Weitere Kapitel dieses Buchs durch Wischen aufrufen
Carey argues that Socrates’ injunction to follow the logos has two distinct, though related implications. The first is well-known: we should subject what is sub-rational in the soul to the rule of reason. The second implication is less well-known, though it becomes obvious on reflection: we can follow the logos only if the logos is, of its own nature, headed somewhere, or at least pointing somewhere. What human reason is headed toward or pointing to is its natural end. Reason is intrinsically teleological. Carey explores the Socratic conception of reason, which is generally the pre-modern conception, as something more than an instrument to be employed solely for the sake of attaining ends, such as longevity and pleasure, that are not specifically rational.
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Phaedo 96a9. Cf. 97b5; Cf. Philebus 59a2–c7. All references to line numbers in the Phaedo will be given as they occur in John Burnet’s text, Plato’s Phaedo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1911). All references to line numbers in the Republic will be given in accordance with the inner margins of John Adams’ text, The Republic of Plato (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Second Edition, 1963). References to line numbers in other Platonic texts will be given as they occur in the Oxford series, Platonis Opera (1900–07). I have made use of the translations of the Republic by Allan Bloom (Basic Book, 1968) and of the Phaedo by Eva Brann, Peter Kalkavage, and Eric Salem (Newburyport, MA: Focus Classical Library, 1998), though I have altered them here and there. When I cite a line number from the Phaedo, it will be preceded, as above, by “Ph.” When I cite a line number from the Republic, it will be preceded by “R.”
Ph. 97c4–6. I understand Socrates to be reasoning as follows. Desire, choice, and action, in the case of a being that possesses intellect, aim at what appears best ( Gorgias 466d8–468c7; cf. Meno 77b7–78b2; Protagoras 352d4–7). If there were an intellect unencumbered by a body, it would presumably know what is best. If this intellect acted in such a way as to order the world, and had the power to do so, it would aim at what really is best, not at what merely appears best. Hence the world ordered by this intellect would be ordered in the best way.
For example, Ph. 62b2; 63a2; 70c2; 70d5; 77c 8; 77d8; 78d1; 86c9; 91e2–6; 95a8; 108d6. R.349a3,7; 357a1; 362e2; 363e6; 364c5; 367b3; 368b2; 368c5; 376d4; 435d3; 450b4,6; 450e4; 475a4; 485a3; 518c3; 522a5–7; 527a3; 538c4; 606a7; 606c1; 607c3; 607d; 612a7; 612d1.
For example, Ph. 90b6–8; 92d2; 94a1; cf. 72e4; 73a10; 77b1; 88a1; R.376e7; 560b6–c1; cf. 388e3; 472a6; Cratylus 385b2–11; 408c2–7. Logoi can possess degrees of truth: R.522a5–7; cf. Ph. 86c9.
Ph. 89c2; 91c3; 92c3; 92d3; 94a12–b2; 915a6–b4; 101a6. R.453a6; d6; 457e2; 534b7-c3; 610c4. Cf. Ph. 88e3; 89b 9–c2; 94b1; R.368a7–c3; 369a5; 499d 2; Sophist 225a12–c1.
Ph. 87e6; 88c1–d1.
Ph. 89d1–90e2. Cf. R.411c3–e3.
Ph. 85c7–d2. (I have quoted only the first part of the sentence here.) See Burnet’s note on ē mathein…ē heurein at 85c7. Plato’s Phaedo, 81.
The earliest source that Burnet cites for the standard interpretation of the deuteros plous is Pausanias, second century AD (through Eustathius, twelfth century AD). The relevant passage from the paroemiographers, as Burnet quotes it, says nothing about oars or rowing. Plato’s Phaedo, 108.
Odyssey 5.33; 129–133; 140–142; 173–176; 233–284: 12.403–425. See Frank Brewster, The Raft of Odysseus, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 37 (1928): 49–53.
Ph. 107b7–8. Cf. R.604c6; d4.
Ph. 88d9; R.365d2; cf. Sophist 224e5.
That the logos is something common, not private, and something to be followed had already been declared by Heraclitus. “We ought to follow ( hepesthai) what is common…but though the logos is common, the many live as though they had a private understanding.” Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, by Hermann Diels, edited by Walther Kranz (Zürick: Weidmann, 1972), Vol. 1, Frag. 2, p. 151. Cf. Frag. 50, p. 161: “Listening not to me but to the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one.”
With his metaphor in the Republic, Socrates cannot mean that the wind is aimless, for then there would be no point to our going where it goes. Rather, where the wind goes cannot be known in advance. Nor can we force the wind to go where we might like it to go. We can go along with it, or we can resist it. And this is true of the logos as well. Cf. Ph. 75a 9; 87a8; 90dc8–e2. R.388e2; 503b1; 538d7; 611b1.
R.403c2–4; 511b2–4; 604c6; 607b2.
Aristotle, Politics 1253a10–11; 1332b3–6. Cf. Nicomachean Ethics (hereafter, NE), 1097b28–1098a18.
Ph. 76b5; b8; 78d1; 88d1; 95d8; R.533c3; 534b4. Cf. Ph. 61b3; 63e9. Socrates’ defense of his way of life takes the form of an apo-logia.
R.586d5; 586d9; 586e7. (Though epistemē and alētheia, unlike logos and philosophia, are not themselves progressing toward the telos that is sophia, the interconnectedness of the knowledge of one thing with the knowledge of another, and the interconnectedness of one truth with another, has the effect of directing the soul from one truth to another.) Cf. 548b6; 549b4; 587a5; Aristotle, De Anima 433a7–8.
Socrates repeats the threefold distinction between coming to be, perishing, and being shortly afterwards, at Ph. 97b5 and at 97c7.
I say more or less satisfactorily because the question why there is an order of coming to be and passing way at all is not satisfactorily answered by reference to individual members, to any individual members, of this order of coming to be and passing away. The whole of what comes to be and passes away cannot be caused by any one, or by any number, of its parts. The “why” of coming to be and passing away can be answered (if at all) only by reference to what neither comes to be nor passes away, that is, by reference to what is without qualification.
R.479e4–480a8; 484b2–4; 485a6–b2; 500b7–d2; 534b2–3. Cf. Ph. 82d9–83b4; 83b1–2; 101e6.
Ph. 65c2. Socrates states this in the form of a question, to which Simmias answers “Yes.” Cf. 62e1; 83b8; 84a2. R.606b5.
Ph. 84a7; cf. 79a3; R.431c4.
On the relationship between counting and calculating, and between arithmetic and logistic, in Plato, see Jacob Klein, Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra (translated by Eva Brann, Mineola, NY: Dover, 1992, hereafter, GMT), 17–25. (For the sake of consistency, I bring Klein’s Romanization of Greek words into accordance with mine; e.g., “ kinēsis” for his “ kinesis”). What I have to say in this chapter about the “ontological” significance of numbers for Plato owes very much to, and departs only occasionally from, what Klein has to say in Part 1 of this book. Leo Strauss called attention more than once to the importance of Klein’s remarkable, and still remarkably underappreciated, study, referring to it as “a work which I regard as unrivaled in the whole field of intellectual history, at least in our generation.” Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity (edited by Kenneth Hart Green, Albany: State University of New York, 1997), 462. Cf. 450–451, 454.
GMT, 46–47; 53; 56.
We can surely say that three books plus two pencils plus one ashtray equal six items on the table. But, even in this case, the six items have something in common: being on the table.
GMT, 21: “For…Plato that ability proper to man, to be able to count, corresponds to the countableness of things in the world, a fact which determines the systematic aspect of his teaching.” GMT, 23: “[T]heoretical logistic raises to an explicit science that knowledge of relations among numbers which, albeit implicitly, precedes, and indeed must precede, all calculation.” Cf. ibid., 51, 53, and 54.
Theaetetus 155a2–d5. Metaphysics 982b12–13.
Ph. 96e1–97b7. Cf. Metaphysics 983a12–17.
R.525c5–526b2; GMT, 22–23.
R.510d2; 533c5; cf. 374a4–6.
R.610c3–6; 611b6–7. According to Aristotle, “a syllogism is a logos in which, certain things being posited ( tethentōn), something other than the things proposed ( tōn keimenōn) follows (or results— symbainei) of necessity from their being so.” Prior Analytics 24b18–20. (Compare Plato’s use of the verb symbainein at Ph. 80b1; R.438e6. Cf. Cratylus 396a9.) The weighty term “necessity” ( anagkē) appears in the sentence I just quoted, and again in the sentence immediately following it. See Gunther Patzig, Aristotle’s Theory of the Syllogism (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Pub. Co. 1968), 16–42. Aristotle, of course, explores the different kinds of syllogismoi in detail and at length. But though there is no comparable exploration in Platonic dialogues, the word syllogizomai with the sense of inferring or concluding does occur; for example, at R.516b14; 517c1. See Joseph A Novak, “Substantive Syllogisms,” which can be found online at http://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1550&context=ossaarchive
R.533b10–c6. Glaucon, who is Socrates’ interlocutor at this point, concedes that this procedure does not yield knowledge. Cf. Symposium 202a5.
Modern science relies on geometry. Additionally, as an empirical endeavor, it makes generalizations from experience, generalizations that necessarily carry with them some measure, however slight, of uncertainty. It follows that modern science cannot accomplish a definitive refutation of even the most “fundamentalist orthodoxy.” See Strauss, “Progress or Return” (in Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity), 128. Cf. ibid., 100; Spinoza’s Critique of Religion (New York: Schocken, 1956), 28–29. If the claims of revelation are not internally inconsistent, or inconsistent with anything that we definitively know, then they are strictly speaking irrefutable.
R.533c7–d5, 534b2–5. Glaucon accepts the thrust of Socrates’ final question here.
R.508c2–3; cf. 517b4; Statesman 286a5–7. For example, the topos noētos cannot be construed as a region within space—somewhere up in the sky. It is a prejudice of materialism to insist that whatever is must be within space.
It is not only his interlocutors who advance hypotheses. Socrates does so as well. See, for example, Ph. 100a3–4; compare 101c9–e3. But Socrates does not leave his hypotheses unexamined.
In geometrical reasoning, ruling out alternative hypotheses is usually easy. See, for example, Euclid, Elements, Book 1, prop. 6. Socrates is fully aware of the difficulties involved in ruling out all alternative hypotheses in philosophical inquiry. See, for example, R.430e3–431a2; 436b5–437a7.
Statesman 300c2; Philebus 19c2–3.
Taking the archē at 511b6 and at 533c8 to be the idea of the good, the causative character of which Socrates speaks of in his analogy of sun. 508e1–509b8.
R.436b5–c1; 436e6–437a1; 439b3–5; 602e4–5. Cf. 430e7–431a6, and 604b2–3.
For example, Ph. 102e6–8; Theaetetus 188a1–6 (where the principle of excluded middle, which is equivalent to the principle of non-contradiction, is stated). Cf. Sophist 230b4–8.
They are logically equivalent because they are logical tautologies. They differ in meaning, however. Aristotle says that the principle that today goes by the name of non-contradiction is known and, indeed, the most certain principle of all ( Metaphysics 1005b4–26), that it is not hypothesized (1005b14–16), that it must be known for anything else to be known (1005b16–17), that it is not demonstrable (1011a8–13), that it is a sign of a bad education to demand a demonstration of it (1006a5–9), and that it is so well known that it is impossible for anyone to be mistaken about it (1005b11–12; 22–23)—though one person may not understand the principle as stated, while another may deny it solely because it cannot be demonstrated. That Aristotle at one point refers to this principle as an opinion ( doksa—1005b 33), after referring to it several times earlier, and afterwards as well, as an axiom, can be explained by the context. He is speaking there of conflicting opinions—there cannot be conflicting knowledges—and there must be one of these to which all parties to a disputation can appeal. Doksa does not have to mean “ mere opinion.” It can mean, more broadly, a “notion” or “thought” of any kind, just as the verb dokein can mean, broadly, “to think” as well as, narrowly, “to opine” merely. Similarly, eilēphamen at Metaphysics 1006a3 is better translated as “we have apprehended” than “we have assumed.” Both translations are possible, but only the former fits with a coherent account of the principle of non-contradiction. See Posterior Analytics 71b19–34; 99b15–100b17.
In the language of symbolic logic, where “p” stands for any proposition whatsoever, where the dot “.” stands for “and” (conjunction); and where the tilde “~” stands for ‘not,” the principle of non-contradiction is expressed thus: ~(p . ~p), and is read, “not both p and not-p.”
Where “v” stands for “or” (Latin, vel), the principle of the excluded middle is expressed thus: (p v ~p), and is read, “either p or not-p.”
Where “>” stands for “implies,” the principle of propositional identity is expressed thus: (p > p), and is read, “p implies p,” which can be immediately transformed into “p is equivalent to p” (p ≡ p).
Thought ( dianoia) and logos are basically the same. Sophist 263e3–5. According to Seth Benardete, “ dianoia and nous are for Plato not subjective.” ( The Archaeology of the Soul, ed. Ronna Burger and Michael Davis, South Bend, IN: St Augustine’s Press, 2012, 83). Benardete’s statement that nous [intellectual intuition or understanding] is not subjective is perhaps not so surprising, particularly when one thinks of Aristotle. But his statement that dianoia [discursive thinking, or moving through nous] is “for Plato not subjective” is quite surprising, at least at first hearing. If Benardete is right about this, then it follows that logos is, for Plato, not subjective either.
A person who denies the principle of non-contradiction can be refuted if he speaks (meaningfully). He can avoid this refutation only by not speaking. But in that case he is “like a vegetable.” Metaphysics 1006a14–15.
In the symbology of quantification logic, the proof is as follows (where the arrow marks an assumption, as in steps 1, 2, and 3; the horizontal lines mark what falls within the scope of the assumption, as in steps 2–9; and the underlining marks the closing of the scope of the assumption, as in steps 7–9):
→1. (Ǝx)(ƎF)(Fx . ~Fx)
| →2. (ƎF)(Fy . ~Fy)
Assumed for existential instantiation of 1.
| | →3. Gy . ~Gy
Assumed for existential instantiation of 2.
| | | 4. Gy
| | | 5. Gy v (z)(H)(Hz . ~Hz)
| | | 6. ~Gy
| | | 7. (z)(H)(Hz . ~Hz)
5, 6 disjunctive syllogism; closing the scope of assumption 3.
| | 8. (z)(H)(Hz . ~Hz)
2, 3–7 existential instantiation; closing the scope of assumption 2.
| 9. (z)(H)(Hz . ~Hz)
1, 2–8 existential instantiation; closing the scope of assumption 1.
10. (Ǝx)(ƎF)(Fx . ~Fx) > (z)(H)(Hz . ~Hz)
1–9 conditional proof.
If the principle of non-contradiction is violated in one case, it follows logically that the principle of non-contradiction is violated in all cases. Even if one does not actually deny the principle of non-contradiction but only proposes that it might not hold in some particular case or other, one is thereby proposing, implicitly if inadvertently, that it might not hold in any case at all.
That is, for any subject z, and for any property H, this property can be predicated of z, and its contradictory can be predicated of z as well: every proposition is true. Cf. Metaphysics 1107b18–23.
(p > q) ≡ (~q > ~p). One can object that the reasoning above makes use of logical principles that doubt about the principle of non-contradiction should also render dubious. For example, the inferential principle, disjunction syllogism, appealed to in the seventh line of the proof in fn. 60, supra, is usually proven by appeal to the principle of non-contradiction. But it can also be proven by truth tables. Truth tables, of course, presuppose both the principle of propositional identity—again, that a proposition retains its identity when reiterated (paralogisms excluded)—and the distinction between true and false. Even just doubting whether the principle of contradiction is true, and wondering whether its contradictory, (p . ~p), might be true instead, requires recognizing that the “p” that is not preceded by the tilde is identical to the “p” that is preceded by the tilde, and it of course requires distinguishing between true and false. Those who call into question the self-evidence and universal scope of the principle of non-contradiction are implicitly calling into question the principle of propositional identity, the distinction between true and false, consistency as a canon, and thereby the whole of reason. Of course, one can give up on being consistent and say farewell to reason—though not if one wishes to philosophize.
By a proposition, I do not mean a sentence. For one and the same proposition can be expressed in two different sentences, most obviously in two different languages. Even within one language, the same proposition can be expressed in two different sentences, for example, “Cows eat grass,” and “Grass is eaten by cows.” Some sentences—most obviously questions, but many exclamations as well—do not express propositions. Sentences employing indexical terms can generate ambiguities (e.g., “It is raining here right now.”) and apparent paradoxes (e.g., “This sentence is false.”) Whether or to what extent such sentences, though grammatically coherent, should count as expressing propositions is a question that I hope to address on another occasion.
GMT, 93: “The ‘first’ eidetic number is the eidetic ‘two’; it represents the genos of ‘ being’ as such.” GMT 91: “The Platonic theory of arithmoi eidetikoi is known to us in these terms only from the Aristotelian polemic against it (cf., above all, Metaphysics M 6–8).” See, in this connection, Shlomo Pines “A New Fragment of Xenocrates” ( Studies in Arabic Versions of Greek Texts in Arabic and in Medieval Science, Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 1986), 48, n.130.
Number is a multitude composed of units (Euclid, Elements, Book 7, def. 2). It is a limited multitude. ( Metaphysics 1020a10–13). Infinity, an ostensibly unlimited multitude is, from the perspective of Greek mathematics, not a number at all, because it is impossible to add a unit to it or subtract a unit from it. The Greek conception of number, narrow though it appears from the modern perspective, is true to how we naturally speak. One is not a number, because it is not a multitude; and dividing it into fractions, however convenient for practical purposes, deprives it of its character as one (cf. Ph. 97a5–b2; R 525d7–526b 2). We do not naturally say things like, “The earth has a number of moons circling it, namely one.” Much less is zero a number. It is, rather the absence of a number (and of a unit as well). And the absence of something can hardly be an instance of it. We do not naturally say things like, “There are a number of planets between the Mercury and the sun, namely zero.” The ancient Greeks, if confronted with modern mathematics, would say that the symbol “−2” names not a certain kind of number, namely a negative number, but an operation only, and a limited one at that: we cannot in any meaningful sense “take away” two apples from no apples at all, or even “take away” two purely mathematical units from no units at all. The Greeks would say, furthermore, that the symbol “√2” names a mathematical impossibility: there is no number (construed as a multitude of units) that, when multiplied times itself, yields 2 as a product. And they would say that the symbol “√−2” (or “2 times √−1”) names not so much an impossibility as nonsense: no meaning can be assigned to this symbol (if “symbol” is even the right name for it—what, exactly, does it symbolize?), though we can indeed devise rules for manipulating it consistently.
GMT, 49. Ibid. 77: “[A]ny ‘number’ represents precisely a limited number of unit objects.”
GMT. 96. Ibid., 87; Sophist 250a8.
Note the role that perplexities about number play in “leading by nature to noēsis” and “drawing toward being ( ousia)”—R.523a1 ff; cf. 524b3. Consider Seventh Epistle, 342e 2–243a4, in light of 341b7–d 2; cf. 342c4–d 2.
As Klein’s own impressive study bears out.
This disclosure is an act of discovery, not of constitution. Klein says, “Only dialectic can open up the realm of true being, can give the ground for the powers of the dianoia and can reveal Being and the One and the Good as they are—beyond all time and opposition—in themselves and in truth.” (GMT 79). Klein also says, curiously and without elaboration, that the dianoia (which is presumably not beyond time) “causes” noēta to underlie aisthēta (76; cf. 78). It is not clear how he thought these two statements could be brought into agreement with each other.
Sophist 259e4–6. The Eleatic Stranger is saying here that there could not even be logos for us unless the eidē interwove. For contemporary thinkers, the great question about the eidē is how multiple (sensible) individuals can participate in one (intelligible) eidos. But for Plato, the greater question concerns the community ( koinōnia) of the eidē, that is, how and to what extent one eidos can participate in another eidos. GMT 86–99.
Sophist 250a4 ff. See GMT 88: “The strange koinōnia among on, kinēsis, and stasis [being, change, and rest] is none other than that between ‘being’ and ‘non-being.’” Cf. 87. 96. Note that the Eleatic Stranger is not declaring an identity of opposites, of the kind that one meets with in Hegel, in the Science of Logic more than anywhere else. The Eleatic Stranger is not saying that the opposites, change and rest, are identical, but rather that being is no third “thing” in addition to them. Being is, rather, the togetherness of the two opposites. It is not the identity of, but the tension between, change and rest.
In the Theaetetus, at 185a8–b 2 (cf. 203c4–d5), Socrates uses a formulation that the Eleatic Stranger will later use in speaking about being. Sophist 243d8–244a2 (cf. 250a8–12). Socrates uses this formulation elsewhere as well. See GMT 79 ff.; Hippias Major 301d5–302b3; R.524b2–c1.
“About Plato’s Philebus” (in The Lectures and Essays of Jacob Klein, Annapolis: St. John’s College Press, 1985), 324.
Cf. Philebus 24a7–25a4. Compare 25a6–b2.
Ph. 60b1–c7; R.583c1–584a7.
GMT 83. “[T]he aoristos dyas is the archē of all duality and thus of all multiplicity.” See, “About Plato’s Philebus,” 323–324; Metaphysics 1081a5–b33; 1082a13. For further mention by Aristotle of the indeterminate dyad, also referred to as the great and the small, see Klein, Lectures and Essays, “A Note on Plato’s Parmenides,” 285. The Platonic dialogues contain multiple allusions to the indeterminate dyad, though not by this name. To stay just with the Phaedo and the Republic, and to cite just a few examples from these, consider: Ph. 69a8–9; 70e6–71a4; 75c9 (“the equal” here names “the one” or “the same”; “the greater” and “the lesser” names the indeterminate dyad); 96d8–e1 (and compare with the “more distinct” determinate dyad in 96e1–e4); 102b5–6; R. 438b3–c4; 479a5–b7; 523e1–525a 4; 605c1–2. The expression, “the archē [sing.] of the whole” (R.511b6) should not be interpreted as meaning that this principle, “the idea of the good” (or “the one,” fn. 75, supra) produces (much less creates!) everything else, but that it rules ( archei) everything else, including even the indeterminate dyad. The latter, as underivable, is an archē; but it is a subordinate archē.
Metaphysics 1081a14–15: “number is [derived] from the one and the indeterminate dyad” ( ho gar arithmos estin ek tou henos kai tēs dyados tēs aoristou). Klein interprets Plato as identifying “the one” with “the whole” (GMT 98). But the text from the Sophist that Klein cites in support of this interpretation, 244d–245d, does not, in my opinion, bear it out. To be sure, the whole is not two or more wholes; it is only one whole. But the whole is not identical to the very archē that is responsible for its being one whole. It is this archē, and not that of which it is an archē, that is the one (or the good, the same, the precise itself, or the limit). In support of his interpretation in GMT, Klein also cites Parmenides 137c and 142d. But in these passages Parmenides is expounding his own view, not that of (the young) Socrates, who is only his interlocutor. Klein shows that something of capital importance is overlooked by Parmenides, though, as Klein points out with marvelous perspicacity, it is mimetically and ironically present in the dialogue. See “A Note on Plato’s Parmenides,” 285–287. Klein may have come to have doubts about whether, for Plato, “the whole” could be identified with “the one.” Cf. ibid., 324: “and perhaps the Whole.”
According to Aristotle the principle of non-contradiction, the investigation of which “belongs to the philosopher,” is a principle both of being and of analytics, that is, logic. See Metaphysics 1005a19–1005b2; 1005b17–22. According to Thomas Aquinas the principle of non-contradiction is the ratio entis et non entis. See Summa Theologiae (hereafter, ST), 1–2, q. 94 art. 2.
R.490b4. Cf, Phaedrus 247c 8, e 1.
Ph. 100b1–c2; 76d8. Cf. 65b3; R. 507a6–c1.
Cebes does not ask about this “babbling,” if that’s what he understood Socrates to mean. Instead, he is eager to hear Socrates out. And Cebes is said to be, and shows himself to be, somewhat skeptical. Ph. 63a1–3; 77a6–9; 87e6–88a–b8.
In the passage from the Phaedo cited above, it is not forms as intelligible principles that are called ta polythrulēta, but rather “some beautiful by itself, etc.” This is a likely reference to the so-called “third man problem” (Parmenides 132c12–133a7; Metaphysics 990b15–17; 1079a11–13; cf. 1031b28–30; R.597c1–d2), which, as Plato surely recognized, can be easily resolved by denying that the form of, for example, a man, or what all men as such have in common, is itself man, or a man. If an individual man participates ( metechei) in the eidos of man, it does not follow that the individual man and the eidos man participate together in a third something that is “man” or “a man” in any sense of that word. Cf. R.472b5–c3.
According to Maimonides, form is a principle of necessary determination and limitation and a properly philosophical concept. It is the believer—not the philosopher—who, in trying to make a case for the possibility of miracles, reduces forms to accidents merely. Guide of the Perplexed (translated by Shlomo Pines, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963), Volume 1, 206–208. Maimonides goes so far as to fault believers who, in arguing against philosophers, invoke a fundamental distinction between form and matter, for this is, strictly speaking, “a philosophical doctrine.” Ibid. 227. It is hardly coincidental that William of Ockham, the most fideistic and least rationalistic among the great Scholastics in matters of theology, argues relentlessly against the reality of universals, that is, of forms Platonically conceived. According to Strauss, forms, or to use his expression “natures” (note the plural), are immutable principles of limitation and necessity, not of freedom. Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 90.
See Sophist 248e6–249b6; though consider Socrates’ formulation at R.526 e4–5: to eudaimonestaton tou ontos.
No one in recent times recognized this better than Strauss. See “Progress or Return” ( Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity), 117; compare Spinoza’s Critique of Religion, 149–154. In the lecture, “Reason and Revelation” (in Heinrich Meier, Leo Strauss and the Theological Political Problem, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), Strauss says that “Since no demonstration can presuppose the demonstrandum, philosophy is radically atheistic” (146). Given the context, the protasis, and the emphasis that Strauss places on “radically,” rather than “atheistic” in the apodosis, I interpret him to be elaborating his earlier claim that philosophy originates, not with the acceptance of something on the authority of someone else, but with the demand for a demonstration. (145). A few lines after his “ radically atheistic” formulation, Strauss says, “Plato’s and Aristotle’s attempts to demonstrate the existence of God far from proving the religious [!] character of their teachings, actually disprove it.” (On the distinction between theism and deism, see Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B 660–661.) Note what Strauss says about “natural theology” on pages 153, 155, and 162 of “Reason and Revelation”; on page 219 of “How to Begin to Study Medieval Philosophy” (in The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism, edited by Thomas Pangle, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989); on page 129 of “Progress or Return” (in Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity); and on page 381 of “Jerusalem and Athens” (also in Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity). Consider Strauss’ use of the expression, “rational truths about divine things,” on page 20 of Persecution and the Art of Writing (Glencoe IL: The Free Press, 1952).
Parmenides advances six distinct criticisms pertaining to the forms (or ideas— eidos and idea are used interchangeably, e.g., at 132a1–3; cf. Theaetetus 203e4). Here is the briefest of summaries. The first criticism (130a8–e4) is that the young Socrates has excessively narrowed the region of the forms (cf. R.596a4–7). The second criticism (130e4–131e7) is that Socrates has mistakenly (and even inconsistently—compare 130b1–6 and 131a8–10) situated the forms within individual things rather than separate from them. (On the great and the small, see the texts cited in fn. 78, supra.) The third criticism (131e8–132b2, which overlaps with the second criticism), likewise the fifth criticism (132c12–133a7), is essentially the “third man” objection, already addressed in fn. 85, supra. The fourth criticism (132b2–c11) is that the forms cannot be thoughts in the soul. Like the second criticism it reinforces the separateness thesis. The sixth criticism (133a8–134e8) concerns not the existence of the (atemporal) forms but how they are related to each other, and how they can be known by us, as well also how worldly things can be known by the (ostensibly atemporal) god, if there is such being. These are serious questions, to say the least. But in no way do they, or any of the prior criticisms, require jettisoning the forms. It is striking that, after advancing his criticisms and insisting on the difficulty of the matter, Parmenides asserts that he who denies the forms “totally destroys the possibility of discourse” ( tēn tou dialegesthai dynamin pantapasi diaphtherei)—in which case, what can one make of philosophy? (134e9–135c7).
Kant argues otherwise. But he is consistent enough to argue that the human intellect is responsible not only for universals but for individuals as well, to the extent that they too are wholes and not just manifolds of unconnected, pointillist, data. Critique of Pure Reason, B 129–130.
Posterior Analytics 75b21–40; Metaphysics 1003a13–17; cf. 1039b27–1040a7; 1086b32–1087a25.
R.476e5–477a3; 479e4–6; 509b1–8; 525b3–5; 527a1–b 4; 533e2–534a5. Cf. Strauss, Natural Right and History, 89–90.
Sophist 247c 5–7.
Ph. 83c5–8 (83b5–d6). See. R.584c1 586c5.
Even a non-philosophical but nonetheless thoughtful human being is inclined to take the sensible as what is most true. How else are we to interpret a mathematician’s otherwise inexplicable statement that “knowledge is nothing other than perception”? Theaetetus 151e1. As Socrates shows in the sequel, this statement reduces to the thesis of relativism, which is incapable of extricating itself from itself and from contradiction upon contradiction. (Cf. Metaphysics 1009b2–1011a2.) Though the Theaetetus addresses the question of what logos is (206c7–210a9), it focuses chiefly on the characteristics of individuals rather than of types, that is, of eidē. See F. M. Cornford, Plato’s Theory of Knowledge (New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1957), 161–163. That eidē, the proper objects of knowledge, do not get thematically considered is the chief reason why this dialogue does not get very far in saying what knowledge is.
Ph. 98c2–99b4. In giving the cause for why he does not flee, Socrates speaks of what is just and fine, and of choosing what is best. He does not mention what is most pleasant or least painful in this context. What is pleasant and painful is, for Socrates, primarily something to be inquired into. It is the first thing that he speaks of after telling Crito to have Xanthippe taken away. Ph. 60a7–c7. On the irreplaceability of a final cause in human action, see Metaphysics 994b 9–16; cf. Nicomachean Ethics (hereafter, NE) 1094a1–22.
Strauss, “Reason and Revelation,” 142.
ST 1, q. 19 art. 4, co; ad 4; Duns Scotus, Quaestiones Quodlibetales q. 16 art. 2, n. 33; Strauss, Spinoza’s Critique of Religion, 153–154.
R.441e3–442d2; cf. 428a1–429a4; 443c6–445a1.
R.439d 2–440b4; 440e3–441b2; cf. 435e1–3; 441c2–5. In these passages from the Republic, Socrates refers to the parts of the soul as different eidē in the soul (e.g., 439e2), and also as genē (443d5–6). That the soul is not some fourth eidos in addition to the rational, spirited, and desiring eidē, but all three together, and that the virtue of justice is not some fourth eidos in addition to the virtues of wisdom, courage, and moderation, but rather (when each of the three parts of the soul is functioning properly) these three virtues together (427e5–428a6; 432b2–435c3; 441c3–e2)—all this suggests that the soul is an eidetic triad. And its virtue, justice (though only if understood Socratically), is an eidetic triad too.
Note the formulation at R.439d4.
R.430e3–431b 2; 436a5–e6; 437b1–d1; 439c5; 440a 1–b4. Cf. Phaedrus 237d6–238c4.
Or into at least three parts: R443e1; 588b6–e2; Phaedrus 229e4–230a6; 238a3. Cf. Philebus 63c3 and Heraclitus, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Vol. 1, Frag. 45, p. 161.
R.436a5; cf. 441c3–4; 444d5–8.
Note the formulation “ hypothemenoi [!] hōs toutou houtōs echontos….” at R.437a5–7.
R. 428a1–429a5; 442c3–6. This account of justice enables Socrates to (tacitly) dispose of a concern voiced earlier by Glaucon. (361b4–362c7). If Socrates is right, the just man, being wise, would not act so foolishly as to convince everyone else, the gods included, that he is actually unjust. See NE 1133b29–34; 1107a2; 1134a7–13. If the virtue of justice is a mean between doing injustice and suffering injustice, then not only the extreme of (habitually) doing injustice but the extreme of (habitually) suffering injustice also is a vice.
R.347c1–d 2; cf. 540a2–b4.
NE 1102b13–14: eoike de kai allē tis physis tēs psychsēs alogos einai, metechousa pēi logou. Cf. 1098a4–5.
Ibid, 1102b14–15. In the Republic, Socrates repeatedly speaks of the three parts of the soul as being “in each of us;” for example, 435e2; 441c4–5; e1; 580d2 and 581b6–7. Cf. Phaedrus 237d6.
NE 1102b13–18. Cf. Politics 1254b4–10; Thomas Aquinas ST 1, q. 81 art. 3, ad 2; 1–2 q. 9 art. 2, ad 3; q. 58 art. 2, co.; q. 104 art. 1, ad 3; de Malo q. 3 art. 9, ad 14; de Virtute q. 1, art. 4, co., ad 7.
NE 1102b26. The word I translate here as “obeys” is peitharchei. It is a stronger word for “obey” than the middle-passive of peithō. Aristotle’s formulation, peitharchei tōi logōi, could be glossed as “obeys the logos as its ruler.”
NE 1102b26–28. Compare 1106b36–1107a6; 1143a8–9.
NE 1102b30–31. Cf. 1143a9; 1168b28–1169a18; 1177a15; De Anima 432b5–7; 433a 22–30. See Metaphysics 1015a31–33.
Cf. ST 1, q. 77 art. 3, ad 4; q. 79 art. 8, co.; art. 9, co.; art. 11, arg. 2, ad 2; art. 12 co., ad 3; 1–2 q. 17 art. 1; q. 91 art. 2, arg. 2, ad 2.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles 1, cap.2. ST 1, q. 2 art. 2, ad 1.
Leviathan, edited by Edwin Curley (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1994), 78. Hobbes does say shortly afterwards that “a law of nature is a precept or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do what is destructive of his life….” He even speaks of reason and judgment as dictating to man how he is to use his power (79; cf. 92). Still, Hobbes’s law of nature is more fundamental than reason, which does not constitute this law but only discovers it. (Contrast Thomas Aquinas ST 1–2, q. 94 art. 1, co.) Hobbes’ law of nature is conducive to the preservation of life and comfort. It is not conducive to the approximation of any end proper to reason, either in thought or in action. (Contrast ST 1–2, q. 94 art. 2, co.) Cf. Descartes, Discourse on Method, Part 1, concluding sentence of the penultimate paragraph.
A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 415 [there is no comma after “be” in Hume’s text]. What Hume, of all people, could mean by “ought” in this sentence merits a study in its own right. Ibid. 469–470.
“Nietzsches Wort, ‘Gott ist Tot,’” Holzwege (Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann 4th edition, 1963), 247.
Kant, most conspicuously, insists on the teleological orientation of reason in the spheres of both speculation and action but argues that the “unconditioned” toward which it naturally strives can be attained only in the latter sphere. Hegel, on the other hand, makes stronger claims for what reason can attain in the sphere of speculation than does any other philosopher, ancient, medieval, or modern.
Compare R.440b4–c1 with 441e3–5 ( oukoun tōi men logistikōi archein prosēkei…tōi de thymoeidei hypēkoōi einai). The implication of the latter passage is that the spirited part of the soul does not automatically obey the logistikon.
Cf. R.444a8–c1. Aristotle, after stating the problem in its most salient form (NE 1145b22–29; cf. 1146b24–31) and laboring mightily to solve it (1146b31–1147b14), not altogether successfully in my opinion, says only that what Socrates sought to establish—that is, that incontinence, or lack of self-restraint, is due solely to a kind of ignorance (which is not itself freely chosen and hence not, strictly speaking, morally culpable)—is likely ( eoike) the case (1147b15).
Compare R.440e2–4, 441a3–4, 441c2, and 441c3: “we have swum through these things with difficulty.”
- Socrates’ Exhortation to Follow the Logos
- Chapter 6