• Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    Wittgenstein thus claims that the word ‘pain’ does make reference to a sensation, but does not describe it. So the actual sensation that you feel does not affect the meaning (ie public use) of the word, but whether or not there is a sensation being felt does. — Richard Floyd

    It does more than just refer to a sensation. If it just referred to a sensation the word 'pain' would play no role. 'Pain' and 'S' are not the same. Pain, however incompletely, describes the sensation.

    The case of pain is not like that of 'S'. As W. points out, the "stage-setting" is in place with the word pain. The same is not true of 'S'. When someone says they are or were or will be in pain we know what they are talking about. The sensation, like all sensation, is private but the language is public.

    Floyd says:

    ... sensation words do not have sensations themselves as their meaning, and in fact the exact nature of the sensation has no bearing on the meaning (use) of the word whatsoever. The word merely indicates that a certain kind of sensation is present.

    If the nature of the sensation has no bearing on the meaning of the word, then how does the word indicate a certain kind of sensation is present? To indicate the kind of sensation that is present is what the sensation word pain means.

    I think what he means by "directly" here is that the word 'pain' cannot refer to the "exact nature" of the painLuke

    What is the exact nature of the pain? Words are not a direct replacement for what is experienced.

    It should be kept in mind that not all pain talk is an expression of pain. Discussions of pain management, for example, are not expressions of pain.
  • Some remarks on Wittgenstein's private language argument (PLA)
    the use of the word ‘pain’ is to express rather than to describe the sensation — Richard Floyd

    Doesn't it do both? Isn't the word 'pain' itself a description? From it we know that the sensation is not pleasant, that it is something I want alleviated rather than prolonged.

    A diagnosis is aided by a description of the sensation, its severity, where it is located, whether it is sharp or dull or throbbing, sudden or continuous, tender to touch, whether better or worse with activities or conditions heat or cold,

    In the same way, we can see that the word ‘pain’ cannot refer directly to the sensation, because only I could know what that sensation is — Richard Floyd

    Refer directly to the sensation of what? The pain? It would be odd if the word pain did not refer to pain!

    ... sensation words do not have sensations themselves as their meaning, and in fact the exact nature of the sensation has no bearing on the meaning (use) of the word whatsoever. — Richard Floyd

    The sensation of pain does have direct bearing on the meaning of the word pain. Suppose there is one of Wittgenstein's tribes, one whose members do not feel pain. The term 'pain' would be meaningless. It is only because we have had the sensation of pain that we understand what the word means.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Socrates presents an image of our education. Several important points follow from this.

    First, it should be kept in mind that Socrates, by his own admission, was ignorant. If there is an escape from the cave, the person telling the story is not someone who escaped it, not someone who has any knowledge of such things. Socrates is not claiming that we are ignorant about all things, but ignorant of what is best, both with regard to what we ought to do and why it is best that things are as they are.

    Second, the shadows are images. As cave dwellers, or, in other words, citizens of the city, our education is one of images. Those who escape the shackles are able to see that the images on the cave wall are images of other images, shadows of the puppets being paraded before the light of the fire in the cave. But to escape the shackles is not to escape the cave or city. We remain in a world of images that determine opinion.

    Third, although those who escape the shackles can become aware of the image-makers, which is to say, the opinion-makers, readers often fail to see that Plato's stories of what is beyond the cave are themselves images. Images do not lead to an escape from images. Accepting Plato's images of transcendent knowledge is merely to replace some images with others. Accepting them as the truth does the opposite of what is promised. By accepting them one mistakes images for knowledge, and thereby does not escape the cave but remains in it.

    Fourth, there is knowledge in the cave. Some become expert on what happens, how certain shadows follow others or are always accompanied by particular sounds. Scientific knowledge is of this sort. We can say what will happen and how it happens but not why it happens, why it is best that things happen as they do.

    Fifth, the image of what is seen by someone who escapes the cave is deliberately ambiguous. On the one hand, what is seen are the things of our ordinary experience under the sun, but on the other, it is some transcendent experience of the truth itself. There is a seamless transition from one to the other as if unproblematic.

    Our education as depicted is not a matter of replacing opinion with transcendent knowledge. Our education remains an education in images. It is not merely an education by means of images, but what Plato provides is an education about images. What we see are images, some combination of the images given to us together with those of our own making. Knowledge is not a matter of replacing our images with imagined originals, whether it be Forms or gods or the Good, but of being able to discern that our images, our opinions, are things of our own making. Rather than mistaking them for the truth, knowledge of our ignorance leads us to know them for what they are; images that are at best likely stories.
  • Plato's Metaphysics

    I am truly sorry to hear that.

    Dialogic quickly degenerates into quarrelous disputation when some are more concerned with staking out and defending their views through heedless attack on whatever and whoever does not fit the parameters of those views.

    We are all impoverished when such tactics have their intended effect and a valuable member of the forum is silenced.

    I hope you will reconsider. When time allows I will be introducing some other elements of Plato's metaphysics that have not been addressed yet. I and others would miss reading your carefully considered comments. Perhaps by judiciously ignoring deliberate provocation and endless disputes you can avoid the worse of what the forum has to offer and retain what is best.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    So any thing which might be classified as a thing at rest will also be classified as a thing which can change, unless that rest is eternal.Metaphysician Undercover

    The Forms are at rest and eternal. Being may be eternal but is not at rest.

    Therefore the category of "eternal", or "rest" cannot consist of things at restMetaphysician Undercover

    The Forms are said to be eternal and at rest. The category things that are eternal and at rest consists of Forms. Beauty itself is unchanging but things that are beautiful are not. The Small itself is unchanging but things that are small are not.

    No, it just demonstrates that by some corrupt and undisciplined meaning of "same" , which allows that any two things are "the same" in some wayMetaphysician Undercover

    First, according to your argument no two things are the same. No two dogs are the same dog, but all dogs are the same in so far as they are dogs. It is this sameness that is fundamental to Forms. To be the same does not mean to be identical. Things of a certain Form are not just similar, they are, by virtue of being of the same Form, the same. Second any two things may be the same in some way are not thereby the same kind of thing. Dogs and cats are the same in some way but dogs are not the same as cats.

    This is very obviously another feature of the unintelligible metaphysics you are promoting. Any thing can change from being at rest to being in motion at any moment.Metaphysician Undercover

    You are confusing the Forms 'Rest' and 'Change' with things that are at rest or change.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    However, Liddle & Scott does not say "Forms are Kinds". That is YOUR statementApollodorus

    They translate εἶδος as form and as kind. Why does this confuse you?
  • Plato's Metaphysics

    Once again, this is how it is defined by Liddell & Scott with bolding since you apparently missed it the first two times:


    I.that which is seen, form, shape, figure, Lat. species, forma, Hom.; absol. in acc., εἶδος ἄριστος, etc.
    II.a form, sort, particular kind or nature, Hdt., etc.
    2.a particular state of things or course of action, Thuc.
    III.a class, kind, sort, whether genus or species, Plat., etc. (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon)
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    Sometimes it is necessary to state the obvious: 'kinds' and 'forms' are English translations of the Greek εἶδος.

    I.that which is seen, form, shape, figure, Lat. species, forma, Hom.; absol. in acc., εἶδος ἄριστος, etc.
    II.a form, sort, particular kind or nature, Hdt., etc.
    2.a particular state of things or course of action, Thuc.
    III.a class, kind, sort, whether genus or species, Plat., etc. (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon)

    Together with terms such as 'class', 'genus', 'species', 'look', 'shape', 'type', and others they give the scope of the meaning of the Greek term εἶδος. And of course the English terms have a scope of meaning as well. There is no one term that is a perfect match.

    It is a mistake to put sameness and difference in the same category. "Similar" is a type of difference, but "same" is fundamentally different from similar. So it is a mistake to assume sameness and difference as both necessary for intelligibility.Metaphysician Undercover

    It is not difference that makes things similar. Things that are similar are in some way or ways the same and in others different. Rather than show it is mistake to assume sameness and difference as both necessary for intelligibility, your example shows why they are necessary.

    In no way does "rest" or "change" refer to a kind. A "kind" is a class of things ...Metaphysician Undercover

    Things can be classified according to those that are at rest and those that change. This distinction is essential to the difference between Forms and things, being and becoming.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    The Theaetetus does not claim that. The dialogue ends without finding an adequate account of knowledge. The 'paradigmatic' role of the Forms, spoken of in the Republic, is not on display in Socrates' argument against Protagoras' measure being able to be a judge upon possible future events 178b.Valentinus

    This is an important point. The Forms do not play an essential part in this Socratic dialogue on knowledge.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    I think that to say that a Form is a kind, is a misunderstanding of Forms.Metaphysician Undercover

    Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon


    I am saying that an argument which proceeds in this way could be deceptive.Metaphysician Undercover

    Socrates often warns against those who are not properly suited and prepared from doing philosophy.

    To ask in what way are all the things which are called by the same name similar, is a completely different process than to divide things into kinds. Do you see this difference?Metaphysician Undercover

    Both sameness and difference are necessary for intelligibility. Human beings are similar, but they are not only similar to each other, they are also similar to pigs and other animals. If we are to identify the sophist and the philosopher then it is not enough to note that they human beings.

    The Socratic method is to look at all the different examples of people who are called "hunters", to see what they all have in common, so that we can glean an idea of what it means to be a hunter.Metaphysician Undercover

    Is the coupon cutter a hunter? Is a fisherman a hunter? Treating them as if they are the same or similar leads to some comical images. Fish and game requires separate fishing and hunting licenses, but no shopping licence for bargain hunters.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    But that way involves contradiction, because there cannot be five of the same thing.Metaphysician Undercover

    The "thing" is apples. They are all the same in that they are all apples. They are all the same kind of thing.

    I see from another of your responses that you reject 'kinds'. You seem unaware that Forms are Kinds.

    Fooloso4 says he is a philosopher, for the sake of claiming that Plato is supporting the metaphysics he professes.Metaphysician Undercover

    I did not say he is a philosopher. What I said is:

    The question of whether he is a sophist or a philosopher cannot be adequately addressed until the question of who the philosopher is has been answered.Fooloso4

    We have not identified the philosopher. In your opinion the philosopher would not divide things into kinds. In your opinion then Socrates was not a philosopher, for he asks "What is the just?" and rejects all examples of justice as an adequate answer. He is asking about the kind of thing it is that makes all those examples examples of the just. He is asking in what way they are all the same and come under the same name.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    In this context, the role of the Sophist as a whole dialogue can be sought after. In what way does it impart the art of the philosopher?Valentinus

    Excellent question! Seeing in what way it does puts the dialogue in its proper perspective.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    The question is whether he really is a philosopher, or a sophist.Metaphysician Undercover

    The question of whether he is a sophist or a philosopher cannot be adequately addressed until the question of who the philosopher is has been answered. But:

    thanks to the ignorance of the rest of mankind ...

    we have not, despite the claims being made about the philosopher, answered that question.

    To treat differences as the same is sophistry to me. It is contradiction.Metaphysician Undercover

    Then we are all, including the philosopher, sophists. Five apples are five whether they are red or green or yellow. Unless we want a particular color apple we treat that difference as the same.

    Also, it is clear that Plato did not believe that Socrates was the first person ever to have concern for the good.Metaphysician Undercover

    Which of the pre-Socratic philosophers make the good the focus of their philosophy?

    Being concerned with "that which is not" is the mark of a sophist (254).Metaphysician Undercover

    And yet Plato is evidently concerned with "that which is not".

    In the context I was using it, "not-being" was a shortened form of "that which is not". Here, you use "not being" to indicate something which is other than being. "Becoming is not being". Equivocation is a tool of the sophist.Metaphysician Undercover

    It is the context in which it is being used in the dialogue that is at issue. The way the Stranger uses it.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    The first problem addressed in the dialogue is not the identity of the sophist but the identity of the philosopher. At the start of the dialogue Theodorus calls the Stranger "a real philosopher". Socrates responds:

    I fancy it is not much easier, if I may say so, to recognize this class, than that of the gods. For these men—I mean those who are not feignedly but really philosophers—appear disguised in all sorts of shapes, thanks to the ignorance of the rest of mankind ... sometimes they appear disguised as statesmen,and sometimes as sophists, and sometimes they may give some people the impression that they are altogether mad.

    The philosopher appears to be what he is not. If the Stranger is a philosopher then he may appear to be what he is not. It is only by successfully identifying the philosopher that we can identify the imitator.

    The Stranger proposes that begin with the sophist. He warns them against doing the very thing you are doing:

    For as yet you and I have nothing in common about him but the name; but as to the thing to which we give the name, we may perhaps each have a conception of it in our own minds; however, we ought always in every instance to come to agreement about the thing itself by argument rather than about the mere name without argument. (218b)

    The Stranger's concern is with Kinds, with what is same and different. The limits of his approach is found in the Statesman:

    ... you rated sophist, statesman, and philosopher at the same value, though they are farther apart in worth than your mathematical proportion can express. (257b)

    The Stranger's method abstracts from value, it treats such differences as the same. His concern is not Socrates' concern for the good. But this does not mean he should simply be dismissed as a sophist. If the search for the good is the mark of philosophy then Socrates would be the first philosopher. He was not.

    As Socrates said, the class of the philosopher is not the class of the gods. Philosophy is never complete. It is dialogical. Rather than dismiss the Stranger, the investigation of the dyad same and other is part of the quest for truth.

    Doesn't Parmenides' school have a lot to say about "that which is not"?Metaphysician Undercover

    It does. The Stranger is identified as a member of that circle. (216a) How do we reconcile Parmenides' denial of not-being with the Stranger's affirmation? The solution is in the dyad 'same and different' or 'same and other'. In this case, what is and is not being.

    Once this dichotomy is produced, there is no place for becoming, which is neither being nor not-being.Metaphysician Undercover

    If you maintain the distinction between being and becoming then you maintain the distinction between being and not-being. As you say, becoming is not being.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    In "The Sophist", the stranger, from Parmenides' school, is of the opinion that there is a difference between, a sophist, a philosopher, and a statesman, as three distinct intellectual capacities.Metaphysician Undercover

    Is he mistaken in his opinion? If not, then what is the difference? Why is there a dialogue the Sophist and a dialogue the Statesman, but no dialogue the Philosopher. Where is the philosopher? Are they three?

    In the third dialogue of the trilogy, the Theaetetus, the sophist Protagoras plays a role through his claim that man is the measure of all things. Since Protagoras was dead Socrates plays the part of the sophist (165e). The Stranger too plays a part in the dialogue.

    What is demonstrated by Plato, is that the stranger, who thinks of himself as a philosopher, really behaves in the way that he describes a sophist.Metaphysician Undercover

    Have you noticed how often Socrates' behaves like a sophist? Aristophanes was not simply mistaken when he called Socrates a sophist.

    What is it about a sophist that you think means he must be wrong? The sophists were not all the same, to simply to be dismissed. Their arguments must be attended to, as Socrates did. It should also be noted how often Socrates incorporates parts of what the sophists he is arguing with say.

    So the stranger is therefore the sophistMetaphysician Undercover

    He was, as you said, from Parmenides' school. It was not a school of sophists.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    Have you not read many Platonic dialogues? That's what he did with them. He wrote long difficult dialogues to show the faults of, and dismiss the views expressed by the people taking part in the dialogues.Metaphysician Undercover

    There is a lot more to the dialogues than Socrates pointing out the weaknesses of the arguments of others.

    I do not think it is a case of Plato dismissing the views of others, but of you dismissing the dialogues of Plato.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    One of the first distinctions I learned in comparative religion was between monism and non-dualism. Monism posits a One, but a One can only exist in relation to another. So 'one' already implies 'two'. Whereas 'non-dualism' means 'not divided' or 'not two' - which is subtly but crucially different.Wayfarer

    The indeterminate dyad is two, and yet is together with its Other, the One, in unity and divisiveness, sameness and difference.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    In the Timaeus, the qualities of Being and Becoming are starkly differentiated:Valentinus

    Right, and Plato's metaphysics must address both sides of this differentiation. On way side there is the vertical order of Forms. On the other side, the order of beings. The order of intelligible being is timeless and unchanging, the order of beings is changing and indeterminate.

    How does this sort of careful separation of different arguments relate to grand claims of explaining what is happening? It seems like Plato did both.Valentinus

    This gets back to the radical openness of Plato's metaphysics. There is always what is other and outside whatever account is being given.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    I think that this is just like the modern difference between ordinal numbers and cardinal numbers, ordinals demonstrating an order, while cardinals count a quantity.Metaphysician Undercover

    The ordinal numbers are orders of numbers. It applies to anything that is ordered in some way as first, second, third.

    Eidetic numbers are relations of eidos or Forms. Their order is determined by kind.

    Sure but if it's a higher order than rest or motion, how does this make it not simply a third category?Metaphysician Undercover

    If you are counting categories then it is a third, but what is being counted are Forms at some level of order. Rest, Change, and Being are not at the same level of order and so are not counted together.

    Also, remember that this is the position of "the Stranger" ...Metaphysician Undercover

    You are making a lot of assumptions about the Stranger.

    Why would Plato write this long, detailed, difficult dialogue if the point is to just to dismiss the Stranger?

    What the Stranger says should not go unquestioned, but what Socrates says should not either.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    I believe that Plato should be read on his own terms.Apollodorus

    I agree. This is something I have said to you many times over the months!

    And yet you say:

    ... the One imposes limitation on itself in order to manifest multiplicity from Forms to Mathematical Objects to the multitude of Particulars that make up the sensible world.Apollodorus

    Where does Plato say this?

    If you are referring to what Gerson says, he says that according to the Platonic tradition, (not Plato) , the One imposes limit on the indefinite dyad, thereby producing Forms and Numbers. The One, according to this, does not impose a limit on itself, but on the indefinite dyad.

    He also says that Plotinus rejected this because the One cannot be a principle of limitation. It is the Intellect that imposes limit on the One:

    The denial of the One as a principle of limit follows from Plotinus' rejection of dualism of any sort, especially that which makes the Indefinite Dyad an irreducible first principle of unlimitedness, thereby requiring the One to be a coordinate principle of limit. (From Plato to Platonism)

    The last point is important. For Plato the Indeterminate Dyad is "an irreducible first principle of unlimitedness."

    ... by lifting our gaze upward; and by opening our heart, the eye of our soul, to the Light of the One,Apollodorus

    Such stories may be inspiring and suitable for spiritual contemplation, but they should not be mistaken for Plato's metaphysics.

    I think we agree that noesis is higher than dianoia, contemplation is important, as is the imagination, and that what is at issue is not an abstract intellectual exercise. However, in discussing Plato's metaphysics we cannot simply fly away to the land of One.

    We spin our stories about things we do not know. You take the story you put together from other stories and take it for the truth.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    We have a multitude of different kinds of numbers as well, natural numbers, rational numbers, real numbers, to name a few.Metaphysician Undercover

    What is at issue is not that there are different kinds of number, but what is different about the eidetic kind:

    Eidetic numbers belong together in ways that units or monads do not. The eidetic numbers form an ordered hierarchy from less to more comprehensive.Fooloso4

    To count rest, change, and being as three would be mistaken. Being is a higher order than rest and change. It is not a third thing to be counted alongside them.
    — Fooloso4

    I don't see your point
    Metaphysician Undercover

    The point is that Being belongs to a higher intelligible order.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    Therefore the philosopher must rise to the perspective of the OneApollodorus

    I suspect that is a no parking zone.
  • Plato's Metaphysics

    The problem is with number, but it is with number as understood by the Greeks, which is not the way we treat number.

    Aristotle identifies three kinds of number:

    arithmos eidetikos - idea numbers
    arithmos aisthetetos - sensible number
    metaxy - between
    (Metaphysics 987b)

    Odd as it may sound to us, the Greeks did not regard one as a number. One is the unit, that which enables us to count how many. How many is always how many ones or units or monads that are being counted. Countable objects require some one thing that is the unit of the count, whether it be apples, or pears, or pieces of fruit.

    Eidetic numbers are not counted in the same way sensible numbers are. Eidetic numbers belong together in ways that units or monads do not.

    The eidetic numbers form an ordered hierarchy from less to more comprehensive.

    ... the "first" eidetic number is the eidetic "two"; it represents the genos of being as such, which comprehends the two eide "rest and "change". (Jacob Klein, Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origins of Algebra).

    In the Sophist the problem comes up of how to count the eidetic two.

    We really do seem to have a vague vision of being as some third thing, when we say that motion and rest are.
    Then being is not motion and rest in combination, but something else, different from them.
    According to its own nature, then, being is neither at rest nor in motion.
    You are about right.
    What is there left, then, to which a man can still turn his mind who wishes to establish within himself any clear conception of being?
    What indeed?
    There is nothing left, I think, to which he can turn easily. (Sophist 250)

    To count rest, change, and being as three would be mistaken. Being is a higher order than rest and change. It is not a third thing to be counted alongside them.

    The Stranger identifies five Kinds. In addition to change, rest, and being, there is sameness and difference (Sophist 254c)

    Sameness and difference is the most comprehensive indeterminate dyad.

    Contrary to Parmenides, the Stranger says that it is not possible to give an account of being without introducing non-being. Non-being is understood as otherness or difference.

    There can be no comprehensive account of being without a comprehensive account of non-being. But what is other is without limit and cannot be comprehended. On the one hand this means that there can never be a comprehensive account of the whole, but on the other, it encourages an openness to what might be; beyond our limits of comprehension.
  • An analysis of the shadows

    I appreciate the shout out.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    Perhaps you could provide a reference as to where Aristotle refers to Plato's metaphysics as being concerned with an "indeterminate" dyad.Metaphysician Undercover

    One place is at 987b:

    Accordingly the material principle is the "Great and Small," and the essence <or formal principle> is the One, since the numbers are derived from the "Great and Small" by participation in the the One.

    .. it is peculiar to him to posit a duality instead of the single Unlimited, and to make the Unlimited consist of the "Great and Small."


    For number is from one and the indeterminate dyad. (1081a through 1082a)
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    OK, if you want to switch to Aristotle's metaphysicsMetaphysician Undercover

    It is not Aristotle's metaphysics, it is Aristotle discussing Plato's metaphysics.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    If people believe in the Good as a higher principle and live their lives in harmony with what is good, then obviously it can be done. In fact, I think most people do something like that anyway.Apollodorus

    Of course people can live lives that are regarded as good!

    There is no theoretical framework for a world that is indeterminate.Fooloso4

    More precisely: shit happens.

    If it is not a worry then there is no need to discuss it.Apollodorus

    There is a very good reason to discuss it. If there is no systematic account of the whole that is a very big idea. It points to the limits of human understanding. The limited cannot comprehend the unlimited. Know yourself!
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    I will take issue with the term "indeterminate"Metaphysician Undercover

    The term indeterminate dyad is Aristotle's.
    it doesn't make sense to say that a caused thing is indeterminate.Metaphysician Undercover

    Socrates insists that there must be a cause of these instances of balance, or equality, and it doesn't make sense to say that a caused thing is indeterminate.Metaphysician Undercover

    In the Timaeus two kinds of cause are identified:

    Once a thing has been caused, it has a determined existence as the thing which it is.Metaphysician Undercover

    It is not that it cannot be determined to exist. The intelligible world of Forms is fixed and determinate. What is unlimited cannot be determinate. It is without boundaries.
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    Metaphysics serves to form a theoretical framework through which the world is better understood and can be used to support ethics making it more persuasive.Apollodorus

    This is exactly what I am arguing cannot be done. There is no theoretical framework for a world that is indeterminate.

    why worry about it not being systematic???Apollodorus

    Not a worry. A statement of fact:

    It is important to understand that this is a feature not a defect or failure.Fooloso4
  • Plato's Metaphysics
    I think the first problem with that statement is that it ignores the fact that Plato's philosophy is primarily a way of life based on ethical values, the metaphysical justification for which (immortality of the soul, divine judgment in the afterlife, etc.) is clearly laid out in the dialogues.Apollodorus

    I agree that it is a way of life. The question of the best life is of primary concern.

    Where we disagree is that what you take to be a fact is not a fact but an interpretation. There are two different concerns here: how people ought to live and how I ought to live. The philosopher is not satisfied with what others say is the best way to live. She wants to figure that out for herself. Plato addresses both these concerns.

    Metaphysics is not in the business of justification. It is free inquiry. It does not aim at a goal. But ethics involves persuasion. The story of the soul has proven to be very effective. But the philosopher asks whether it is true. Plato's metaphysics addresses the philosopher differently than he addresses others.

    There is nothing "problematic" about the Forms at all. They are comparable to universals. Particulars instantiate universals, but this doesn't mean that particulars and universals are one and the same thing.Apollodorus

    The history of philosophy shows that 'universals' is not a problem free solution.
  • An analysis of the shadows

    sacred dimension

    What is the sacred dimension? Who or what marks it off? How does it differ from what is esteemed?

    spiritual identity-markers

    What are the spiritual identity-markers?
  • An analysis of the shadows
    I feel that were it not for the Platonic ideas or forms, we would not have the culture we have today.Wayfarer

    I agree. The Platonic forms are fundamental in shaping our culture.

    What I am suggesting is that there is another side of Plato's philosophy. The indeterminate dyads. According to the dramatic chronology of the dialogues Socrates was aware of the problem of the concept of forms from an early age. This suggests that all of the dialogues are informed by these difficulties

    The indeterminate dyads cuts across the distinction between Forms and things. In various places both are spoken of as "the beings". See, for example, the passage in the Phaedo about Socrates second sailing at 99d discucces above.

    The Timaeus points to another difficulty:

    If the Forms are paradigmatic, then how useful they are diminishes the further the distance between Forms and "the city at war", that is, our world.Fooloso4

    Forms are not the whole of being, they are part of an indefinite dyad.
  • An analysis of the shadows

    The wisdom of a fool
    Wise about fools
  • An analysis of the shadows
    This condition is reflected in Aristotle's explanation for why there can be no science of accidental beingValentinus

    Connecting this back to the Timaeus, what a craftsman makes, whether he is a house builder or the craftsman of the universe, human or divine, is more than what is crafted.The builder is not producing the attributes, but they are there as a result of what he did.

    We might think of the house as a chora:

    As the song goes:

    "A house is not a home":

    ... the reality of eternal qualities differs from ours is the way virtues contend with each other.Valentinus

    Good point. This raises important questions about the relation between Forms and things. If the Forms are paradigmatic, then how useful they are diminishes the further the distance between Forms and "the city at war", that is, our world.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    [Edited for clarity]

    I can't see how the convergence of rational thought with the rational order of the cosmos can be denied.Wayfarer

    In the Timaeus two kinds of cause are identified, intelligence and necessity. Necessity covers physical processes, contingency, chance, motion, and chora. Befitting its indeterminacy the chora does not yield to simple definition. It is the space or place within which things are and occur, but it is not an empty space. As with the place one lives, the place is not separate from what happens there.

    Rather than begin with cosmology, the Timaeus begins with the question of the polis at war. Two points to make on this. First, Socrates wants to see the city he makes in the Republic in action. In line with twofold causation, the story of the city in the Republic is incomplete. It is a city without chance and contingency. Second, the dialogue begins with the polis because an account of the whole must take human life into account.

    Here again an indeterminate dyad is at play. The fixed intelligible world, the world of Forms is not the whole of the story. The Forms are part of a whole that is indeterminate, a whole in which there is necessity, contingency and chance.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    There is a fundamental question that arises when we read Plato, a question we must ask ourselves:

    Is the way the soul structures reality rational or willful?

    (posed by Ronna Burger and Michael Davis, "The Eccentric Core: The Thought of Seth Benardete")

    This is not a question that is intended to be decided one way or the other. It is a question that must be taken into consideration every time we think about or make claims about reality. For some the question is forestalled on the assumption that reality is rational. But it may be that this
    is a structure the soul wilfully imposes, motivated by the desire for an intelligible order. For others what is desired is knowledge of a higher reality, transcendence, gods, or meaning not found in ordinary life.

    In a reversal of the turning of the soul toward the Forms in the Republic, there is a turning of the soul to itself, toward self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is guided by knowledge of our ignorance. We do not know the Forms. We do not have a vision of the Forms. The question then is: which way do we turn? Do we turn away from the "human things" in pursuit of some imagined (and it must be imagined if it is not something seen or known) reality or toward it? Do we deceive ourselves by imagining we have escaped the cave because we can imagine something knowable outside the cave attainable either through reason or revelation?

    Eros makes the distinction between the rational and willful problematic. The desire to know should not cast a shadow over the fact that we do not know, that philosophy remains disruptive, problematic and open-ended. The universal does not supplant the particular. The obverse of Parmenides' claim in the dialogue that humans have no knowledge of the Forms is his claim that the gods have no knowledge of particulars.
  • An analysis of the shadows

    I think the following is an accurate summary:

    Yet there is a problem in the interpretation of Strauss’ thought that has been persistently
    acknowledged in the literature and that goes to the heart of assessing his work:
    determining his enigmatic intentions. He has been seen as an atheist, a deist believer in
    natural law, a pious Jew, and an antiquarian. Was he a classicist who thought that fifth century Greek democracy was the highest form of civilization? Or a political thinker whose doctrine of natural right influenced the thinking of the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration? Or a Nietzschean engaged in an elaborate philosophical burlesque? Harry Jaffa, an American political historian, says that Strauss taught him to see that the Declaration of Independence embodied “eternal and eternally applicable truth”; Thomas Pangle, another student of Strauss, tends to see such things as more like conventions. Then there is the European Strauss, who is more concerned with problems like Zionism and the Jewish question, the legitimacy of the modern Enlightenment, the rival claims of
    philosophy and revelation, and, most fundamentally, the possibility of restoring the
    Socratic practice of philosophy as a way of life. To complicate matters further, there is
    some textual grounding for each of these interpretations.

    Rather than argue to a set conclusion, Strauss' work is dialogical, dialectical, talmudic. It is the questions and problems of philosophy that are of interest to him. Philosophy for Strauss is not systematic or all encompassing. It does not close off but opens up inquiry in full awareness that philosophical inquiry always falls short of what it hopes for. Human ignorance not only leads to philosophy it guides it. It is both its condition and its problem.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    That's an argument ad populum.Apollodorus

    Have you forgotten your own claims?

    Regarding the “noble lie” theory, it is just a theory, typically advanced by those who believe in political propaganda like Strauss and his followers.Apollodorus

    As already noted, the phrase “noble lie” seems to be a (deliberate) mistranslation of the Greek original and it clearly distorts Plato’s intention.Apollodorus

    It is not just Strauss and his followers who interpret is as noble lie. Are you to impugn the integrity of five different translators? Even Lee acknowledges not only that it can be understood in this way but that this should be kept in mind.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    I can see his pointWayfarer

    Let's be clear about what he is claiming:

    As Valentinus pointed out:

    Your account has a frothy fever reminiscent of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    It also borrows from the example of McCarthyism.
  • An analysis of the shadows
    Let's count:

    On the one hand I have cited five contemporary translations that say "lie"
    On the other Lee who says it is ambiguous and we should keep in mind that it also means lie.

    There is nothing here to even argue about.