The Sophist to 259C (p. 283) Philosophy 190: Plato Fall, 2014 Prof. Peter Hadreas

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The Sophist to 259C (p. 283) Philosophy 190: Plato Fall, 2014 Prof. Peter Hadreas Course website: Plato s Academy, a mosaic in the Museo Nazionale, Naples, (Photo: Giraudon). Date at which the Dialogue Begins - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • The Sophistto 259C (p. 283)

    Philosophy 190: PlatoFall, 2014Prof. Peter Hadreas

    Course website:

  • Platos Academy, a mosaic in the Museo Nazionale, Naples, (Photo: Giraudon)

  • Date at which the Dialogue Begins

    The Sophist takes place one day after the conversation of the Theaetetus. The connection is made with the last line of the Theaetetus: But let us meet here again in the morning, Theodorus. (210D, p. 234) And at the end of the Theaetetus Socrates also says: And now I must go to the Kings Porch to meet the indictment that Meletus has brought against me;

    So the Sophist takes place not many days before Socrates trial in 399 BCE.

  • Central topic of the dialogue:

    To distinguish the sophist from the true philosopher, and in so doing, to sketch the structure of the world of Forms.

  • Beginning of the Sophist.(216A-p. 236)THEODORUS: Weve come at the proper time by yesterdays agreement, Socrates. Were also bringing this man whos visiting us. Hes from Elea and hes a member of the group who gather around Parmenides and Zeno. And hes very much a philosopher.(p. 238 218A)VISITOR: . . . So Ill accept Theaetetus as the person to talk with. But if youre annoyed at how long the job takes, you should blame your friends here and not me.THEAETETUS: I dont think Ill give out now, but if anything like that does happen well have to use the other Socrates over there as a substitute. Hes Socrates namesake, but hes my age and exercises with me and he used to sharing lots and tasks with me.

  • The focus on kinds or types is conveyed in the introduction of the Sophist.(217A-p. 237)THEODORUS: . . . What special thing do you have in mind?SOCRATES: This: did they think that sophists, statesmen and philosophers make up one kind of thing or two? Or did they divide them up into three kinds corresponding to the three names and attach one name to each of them?THEODORUS: I dont think it would offend him [the Eleatic Stranger] to tell us about them, Or would it sir?VISITOR: No, Theaetetus, it wouldnt offend me. I dont have any objection. And the answer is easy: they think there are three kinds. Distinguishing what each of them is, though isnt a small or easy job. [my emphasis]

  • The Method of Division or diaeresis is not described in the Sophist but it is described in exalted terms in Platos late dialogue, Philebus

  • It called a gift of the gods to men in the Philebus

    It is not very difficult to describe it, but extremely difficult to use it. For everything in any field of art that has ever been discovered has come to light because of this. (404, 16C)

  • . . . hurled down from heaven by some Prometheus along with a most dazzling fire. 404, 16DJan Cossiers,17th century

  • The Method of Division as Described in the Philebus.

    And the people of old, superior to us and living in closer proximity to the gods, have bequeathed us this tale, that whatever is said to be consists of one and many, having in its nature limit and unlimitedness. Since this is the structure of things, we have to assume that there is in each case always one form for every one of them, and we must search for it, as we will indeed find it there. And once we have grasped it, we must look for two, as the case would have it, or if not, for three or some other number. (16D, p. 404)

  • The Method of Division as Described in the Philebus [continued]

    And we must treat every one of those further unities in the same way, until it is not only established of the original unit that it is one, many and unlimited, but also how many kinds it is. For we must not grant the form of the unlimited to plurality before we know the exact number of every plurality that lies between the unlimited and the one. Only then is it permitted to release each kind of unity into the unlimited and let it go. The gods, as I said, have left us this legacy of how to inquire and learn and teach one another. (pp. 404-5; 16D-17A)

  • Difference Between the Concerns of the Eleatic Visitor and Socrates in the SophistThe Eleatic visitor says there that his method takes no interest in the relative goodness or badness of the kinds.

    ELEATIC STRANGER: The method [the method employed by the Eleatic Stranger] aims at acquiring intelligence, so it tries to understand how all kinds of expertise belong to the same kind or not. And for that it values them all equally without thinking that some are more ridiculous than others, as far as their similarity is concerned. And it doesnt consider a person more impressive because he exemplifies hunting by military expertise rather than by picking lice. (p. 247, 227A B).11. Adapted from Dorter, Kenneth, The Method of Division in the Sophist: Platos Second Deuteros Plous.

  • Difference Between the Concerns of the Eleatic Visitor and SocratesWhen the visitors sixth attempt to identify the sophist leads instead to a type that resembles the Socratic philosopher, he says:

    VISITOR: Well then, who are we going to say the people who apply this form of expertise are? Im afraid to call them sophists.THEAETETUS: Why?VISITOR: So, we dont pay sophists too high an honor. 1

    1. Ibid.

  • Practicinghunting the sophist through an easier and more trivial example:the angler Visitor: . . . Theaetetus, since we think its hard to hunt down and deal with the kind, sophist, we ought to practice our method of hunting on something easier first unless you can tell us about another way thats somehow more promising. [my emphasis]Theaetetus: I cant.Visitor: Do you wants to focus on something trivial and try to use it as a model for the more important issue?Theaetetus: Yes.Visitor: What might we propose thats unimportant and easy to understand, but, can have an account given of it just as much as more important things can? For example, an angler: isnt that recognizable to everybody, but not worth being too serious about? (218D-E; p. 238-9)

  • Angling defined by method of division (219A-221C; pp. 239-41)

  • But the Method of Division (Diaeresis) as Practiced by the Eleatic Stranger in the Sophist, as Opposed to How it is Practiced by Socrates in the Philebus, May Be Itself a Sophistic Exercise

    There can be no doubt that the Stranger makes remarks about diaeresis which encourage us to regard it as a quasi-mathematical procedure of universal competence. But these remarks must be measured against the actual functioning of diaeresis in the Strangers hands. Perhaps diaeresis is like the sophist in wrongly claiming to know everything.1

    1. Rosen, Stanley, Platos Sophist: The Drama of Original and Image, (South Bend, IN: Sty. Augustine Press, 1999), p. 85.

  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis I(222B-223B, p. 242-3)There are two kinds of land hunting: hunting of wild and tame animals. Humans are presumed to be tame animals. There are two types of hunting tame animals: hunting by force, i. e., piracy, enslavement, tyranny; and by expertise in persuasion, i. e., through legal oratory, political oratory and by conversation. Hunting by persuasion may divided into public and private persuasion.Hunting by private persuasion may be divided into as motivated by earning wages or giving gifts. Giving gifts is illustrated through lovers gaining in private persuasion by also giving gifts.Hunting for the purpose of gaining salaries is divided into two groups: in the first group the practitioners provide pleasurable conversation, through flattery, for money; the second group converses, so it claims for the sake of virtue, but its practitioners accept monetary wages. The sophist is of the first type: . . . hunting by persuasion, hunting privately, and money earning. Its the hunting of rich prominent young men.

  • Stephen Ma of ThinkTankAfter signing an agreement in May 2012, the family [of a Hong Kong CEO) wired Ma $700,000 over the next five monthsbefore the boy had even applied to college. The contract set out incentives that would pay Ma as much as $1.1 million if the son got into the No.1 school in U.S. News 2012 rankings. (Harvard and Princeton were tied at the time. downloaded 10/18/2014 from

  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis II(223C-224D, p. 244-5)

    Expertise in acquisition has two parts, hunting and exchangingExchanging has two types, giving and sellingSelling is divided into selling what the seller makes and the other is purveying, that is selling what others make.If the selling is done within ones own city it is called retailing. If it is done between cities it is called wholesaling. Selling between cities for cash is divided between nourishing and use for the body or the soul.Selling as wholesaling so as to nourish the soul, is divided into the display of soul-wholesaling and secondly in expertise selling of virtue.

  • Jimmy Swaggart (1935 -- )Sophist #2: the display of soul-wholesaling and secondly in expertise selling of virtue. Jimmy Swaggart is an American Pentecostal pastor, and televangelist. In the 1980s his weekly telecast was transmitted to over 3000 stations a week. Sexual scandals in the 1980s and 1990s led the Assemblies of God to defrock him.

  • Helping people reach their greatest potential

  • Date: June 26 June 29, 2014Location: San Jose Convention Center150 West San Carlos StreetSan Jose, CA 951134082959600Registration: Thursday, June 26, 2014 8:00am 12:30pmGeneral Registration Convention Center LobbyThroughout his writings, seminars and speeches Robbins espouses viewpoints, techniques and other practices he asserts can help adherents improve their lives. Among these are methods he calls the "controlling state" and "neuro-associative conditioning." He also speaks a great deal about various "human needs, influences that affect people, the power of making decisions" and the need to achieve "emotional mastery." He espouses a concept he calls "Life's Two Master Lessons" which he claims are (1) "The science of achievement" and (2) "The art of fulfillment.. . . . Robbins refers to Harvey and Marilyn Diamond as his "former partners. The National Council Against Health Fraud wrote a highly critical review of the chapter.Downloaded 10/19/2014 from

  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis III & IV(224D-E, p. 245)

    Same as diaeresis II, except diaeresis III & IV pick up from alternative in diaeresis II about whether selling and exchange is across cities or in one own city. In Diaresis III & IV, . . . Sophistry falls under acquisition, exchange, and selling either by retailing things that other make or by selling things that he makes himself. Its the retail sales of any learning that has to do with the sorts of things we mentioned [that is with virtue]. If the retailing is of goods that he bought from others its come to a result via diaeresis III. If its involves the retailing of ones own goods its diaeresis IV.

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  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis V(224E 226A, p. 245-6)

    The hunter is occupied with contests. Contests are divided into peaceful and warlike contests.Warlike contests are divided into bodily violent and argumentative.Argumentative contests, contest relying on words are divided into public debates that involve lengthy speeches and private disputations that depend on shorter questions and answers.Private disputation are divided into those without serious concerns, chatter, and a second that makes money because it causes pleasure in its audience.

  • Bill MaherEspecially as he presents him self in HBO's Real Time with Bill MaherSophist #5: The sophist makes money through disputes because of the pleasure it brings to its audience.

  • Introduction to the Sixth diaeresis1We come now to the last, longest, and most interesting of the initial set of diaireses. There will be a final division of the terrain at the end of the dialogue The major stretch of the dialogue from 231B9 to 264B9 is thus a digression from the diaeretic exercises. However, the digression is needed, according to the Stranger, because of the inadequacy of diaeresis, which cannot grasp the sophist by itself.. . .The Stranger agrees with Theaetetus that both hands are needed to capture the sophist (226B1). He then starts off abruptly on a new scent, one which is entirely independent both of the angler paradigm and the first four [by our count five] definitions of the sophist.1. Rosen, Stanley, Platos Sophist: The Drama of Original and Image, (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine Press, 1999), p. 115.

  • Introduction to the Sixth Diaeresis[continued]1The Stranger poses a question that puzzles Theaetetus, but which our preliminary reflection makes quite pertinent. Do we give names to some tasks performed by servants?. . .Whereas in the Statesman the Stranger explicitly compares diaeresis to the homely art of weaving, in the Sophist, he implicitly [or almost explicitly] compares diaeresis to bread and clothes making. In both these arts, natural products are modified in accord with human need, the result is in each case an artifact, but one directly toward a natural end, the preservation and care of the living body. 1. Rosen, Stanley, Platos Sophist: The Drama of Original and Image, (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine Press, 1999), p. 117-8.

  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis VI(226B 231B, p. 245-6)The main type of arts at issue are those that involve kinds of dividing up. They may involve separating worse from better, in household skills, e. g., filtering, straining and winnowing, and separating like from like, e. g., carding, spinning and weaving. Both are kinds of discriminating. Discrimination that leaves whats better and throws away the worse is called cleansing.Cleansing is divided into those that treat the body, such as gymnastics and medicine, and those that treat the soul cleansing it from wickedness or ignorance.Ignorance can consist in not knowing but thinking you know (229C) or lack of learning. The latter is handled through education.

  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis VI [continued](226B 231B, p. 245-6)4. As for thinking ones knows when one doesnt, one has to get rid of the belief in ones wisdom. How to treat that? Some people cross examine someone when he thinks hes saying something though hes saying nothing. Then since his opinions will vary inconsistently, these people will easily scrutinize them. They collect his opinions together during the discussion, put them side by side, and show that they conflict with each other at the same time on the same subjects in relation to the same things and in the same respects. (230B-C, p. 250-1) . . . This is nothing other than our noble sophistry.

  • Sophist VI Getting People to Realize They Dont Have Knowledge When They Think They Have(230B-D; pp. 250-1)

    Visitor: They cross-examine someone when he thinks hes saying something though hes saying nothing. Then, since his opinions will vary inconsistently, these people will easily scrutinize them. They collect his opinions together during the discussion, put them side by side, and show that they conflict with each other at the same time on the same subjects in relation to the same things, and in the same respects. The people who are being examined see this, get angry at themselves, and become calmer toward others.

  • Sophist VIGetting People to Realize They Dont Have Knowledge When They Think They Have (230B-D; pp. 250-1)(continuing) Visitor: They lose their inflated rigid beliefs about themselves that way, and no loss is pleasanter to hear or has more lasting effect on them. Doctors who work on the body think it cant benefit from any food thats offered to it until whats interfering with it from inside is removed. The people who cleanse the soul, my young friend, likewise think the soul, too, wont get any advantage from any learning thats offered to it until someone shames it by refuting it, removes the opinions that interfere with learning, and exhibits it cleansed, believing that it knows only those things that it does know, and nothing more.

  • Summary of Six Types of Sophist that Method of Division would seem to Uncover(231D-E; p. 252)Visitor: But lets stop first and catch our breadth, so to speak. And while were resting lets ask ourselves, Now, how many different appearances has the sophist presented to us? I think we first discovered him as a hired hunter of rich young men.Theaetetus: Yes.Visitor: Second, as a wholesaler of learning about the soul.Theaetetus: Right.Visitor: Third, didnt he appear as a retailer of the same things?Theaetetus: Yes, and fourth as a seller of his own learning?Visitor: Your memory is correct. Ill try to recall the fifth way: he was an athlete in verbal combat, distinguished by his expertise in debating.Theaetetus: Yes.Visitor: The sixth appearance was disputed, but still we made a concession to him and took it that he cleanses the soul of beliefs that interfere with learning.Theaetetus: Definitely.

  • First six definitions ofSophist defined by method of division

  • But All of the Six Definitions of SophistMay Not Have Genuine Knowledge(323A-324C; pp. 254-5)

    Visitor: Well, then, suppose people apply the name of a single sort of expertise to someone, but he appears to have expert knowledge of lots of things. In a case like that dont you notice that somethings wrong with the way he appears? (323A p. 252)

  • But All of the Six Definitions of SophistMay Not Have Genuine Knowledge [continued](232A-234C; pp. 252-5)

    (continued) Visitor: . . . In fact, take expertise in disputation as a whole. Doesnt it seem like a capacity thats sufficient for carrying on controversies about absolutely everything?Theaetetus: It doesnt seem to leave much out anyway.Visitor: But for heavens sake, my boy, do you think thats possible? Or maybe young people see into this issue more keenly than we do.Theaetetus: Into what? What are you getting at? I dont fully understand what youre asking.Visitor: Whether its possible for any human being to know everything.Theaetetus: If it were, sir, wed be very well off.Visitor: But how could someone who didnt know a subject make a sound objection again someone who knew about it?Theaetetus: He couldnt. (232E-233A; p. 253)

  • At the same time it appears that he is charismatic and highly capable of motivating, organizing, controlling, manipulating and inspiring his adherents. He has been referred to during the trial as a "genius," a "revered person," a man who was "viewed by his followers in awe." Obviously, he is and has been a very complex person and that complexity is further reflected in his alter ego, the Church of Scientology. Breckenridge Jr., Paul G. (October 24, 1984). Memorandum of Intended Decision, Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong. Quoted by Miller, pp. 370-71L. Ron HubbardThe evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements. The writings and documents in evidence additionally reflect his egoism, greed, avarice, lust for power, and vindictiveness and aggressiveness against persons perceived by him to be disloyal or hostile.

  • Renewed attempt to define theSophist by method of divisionDiaeresis VII

  • Escaping criticism, 1874, Pere Borrell Del Caso (1835-1910) Visitor: . . . Then we know that when he shows his drawings from far away hell be able to fool the more mindless young children into thinking that he can actually produce anything he wants to. (234B; p. 255)

  • Example of Representational Art, David Abed: Still Life with Brown Jug, Oil Visitor: One type of imitation I see is the art of likeness-making. Thats the one we have whenever someone produces an imitation by keeping to the proportions of length, breadth, and depth of his model, and also by keeping to the appropriate color of its parts. (253E-p. 256)

  • Gliterari Elvis, The Official Bad Art Museum of Art, Cafe Racer located, 5828 Roosevelt Way, Seattle WA 98105.Visitor: Wouldnt appearance-making be the right thing to call expertise in producing appearances that arent likenesses? Theaetetus: Yes, definitely. (236C; p. 256)

  • The Problem of Non-Being236C-239D

  • Being and Not-Being

    To define the sophist as an expert in deception, as someone who produces false appearances by means of statements, the Stranger needs to show that Parmenides was wrong; he needs to demonstrate that it is possible to say and to think that things that are not are, and to do so without contradiction. He starts with a series of puzzles about not-being and then suggests that we may be in similar confusion about being.1

    1. Gill, Mary Louise, "Method and Metaphysics in Plato's Sophist and Statesman", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta(ed.), URL = .

  • Paradoxes of Non-beingTalking of Non-Being Reduces One to Silence(237C-E; p. 258)Visitor: But anyway this much is obvious to us, that that which is not cant be applied to any of those things which are. Theaetetus: Of course not.Visitor: So if you cant apply it to that which is, it wouldnt be right either to apply it to something.Theaetetus: Why not?Visitor: Its obvious to us that we always apply this something to a being, since its impossible to say it by itself, as if it were naked and isolated from all beings. Isnt that right?Theaetetus: Yes.

  • Paradoxes of Non-beingTalking of Non-Being Reduces One to Silence(237C-E; p. 258)

    (continued) Visitor: Are you agreeing because youre thinking that a person who says something has to be saying some one thing?Theaetetus: Yes.Visitor: Since youd say the something is a sign of one, and that a couple of things is a sign of two, and somethings is a sign of a plurality?Theaetetus: Of courseVisitor: And its absolutely necessary, it seems, that someone who does not say something says nothing at all.Theaetetus: Yes.

  • Paradoxes of Non-beingArgument Applied in General to Thinking and Conceiving Non-Being(238; p. 259)

    Visitor: Do you understand, then, that its impossible to say, speak or think that which is not itself correctly by itself? Its unthinkable, unsayable, unutterable, and unformulable in speech.Theaetetus: Absolutely.

  • The Visitor From Elea Quotes from Parmenides Poem:(237A; p. 257)

    Never shall this force itself on us, that that which is not may be;While you search, keep your thought far away from this path.

  • Images Reconsidered

  • The Sophist proposes a likeness and in so doing forces us to agree that that which is not in a way is.(240B-C; p. 261)

    Visitor: So youre saying that that which is like is not really that which is, if you speak of it as not true.Theaetetus: But it is, in a way.Visitor: But not truly you say.Theaetetus: No, except that it is really a likeness.Visitor: So its not really what is, but it is really what we call a likeness? Theaetetus: Maybe that which is not is woven together with that which is in some way like that its quite bizarre.Visitor: Of course its strange. Anyway, you can see that the many-headed sophist is still using this interweaving to force us to agree unwillingly that that which is not in a way is.

  • Shift from asking What is Non-Being? to What is Being?(244B; p. 263)

    Visitor [as if speaking to Ionian and Eleatic Pre-Socratics]:

    Then clarify this for us, since were confused about it. What do you want to signify when you say being? Obviously youve known for a long time. We thought we did, but now were confused about it. So first teach it to us, so we wont think we understand what youre saying when just the contrary is the case.

    NOTE: Martin Heidegger makes this passage an introductory epigram in Being and Time.

  • The Battle of the Giants

  • The 'Hundred Hander' giants throwing rocks'Fall of the Titans' by Rubens

  • The Battle of Gods and Giantsof the Question of Being(246B; p. 267)Visitor: It seems that theres something like a battle of gods and giants among them, because of their dispute with each other over being.Theaetetus: How?Visitor: One group drags everything down to earth from the heavenly region of the invisible, actually clutching rocks and trees with their hands. When they take hold of all these things they insist that only what offers tangible contact is, since they define being as the same as body. And if any of the other say that something without a body is, they absolutely despise him and wont listen to him any more.Theaetetus: These are frightening men, youre talking about. Ive met quite a lot of them already.

  • The Battle of Gods and Giantsover the question of Being(246C; p. 268)

    Visitor: Therefore the people on the other side of the debate defend their position very cautiously, from somewhere up out of sight. They insist violently that true being is certain nonbodily forms that can be thought about. They take the bodies of the other group, and also what they call the truth, and they break them up into little bits and call them a process of coming-to-be instead of being. Theres a never ending battle going on constantly between them about this issue.

  • The Attempt toDefine Being

  • Proposed Definition of Being and Its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)VISITOR: Im saying that a thing really is if it has any capacity at all, either by nature to do something else or to have even the smallest thing done to it by even the most trivial thing, even if it only happens once. Ill take it as a definition that those which are amount to nothing other than capacity.THEATETUS: They [materialists native earthborn giants] accept that, since they dont have anything better say right now. VISITOR: Fine. Maybe something else will occur to them later, and to us too. For now lets agree with them on this much.THEATETUS: All right.VISITOR: Lets to the other people the friends of the forms. You serve as an interpreter for us.

  • Proposed Definition of Being on Its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)THEATETUS: All right.VISITOR: You people distinguish coming-to-be and being and say that they are separate? Is that right?THEATETUS:Yes.VISITOR: And you say that by our bodies and through our perception we have dealings with coming-to-be, but we deal with real being [ , onts ousian, literally beingly essential being] by our souls and through reasoning You say that being always stays the same and in the same state,1 but coming-to-be varies from one time to another.THEATETUS: We do say that.VISITOR: And what shall we say this dealing with is that you apply in the two cases. Doesnt it mean what we said just now? 1. Note the assumption made about being, always stay the same and in the same state. This is not a view attributable to Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Heidegger or indeed any modern canonic philosopher inasmuch as they take a position on Being what generally they do not.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)THEATETUS: What?VISITOR: What happens when two things come together, and by some capacity one does something to the other or has something done to it? Or maybe you dont hear their answer clearly, Theaetetus. But, I do, probably because Im used to them. THEATETUS: Then what account to they give?VISITOR: They dont agree to what we said to the earth people about being.THEATETUS: Whats that?VISITOR: We took it as a sufficient condition of beings that the capacity be present in a thing to do something or have something done to it, to or by even the smallest thing or degree.THEATETUS: Yes.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and Its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)VISITOR: In reply they say that coming-to-be has the capacity to do something or have something done to it, but that this capacity doesnt fit with being. THEATETUS: Is there anything to that?THEATETUS: We have to reply that we needs them to tell us more clearly whether the soul knows and also that being is known.VISITOR: Yes, they sayTHEATETUS: Well then, do you say that knowing and being known are cases of doing, or having something done? Or is neither a case of either?VISITOR: Obviously neither is a case of either, since otherwise theyd be saying something contrary to what they said before.THEATETUS: Thats correct.VISITOR: But for heavens sake are we going to be convinced that its true that change, life, soul and intelligence are not present in that which wholly is [ , t pantels onti; literally in the all-perfect being], and that it neither lives nor thinks, but that it stays changeless, solemn and holy, without any understanding?

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    THEATETUS:If we did sir. wed be admitting something frightening.VISITOR: But are we going to say that it has understanding but doesnt have life?THEATETUS: Of course not. VISITOR: But are we saying that it has both those things in it while denying that it has them in its soul?THEATETUS: How else would it have them?VISITOR: And are we saying that it has intelligence, life and soul, but that its rest and completely changeless even though its alive?THEAETETUS: All that seems completely unreasonable.VISITOR: Then both that which changes and also change have to be admitted as being.THEAETETUS: Of course.VISITOR: And so, Theaetetus, it turns out that if no beings change then nothing anywhere possesses any intelligence about anything.THEAETETUS: Absolutely not.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: But furthermore if we admit that everything is moving and changing, then on that account we take the very same thing away from those which are.THEATETUS: Why?VISITOR: Do you thing that without rest anything would be same, in the same state in the same respects?THEATETUS: Not at all.VISITOR: Well then, do you see any case in which intelligence is or comes-to-be anywhere without these things?THEATETUS: Not in the least.VISITOR: And we need to use every argument we can to fight against anyone who does away with knowledge, understanding, and intelligence but at the same time asserts anything at all about anything.THEAETETUS: Definitely.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: The philosopher the person who values these things the most absolutely has to refuse to accept the claim that everything is at rest, either from defender of the one or from friend of the many forms. In addition he has to refuse to listen to people who say that that which is [ , to on]changes in every way. He has to be like a child begging for both, and say that that which is [ , to on] everything -- is both the unchanging and that which changes. THEATETUS: True.VISITOR: Well, now. apparently weve done a fine job of making our account pull together that which is, havent we?THEATETUS: Absolutely.VISITOR: But for heavens sake, Theaetetus, . . . Now I think well recognize how confused our investigation about it is.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    THEATETUS: Why, though? What do you mean?VISITOR: Dont you notice, my young friend, that were now in an extreme ignorance about it, though it appears to us that were saying something. THEATETUS: It does to me anyway. But I dont completely understand how we got into this situation without noticing. VISITOR: Then think more clearly about it. Given what weve just agreed to, would it e fair for someone to ask the same question we asked about the people who say that everything is just hot and cold? THEATETUS: What was it? Remind me.VISITOR: Certainly. And Ill try, at any rate, to do it be asking you in just the same way as I asked them, so that we can move forward at the same pace.THEAETETUS: Good.VISITOR: Now then, wouldnt you say that change and rest are completely contrary to each other?THEAETETUS: Of course.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: And youd say they both equally are, and that each of them equally is?THEATETUS: Yes.VISITOR: When you admit that they are, are you saying that both and each of them change?THEATETUS: Not at all.VISITOR: And are you signifying that they rest when you say that they both are?THEATETUS: Of course not.VISITOR: So do you conceive that which is is a third thing alongside them which encompasses rest and change? and when you say that they both are, are you taking the two of them together and focusing on their association with being?THEAETETUS: It does seem probably true that when we say change and rest are, we do have a kind of omen of that which is, as a third thing. [[literally: We run the risk of prophesying speak as a mediator between god(s) and humans -- when we speak of being as a third thing.]

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: So that which is isnt both change and rest; its something different from them instead.THEATETUS: It seems soVISITOR: Therefore by its own nature that which is doesnt either rest or change.THEATETUS: I suppose it doesnt.VISITOR: Which way should someone turn his thoughts if he wants to establish for himself something clear about it.THEATETUS: I dont know.VISITOR: I dont think the line is easy. If it isnt something changing, how can it not be resting? And how can something not change if it doesnt in any way rest? But now that which is appears to fall outside both of them. Is that possible. THEAETETUS: Absolutely not.VISAITOR: In this connection we ought to remember the following:THEAETETUS: What?

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: When we asked what we should apply the name that which is not to, we became completely confused. Do you remember?THEATETUS: Of course.VISITOR: And now arent we in just as much confusion about that which is?THEATETUS: We seem to be in even more confusion if that is possible.VISITOR: Then weve now given a complete statement of our confusion. But theres now hope, precisely both that which is and that which is not are involved in equal confusion. That is, in so far as one of them is clarified, either brightly or dimly, the other will ne too. And if we cant see either of them, then anyway well push our account of both of them forward as well as we can. THEATETUS: Fine.VISITOR: Lets give an account of how we call the very same thing, whatever it may be, by several names.THEATETUS: What, for instance? Give me an example.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: Surely were speaking of a man even when we name him several things, that is, when we apply colors to him and shapes, sizes, defects and virtues. In these cases and a million others we say that hes not only a man but also is good and indefinitely many different [literally other] things. And similarly on the same account we take a thing to be one, and at the same time we speak of it as many by using many names for it. THEATETUS: Thats true.VISITOR: Out of all this weve prepared a feast for young people and for old- late-learners. They can grab hold of the handy idea that its impossible for that which is many to be one and for that which is one to be man. They evidently enjoy forbidding us to say that a man is good, and only letting us say that that which is good is good, or that the man is a man. Youve often met people, I suppose, who are carried away by things like that. Sometimes theyre elderly people who are amazed at this kind of thing, because their understanding is so poor and they thing theyve discovered something prodigiously wise.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    THEATETUS: Of course. VISITOR: Shall we refuse to apply being to change or to rest, or anything to anything else? Shall we take these things to be unblended and incapable of having a share of each other in the things we say? Or shall we pull them all together and treat them all as capable of associating with each other? Or shall we say that some can associate and some cant? Which of these options shall we say theyd choose, Theaetetus?THEATETUS: I dont know how to answer for them.VISITOR: Why dont you reply to the options one by one by thinking about what results from each of them?THEATETUS: Fine.VISITOR: First, if you like, lets take them to say that nothing has any capacity at all for association with anything. Then change and rest wont have any share in being.THEATETUS: No, they wont.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: Well then, will either of them be, if they have no association with being?THEATETUS: No.VISITOR: It seems that agreeing to that destroys everything right away, both for the people who make everything chance, for the ones who make everything an unchanging unit, and for the ones who say that beings are forms that always stay the same and in the same state. All of these people apply being. Some do it when they say that things really are changing, and others do it when they say that things really are at rest.THEATETUS: Absolutely.VISITOR: Also there are people whop put everything together at one time and divide them at another. Some put them together into one and divide them into indefinitely many, and others divide them into a finite number of elements and put them back together out of them. None of these people, regardless of whether they take this to happen in stages or continuously, would be saying anything if there isnt any blending.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)THEAETETUS: RightVISITOR: But furthermore the most ridiculous account is the one thats adopted by the people who wont allow anything to be called by a name that it gets by association with anything else. THEATETUS: Why? VISITOR: Theyre forced to use being about everything, and also separate, from other, or itself, and a million other things. Theyre powerless to keep from doing it that is from linking them together in their speech. So they dont need other people to refute them, but have an enemy within around talking in an undertone inside them like the strange ventriloquist Eurycles1. THEATETUS: Thats a very accurate comparison. VISITOR: Well then, what if we admit that everything has the capacity to associate with everything else?

    1. Aristophanes, Wasps, 1017-20. Eurycles was supposed to be able to make oracular predictions by means of a demon that lived in his chest.

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    THEAETETUS: I can solve that one.VISITOR: How?THEATETUS: Because if change and rest belonged to each other then change would be completely at rest and conversely rest would be completely changing.VISITOR: But I suppose its ruled out by very strict necessity that change should be at rest and that rest should change.THEATETUS: Of course.VISITOR: So the third option is the only one left.THEATETUS: Yes.VISITOR: Certainly one of the flowing things has to be the case: either everything is willing to blend, or nothing is, or some thing are and some things are not.THEATETUS: Of course

  • Proposed Definition of Being and its Problems(247E-253A, pp. 269-75)

    VISITOR: And we found that the first two options were impossible.THEATETUS: Yes.VISITOR: So everyone who wants top give the right answer will choose the third.THEATETUS: Absolutely.VISITOR: Some will blend and some wont, theyll be a good deal like letters of the alphabet. Some of them fit together with each other and some dont.THEATETUS: Of course.

  • Identity, Being and Existence

  • Differences Among Some Canonic Philosophers Between Existence, Identity and Being

    PhilosopherExistenceIdentityBeingAristotleA hylomorphic compound, primary substanceA law of thought, a necessary condition of any particular or universal, i. e., A=A.A syncategorematic notion; a relation between potentiality and actualityDescartesPrimarily the I am, other existences are derivative from it. Descartes proposes the identity of indiscernibles in the Sixth MeditationGod as the most perfect being. Descartes proposes the ontological argument in the Fifth MeditationLeibnizMonadsLiebnizs Law: entities x and y are identical if every predicate possessed by x is also possessed by y and vice versaI maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general. Monadology

  • Differences Among Some Canonic Philosophers Between Existence, Identity and Being

    PhilosopherExistenceIdentityBeingHumeNot a property, presumed by contiguous vivid impressionsHume rejects Identity over metaphysics of reality is possibleKantnot a property of individuals A transcendental unity of apperceptionan ens realissimum, an individual being containing in itself the ground of 'the sum-total of all possibility, is a natural but illusory idea of reason. (A 573/B 602 )RussellA quantifier, a second order property: x(Tx) There exists an x such that x is a thing. If a name/predicate can be substituted and preserve the truth value of a proposition, they are identical.An illusory confused idea.

  • Differences Among Some Canonic Philosophers Between Existence, Identity and Being

    PhilosopherExistenceIdentityBeingHeideggerHuman existence is Da-sein and other existences are present-to-hand. As discussed in Identity and Difference, identity is a primitive belonging with. Being or Sein is pre-theoretically presumed by Da-sein although not definable.

  • References for slides used in this powerpoint Slide #20: photograph of Jimmy Swaggart: #26, picture of Bill Maher: #35, photograph of L. Ron Hubbard: # 41: photograph of Hamlet text:


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