which addresses the distinction between Plato's philosophy and the broader philosophical movement

    The Neoplatonist Plotinus makes a great deal of the idea that the Good as the source of what is is not something that is. Some contemporary theologians, most notably Tillich, follows this line of thinking and thus claims that God as the source of being is not.Fooloso4

    The way I try and conceive of this - an heuristic, if you like - is to distinguish 'reality', 'being', and 'existence'. Generally speaking, I think of 'what exists' as 'the phenomenal domain' or the realm of existing phenomena. But then, the question arises, as per the above, what is the nature of the existence of such things as natural numbers, logical principles, geometric forms, and the like? I like to say that these are real but not necessarily existent. (Of course, in practice it is quite correct to say that 'the law of the excluded middle exists', but the point I'm trying to make is that this is something which is real only for a mind capable of grasping it; it's not existent in the same sense as phenomenal objects.) Think about the fact that 'all compounded beings are subject to decay' i.e. they're temporally bound and composed of parts. Whereas, mathematical objects do not come into or go out of existence - I think that is why, for ancient philosophy, they're regarded as being of a superior order to objects of sense.

    So Tillich and other exponents of the via negativa, are, I think, talking about 'what is beyond existence', in other words, what transcends the phenomenal domain. When it is expressed as 'beyond being', I think this is confusing, because 'the One', no matter how conceived, is a being, or is being qua being, i.e. is not simply a force or object; but is not subject to the vicissitudes of existence/experience.
  • Fooloso4
    1k


    In the Phaedrus Socrates explains why he never wrote:

    [E]very [written] speech rolls around everywhere, both among those who understand and among those for whom it is not fitting, and it does not know to whom it ought to speak and to whom not. (275d-e)

    Plato's writing must be read in light of this problem. In other words, it must conceal itself from those for whom it is not fitting who read the book. The wily Plato does this by leading the reader to believe that he, the reader, has discovered some wondrous secret known only to those few who have ascended from the darkness of our ignorance to the light of truth.


    From Plato's Seventh Letter:

    If it seemed to me that these [philosophical] matters could adequately be put down in writing for the many or be said, what could be nobler for us to have done in our lifetime than this, to write what is a great benefit for human beings and to lead nature forth into the light for all? But I do not think such an undertaking concerning these matters would be a good for human beings, unless for some few, those who are themselves able to discover them through a small indication; of the rest, it would unsuitably fill some of them with a mistaken contempt, and others with lofty and empty hope as if they had learned awesome matters. (341d-e)

    For this reason every man who is serious about things that are truly serious avoids writing so that he may not expose them to the envy and perplexity of men. Therefore, in one word, one must recognize that whenever a man sees the written compositions of someone, whether in the laws of the legislator or in whatever other writings, [he can know] that these were not the most serious matters for him; if indeed he himself is a serious man. (344c)

    Any man, whether greater or lesser who has written about the highest and first principles concerning nature, according to my argument, he has neither heard nor learned anything sound about the things he has written. For otherwise he would have shown reverence for them as I do, and he would not have dared to expose them to harsh and unsuitable treatment. (344d-e)

    And from Plato's Second Letter:

    Now, considering these things, watch out that you never regret things that fall into unworthy hands. The greatest safeguard is not to write, but to learn by heart; for it is not possible for the things that are written not to fall [into such hands]. (314b-c)

    Aristotle says:

    But some points concerning the soul are stated sufficiently even in the exoteric arguments, and one ought to make use of them—for example, that one part of it is nonrational, another possesses reason.
    (Nicomachean Ethics, 1102a26)

    ... the question has already received manifold consideration both in exoteric and in philosophical discussions. (Eudemian Ethics 1217b20)

    Aristotle too, contrary to the assumptions of many contemporary scholars, practiced concealment.

    One example, of which there are many, Alfarabi says:

    Whoever inquires into Aristotle’s sciences, peruses his books, and takes pains with them will not miss the many modes of concealment, blinding and complicating in his approach, despite his apparent intention to explain and clarify. (Harmonization)
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    This is what I was saying in the other thread where the cave allegory came up. The shadows, etc. are just as real as anything else.
  • Joshs
    716
    the question arises, as per the above, what is the nature of the existence of such things as natural numbers, logical principles, geometric forms, and the like? I like to say that these are real but not necessarily existent. (Of course, in practice it is quite correct to say that 'the law of the excluded middle exists', but the point I'm trying to make is that this is something which is real only for a mind capable of grasping it; it's not existent in the same sense as phenomenal objects.)Wayfarer

    I prefer Husserl's way , grounding the ideaized shapes of geometry in historical constructive intentional acts of the life-world, out of which emerged reified abstractions which maintain themselves through existential acts. Nowhere here is there room for a non-exististential plane

    "Galileo was himself an heir in respect to pure geometry. The inherited geometry, the inherited manner of "intuitive" conceptualizing, proving, constructing, was no longer original geometry: in this sort of "intuitiveness" it was already empty of meaning. Even ancient geometry was, in its way, removed from the sources of truly immediate intuition and originally intuitive thinking, sources from which the so-called geometrical intuition, i.e., that which operates with idealities, has at first derived its meaning. The geometry of idealities was preceded by the practical art of surveying, which knew nothing of idealities. Yet such a pregeometrical achievement was a meaning-fundament for geometry, a fundament for the great invention of idealization; the latter encompassed the invention of the ideal world of geometry, or rather the methodology of the objectifying determination of idealities through the constructions which create "mathematical existence/'"(Crisis of European Science)
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    "Galileo was himself an heir in respect to pure geometry. The inherited geometry, the inherited manner of "intuitive" conceptualizing, proving, constructing, was no longer original geometry: in this sort of "intuitiveness" it was already empty of meaning. Even ancient geometry was, in its way, removed from the sources of truly immediate intuition and originally intuitive thinking, sources from which the so-called geometrical intuition, i.e., that which operates with idealities, has at first derived its meaning. The geometry of idealities was preceded by the practical art of surveying, which knew nothing of idealities. Yet such a pregeometrical achievement was a meaning-fundament for geometry, a fundament for the great invention of idealization; the latter encompassed the invention of the ideal world of geometry, or rather the methodology of the objectifying determination of idealities through the constructions which create "mathematical existence/'"(Crisis of European Science)Joshs

    An extremely long-winded way to say that geometry is based on the practical techniques of tasks such as surveying?
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    In the Phaedrus Socrates explains why he never wrote:Fooloso4

    It’s also because Greek culture at that time was partially literate - not everyone was able to read and write. The Buddha never wrote either.

    Speaking of which, do you know the etymology of the Hindu word ‘Upaniṣad’? It means ‘sitting up close’, referring to the relationship between guru and chela (disciple), which is taken to imply that the teaching of the Upaniṣads was transmitted directly from one to the other. I think that’s exactly the principle that is being expressed by this ‘concealment’ - lest these matters of high philosophical import be seized upon by the hoi pollloi, to create something awful (like modern Western ‘culture’. ;-) )
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    What do you think was behind Husserl’s contention that ‘Galileo was at once a discovering and concealing genius?’ What exactly was ‘concealed’ by Galileo’s new science?
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    And, for that matter, what constitutes 'the crisis in European sciences' that Husserl is writing about?
  • Fooloso4
    1k
    I think that’s exactly the principle that is being expressed by this ‘concealment’ - lest these matters of high philosophical import be seized upon by the hoi pollloi, to create something awful (like modern Western ‘culture’.Wayfarer

    Based on your description it sounds something like that. One point is that there is an art of reading corresponding to the art of writing. In other words, it does not require face to face transmission. Another is that although this was a common and well known practice it is no longer commonly practiced and not only is it no longer well known, claims regarding the practice are dismissed and denied.

    The best contemporary book on this is Arthur M. Melzer's "Philosophy Between the Lines: The Lost History of Esoteric Writing". There is an extensive online appendix from which I took the quotes in my previous post: https://www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/melzer/index.html

    The classic that inspired it is Leo Strauss' "Persecution and the Art of Writing", which I think was inspired by Nietzsche.
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    thanks! Actually after your recommendation previously I started reading up on Strauss, although he seems a formidable writer and not someone to tackle casually. I’ll definitely look into that other one, sounds just my cup of tea. And I’m trying to find the motivation to study Plato in depth, but it’s daunting, as it’s such well-tilled ground, there’s a ton of material to read, and my reading is likely to diverge considerably from a lot of modern interpreters. Lloyd Gerson seems pretty good though, I might start with him.
  • Fooloso4
    1k


    Strauss is definitely not a casual read. He does not waste words. I think you would find Laurence Lampert's "How Philosophy Became Socratic" more accessible. He has learned a great deal from Strauss but is more interested in bringing into the open what Plato concealed.
  • Frotunes
    114


    There is no such thing as the ideal chair. And not because ideal here means the most comfortable (that is not possible either). The ideal chair or the ideal apple is just the form, like a blueprint upon which reality is based. There are however ideal proper nouns. Monalisa is the ideal Da Vinci work, others are imitations. It isn't the ideal painting, because ideal painting here means the idea of painting.
  • Joshs
    716
    An extremely long-winded way to say that geometry is based on the practical techniques of tasks such as surveying?Terrapin Station

    Husserl isn't saying that geometry is just based on these activities. he's saying that such pragmatic embodied activities constitute its original meaning, and what is typically taught in textbooks is geometry as ready-made concepts.

    "What sort of strange obstinacy is this, seeking to take the question of the origin of geometry back to
    some undiscoverable Thales of geometry, someone not even known to legend? Geometry is available to us in its propositions, its theories. Of course we must and we can answer for this logical edifice to the last detail in terms of self-evidence. Here, to be sure, we arrive at first axioms, and from them we proceed to the original self-evidence which the fundamental concepts make possible. What is this, if not the "theory of knowledge," in this case specifically the theory of geometrical knowledge? No one
    would think of tracing the epistemological problem back to such a supposed Thales. This is quite superfluous. The presently available concepts and propositions themselves contain their own
    meaning, first as non-self-evident opinion, but nevertheless as true propositions with a meant but still hidden truth which we can obviously bring to light by rendering the propositions themselves self-evident."

    Husserl explains the problem with this non-historical formal rendering of the meaning of geometry:

    The progress of deduction follows formal-logical self-evidence; but without the actually developed capacity for reactivating the original activities contained within its fundamental concepts, i.e., without the "what" and the "how" of its prescientific materials, geometry would be a tradition empty of meaning; and if we ourselves did not have this capacity, we could never even know whether geometry had or ever did have a genuine meaning, one that could really be "cashed in." Unfortunately, however, this is our situation, and that of the whole modern age."

    And what was the original meaning?

    "In the life of practical needs certain particularizations of shape stood out and that a technical praxis always aimed at the production of particular preferred shapes and the improvement of them according to certain directions of gradualness. First to be singled out from the thing-shapes are surfaces—
    more or less "smooth," more or less perfect surfaces; edges, more or less rough or fairly "even"; in other words, more or less pure lines, angles, more or less perfect points; then, again, among the
    lines, for example, straight lines are especially preferred, and among the surfaces the even surfaces; for example, for practical purposes boards limited by even surfaces, straight lines, and
    points are preferred, whereas totally or partially curved surfaces are undesirable for many kinds of practical interests. Thus the production of even surfaces and their perfection (polishing) always plays its role in praxis. So also in cases where just distribution is intended. Here the rough estimate of magnitudes is transformed into the measurement of magnitudes by counting the equal parts."
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    Is it possible to not be long-winded, though?
  • Joshs
    716
    what constitutes 'the crisis in European sciences' that Husserl is writing about?Wayfarer

    Husserl was frustrated that his attempts at introducing his brand of phenomenology had up till that point (he was already 75 when he wrote the Crisis) had not been successful. Meanwhile , he was aware of a general dissatisifaciotn among European intellectuals with the direction that scientific thinking was taking, such dissatisfaction manifesting itself in the popularity of existentialism,and Heidegger's project.

    The consensus was that science (postitivism, neo-Kantianism) was alienated from the practical concerns of culture.
  • Joshs
    716
    Is it possible to not be long-winded, though?Terrapin Station

    I think a good test of whether a discoure is long-winded is whether a more succinct, but accurate. version of it can be produced. Do you understand Husserl well enough to do this?

    Contintental philosophers are often accused of long-windedness, and just as often, those who level this charge proceed to completely misread their work. I, for one, wish Husserl was more long-winded, particularly with regard to giving practical examples.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    So would you say it's not possible in this case? I was just wondering whether you thought it was possible.
  • Joshs
    716
    I find Husserl's work to often be so difficult that I don't feel justified in complaining about long-windedness. I do find Derrida to be typically extremely long-winded, and at times perhaps Heidegger, although I think he's just trying to work his way through difficult ideas that he can't find a more direct way of expressing..
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