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The Sophist


The Sophist to 259C (p. 283) Philosophy 190: Plato Fall, 2014 Prof. Peter Hadreas Course website: – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Sophist

  • The Sophist
  • to 259C (p. 283)
  • Philosophy 190 Plato
  • Fall, 2014
  • Prof. Peter Hadreas
  • Course website
  • http//

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

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,
Jan 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

Difference Between the Concerns of the Eleatic
Visitor and Socrates in the Sophist The 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).1 1. Adapted
from Dorter, Kenneth, The Method of Division in
the Sophist Platos Second Deuteros Plous.

Difference Between the Concerns of the Eleatic
Visitor and Socrates When 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 examplethe 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.

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
  • 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
  • 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

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  • What Is A Sophist diaeresis II
  • (223C-224D, p. 244-5)
  • Expertise in acquisition has two parts, hunting
    and exchanging
  • Exchanging has two types, giving and selling
  • Selling 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
  • 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.


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  • 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 Maher
  • Especially as he presents him self in HBO's Real
    Time with Bill Maher
  • Sophist 5 The sophist makes money through
    disputes because of the pleasure it brings to its

Introduction to the Sixth diaeresis1 We 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 continued1
The 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 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 VI Getting 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

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 Sophist May 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 Sophist May 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.

L. Ron Hubbard The 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.
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. 370-71

Renewed attempt to define theSophist by method
of division Diaeresis VII

Escaping criticism, 1874, Pere Borrell Del Caso

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-Being 236C-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 lthttp//plato.stanfor

Paradoxes of Non-being Talking 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-being Talking 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
course Visitor And its absolutely necessary, it
seems, that someone who does not say something
says nothing at all. Theaetetus Yes.

Paradoxes of Non-being Argument 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 Giants of 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 Giants over 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 to Define 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? THEATETUSYes. 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 ??t?? ??s?a?, ontos
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

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
say THEATETUS 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? pa?te??? ??t?, to pantelos 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) THEATETUSIf 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 t? ??, to
onchanges in every way. He has to be like a
child begging for both, and say that that which
is t? ??, 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

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

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 so VISITOR 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
Right VISITOR 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
Philosopher Existence Identity Being
Aristotle A hylomorphic compound, primary substance A law of thought, a necessary condition of any particular or universal, i. e., AA. A syncategorematic notion a relation between potentiality and actuality
Descartes Primarily the I am, other existences are derivative from it. Descartes proposes the identity of indiscernibles in the Sixth Meditation God as the most perfect being. Descartes proposes the ontological argument in the Fifth Meditation
Leibniz Monads Liebnizs Law entities x and y are identical if every predicate possessed by x is also possessed by y and vice versa I 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
Philosopher Existence Identity Being
Hume Not a property, presumed by contiguous vivid impressions Hume rejects Identity over time. no metaphysics of reality is possible
Kant not a property of individuals A transcendental unity of apperception an 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 )
Russell A 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
Philosopher Existence Identity Being
Heidegger Human 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
l Slide 26, picture of Bill Maher
ist/821441 Slide 35, photograph of L. Ron
Hubbard http// Slide 41
photograph of Hamlet text http//
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