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Plato on The Life of Philosophy: Discourses on Phenomenology (Anthropology>Psychology> – logy, Dialectic: Beauty. Eros. Justice. Speech. Academy. Going towards & most specifically! Related to The Ideal Life of the Philosopher.

Estimated reading time: 119 minute(s)

Plato on The Life of Philosophy: Discourses on Phenomenology (Anthropology>Psychology> – logy, Dialectic: Beauty. Eros. Justice. Speech. Academy. Going towards & most specifically! Related to The Ideal Life of the Philosopher.

Phenomenology (Anthropology>Psychology>

In fact, Plato would not have spoken of phenomena at all if he had not wanted to speak, certainly not “at all costs”, in the manner of the Heraclitean sophistic rhetoricians, but on condition of being able to remain silent after having said (everything?) which cannot be contradicted, but only re-said (instead of being silent with Parmenides, after having contradicted everything that is said). However, on the one hand, Plato could not deny that one speaks in fact of phenomena (if only by contradicting oneself). On the other hand, the One-all-alone being ineffable and the Discourse (Logos) being essentially Two, even double or de-doubled, Plato was not absolutely sure that one could speak of something other than phenomena which “double” the ideal or ideal Objective-Reality. More exactly, Plato seems to have realized (before Aristotle told him) that in the World in which he lives, the fact that Man cannot speak “in truth” of the ideal Objective-Reality (nor be silent on the One-all-alone) is a phenomenal risk (even if nothing can be said of it as “true” in the sense of the non-contradictory), once the sensible World has no direct or “immediate” (discursive) access to the Cosmos noetos (nor to the One-all-alone). For only phenomena are given to it immediately” (or “intuitively”). And this is necessarily (or is contradicted everywhere and always, even sooner or later) that he can, if he loves and seeks discursive Wisdom (that is to say the “true” Speech which cannot be contradicted nowhere and never because it does not contradict itself when it is said), wanting and perhaps succeeding in speaking of something other than Phenomena, namely Ideas (“identical” or & non-contradictory” in themselves), by saying that the phenomena (of which we also speak, but only while knowing that their are contradicting themselves) only re-produce (in a more or less con-formed or de-formed way) these Ideas, like a Mirror (or two mirrors) reproduced in and by the image (or images) which it reflects more or less perfectly. ./././ —– If therefore Plato, as a Philosopher, wanted to speak of everything, including what he himself says, even of Discourse “in general” or of the Concept as such, he also had to speak of what we speak when we speak of Phenomena, as well as of the very fact that we speak of them. Now, speaking of Phenomena “in general” is to say how and why everything that is said about them is a constitutive element of the discursive “Truth” [which is in fact and for us, if not perhaps for Plato, the uni-total Discourse] is precisely to develop a Phenomenology in the proper and precise sense of this philosophical term. And insofar as Plato spoke of phenomena, it was with a view to such a Phenomenology that he did so. ./././ —–In other words, Plato spoke less about the phenomena themselves than about the fact that they are spoken about and what it means (from the point of view of the discursive “Truth”, in fact “exclusive”, that was supposed to be, for him, the Discourse as a development of the Concept). Moreover, Plato speaks in his Phenomenology much less of the phenomena which are spoken of (but which do not themselves speak) than of those who speak of them. Now, it seems that Plato believed neither in a discursive God nor in the intermediary, “angelic” or “demonic” discoursers, with which (as, that is? with whom) the pagan, Jewish and Christian pseudo-Platonists populated their imaginary universe as soon as Plato himself had left the world in which they lived. The phenomena which speak of other phenomena (speaking or dumb) were, for him, without exception human phenomena. Consequently, the authentic Platonic Phenomenology is above all an Anthropo-logy, that is to say a discourse on the Man-who-speaks (of everything and, sometimes, also of what he says himself). ./././ —–Now, if Plato does not seem to have been absolutely convinced that man (or whoever) can speak without a body, he never doubted that it is not the man’s (or anyone’s) body that is talking about. All his fierce and vicious polemic against neo-Heraclitean or sophistic (as well as Aristotelian, at least in his opinion, which does not seem to have been that of Aristotle himself) bears witness to this. He even devoted a whole Dialogue (Cratylus; perhaps his last, if one does not count the Laws falsified by the “Eudoxians” Aristotelizing Speusippus and Philip of Opus), where he showed (without showing, it is true) that in all discourse properly so called the meaning (“ideal”, unique and one) was something quite different from the morpheme (“material”, moreover multiple and in whatever form) and where it mocked the “scholars” who wasted their time talking (in a necessarily contradictory way) about morphemes, instead of concentrating on the meanings of what is said (including themselves) and the Meaning as such (or as a Concept). ./././ —–Consequently, if men are truly human only insofar as they speak (“in truth” or “in error”), if Man as such is nothing else or more (nor, moreover, less) than the incarnate Logos, we must certainly not limit ourselves to speaking of the morpheme of this human Discourse, that is to say of the somatic Man: we must consider also, even above all and before all, the meaning of discursive human existence, that is to say of psychic Man or, if one prefers, of the (human) Soul. This is why the Phenomenology, which is practically reduced in Plato to an Antropo-logy, is in fact and for us, as for Plato himself, above all and before all, a Psychology (in the broadest and, moreover, authentically philosophica sense of this rather ambiguous term). ./././ —–However, we must not forget what Plato never lost sight of, namely that Philosophy (and therefore the Phenomenology that it implies as a constitutive-element) is only interested in discursive Man, even the discursive Soul, and this only insofar as this Man is animated by the desire to “tell the truth, nothing but the truth and the whole truth”, even to be silent after having said all that which can be said without being able to be contradicted and without contradicting himself. Authentic Platonic Phenomenology will therefore speak of the (human) Soul only insofar as the latter, if not attains, at least aspires to the discursive “Truth”: it will speak only of the philosophical Soul or of Man animated by Philosophy or the love of discursive Wisdom, by indicating how or the way on which such a Soul can hope to find one day what it seeks.

Phenomenology (Anthropology>Psychology> – logy, Dialectic

Therefore, the Psycho-logy that is the Phenomen-ology that Plato reduces to an Anthropo-logy is essentially a -logy, even a “Dialectic” (which one cannot, moreover, dissociate from an Ethics, even of an erotic Aesthetics, since a Philosopher must speak of everything and since one can speak in truth of what one does only by really doing what one says). If one wants to use Hegelian and modern terminology (which is not, moreover, mine), one must say that Plato’s Anthropology is not a Psychology or a discourse on the Soul, but a “Phenomenology of the Spirit or “Science of the experience of Consciousness (as another title of Hegel’s PhG)”, that is to say a (true) discourse on the way which the man who speaks to tell the truth (or who, at least, would like to be able to do so) takes on himself (or should take on himself). Only, if the aim or the intention of Plato’s Phenomenology is genuinely “Hegelian”, the result or the solution found therein is specifically Platonic. Contrary to Hegel, Plato does not want to admit at any price that the “Spirit” (or the Logos) “is” and is, in fact, “Time” (Geist ist Zeit). He agrees at most to admit, with Xenophanes (to cite only the latter), that “the gods did not reveal all things to men from the beginning, but (that in seeking), they find in time which is best” (Burnet, 133). …./././ —–For Plato, as for all “Eleates (or Theists) whoever they are (by definition radically anti-Heraclitean”), “the best of all that men find over time” (or in the course of the universal history) has been present since always or “from all eternity”. Plato would also subscribe with both hands to what the Judeo-Greek Proverbs make (discursive?) Wisdom say [?]: “I been established (by God] from Eternity, from the Beginning, before the origin of the Earth.” (Prov., vin, 22 sqq.) And, in his own terminology, he calls this eternal Wisdom (established in and through Eternity which is the divine One-all-alone)the nightly Cosmos that the phenomenal World of which we speak reproduces, by de-forming it, as in a bad mirror. Consequently, if the a philosophical soul can only look (and not look) in a Mirror, it should only speak about it and about what it sees there in terms of images, only in order to try to see by speaking about it, see, that is, what are “in truth” the real things that this Mirror reflects. Thus the Platonic Phenomenology, far from being the goal and the end, even the completion or the crowning of the philosophical System, is only an introduction into Ideo-logy, which is itself supposed to “introduce” the discursive philosophical Soul into the wise silence of a mystical “Theology”, which takes the place, in Plato, of Onto-logy. …./././ —– Now, if what corresponds in truth to the true meaning of what is said to be true of a phenomenon in a discourse which relates to it and not this phenomenon itself, nor even its & essence, but the “Transcendent idea” that this essence (which de-terminates or de-finishes the phenomena which incarnate it) only re-produces more or less imperfectly, the Soul of the Man-who-speaks could not be either body, of course, neither an “entelechy” or an “action” of this body (as in Aristotle), nor even an active negation of it (as in Hegel, for whom the human “Spirit” is where anthropogenic Action is a Negativity which is pure Nothingness outside of what it “denies”, that is to say of the “body”). The Soul of which the Platonic Phenomenology speaks (which is reduced, in fact and for Plato, to a Psychology) is an entity sui generis, “transcendent” in relation to the “body”, even “independent” of it.
As for the question of knowing what is, for and with Plato, this “transcendent” Soul, even this “Independence” which alone allows Man to speak, with the hope at least of telling the truth, well…it is not so easy to say anything definitive. Because from what we know of it, we cannot know whether Plato himself claimed to have seen it. Indeed, if we don’t simply want to restate the Platonic psychological “myths” (which I have already spoken about; at least not immediately; that is, at this Hic), we have little left to say of what Plato told us. …./././ —–However, two things seem to emerge from the whole of the Platonic Dialogues (including the “myths” that he recounts therein, provided that they are interpreted correctly). On the one hand, the Transcendence of this something that Plato calls “Soul” (Psyche) has nothing to do with (individual) “immortality” in the concrete sense of the word. On the other hand, the Independence (“Autonomy”) of this “Soul” is what was later called “Freedom” (or “free will”). Now, in fact and for us, if not for Plato himself, the affirmation of this “Transcendence” contradicts that of “Freedom” and vice versa. …./././ —- Be that as it may, the Phaedo (if not Phaedo himself) is there to tell us that one cannot “demonstrate” the immortality (survival or pre-existence) of “individual souls”. The so-called “proofs” produced by Socrates are in his eyes only “sophisms”, even if their “contradictions” (barely camouflaged) are not seen by anyone present (including Plato, which, nota bene, is not part of it, any more than Aristippus, for that matter). However, these people show by this very fact that they are not “philosophical souls”. It is here where Socrates (for “pedagogical” reasons) ends up in telling these “unfortunate people” “edifying stories” in which he himself does not believe. As for the philosophers (although absent) who would perceive the “irony” of Socratic discourses, they need neither “myths” nor immortality. Because Socrates showed them that the Idea (of Life or of the Organism?) is eternal and that one can speak about it without contradicting oneself and without being contradicted. Now, if we have already said all that we can say without contradicting ourselves, is it so important to be able to say it again in perpetuity? these re-sayings, after all, can only benefit others (“pedagogies”), but not to the philosopher himself. So this one can be content with having said once all that he has done as a philosopher and “die in peace” (even if he could not do all of that, i.e., philosophy itself). And this is why the dying Socrates constantly fell back into a silence which he would certainly not have broken until his death if the chatter of a Simmias (and a “mythical” Cebes) on the “immortality” had not forced him to do so (cf. Phaedo). As for the Transcendence that Socrates believed he had shown (if not de-monstrated), it consists in the adequacy, even in the “coincidence” of the meaning of what a Philosopher says while speaking “in truth”, with the Eternal idea of ​​which he speaks, without forgetting to put it in relation with Eternity (ineffable). …./././ —–The Soul is therefore “immortal” only insofar as it is Logos, that is to say the Meaning, as being always and everywhere identical to itself, of the Discourse which is “Truth”. Now, it can only be true Discourse with true Meaning if it is independent of all that exists empirically in Extended-Duration, where everything is everywhere and always double or dividing itself without beginning or end, in the sense of goal and term. …./././ —–But as soon as Plato wants to talk about this Independence, he contradicts himself or tries to camouflage the “contradiction” in and through the pictorial language of the myths (which seem, moreover, to have the aim of separating the Philosophers who see their “irony” from those who take them literally, without noticing their “contradictory” character”). …./././ —–Whatever this contradiction (which I will perhaps discuss at the end of my exposition of Platonism) means, one thing seems to be certain. It is because Plato understood that the “Freedom” he has in view is essentially discursive. If Man can speak only because he is “free”, he is only “free” insofar as he speaks (or at least is capable of doing so). In any case, this is what seems to emerge from the ironic interview that Socrates enjoys having with a Heraclitean named Cratylus, supposed to be (according to Aristotle) ​​Plato’s master (and who is, for Plato, a curse -somewhat a resemblance to Aristotle, even his spokesperson, assuming that Aristotle is “consistent” with himself). The whole thing there is summed up in the assertion that the morphemes are ‘arbitrary’. Which means, discourses properly so called (that is to say, endowed with meaning) could come into existence precisely be-cause man is free to attach “absolutely-arbitrarily” the meaning that he sees fit to anything and therefore as much as he wants, according to his good pleasure. Now, all things considered, the human body (and all that it implies or all that follows) is nothing other or more than the morpheme of the meaning that follows the “soul” of man [this meaning being, moreover, imposed or present by the eternal or “transcendent” Idea which corresponds to it and to which it relates, which precisely annuls his “freedom”, the latter being “in truth”, only a spatio-temporal “mirror-image” of an eternal Objective-Reality, situated outside Extended-Duration and anchored in Eternity as such, which has nothing specifically human about it, nor anything discursive, being, in fact, the divine One-all-alone]. …./././ —– Only, to know how this transcendent “Freedom” operates [by impossible] in the phenomenal World, it is to Platonic imagery that one must have to recourse. For Plato himself is content to imagine it and does not claim to know how things happen “in truth” or “in reality”. …./././ —– Now, speaking the language of Plato’s “myths”, we can say that the “phenomenal” Mirror has moving parts, which can “spontaneously”, even “freely” or “voluntarily” re-produce more in the Mirror opposite, since the reflection is not placed in such a way that the image they reflect projects only on the latter…Here is the problem or the opening, then. …./././ —– Insofar as the mobile faculty moves in the right direction, it can be equated with the philosophical soul of a Sage, if and when the faculty has actually placed itself as it should. Now, according to Plato (and contrary to Aristotle), each man can become a philosopher (if not a Sage) & on condition of wanting it well or of really wanting it, while also wanting all that it takes to do it well. And it’s in the right way to orient the animated mirrors or the mirroring souls that Plato’s Phenomeno-logy treats essentially and even exclusively, which he voluntarily reduces to a reason or Antropo-logy which is only interested in Man insofar as he is a Soul that seeks (discursively) the Eternal that it loves Eternity. …./././ —–This is why the Psychology that is Plato’s Phenomenology is not only a Gnoseo-logy, but also, if not a “mystical”, at least a Morality coupled with an aesthetic theory of Love. Only, since this Psychology deals with the Soul only insofar as it speaks (with a view to telling the truth), it is essentially discursive or “dialectical” and therefore a real -logy. In other words, Plato’s Gnoseology is a Dialectic that speaks of the “dialectic” that it is itself. It starts from the “negative” or “contradictory” dialectic of the phenomenal discourses; and it is in the direction of positive dialectic” of Philosophy that it leads. And it is in this sense that it is homologous to Hegel’s “Phenomenology of Spirit”. Only, when reaching its end, Plato’s Phenomenological Dialectic believes not only to re-find its own origin, but also to find the Eternal who was present even before his own past began.

It remains for us to see what the Platonic Phenomenology is, taken and understood as a Gnoseo-logy, which, in Plato, seems to avoid the tortuous paths of historical freedom, in favour of devoting itself to the description of the single path (moreover, applied everywhere and always) which is supposed to lead straight (and therefore in a short time) to the eternal “Truth”: at least wherever men speak and since they do so. כל נקודה כאן עלתה כשלעצמה ובאופן פילוסופי-פרופר, עד הניסיון למצותה, במהלך דיונים אחרים. כאן אנו מדברים רק על מה שאנחנו מדברים. על כל אלה, אחרי שהנחנו כי דיברנו עליהם, כך באופן חופשי, כמו ביחס ברור למה שאנחנו אומרים בפסקה הראשונה: ביחס לדרך הישרה של הפילוסוף לאידיאל של הפילוסופיה. הקוסמוס נואטוס…או שוב: אנחנו עוסקים כאן בכל עניין ועניין רק במקצת, ואקזיסטנציאלית, ביחס לחיים של הפילוסוף.

Beauty

When we look in a mirror, even a little distorting one, it is very rare that we see something beautiful. But it happens. In any case, when we come by the Great Mirror that is, according to Plato, the World where we live, we sometimes see very beautiful things and this less rarely than is sometimes said. . ./././ —–Now, there is no doubt that the phenomenon of Beauty and, more particularly, the beauty of certain phenomena greatly impressed the religious man Plato was. In fact, the world he lived in seemed to him less ugly than it theoretically should have been and, all in all, this world was perhaps worth fleeing without rushing too much. In any case, there were a lot of beautiful things to say and even beautiful beings to whom we can talk. No doubt it is quite difficult to tell anyone why such a thing seems beautiful, and even more, what Beauty is “in itself” and “for itself”. Yet, the following fact is quite clear: phenomenal beauties not only attract attention, but also fix it; and sometimes forever, at least as long as the beautiful remains beautiful. Besides, all that is asked of the beautiful as beautiful (if we ask of it something) is to remain indefinitely in identity with itself, so as not to make itself ugly by deforming itself. This being the case, it is not even asked to multiply, or even to split. . ./././ —–On the contrary, it is admired above all as unique in its kind and, in any case, as one in itself and “simply” beautiful. For the parts of the beautiful are not necessarily beautiful and, moreover, the beautiful qua beautiful is “indivisible” in the sense that it does not really have “parts”. All in all, the beautiful phenomenon presents itself to those who know how to appreciate it at its fair value and use it as it should, like a kind of instantaneous image of a whole enclosed in itself or, more exactly, of a simple “atom” in itself, which should neither move in the surrounding expanse, nor be trans-formed during its own duration, whereas the instant of its local appearance is being supposed to be forever stable (or at least in the place and during the duration of the admiration it provokes, which moreover is generally silent). . ./././ —–That is to say that a beautiful phenomenon presents to the eyes of those who admire it all the essential characteristics of this ideal entity that Plato called Idea. Whatever the de-formations undergone by the images of the Idea, multiplied in and by the phenomenal double Mirror, the beautiful aspect of the images (if they are really beautiful) faithfully re-produces at least one of the perfections of the ideal model, namely, its ideal Beauty. Not, of course, that there can be complete identity. For phenomenal beauty everywhere and always admits degrees: the most beautiful of phenomena could have been even more beautiful, whereas the ideal beauty of the Idea cannot be other than it is; even ideal perfection. But the difference is in some way contained in the limits of the beautiful “as such”, and the Phenomenon is therefore in-definitely remote from the perspective of quantitative sort / degree: it is the difference of more and less; it is not qualitative. Conversely: even if the Cosmos noetos is quite-other-thing that the phenomenal World, it is also beautiful, even if it means being much more so, to the point of being such that it cannot be different. . ./././ —–As beautiful, the Sensible World therefore has, in a way, a door opening onto the Cosmos noetos. In other words, the “phenomenology” of Beauty can serve as an “introduction” to or into the Platonic Ideo-logy. Or again: in contemplating a beautiful phenomenon one could, it seems, speak not only of this phenomenon, but also of the Idea itself (at least as “beautiful” in the sense previously referred to as “atomic” and “eternal”). On the condition, of course, of loving beauty or, at the very least, a beautiful thing.

Eros

However, Plato noted the phenomenon of such a Love or the love of certain phenomena (more or less beautiful) both in others and in oneself. And this love of phenomenon also made a big impression on him, it seems. In any case, he spoke to us several times about Eros. However, from what we have of him, he does not do this “openly”. Sometimes Plato forces Socrates to hide under a cloak, sometimes he uses other spokespersons, often to be frankly suspected as to their philosophical value and sometimes he uses dubious (“Diotime”) entities. Moreover, it is not easy to know what Plato really meant by speaking to us in this playful tone. But it seems certain that he connected the phenomenon of love with phenomenal beauty and, to some extent, with Philosophy. . ./././ —– Plato did so, it seems, because of two things that struck him about the erotic phenomenon (in the broadest sense and possibly also “asexual”). On the one hand, far from dividing and multiplying phenomena, Eros re-unites them: far from wanting to oppose the Beloved (in a Struggle in the proper sense, that is to say in in the end “bloody”, if only for “Recognition”), the Lover wants to unite with him (physically or “morally”) and this in a union if possible “eternal” and in principle “monogamous” or “exclusive” (unless it is a question of loving everything and everyone, as God is supposed to do, even though he is said to hate the “wicked”). On the other hand, the Lover loves the Beloved not for what the latter does (with regard to him or in general), but only because the Beloved is (what he “is”): “true love” is “eternal” also in the sense that it is “stronger than death”, the Lover being supposed to have to love the “departed” Beloved [and the “Mystic” could, in fact and for us, ardently love a “non-existent entity”, such as a “pagan God” (or the “Nothingness” that is “god” for the authentic Buddhist)]. Given this attitude of the Lover vis-à-vis the Beloved, one can also say that the latter is “beautiful” for the Lover, at least insofar as he is loved. As beloved, the Beloved is therefore, for the Lover, an “ideal” or, if you will, the image of the Idea: hence the unity, the uniqueness, through ‘eternity’, of Love and its independence vis-à-vis the empirical-existence, even the ‘activity’ (and therefore the objective-reality) of the Beloved. . ./././ —– As eternal or identical, even unique and one, Love therefore places the Lover (whatever the Beloved) in an attitude similar to that which the Philosopher must adopt vis-à-vis the Idea and of Cosmos noetos in general. And insofar as Love relates neither to the empirical-existence, nor even to the action or to the objective-reality of the Beloved, we can say that it is Being as such, which is “given” to the Lover in and through Love. Hence the “ecstatic” and “silent” character of it, on which Plato always insists (and he seems to so insist quite “seriously” indeed, i.e., not “ironically”). . ./././ —– Thus, Eros is “philosophical” in the sense that an “erotic” Phenomenology can guide man through the phenomenal World where he lives by speaking of it and orient him towards the “ideological” Energo-logic. which leads him to the mystical-loving Silence with which the a theological Onto-logy ends in the last analysis. In any case, the joys of love (if not the erotic pleasures) give the Lover the foretaste of the Bliss or Salvation which is the mystical union in and through the religious Love of God.

Justice

However, if Plato sometimes seems to speak as if he wanted to say that Eros is the sine qua non condition of (Platonic) Philosophy, being understood as the necessary and sufficient condition of Salvation which is Beatitude, he never claims that Love alone is enough. On the contrary, he always insists on the “amorous wanderings”, as well as on the “uncontrollable” nature of this phenomenon, which is a kind of “divine grace” that one can at most refuse, but which cannot be obtained by human will alone. On the one hand, the “erotomaniacs” such as Glaucon, Phaedrus or the “lovers of Alcibiades” show that love is in fact far from being eternal, unique and one. On the other hand, the fact is that it is more common to find the “good” and the “beautiful” in what one loves than to love only what is truly beautiful and good. In any case, the lovers of a loved one, far from uniting and agreeing among themselves, argue in word and deed. Finally, love “misleads” reason to the point of giving up meaning and irony, not to mention “logical” rigor. (Thus, Phedreus does not see that “Socrates” is making fun of him and Glaucon accepts without flinching the nonsense on the “community of women” that the same “Socrates” voluntarily spouts and is impervious to the “second (and truly philosophical) meaning” of his sayings).
However, Plato notes very fortunately that in addition to Love, which Beauty gives birth to in the Soul, and which reveals Beauty to it, there is in men another “immediate datum of consciousness”, much more “serious” and “sure” from the point of view of philosophical pedagogy, if not more attractive from the “existential” point of view in the sense of “empirical”, even sensitive or “sensual”. It is the “immediate datum of the moral conscience (Gewissen)”; which will be for Christians (Kant included) a “feeling of duty” (Pflicht), but which for the pagan Plato is only the infallible “intuition”, even the “evidence” or the “clear and distinct idea” as to what is right or good, which enables anyone (having it) to distinguish it clearly from all that is bad or evil. To speak with Plato, it is about the “direct” or “immediate” knowledge of Justice, which makes it possible to understand Justice in opposition to Injustice or, more exactly, to identify the multiple and varied injustices by opposing them en bloc to the “intuition” of Justice, by definition one and unique.
It is to this one and unique infallible, “intuitive” knowledge (common to all, that is to say everywhere and always the same, even “necessary”) “of good and evil” that the Platonist “Socrates” appeals each time. It is here where his interlocutor “loses” (discursively or in action), though most immediately the fall of the latter is a result either of the vain chatter of sophisticated rhetoricians, or of the “Socratic” pedagogy, which begins by demonstrating the ” stereotypes “. A whole dialogue (the Alcibiades, I, which the Neo-Platonists perhaps took too seriously, but which modern historians do not appreciate generally at its fair value) is, moreover, dedicated to highlighting the infallible “Moral conscience”, taken and understood by “Socrates” (but not “Alcibiades”) as a necessary, if not sufficient, condition of Philosophy. . ./././ —–On the one hand, the intuitive appreciation of the Just (in empirical Existence) has all the philosophical advantages presented by the loving intuition of the (sensible) Beautiful. If the nature of Injustice diversifies indefinitely according to the hic et nunc of its empirical existence, that is to say according to “circumstances”, the Just is everywhere and always the same, thus being one and unique or, if you will, “eternal”. Opposed, moreover, to the individual virtues, Justice, on the contrary, unites them among themselves, maintaining each of them in identity with itself. With respect of its advantage over love, the love of another human being at least, this thing can be noted. One can love a beautiful one whom the other considers ugly; each can cease to love what he loves; no one wants others (or everyone) to love his beloved, nor especially that the beloved loves others as he is supposed to have to love the one who loves him. On the other hand, everyone is in agreement everywhere and always to distinguish the unjust from the just, and if one is just, one will act tomorrow in the same way as one acted yesterday or acted today; everything just would like everyone to be just in his inter-actions and if one swapped the righteous involved in a just inter-action, the action itself would not be affected and would remain the same. In short, the Just is everywhere and always one and the same “ideal for all”; this is how the maintenance of the Just reveals Justice as an Idea, which is, by definition, the “eternal” identity with itself. …/././ —–Now, if beauty is a given and love is a grace, it seems to depend on human “free will” to incarnate Justice by giving it an empirical Existence in the extended Duration or excluding it from this last. In any case, Plato does not think that the human incarnation of ideal Justice, called virtue, is “impossible” because “contradictory to itself”. He makes responsible for vice the one who is not virtuous. . ./././ —–In other words, to use phenomenographic pictorial language, the voluntarily mobile or true facet that is the human Soul can be oriented in such a way as to reflect the Idea “correctly”, by taking the latter as its point of reference. not as Beauty, but as Good. By becoming voluntarily virtuous, that is to say by conforming entirely (even as embodied) to the moral intuition of the “ideal” Righteous, the Mirror-Soul will see reflected in itself a “conforming” image of ideal Justice and, since the Idea is one and unique as Idea-of-good, it would somewhat be as the Cosmos noetos as a whole.

Speech

However, if virtue is a necessary condition of Philosophy, since only moral conscience allows empirical man to orient himself suitably in relation to the Idea, this condition is not sufficient. Because to be a Philosopher, one must want to speak of the Cosmos noetos (in an Ideo-logy), while one can practice virtue in silence, as does a Crito and, perhaps, the “Cephalus” of the Republic (who dwells on Justice, moreover provoked by it by his son, and is somewhat confused by what the sophistical Rhetoricians had to say). . ./././ —– Plato sometimes expresses himself in such a way that one might believe that, according to him, men could have done without Philosophy. This presents itself in a purely negative aspect, as a “refutation” of the discursive errors inaugurated by the “poets” and the politicians and pushed to the extreme by the “rhetoricians” and the “sophists”, i.e. that is, by professional intellectuals. “In the good old days”, there was no philosophy because there was no need for it: insofar as it was discursive, the “moral conscience” was expressed by pious “myths” or by “dogmas” which were in no way “dialectical” for the simple reason that no one disputed them. . ./././ —– However, such an interpretation of Plato’s thought comes up against the tirade of “Socrates” (in the Phaedo) against “misology” which sounds “serious”. Now, if we take this statement seriously, we must say that, for Plato, empirical Existence is only truly human insofar as it is discursive. It is not enough to “do one’s duty”; it is still necessary to be able to account for it in and through a coherent discourse. Now, such an account, such a discursive awareness, is precisely Philosophy. Undoubtedly, one cannot say everything in a discourse, even a philosophical one. Because there are things that cannot be said at all. But it is another thing to act in silence (even “correctly” or in accordance with one’s “essence”, even with one’s ideal or “ideal” “nature”) without ever speaking about it (much like animals do), and another thing is to be silent only about what cannot be said or to be silent after having said everything that can be said (without contradicting oneself). Thus, the “mystical” or “ecstatic” Silence to which Plato sometimes alludes as a sort of reward for the Philosopher would only be accessible to the latter. In fact, the silences of “Socrates” that Phaedo points out to are quite different from the verbal restraint of Crito or the silence of the other spectators in the philosophical tragedy, just as the speeches of “Socrates” are something quite different from the chatter of Simmias and “Cébes”. However, the wise silence in which the philosophical “dialectic” culminates is not within everyone’s reach, according to Plato. Perhaps you have to be gifted at it from birth and, in any case, you have to train for it or be trained by someone wiser than yourself. And all this is, in fact, “exceptional”. But Plato seems to feel on the side of exceptions. . ./././ —–Be that as it may, if a “bastard” has no access to Philosophy, it is not enough to be a “good man”, nor even an “honest man”, in order to be a Philosopher. Because you have to learn to speak about the good that you do and which, as a result, is good. . ./././ —–But, conversely, a discourse is authentically philosophical only if it “conforms” to the good of which one speaks or that one does. For the adequacy of the discourse to the “immediate data, of the moral conscience” is, in the final analysis, the only Platonic criterion of its truth. Without the Socratic or Platonic appeal to the evidence of the Good, there is no way, according to Plato, to end or impose a term and a goal on the contradictory discursive river of the sophisticated “Heracliteans”. . ./././ —– Now, the obligation to conform the philosophical Discourse to the imperative requirements of moral Intuition de-termines the discursive form of Philosophy. For Socratic-Platonic conscious Morality, Morality is opposed to the Good as Yes is opposed to No, and any “third party” is excluded from it. On the one hand, one speaks of the Good (and one speaks well or philosophically) only because one also speaks of Evil (and because one also speaks badly or “sophistically”). On the other hand, one cannot speak validly, that is to say without contradicting oneself, of any “middle term” between the Just and the Unjust when speaking of a given action; an honest man will say that it is just or unjust and only a “sophist” will claim that it can be neither or both at the same time, being “more or less” just or, which amounts to the same thing, unjust . Finally, it is “immediately” obvious that it is the Good which is “positive”, while the Evil is not, being essentially “negative”, even a simple Not-good which has neither “essence” of its own nor real “value”. Because if everyone is ready to do without the bad (or the worst) if they have the good (or the best), no one will want to be satisfied with what they say is bad. Now, the “formal” structure that moral conscience imposes on philosophical discourse is precisely that of the “Socratic” dialectic advocated by Plato. On the one hand, this Dialectic must be “essentially” dichotomous, in conformity with the “Principles” of Contradiction and of the Excluded Middle: the “Thesis” will oppose it to the “Antithesis” which denies it without possible compromise, that is to say, without a “synthesis” which would compromise the Thesis by replacing a part in it by what contradicts it and thus making it “contradictory to itself”. On the other hand, the dichotomous Dialectic must make it possible to clearly distinguish the “good side” from the “bad”, thus allowing the Philosopher to introduce only the “good” into his discourse and to exclude the “bad”. Even if it means showing that only the “wrong will” side un-doubles itself by discursively opposing itself to itself and that it is reduced to silence insofar as it thus contradicts itself. As for the good side, it maintains itself indefinitely in identity with itself while multiplying, just as Virtue remains unique and one, as Justice or manifestation of Good, while opposing itself under varied and multiple forms (as Courage, Temperance, etc.). And this is precisely why the good side of the discursive Division in two (Diairesis) can be numbered with the help of “indivisible” numbers (if not prime, at least not de-doubled or “odd”), which constitute in their togetherness one and the same “series”, measuring exactly the “distance” of each from their common “origin”, which is, moreover, beyond any Dialectic in the sense that it is not spoken of. Sophistics comes to discursively pass off the bad side of things as good. It is up to the philosophical dialectic to “refute” it and to put things back in place, that is to say where the “naive” or unsophisticated moral conscience finds them. Philosophy does this by discursively showing that bad discourse un-doubles and contradicts itself, thus reducing itself to silence.

[[[It is more than likely that Aristotle criticised the Platonic Diairesis during Plato’s lifetime and with his knowledge (the text relating to it at the beginning of De part, an. looks quite similar to notes from the academic period, put in their current place by the editors of Aristotle). It seems, moreover, the Sophist and the Politician), responded to these criticisms (notably and publicly although in a camouflaged form, moreover “ironic” and quite “wicked”). What is certain is that Plato reproached the versatile Aristotelian Division for its “immoral” (el. Pol.) character. That he could have actions which would be neither just nor unjust, “but between the two”; which means precisely the suppression of Morality as such and the door becoming open to “tyranny”/ Moreover, if the divided does not oppose as a Yes or No, there is no reason to prefer one of its members.elements (or what have you) to the others: to call some “good” and others “bad” could only be done “arbitrarily” or “by convention”, that is to say according to the good pleasure of each, which is also to say that someone is being able to impose his own on others only by the “tyrannical” violence of a so-called “legislator”. It must be said, however, that this criticism of Plato does not apply to the Aristotelian morality of the “golden mean” or of the right measure that we know (and which perhaps takes Platonic objects into account). To tell the truth, this morality is in conformity with the dichotomous Diairesis of Plato himself. For there is only one “Middle” between two “Extremes” and only the Middle is “good”, while both Extremes are bad, according to Aristotle. Now, the uniqueness of Good and the doubling of Evil are very Platonic and even the diversification of Extremes into multiple and varied vices is in conformity with the conceptions of Plato himself. There remains, of course, the impossibility of separating the Aristotelian “Middle” from these two “Extremes.” But that is the whole difference between Plato’s thetical or ‘ideological’ Para-thesis and Aristotle’s antithetical or ’empirical’ Para-thesis.]]]

The Academic World

And it is after having thus reduced to silence the bad speakers and their bad speeches, the Philosopher remains alone with the good ones. With the right speeches, first of all. But then also with the right speakers. Because he must not be alone if he wants to continue speaking. He will be able to do so as long as he remains in discussion with good talkers and his words are not contradicted insofar as he only talks with the good ones. Because these will not want, by definition, to de-form in and by their speeches what their moral conscience says to each of them, which is the same as that which allowed the Philosopher to dialectically separate the set of good things we talk about from all those things we also talk about, but which “are not”. And this common agreement between good speakers is a guarantee for the Philosopher of the goodness of the speeches that he proclaims as such by making them his own. ./././ —–No doubt it would be preferable for everyone to speak and for all the talkers to be good. But the fact is that it is not thus, at least at the time when one discussed around Socrates and with Plato. On the one hand, there were still the taciturn decent people; more and more rare, moreover. On the other hand, the vast majority of people who discussed the stunt were licensed Sophists, even notorious “bastards”. Moreover, common sense advised the Platonic philosopher to give up discussing with just anybody, trying to get everyone to agree. And so it was that Plato renounced the “Socratic” method of a discussion on the public level and contented himself with discussing with trustworthy friends (or whom he believed to be such) in a private garden, where one is losing his “royally” interest from the rest of the world.

[[[According to Plato, a philosopher could only be a “king”, or (as a “king”) philosopher of the state, everyone would mind his own business, yet harmoniously still. But Plato had far too much common sense to believe in such a utopia at a time when Marx himself could not have taken seriously Hegel’s assertion that Wisdom can put everyone in agreement with everyone else. It is therefore more than probable that Plato went to Sicily not to reform the walls of the Syracusians, starting with those of any Dionysius, nor even of the friend Dion, but simply to try to obtain from the powerful potentate enough of rich a ground suitable for the foundation of an Academy (if not of sciences, at least philosophical), which would be protected against the attacks of the vulgar ones (armed or not), & to so obtain by the little interest which it would present in their eyes. As for the Republic, it has a double meaning: on the one hand, it is the description of an “ideal” Academy addressed to those who could become members; on the other hand, it is a satire of the state whatever it is, described as a “degeneration” of the naïve community or as a “caricature” of what the Academy in question should and could be . But it would take too long to talk about all this here.]]]

And Plato succeeds in his academic enterprise. No doubt he attended during his lifetime disputes within his Academy and he had to suffer from the betrayal of Aristotle. And we know that after him the said Academy for ever abandoned the thetical Parathesis of authentic Platonism which was essentially the Ideology of Plato. But the Platonic Academy survived for centuries as a coterie of friends who took no interest in the political world and who lived only to talk about what they agreed upon by the very fact that they adhered to the laws of the Institute founded precisely with a view to speaking about/it. And little by little innumerable “Academies” of all kinds, both “secular” and “religious”, were created alongside that of Plato and many are still maintained today under the name of Christian or other “monasteries”. ./././ —– All these “Academies” have in common the desire (and sometimes the fact) to be separated from the World where we/they live (after all, the Platonic Socrates saw the practice of philosophy as “a rehearsal of death”). Thus one can say that they are all, today as in Plato’s time, living images of the Platonic Cosmos noetos, which is also supposed to be separated (to the great scandal of Aristotle and the “Aristotelians”) from the Empirical world of phenomena. Like this Cosmos, the Academies are meant to be beyond geographical (or political) space and outside of time (including their own). So it doesn’t matter to the Platonic Academicians that in the meantime something has happened somewhere. The academic (discursive) development of the Eternal Concept is situated in Eternity and not in Time; nor in the Space where politicians act. Whether a Philosopher claims to be king and educates all citizens in Wisdom or whether a King claims Wisdom by making his country live in accordance with Philosophy, Academicians could be taxed both as “sophists” or even immorals or morally depraved people. For there can be, by definition, no Wisdom as long as there is (academic) Philosophy, and a king cannot be a philosopher since, again by definition, an Academician will indignantly refuse the offer to be King (which no State, moreover, by definition will be able to give to him). ./././ —– It is thus that in one form or another the Platonic thetical Para-thesis of the eternal Concept in relation to the only Eternity without any extended-Duration-, nor Existence-empirical- has been maintained discursively until our days, at least in the West. Because there are a little everywhere in the Western World of the Academies where one still searches for the discursive Truth by pretending not to know that Hegel has found it…Not to mention those where nothing has ever been sought, where one claims to hold the eternal truth which has been given (to him) spontaneously.

S IS P (a bit of/into Plato’s Dialectic )

Estimated reading time: 75 minute(s)

The motives which led Democritus and Plato to postulate an Objective-Reality, supposed to be in relation to empirical-Existence while being radically distinct from it, and which does not determine in either of them the structure that both assigned to this Reality were, in fact and for us, the same. Namely, the desire to replace the fluctuating discourse that speaks of fluid phenomena, by a discourse that is definitively stabilised or valid as it is everywhere and always, while connecting it, if only to contradict it, to the contradictory discourse referring to empirical Existence in all the diversity of its extended duration. However, as a Philosopher, Plato was discursively aware of these motives, while the Physicist Democritus was not aware of them, at least explicitly. Furthermore, Plato’s religious attitude compelled him to relate ‘objective’ or ‘true’ discourse to the “mystical Silence” revealing the supra-real Beyond, while Democritus’ scientific attitude would have allowed him to be satisfied with the sole affirmation of the objective reality of what he was talking about, the ineffable Beyond being for him only pure nothingness (from which he distinguished, moreover, the “non-being” of the Emptiness, which was opposed in an irreducible way to the being of the Full within Objective-Reality). In fact, both Democritus and Plato were mistaken in believing that they could speak in the literal sense of what, according to them, Objective-Reality was. For us, the “theoretical” Physics inaugurated by Democritus was finally completed in and by the explicitly pseudo-discursive development of Energometry, which is content to measure objective-Reality, by putting a “mathematical relationship” (logos) for the results of these measurements, while renouncing to say what the “nature” of this measurement is. As for the Platonic Ideo-logy, we will see that by developing discursively, it ends in and through the Silence of para-thetical contra-diction. But if the the discursive (“exclusive”) element of Energo-metry is nothing other or more than the impasse of Dogmatism founded on silent scientific Experimentation, Platonic Ideo-logy opened up a perspective (through the Kantian Criticism of the Synthetic Para-thesis of Philosophy) on the (“synthetic”) discourse of the Hegelian System of Knowledge which, no longer excluding any discourse, no longer implies any “dogmatic” silence. [religious (theological), scientific or moral (ethical)]. Because in imagining his Ideo-logy, Plato emphasised from the beginning not what he was (more often than not, intended) to talk about there, but on the fact of being able to say it, in the proper sense of this word, that is to say, in a de-finite or definitive way, that is, in and by a discourse (supposed to be coherent) finished or completed in itself, but indefinitely reproducible. Now, it is precisely such a discourse that is the System of Knowledge which implies, as an integrant-element, the trans-formed Platonic Ideology (with a view to its entirely discursive and non-contradictory completion) in an Authentic energy.

Be that as it may, in this subsequent trans-formation of Plato’s Ideo-logy, the fact is that the latter developed it starting from the postulate of the definitive or de-finite Discourse. On the one hand, Plato shared the common opinion that there is (discursive) Truth only where (the meaning of) what is said “relates” to (the essence of) that of which one speaks, or that what one speaks of ‘corresponding’ to what one says of it (in truth) while being something other than the discourse which speaks of it. On the other hand, Plato realised that a discourse could only be said to be true on the condition of being defined or finished by ending itself in itself (without contradicting itself) and of not being able to continue indefinitely: being able to continue thus only by reproducing itself as it is from the beginning to the end (the other discourses being supposed to have to cancel each other out by developing indefinitely, since each of them was forced to contradict itself sooner or later). Now, if objective (“ideal”) Reality must, by its very Platonic definition, correspond to an (“ideological”) discourse which relates to it, the “subjective” structure of Discourse as such must also be “objective”, by being that of Reality. In fact and for us, the structure of the Discourse as such is irreducibly duplicated in itself or essentially dyadic.

Without having been the discoverer of this discursive Duality (of which Parmenides and Heraclitus have already spoken explicitly), Plato seems to have been the first (guided perhaps by Socrates to fully account for it (in and by his philosophical discourse, which he himself calls dialectic) to draw explicitly from it “logical consequences”. At least we can, it seems, explain in the following way the Platonic dialectic, which is to be found in a more or less implicit and different form in all Plato’s dialogues.

Any authentically discursive assertion (and not “degenerated” into para- or pseudo-discourse) can be reduced to the verbal formula S is P. The word “is” establishes a significant relation between the word S and the word P, in that meaning that in this relation, the first is brought into relation with the second. We can specify the nature of the discursive or ‘logical’ relation by saying that as ‘relation is’, it is a relation of inclusion. Which can be made explicit by saying that the fact of this relationship, the word S, which has no meaning in itself, receives one on the condition that the word P is “meaningful”, the meaning of S thus being the same as that of P, although these two meanings differ from each other insofar as one of the two words does not coincide with the other. Neither S nor anything in general has any meaning, if P has none. Now, the fact is that P can only have one on the condition of also having another and therefore of having a hard one, or, more exactly, of being able to signify one OR the other of these two meanings. For the fact is still, that if P were to signify both one AND the other, its “double meaning” would only show that it no longer has any, thus signifying sign neither one NOR the other. We can define each of these two combined meanings by saying that one is the opposite of the other, by designating them, in order to distinguish them, P and Not-p.

Since any “double meaning” P AND Not-p is equivalent to the absence of any meaning whatsoever, it also makes no sense to say S is P and Not-p. In this case, the relation is no longer a discursive relation. But since S and P have a meaning only because P has one and since P is only one of inclusive meaning if Not-p is also one (namely the opposite meaning”), S is Non-p has just as much a meaning as S is P. And one of these expressions can be said to have a meaning (and is thus only discursive) to the extent that both have meaning, each having the opposite meaning of the ‘other. However, S does have a meaning, for example, P, only on the condition that it does not have the opposite meaning Not-p. Moreover, one cannot say (without contradicting oneself) S is P unless one can also say S is not Non-p. Saying one is therefore equivalent to saying the other. But to account for the fact that we can indifferently say not only one OR the other, but also one AND the other at the same time, thus saying the same thing twice, we can distinguish, within the discursive relation, between the relation of inclusion which is said to be and that of exclusion which is said to be not. But the discursive relation attributes to S the meaning P, whatever this meaning may be: P or Not-p. Therefore, it makes just as much sense, say, to affirm (by the relation of inclusion) that S is P or Not-p as, say, to deny (by the relation of exclusion ) whether S is one or the other.


  • We will thus have four discursive relations (of which, moreover, each one is discursive only on condition that the four are discursive) or, more exactly, two relations (of inclusion and exclusion), each of which is duplicated into a couple of assertions having opposite meanings:

S is P I affirmation I I positive I
S is Not-p I affirmation I I negative |

S is Not-p. I negation I I positive I
S is-not Not-p I negation I. I negative I

Given that the relation loses its meaning or ceases to be discursive either if S is put in an affirmative relation with P AND not-p at the same time, or if it is put in relation of NEITHER with the one NOR with the other (or, which amounts to the even, if it is put in relation niante [negierende] with both) and that it has a positive meaning only on the condition of also having the opposite meaning to the negative, it follows that the discursive relation as such is irreducibly double, the Discourse being therefore essentially dyadic. Therefore, if we want to make someone understand that we affirm (positively) that S is P, we must not prevent him from saying the opposite, by affirming (negatively) that S is No -p. No doubt one can (if one has understood) answer him by denying (negatively) what he is saying, that is to say, by saying that S is not Non-p. But if we want to be understood by him, we must not prevent him from answering in his turn that S is not P, thus denying (positively) what he has understood.

Now, if to affirm (positively or negatively) anything has neither more nor less meaning than to deny (positively whatever is nevertheless other than that of affirmation or negatively) anything, the meaning of an assertion to the contrary is its negation. We note it “immediately, that is, from the mere fact of having understood the meaning of an affirmation or any negation or, if you prefer, at the very moment we do it.

And looking more closely, we will see what Plato saw, namely that the difference in question is that the Positive is “simple” or one in itself, while the negation is “composite”, being in itself split or double. But if we look even closer, we will see that the discursive double in question is less simple than it seems at first sight. Be that as it may, this first Platonic view can be expressed discursively as follows. In the discursive relation of the positive affirmation (relation of inclusion in the Positive), namely S is P; S has simply or only the meaning P and it alone, this meaning not only being unique in its kind, but also one in itself. On the other hand, in the discursive relation by the negative affirmation (relation of inclusion in the Negative) S is not P, S has a double meaning or, if one prefers, a split meaning, which is also unique in its kind, but which is so by being not one in itself, but two.

Indeed, S has meaning in S is-not P (just as in S is P, for that matter) only insofar as P has one. For if P had no meaning, S is not P would not have any either (just as little, moreover, as S is P). There is therefore “on the one hand” of S is-not P, the meaning P. But, on the other hand, there must be yet another or a second meaning, so that S is-not P has a meaning of its own, which must be other than that of S is P for the two expressions to have any meaning. This other meaning of S is not P, this meaning other than P, is that of No or of Negation as such. Without the meaning P, S is-not P would have no meaning at all. But the meaning Not-s is-not P would have no meaning other than that of S is P. S is-not P therefore does not have a meaning of its own, which is its own meaning; and it has a meaning insofar as it has a double meaning, namely a “particular” meaning P (“positive”) whatever and the (“negative”) meaning of the No “in general” or of the Negative, even of the Negation as is. Now, if the meaning of S is P is finite in itself or defined by itself, that of S is-not P is in-definite (even “infinite”, if we admit wrongly, but with Heraclitus and Kant/ the infinity of the set of senses as such).

This character, one could argue, is unique to the (“negative”) meaning of the No (or of the not-is-not). We can therefore say that only a split discourse is not finite (or is in-finite), that the Discourse is in-definite only insofar as it is double or two. As source or origin (principle) of the discursive In-definite, the Two can thus effectively be called (“definite”), with Plato, in-definite Dyad (aoristos Dyas).

However, if the discourse S is not P is in-definite, if it is in-finite in the sense of non-finite, it is not “infinite” in the proper sense [?] of the term, it is i.e. indefinable. Indeed, because of not being P, S is not just anything. On the contrary, the very fact of not being P renders it forever incapable of being anything of what is P. The relation of exclusion of S with P limits S just as much as its relation of inclusion with this same P. And the limit of S comes in both cases from one and the same P, even from the finite or de-finite character of the latter. Only, the (“positive”) relation of inclusion of the S in the P de-finishes the notion S itself, in and by its “definition” which is the discourse S is P, also de-fined by the de-finite P that it implies. On the other hand, the notion S is and remains in-definite in the discourse that is the (“negative”) relation of exclusion S is-not P, this discourse itself being in-definite because of the implication of the indefinite No. But the implication of the de-finite P limits this discourse and, suddenly, the S that it also implies. Without being de-finite (because of the inclusion of the No), this discourse is therefore de-finishable and it is so as limited (by the inclusion of the P from which S is excluded). And one can say, with Plato, that if S is defined by P (in the “definition” S is P) insofar as it “is” this P defined (being nothing else), it is only definable insofar as it only ‘participates in this P while being excluded or ‘separated’ from it (in indefinite but definable discourse S is not P). It is only if an S (“any”) did not “participate” at all in a definite P (whatever it is) that this S would be “infinite” in the sense of indefinable or not developable into a discourse, finished or defined. But the “participation” of an indefinite or “infinite” S in a P defined whatever it may be, limits this S by thus making it definable, or virtually defined, even if it does not actually de-finish it.

In other words, the “participation” of S in P in and through the (negative) discourse S is-not-P is a “definition” of the S “in the process of becoming”. It is a “definition” which has begun, but which is not finished. We already know that S is not P, but we do not yet know what S “is”. But since the “participation” of the S in the P which is being “separated” from it (or from which it is excluded) limits this S, this one is a “finite” in the sense of being “definable”. Now, we de-finish the S by saying what it ״is”. Let us say then, to de-fine S “in act” or to complete its “virtual” definition which says that S is-not P, we need to add (/ better yet, to replace it in the) claim that S is Not-p. The discourse S is Not-p is no longer a negation, as S is-not P was. It is an affirmation, just as S is P. But while this was a positive affirmation, S is Not-p is a negative statement. That is to say that the discourse remains split or double in itself. Because it involves both the senses of P and No. But the discursive relation is no longer that of the in-definite relationship of exclusion; it is that of the definite relation of inclusion. We can just as easily say that we have finished defining P, or that we are defining it “in action”. For one says what S is by saying that it “is” Non-p. And we can bring out this completed or actual character of the definition by saying that S “is” Q (Q being equivalent to Not-p, having the same meaning as the latter).

If one abstracts from any meaning whatsoever, one transforms the discursive formula S is Q into a symbolic (“mathematical”) formula, which no longer says that S “is” Q in the sense that it a signifies the same thing as Q. It is therefore better to write S Q (or Q, as moreover S and =, can be = replaced by any other morpheme, for example by P), to show that the formula no longer makes sense at all. But we can content ourselves with “formalising” the formula as “formal logic” does, that is, by preserving the meaning of Q, but understanding it as any meaning whatsoever. In this case, it makes sense to say S is Q, the sense in question signifying that S “is” Q, Q being, moreover, “some”. Only, the meaning of P being already arbitrary, by definition to say that S “is” Q therefore has no other meaning than to say that it is “P. And this is why “formal logic” confuses these two discursive formulas, in a single one, which is that of the “affirmative judgment”, as opposed to the formula of the negative judgment S is not P.

We also see that this “separation” distinguishes Q from P in the sense that the S which is P “is” P only and nothing else, while the S which is Q “is” on the contrary something other than P, while being not just anything, but only Not-p. In other words, the discursive formula S is P is one in itself, having one and the same meaning, the meaning of S being the same as that of P, which is (single and) one. On the other hand, the discursive formula S is Q (-Not-p) is itself double and it therefore de-doubles “indefinitely” in itself, thus being multiple (because of the Not that Q implies at the same title as it implies P). Now, if the unity of S is P is explicit, the multiplicity that S is Q implies is not explicit. In other words, if the positive affirmation S is P is an explicit actual “definition”, the negative affirmation S is Q is also actual, but it is so only as implicit. The whole question is whether the implicit meaning of Q (and therefore that of S as in S is Q, as well as the meaning of this formula itself) is “infinite” or not in the sense that it cannot be made explicit in and by a “finished” or “completed” discourse (meaning: in a limited time, or in an extended duration which has a end and therefore a beginning proper). In other words: by saying that S “is” Q (-Not-p), we actualized the virtual “definition” of S which said that this S “is” not P: because we have now said what “is” S, namely Q and nothing else. Only, this Q is not one in itself, but double, even “indefinitely” doubled or multiple. It would therefore be necessary to say several things in order to be able to say explicitly what “is” the S in question. Now, only one thing has been said about it, namely that it is Q. The question is therefore to know whether we can say explicitly all that the S which is Q “is”, by saying it in a ‘finished’ or completed discourse, or if one must speak endlessly while trying to do so, without ever arriving anywhere at the end of this discourse which is also its goal as an explicit definition. In fact and for us, the answer to this question is “positive”. Indeed, if Q = Not-p were “infinite” in the sense of the indefinable (as is sometimes claimed), Q would have no meaning at all. It would therefore make just as little sense to affirm that S “is” Q as to deny it, by saying that S “is” not Q. And to say that S is not “is” Q is to say that S is not Non-p. Now, de-doubled into P and No, the S which does not “is” would be non-only- (-Not-p), namely, not “infinite” (in the sense indicated) because it would have one and the same sense that one could call P. Thus, to say it as “finite” or de-finite, but still one in itself, not having S is-not Not-p is equivalent to saying S is P.

And since the S which “is P can only have one meaning (namely P), S is P must have the same meaning as S is-not Not-p. For there to be Discourse, Non-p must therefore be a finite or have a de-finite meaning “in action.” Now, the meaning of S n’est-pas Non-p (maybe it is better this way…?) is the same as that of S is P. If the latter is explicit, the former must be too. But S is-not Not-p cannot have an explicit meaning, if the implicit meaning of Not-p (=Q) is never made explicit anywhere. It must therefore be one day somewhere, in and by a “finished” or completed discourse.

This does not mean that the discourse S is Q, which makes explicit the meaning of Q= Not-p, cannot develop “indefinitely”, contrary to the discourse S is P. The discourse which defines Q can be more explicit, and this is so “indefinitely”: Q can be explained as Q1, Q1- – as Q2, etc. But it is necessary and sufficient that each of these discourses be “reasoned” in and by the preceding one (which it only develops “in detail”), so that all of these discourses can be summed up in one and the same (implicit) definition that says that S “is” Q.

But such is not the opinion of Plato. According to him, the so-called “discourse” which develops the meaning of the Q, which is Non-p, is nothing else than the Heraclitean Discourse-river, which flows endlessly and has neither beginning nor end. This pseudo-discourse is “infinite” in the sense that it does not return anywhere to its point of departure and is therefore never “summarised”. One could only say what Q (- Not-p) is by saying that it is Q₁; but one can only say what “is” Q1, by saying that it “is” Q2, which “is” Q3.; and so on indefinitely or “ad infinitum”.

Only this discursive River without beginning or end or, rather, this cataract which pours into a bottomless abyss while falling from nowhere, does not frighten Plato and does not make him dizzy. For he fixes his gaze on the fixed and stable rainbow, one, albeit diverse, which the light of the sun causes in the cloud of drops of water (moreover always new), which are constantly occurring above the current new and frightening vertigo.

To speak without images, Plato believes he has established the possibility of discursive Truth, that is to say, of finite or de-finite (indefinitely repeatable) Discourse that one cannot deny (without contradicting oneself), while believing to note that the Philosopher can be satisfied with speaking about P, ​​opposing the profane ones, even the héracliteans, by questioning the dubious pleasure to speak without end and thus without goal, nor term, of all that is Non-p. And this is because of the famous “separation” between P and Non-p (charismos) that Aristotle will reproach.

TO BE CONTINUED. EDITED, ETC.

At any rate, the following notes can facilitate the understanding of the text so far: We begin by Kant, which we indeed mentioned…the third note takes us to what should continue this very partial text…

  1. Infinite Judgment. Science is, perhaps, for Kant, one and the same “infinite” discourse, that is to say, an indefinitely developable discourse, but also one that can be summed up at any time. But the synthetic para-thesis that is Kantian philosophy is more sceptical than that. In any case, the term infinite judgment introduced by Kant is very ambiguous. He has clearly seen that for Philosophy, the formal S is Non-p (==q) is something other than the formula S is P of the affirmative judgment to which formal Logic brings it back and that it is not to be confused with the formula S ‘is’ not P of the negative judgement’, but he was wrong to speak of infinite judgment, by specifying that the S which is ‘Not-p’ can be an infinity of things other than P, instead of having to be the finite set of all that is not P. In addition, great confusion reigns in the terminology distinguishing between the contradictory and the opposite [so far!]. Let us try to help. Certainly, we “contradict” S is P by saying S is not P and we say the “opposite” when we say S is Non-p or S is Q (== Non-p). In other words: S which is not P is anything except P; but S which is ‘Non-p’ can only be ‘of the same kind’ as P, while not being P. For example, if S is not red, S may be blue, etc., or colourless as a number, etc. But if S is Non-red, S must be coloured (or colourable), while having any colour other than red (including white as the absence of any colour, but not black, if this is the set of all colours). Now, we generally say that S is Q is “contrary” to S is P, if Q is Not-p; but we do not say it, if Q is simply something other than P or only a different from P: Red is the “opposite” of Non-red, but Red is only “different” from Blue (if White is the absence of any colour and Black the presence of all, White and Black are not “opposites; but White and Colored are; for what is Non-white has at least one colour and can have them all, that is- i.e. being black). Now, if the Non-red is not only blue, it is also blue; by explaining its implicit definition, sooner or later, we will end up defining it (also) as blue. It would therefore be necessary to say that Red and Non-red are “opposites” insofar as the definition of Non-red remains sufficiently implicit not to make blue explicit, but that they are only different as soon as Non-red is made explicit as blue. Be that as it may, Plato does not seem to have been concerned with these things. Aristotle was, but what he says about it has remained very confusing. At any rate, qua logic, as philosophy qua logic, all this is very stupid indeed. On the other, there is something gymnastic here in Hegelian terms, yet implicit to the non-Hegelian. [Things I do when it is obvious that there is a cake 🎂in the kitchen: not to see the second obvious: I am too lazy to go get it.].

2

For us, as for Plato, the discourse S is not P (“negative judgement”) is a discourse properly speaking, that is to say, having a “definite” meaning, only insofar as it ” participates “a definite meaning” P, as a discursive relation of S to P by a relationship of exclusion between P and S. We can also say, with Plato, that S has no meaning that belongs to it in own but receives one by the “participation” in the proper sense of P, while remaining “separate” from this P and being in-definite or “infinite” in and by this very “separation”. Now, we understand better what Plato has in view when we consider the degenerate (“negative”) verbal formula: S is not. Here, P has completely disappeared (“has been annihilated”): there is no longer any “participation” of S to P. Suddenly, S is absolutely “undefined”, in the sense of indefinable; we can say, if we want, that S is then “infinite”, in the sense that we can no longer say what it is > in any finite or defined discourse. We can express it by saying that S is then nothing at all or that it is not. No doubt we can call this “Infinite” S “Nothingness” in the sense of indefinable. But it must then be said that NOTHING is a symbol, that is to say a morpheme of an ex-notion deprived of its meaning. And since every morpheme is, by definition, unspecified or “arbitrary”, we can replace this one by others, for example by oo, 0, etc. But by simply changing the morpheme of a symbol, we do not transform it into a notion: none of the morphemes of the symbol will have a meaning properly speaking, that is to say, discursively defined or -what definable in and by a finite discourse. Moreover, the “degeneracy” of S is not purely apparent. For if the P is no longer made explicit there, it is nevertheless implicitly present there. S is not is equivalent to S is-not P, insofar as P signifies Being as such or the totality of what is, indeed all that “is” something. Here again, the “participation” in P limits the S by assigning to it a discursive meaning properly so-called, if only definable. ‘Nothingness’ then means (everything) of which one will never be able to say anywhere what it is”. What we can also say by saying that Nothingness means (everything) that which is not. Which amounts to saying that Nothingness is ineffable, being (all) that which cannot be spoken of or (all) that which is revealed in and by (even as) Silence. Now, we in no way contradict ourselves when we speak of something only to say that we cannot or do not want to speak about it.

3

One might wonder why Plato did not see that the Being-given implies, as the third and middle term of its totality, not implication or conjunction, even juxtaposition by AND, but exclusion by Difference. (or Negation). Perhaps the notion of Difference-from-the-Identical was “logically” too shocking? Yet Plato knew very well that the meaning of this notion is that of the notion Spatiality (of which it is the first discursive development or the first definition). Would he have been reluctant to spatialize (ideal) Being as such? This is what Aristotle seems to insinuate, when he says that we must ask Plato why Ideas are not in Place (cf. Phys., 209b in fine). But it may be that Plato saw that the Difference-of-the-identical, which is Spatiality, implied the Identity-of-the-different, which is nothing other than Temporality, and that he taught less spatialization of ideal-Being than its temporalization. If he saw himself obliged to reject Parmenides’ Eternity in the beyond of Discourse by contenting himself with admitting the discursivity of the only eternal Concept, he did not want in any case to temporalize the latter. It seems that from a “psychological” point of view, he had religious reasons to oppose it. But from the “systematic” point of view, the exclusion of the AND or of Difference, that is to say, the reduction of the Being-three or of the Trinity-which-is Hegelian to the Being-two or to the Heraclitean Dyad, is an integral part of the correct discursive development of the Thetical Para-thesis of Philosophy. This Para-thesis is Platonic only because it was Plato who first refused to take into account the difference between what is and what is not or between what is spoken of in any way and what one was silent by saying nothing.

A Very Short Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology (Kojeve)

Estimated reading time: 10 minute(s)


6 דק’
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The Only Introduction One Needs For Hegel’s Phenomenology (an introduction to the trick or rather “power” of the Phenomenology as an Introduction in itself): the principal advantage of the Introduction that is phenomenologcal (in the Hegelian and non-Husserlian sense, that is, in fact the Platonic sense of the term) consists in the fact that it causes to disappear progressively and, in a way, under the reader’s eyes the particular “point of view” of “Reflection” that is indispensable in every philosophic Intrduction whatsoever to the extent that it is distinguished from the System of Knowledge that it is supposed to introduce. At the beginning and during all the discursive development of the Phenomenology, a We” reflects” from one and the same “point of view” upon a series of “phenomena” where men of different types say “I” in diverse “existential situations” or “attitudes.” These “phenomena” follow one another in an order of which the “reflecting” We can give an account in its own eyes, showing how or, if you please, de-monstrating why one of these “situations” results from another (which it presupposes in denying it). At the outset, the reader does not know what the We that “reflects” is, and he cannot say what its “point of view” is. But this “point of view” becomes clear as the sequence of “phenomena” is developed upon cach of which the We “reflects” in “justifying” it (after the event) in its out eyes (as “dialectically-overcome” ((supprimé-dialectiquement)), that is, trans-formed by an active or effective negation that conserves it while sublimating it in and through the “phenomenon” that follows it). And at the end, the We of the beginning is completely and perfectly determined by its coincidence with the I of the “situation” revealed as final “phenomenon,” which conserves, in sublimating them, all the other since it is the total negation of them. In thus finding itself in the “situation” instead of reflecting upon it, the We finally demonstrates to that the “point of view” that it had from the beginning was not among [[the others]], since this alleged “point of view” is the integral or integrating negation of all points of view possible or imaginable by the We that is itself nothing other than an “imagining” of “possible” points of view or situations.

Now, it is precisely the We become I at the end of the Phenomenology, or, what is the same thing, the I become the We of the beginning through the evolution described in that book, that fully and finally achieves self-consciousness (and is perfectly satisfied by this attaining of consciousness) in discursively developing the (“coherent,” that is, not “contra-dictory” and thus “irrefutable”) “content” of that of which it attains consciousness, that discursive development being published by Hegel under the name System of Knowledge. Thus, the reader of the Phenomenology who began by believing he “put his trust” in the author in adopting the latter’s “point of view,” ends by perceiving that in reality he has “put trust” only in himself. For in the course of his reading he will have found the I and the “point of view” that are his and have been witness to the trans-formation, “justified in his own eyes,” of this I into the We that has no exclusive “point of view” that is peculiar to it. The reader then will have either to renounce every “situation” capable of being discursively “justified” (in a “coherent” manner) or else to recognize that he finds himself in the “situation” whose (“existential” and “logical”) “meaning” is discursively developed as that System of Knowledge that Hegel wanted to introduce through his Phenomenology.

Empedocles’s Poem, Philosophically Taken

Estimated reading time: 53 minute(s)

Judging from the fragments which have come down to us, the philosophical value of Empedocles seems to be inferior even to that of Anaxagoras. In any case, we are not shocked to learn that his “theology” is handled in a teasing and contemptuous language by Plato (cf., in particular, Soph., 242, a) and the praise (moreover quite relative) of Aristotle (cf. Met., 985 4-22 and 1000″ 25) seems rather undeserved to us. At any rate, and as said already, the tradition appears to have placed Empedocles clearly below Anaxagoras, not to mention Parmenides or Heraclitus. More exactly, one can wonder if Empedocles was a philosopher in the proper sense (“broad” or “narrow”) of the word. In other words, we can ask ourselves if Empedocles spoke and wanted to speak (also) of what he said himself, and if he wanted and was able to speak in order to answer the question of knowing what the Concept “is” (and thus, whether it is or not).

Doubtless, the beginning of the Poem of Empedocles consciously and voluntarily imitates that of the Parmenidean Poem. But Empedocles models himself on Parmenides only to focus attention on the irreducible difference between their works. Thus, it is the Goddess who teaches the Truth to Parmenides. But it is Empedocles himself who teaches it to a certain Pausanias (who passed for his lover, moreover) (cf. Diels, 21, B, I). Certainly, Empedocles also appeals to the Gods (in the plural!) and to the Muse (in the singular!) (cf. ib., 1, 1-3) and he goes so far as to say to Pausanias that this one, in listening to him, is actually hearing the voice of God (cf. ib., 23, 11). But he only asks the Gods to remove from him the errors of ordinary men (cf. ib., 4, 1) and he asks the Muse not to lead him astray by raising him above the earth and in this way allows him so much to imagine that he knows more than a man can know and to believe wrongly that he sits on “the heights of Wisdom” (cf. ib., 4, 3-8). Now, the errors of ordinary men consist in the illusion of having found the All when, in fact, they can only see particular things, by definition temporal in the sense of temporary. Thus, the great error from which Empedocles would like to be preserved with the help of the Gods, is nothing other than what the basic error of Parmenides is for him. Moreover, for him, it is, above all, a question of: “walking [like Parmenides] from summit to summit, and not to travel only one Way to its very end [as this same Parmenides did”] (ib., 24) .

Therefore, there is not for Empedocles that Something which is one in itself and unique in its kind, being all that can both be and be conceived (even if only silently) and which is in fact and for us, as already for Parmenides, the Concept as such. It therefore seems that, for us, Empedocles, in fact, “denied” the existence of the Concept, like Heraclitus before, in the sense at least that for him too, the All that is, while also being able to be conceived, is by definition only the Temporal as a whole – which is temporary. But if that were so, Empedocles would only be saying Heraclitus again. Now, in fact, he also re-says Parmenides. And he contradicts himself so much by re-saying them both that we feel like he didn’t understand exactly what they were saying and didn’t know they were talking about the Concept. In this case, he himself would speak of the Concept only ‘unconsciously’, or even only in an ‘implicit’ way and would therefore not be a philosopher properly speaking.

Be that as it may, there is no doubt for us that Empedocles is, in fact, re-saying Parmenides, without, however, re-saying everything that the latter had said; and he does this by also re-saying part of what Heraclitus was saying. He realized this himself, as well as his contemporaries. And it is probably to defend himself against reproaches of re-sayings, even of “plagiarism”, that he said (provoking the mockery of Plato; cf. Gorg., 498, e) that “what is just may well be said even twice” (ib., 25). Indeed, isn’t it re-saying Parmenides to say: “Mad people! Their thought is short, for they imagine that what was not before comes into existence or that something can perish and be entirely destroyed; for as it cannot be that something can be born from what does not exist in any way, it is likewise impossible and unheard of that what is can perish; for it will always be wherever it is placed [that is, everywhere]; and in the All, there is nothing empty and nothing too full; in the All there is nothing empty; whence, consequently, something that increases it could come” (ib., 11-14). Yet, even if we put aside the dubious “consequence” contained in the last phrase and the other small “imperfections”, this is not at all what Parmenides is saying. For Empedocles speaks not of the One-all-alone, nor of the One-which-is-all, nor even of the All-which-is-one, but of a set of particular things, multiple and varied and seemingly temporary. Moreover, he contradicts himself when he says, on the one hand, that nothing of what is [by constituting as a whole the Whole that is the Cosmos] can neither be born nor perish and, on the other hand, on the other hand, affirms that “we mortals are nothing at all before having been composed, and after having been dissolved” (ib., 15, 4). But this “contradiction” is only due to the general imprecision of Empedocles’ discourse. What is more symptomatic and more seriously grave is that he expressly claims to be able to ‘reconcile’ Parmenides with Heraclitus (whom he does not name, moreover) in and through an ‘eclectic’ system he wants to be as “balanced” or “synthetic” as (due to) “reconciling”, but which is, in fact, antithetical, that is to say predominantly Heraclitean. Now, this so-called “synthesis” of Empedocles is a veritable monstrosity from a philosophical point of view. However, through it, he mainly acted (notably on Aristotle), and it is therefore worth dwelling on it a little.

The para-thesis sketched out by the eclecticism of Empedocles is “classical” and well-known. Empedocles wants to reconcile the Parmenidean “Sphere” with the “River” that Heraclitus opposed to it. “Classically”, a para-thesis should partially affirm the two contrary theses, denying neither, if not in part: everything we are talking about or, if we prefer, the Whole we are talking about (and which for Empedocles is the Cosmos and not the Concept) is “both” partly “River” and partly “Sphere”. Only, the para-thetical contradiction would then be too apparent, since, according to the Parmenidean Thesis, there is only the One-all-alone, whereas, according to the Heraclitean Anti-thesis, there is ‘fluid’ only. This is why Empedocles has recourse to an apparently synthetic solution, by replacing the co-existence in the Extent of two “contrary things” which would spatially limit each other there, by a succession in the Duration, where one would succeed the other (limiting itself temporally or qua temporarily) so that each could be unlimited in scope for its entire duration. Only, this ‘eclectic’ solution has nothing to do with the Hegelian Syn-thesis. Because the ‘succession’ here is cyclical (even ‘rhythmic’), where there is a difference of identical cycles and, therefore, the whole thing here is spatiality and not temporality, properly speaking. In other words, it is not an Extended-Duration, but a Space with four ״ dimensions”, the fourth being pseudo-temporal. Now, in this four-dimensional Space, the Cosmos of which Empedocles speaks is effectively ‘parathetic’, in the sense that it is ‘both’ partially ‘Sphere’ or ‘Non-river’ and partially ‘River’ or “Non- sphere”. But, obviously, if the authentic Parmenidean “Sphere” has, if you will, a “limit” (or de-finition) [pseudo-]spatial, it is certainly not, being Eternity, a Something that can have a presence in a Present different from the Past and the Future; if only because this Something is absolutely absent from it. On the other hand, nothing prevents the Heraclitean “River” from constituting “for a time” (whose “measure” could even be “determined” so that this “time” is only an ” instant”) a ” spherical” concretion• where one of the “contrary principles “would temporarily mask” the other, so that nothing at all could be distinguished therein (just as, for Empedocles, Love masks Hate to distinguish the four “elements”, which nevertheless remain opposed to each other and therefore irreducible), because there, where there is Tourbillon, there is no flow in the proper and Heraclitean sense of the word, that is to say, a flow where what flows disappears forever, where what flows is fed by a spring from which flow ever new waters.

Undoubtedly, in speaking of his “Sphere”, Empedocles has in view the Cosmos, even the Universe or the World where one speaks, and not the Concept as such. His “Sphere” is really “material” in the sense of corporeal and this to the point that he thinks it useful to insist that the Cosmos in its spherical state has neither feet, nor knees, nor genital organs [which Plato will say ironically to make fun of the spherical Cosmos of Timaeus-Eudoxus, which impressed Aristotle to the point that he thought he had to praise the pre-Socratic precursor of the great Platonizing “scholar” (cf. Tim., 33, b-d)]. But if we interpret what Empedocles says about it by thinking it is re·saying Parmenides, we must say that he is, in fact, talking about what the latter was talking about, namely, the Concept itself. Now, the para-thetical character of this so-called re·saying will then appear clearly to us, for we will see that according to these statements, the “spherical” Concept is the Eternal, and not Eternity. Not only is it unlimited (spatially) like the One which-is or the Being-one of Melissos (cf. Diels, 21, B, 28) [which means that it extends and lasts consequently, at least in the sense that it is present everywhere “at the same time”, that is to say in a Present which is distinguished from the Past and from the Future], but also and above all because that it has a “natural” or “necessary” (temporal) limit (in the sense that it is everywhere and always the same). Because Love (“spherical” or “Parmenidean”) and Hatred are “so” mingled (so that the Past of the ״Love Sphere” is the same as its future, while being different from its Present (cf. ib., 30) Therefore, the Concept of which Empedocles unknowingly speaks is not Eternity, and it is indeed the Eternal only insofar as the Past of its past and the Future of its future are the same as the Present of their own presence. In other words, the “Concept” Cosmos of Empedocles is the Eternal, which is eternal only in and by its “relation” with the Eternity that is “the (already Aristotelian) Eternal-Return” of all things and which is then the extended duration of these.

Empedocles realizes this, and he is, moreover, perfectly aware of it himself, at least as regards his Cosmos or the All of which he speaks and which is all he speaks of. In any case, he says so explicitly on many occasions. “For just as they (i.e. thetic Love and antithetic Hate] were formerly ‘fluid’ (or ‘Heraclitean’), and each has ‘its time’, they will be so [in the future] and I believe (sic !) that infinite eternity will never be taken away from these two” (ib., 16). “And this perpetual change never ceases; sometimes everything unites in the One in Love, sometimes particular things separate again in the Hate of opposition; thus, insofar as the One is born from the Many and that Many are born again from the fragmentation of the One, there is birth and the life of things does not remain unchanged [or: does not last]; but, in so far as they never cease to exchange places, to that extent they remain during [the whole] Cycle [of the Gods] permanently unshakeable” (ib., 17, 6-13). “There are only these [four Elements and these two Principles] and insofar as they interpenetrate, sometimes this is born, sometimes that and always from the similar until eternity” (ib., 17, 34 -35). “They [that is to say the four Elements and the two Principles] dominate alternately in the revolution of the Cycle and they pass into each other according to the turn assigned to them)) (ib., 26 , 1-2).

It is useless to insist further. For it is already clear that if Empedocles has the avowed and obvious (“eclectic”) intention of “reconciling” the Parmenidean Thesis with the Antithesis of Heraclitus, it is the latter that he re-says much more than the first. This is why he succeeds in re-saying both of them ever so slightly (in his eclectic system) only by predicting what Aristotle will say (in his anti-thetical Para-thesis):

Namely, that one can and must speak only of what is eternal in the sense that what one says about it is re-produced everywhere and always in the extended duration of empirical-Existence, so that everything that is said about it can always and everywhere be re-said.

This prediction of Aristotle by Empedocles goes, moreover, quite far. For example, could not Aristotle himself have said what Empedocles had said at the beginning of his Poem, when speaking of Knowledge in general and of discursive “Truth”? Indeed, here is what he says about it: “Thus, each of them [that is to say, ordinary men] believes only in what he has encountered in the course of his multiple wanderings; and yet, everyone boasts of having found the All [“Parmenidean”]; to such an extent is it impossible for men to see it or to hear it or to grasp it by the spirit [whatever Parmenides may say; but you at least [i.e. the friend-lover Pausanias] must nevertheless learn it [from the mouth of Empedocles], since you have come hither [i.e. ‘to” Empedocles] by stepping aside [from the beaten track]; no more, however, than what is within the reach of mortal knowledge” (ib., 2, 5-9); “no, behold exactly every particular thing with every sense, so far as it presents itself clearly…and do not deny confidence to any of the other parts of your body through which there is access to thought, but do not think each particular thing only insofar as it presents itself clearly [by the senses]” (ib., 4, 9 and 12-13). True, and with a specific reference to Empedocles, Aristotle does attack the eternity “thing”, which is the “transcendent” One-Concept of Parmenides, and which, as we saw, has its remains, and naturally so, to what is still a para-thesis, a mixture of the thesis and anti-thesis of philosophy, even, that is, if the case of Empedocles is that of the anti-thetical para-thesis; hence, the attack is more on the remains, however essential…Also, and more importantly: Aristotle will not speak otherwise when he will criticize the “transcendence” of the Eternal-Multiple (or: -Structured) that is the Platonic Concept as “kosmos noetos”.


The Analogy between Aristotle and Empedocles is, moreover, almost complete in the sense that neither of them fully exploits the Heraclitean idea of Measure in a quantitative or “mathematical” sense” (as did, already in their time, probably Theaetetus and certainly Eudoxus and his followers). Doubtless Empedocles speaks of a “sworn contract” which forever determines the “time” or the duration of the cosmic cycle (cf. ib., 30). But, like Aristotle, he does not even attempt to measure the ‘Great Year’ (as some have tried to do, if we are to believe Plato’s Timaeus). This “Cycle” is, for Empedocles, a ‘law’ which is certainly universal but fundamentally qualitative, just as the ‘cyclical laws’ of Aristote will be qualitative, being determined in the final analysis by the revolution of the “First Heaven”. Both seek their “laws” much more in the realm of Life and History than in the purely bodily realm, where the Scholars, properly speaking, will soon attempt to establish “measurable” “relationships”.

Be that as it may, it seems that the main, if not the only philosophical “merit” of the eclectic system (of Empedocles lies in the fact that he was perhaps the first to seek the “conceptual” Eternal ( which “stabilizes” Discourse as “Truth”) not outside or “beyond” the Heraclitean “antithetical” River (anchoring, as Plato does, this discursive Eternal in the silent Eternity of the Parmenidean beyond), but in this River itself, by making it flow “in circles” and by discovering there “whirlwinds” of a Cartesian nature, which Aristotle will also see there. In any case, it seems that Heraclitus correctly developed the Antithesis of Philosophy, at least in the sense that the Temporal had neither beginning nor end for him, being everywhere and always new, instead of being reunited or produced cyclically, so as to be always and everywhere, even necessarily or “eternally”, the same, not becoming “as it is” from all eternity. No doubt, Heraclitus seems to admit the “Cycle” which transforms Earth into Fire, Fire into Air, Air into Water and Water into Earth, etc. (cf. ib., 12, B, 76); (cf. ib., 21, B, 115, 9-11). But the fragment in question of Heraclitus is obscure, mutilated and quite dubious, while, in general, there is no trace, in him, of the “Eternal Return” (the “Cosmic Fire” being obviously a Stoic misinterpretation). We can therefore admit that even if Heraclitus had foreseen the impasse of the antithetical Para-thesis, he deliberately did not commit himself to it, preferring to develop the Anti-thesis proper. On the other hand, if the fragment in question from Empedocles belongs to his “Religious Poem”, all that we know of the “Scientific Poem” shows us that the notion of the para-thetical “Cycle” is at the very basis of everything he says there.

All in all, if it is possible that it was Empedocles who made the great discovery of the “Eternal Return” or of the cyclic Eternal that Eternity in “Time” is supposed to be (that is, say in the Extended Duration of Empirical Existence), so dear to Aristotle, it is sure and certain that he neither knew nor wanted to expose it himself philosophically or scientifically. He seems to have been too impressed by the Heraclitean River and by the Discourse-river predicted by Heraclitus, to try, as Aristotle would do, to construct anything “definitive”, “stable”, or “eternal”, even of really Prai, on the permanent, yet mobile, base of the “vortexes” that were glimpsed there. Moreover, he seems to have resigned himself (moreover rather easily) to a sceptical “relativism”, which soon took on, among the neo-Heraclitean Sophists, a “sociological” or “historicist” aspect. In any case, he warns us from the beginning of his “Scientific Poem” that we will find there, to tell the truth, only “hypotheses” “as uncertain” as those which Plato will make fun of in the Timaeus (cf. especially ib., 2 and 4). No doubt he said to his friend-lover: “However, it is always the fact of low spirits to distrust the strong spirit; but you, learn as the revelations of our [in the sense of: my] Muse command, (and) after its discourse has passed through the sieve of your knowledge” (ib., 5). But we are a long way from the “Goddess” of Parmenides. Empedocles’ “Muse” is just a literary mask (and maybe a parody) that barely hides the poet’s own face and he’s very close to admitting that what he’s going to say can be contradicted. In any case, he warns us that all he is going to tell us will be only human, not to say “all too human” (cf. ib., 2, 9). And it’s not overdone.

However, his (rather large) ambition is far from being satisfied by “Relativism”, as if to be a disillusioned sceptic, a state of things which only allows you not to be “worse than another” He would also like to be “the best of all”. Only, it is not in and by Philosophy that he wants to be: it suffices here for him to contradict Parmenides and to “dethrone” his Wisdom (cf. ib., 4, 😎. Nor as a scientist “physicist”, because he does not seem to want at all costs to promulgate an “original” science and is easily satisfied with a scientific “eclecticism” which borders on plagiarism. Nor is it a role in the state that tempts him, nor the “wisdom” that would be recognized as a reward for a rigid “morality.” Empedocles wants to be great among the Greats (and claims to be so) under the form of (&, as) “religious” Prophet” (cf. ib., 112), by “imitating” perhaps Xenophanes. And there, despite his hateful attack on Parmenides, he seems ready to admit that there are things “to keep in your dumb heart” (ib., 3).

However! This Xenophano-Parmenidian call for silence is found in his “scientific” Poem, addressed to a young man whose father was perhaps very smart and wise (cf. ib., 1), but who himself was considered to be his ” cutie ” (boyfriend).

This means that Empedocles was “in truth neither Prophet nor Sage, but a skilful dilettante and a more or less a famous prose poet. In any case, he does not seem to have seen what the Question of the Concept was and if he glimpsed the Eternity-in-time, which is the eternal Concept of the antithetical Para-thesis, it will be necessary to wait for Aristotle to see this para-thesis of Philosophy developed in a philosophically complete and correct manner.

But before re-saying Aristotle, we must still speak of what has been said in the meantime and, in the first place, by Democritus.

טבע. שלילה. חופש. יהודו-נוצרי. המרה. קונברסיה. הגל. נפוליאון.

Estimated reading time: 13 minute(s)

קומנטרי…על הקטע הבא מהגל…:

…ההוויה האמיתית של האדם היא למעשה פעולתו או מעשהו; בעובדה זו האינדיבידואליות היא אמיתית, קיימת באופן אובייקטיבי (או אקטואלי) … האינדיבידואליות מציגה את עצמה [או מתבטאת, או מופיעה]בפעולה אפקטיבית שלילית-או-שוללת-שוללנית של המציאות המהותית, וזאת רק במידה שהיא מתגברת-דיאלקטית-על ההוויה הנתונה״.

אם נתון-הוויה עולה בקנה אחד, ברמה האונטולוגית זה לומר, עם הטבע, המעשה הוא מה שמייצג את האדם כאדם ברמה זו. האדם כאדם אינו נתון להוויה, אלא לפעולה היוצרת. אם “המציאות האובייקטיבית” של הטבע היא קיומו האמיתי, זו של האדם, כפי שנקרא, היא הפעולה האפקטיבית שלו. החיה רק חיה; אבל האדם החי פועל, ובאמצעות פעילותו היעילה הוא “מפגין” את אנושיותו ו”נראה” כבן אדם באמת. מה שבטוח, האדם הוא גם נתון-הוויה וטבע: הוא קיים גם “בתור עצמו”, כפי שקיימים חיות ודברים. אבל זה רק ב- ובאמצעות פעולה שהוא באמת אנושי באופן ספציפי, ושהוא קיים ומופיע ככזה- כלומר, כהוויה-לעצמה או כישות מודעת לעצמה.

ברמה ה”פנומנולוגית”, אם כן, השליליות אינה אלא חירות אנושית – כלומר זו שבאמצעותה שונה האדם מחיה. אבל אם חופש הוא שליליות מבחינה אונטולוגית, זה בגלל שחופש יכול להיות ולהתקיים רק כשלילה. עכשיו כדי לשלול, חייב להיות לך מה כלשהו לשלול: נתון קיים ומכאן הוויה-נתונה, זהה לעצמה. וזו הסיבה שהאדם יכול להתקיים בחופשיות-כלומר, להתקיים באופן אנושי רק בזמן שהוא חי כחיה בעולם טבעי נתון. אבל, שוה, הוא חי קיום אנושי בעולם הטבעי רק במידה שהוא שולל את הנתון הטבעי או החייתי הזה.

כעת השלילה מתממשת כפעולה שהושגה, ולא כמחשבה או כרצון פשוט. לפיכך, לא ב”רעיונות” ה”מרוממים” שלו (או בדמיונו), ולא בשאיפותיו ה”נשגבות” או ה”סובלימטיביות” פחות או יותר, האדם הוא באמת חופשי או באמת אנושי, אלא רק ב- ועל ידי פעולה אפקטיבית-כלומר, שלילה אקטיבית של הממשי הנתון.

החופש אינו מורכב מבחירה בין שני נתונים: הוא שלילת הנתון, הן של הנתון שהוא עצמו (כחיה או כ”מסורת בהתגלמותה”) והן של הנתון שאיננו (העולם הטבעי והחברתי). יתרה מכך, שתי השלילות הללו הן למעשה רק אחת. לשלול את העולם הטבעי או החברתי באופן דיאלקטי-כלומר, לשלול אותו תוך שימור-זה לשנות אותו; ואז גם אדם צריך לשנות את עצמו כדי להסתגל אליו, או לגווע. הפוך, השלילה של עצמו תוך כדי שמירה על עצמו בקיום שווה ערך לשינוי של היבט בעולם, שכן העולם הזה מרמז על מרכיב שונה. לפיכך, האדם קיים מבחינה אנושית רק במידה שהוא באמת הופך את העולם הטבעי והחברתי על ידי פעולתו השוללת והוא עצמו משתנה בגלל השינוי הזה; או, מהו אותו הדבר, האדם הוא אנושי במידה שהוא משנה את העולם כתוצאה משלילה אקטיבית של ה”טבע המולד”, החייתי או החברתי שלו.

החירות שמתממשת ומתבטאת כפעולה דיאלקטית או שלילה היא בעצם יצירה. שכן לשלול את הנתון, לשלול באופן שלא מסתיים באין nothingness, זה לייצר משהו שעדיין לא היה קיים; עכשיו, זה בדיוק מה שנקרא “יצירה”. הפוך, אפשר ליצור באמת רק על ידי שלילת הממשי הנתון. שכן הממשי הזה הוא איכשהו נוכח בכל מקום והצפיפות בוא היא רבה (פרמנידס), שכן אין שום דבר (כלום מלבד הכלום) מחוצה לו או מלבדו; מכאן שאין, כביכול, מקום לחדש בעולם; כאשר זה עולה מהאין, היצירה החדשנית יכולה לחדור לתוך ההוויה ולהתקיים רק על ידי נטילת המקום של ההוויה הנתונה, כלומר על ידי שלילתו.

בפרשנות הדיאלקטית של האדם – כלומר של חופש או פעולה – יש לקחת את המושגים “שלילה” ו”יצירה” במלוא מובןיהם. מה שכרוך בכך הוא אינו החלפת נתון אחד בנתון אחר, אלא התגברות על הנתון לטובת מה שלא קיים (עדיין), ובכך מימוש מה שמעולם לא היה ניתן. זאת אומרת שהאדם לא משנה את עצמו והופך בעצמו לעץ כדי לממש התאמה ל”אידיאל” שניתן לו (שכפה אלוהים, או פשוט “מולד”). הוא יוצר וכך יוצר את עצמו משום שהוא שולל ומבטל את עצמו “בלי רעיון מובן מאליו”: הוא הופך לאחר אך ורק משום שאינו רוצה עוד להיות אותו הדבר. ורק בגלל שהוא כבר לא רוצה להיות מה שהוא, בעוד מה שהוא יהיה או יוכל להיות הוא “אידיאל” עבורו, זה ש”מצדיק” את פעולתו השוללת או היצירתית – כלומר את השינוי שלו – באמצעות נתינת משמעות לשינוי זה.

באופן כללי, שלילה, חופש ופעולה אינם נובעים ממחשבה, וגם לא מתוך תודעה של עצמי או של דברים חיצוניים; להיפך, מחשבה ותודעה נובעות מהשליליות שמממשת את עצמה ו”חושפת” את עצמה (באמצעות מחשבה בתודעה) כפעולה חופשית יעילה. בקיצור, השליליות (או החופש) שמתממשת ומתבטאת כפעולה יצירתית של האדם אשר, בעודו חי בעולם הטבעי, ממשיך להיות עצמו ובכל זאת אינו תמיד (או “בהכרח”) זהה לעצמו. מכאן אנו יכולים לומר כי אנתרופולוגיה דיאלקטית היא המדע הפילוסופי של האדם כפי שהוא מופיע בתפיסה (הקדם-פילוסופית) היהודית-נוצרית – כלומר, של האדם שאמור להיות מסוגל להמיר את עצמו, במלוא מובן המילה, או להפוך לאחר באופן מהותי ורדיקלי.

על פי תפיסה זו, האדם שנברא מושלם יכול בכל זאת להטות באופן רדיקלי את הטבע המולד או הנתון הזה; אבל האדם המעוות בעצם יכול להתכחש ל”אדם הישן” ובכך להפוך ל”אדם החדש”, שונה מהראשון אך עדיין מושלם ממנו; האדם יכול “להתגבר” על החטא התורשתי אשר בכל זאת קובע את טבעו ובכך הוא יכול להפוך לקדוש, שהוא בכל זאת משהו אחר מאשר האדם לפני הנפילה; האדם הפגאני ש”המקום הטבעי” שלו הוא גיהנום יכול “להמיר את עצמו” לנצרות ובכך לנצח את דרכו לגן עדן; וכו’ וכו’ כעת בתפיסה ההגליאנית או הדיאלקטית של האדם, הדברים מסתדרים בדיוק באותו אופן: שלבי הדיאלקטיקה המתוארים בפנומנולוגיה אינם אלא סדרה של “המרות” עוקבות שמבצע האדם במהלך התנועה של ההיסטוריה ואשר מתוארים על ידי האדם החכם (הגל) שחי בסוף ההיסטוריה ואשר בעצמו “הומר” לאמת המוחלטת (המתגלמת באימפריה של נפוליאון).

(On the way to silence?)

Estimated reading time: 29 minute(s)

Although modern man is not particularly inclined to “mystical” Silence, the “absolute” or definitive Silence with which the Thesis of Philosophy ends does not disappoint him beyond measure. Even a pure Intellectual would resign himself to silence if he were sure that no one else would speak with a view to contradict him. On the other hand, the culmination of the philosophical Anti-thesis shocks the modern and deeply disenchants him. In his opinion, no earnest man would want to speak without end, that is to say without goal or end and therefore, basically, to say nothing at all, or at least renounce the very possibility of saying anything definitive, even “true” in the proper sense of the word.

Undoubtedly, the intellectual is everywhere and always sensitive, if not keen, to the joy and the exhilaration that the acting discourse as such can procure, somewhat independently of its “content”. But, nowadays, it is frowned upon to speak for the sole pleasure of doing so, and we decline to see in the speech itself an end in itself.

Perhaps because one remembers too many speeches made in the past so that the mere possibility of “making a speech” as a kind of novelty no longer entices him to wonder much. And if we eagerly seek the new, it is because being able to say something, and even to say it well, appears, if not within everyone’s reach, at least as common enough to be belittled as anything mundane.

But we must not forget that it was not always so. The extraordinary value attributed by classical antiquity to rhetoric cannot be denied, even if we no longer “understand” it. The fact is that the ancient Rhetor considered himself a ‘summit’. All the sciences and philosophy itself were for him only a repertoire of ‘commonplaces’ for his speeches, which it was up to him to develop appropriately. Now, the content of his speech mattered little to him, as did the “Truth” of what he was saying.

Moreover, he took pleasure in developing just as perfectly the “contrary thesis” of any thesis he had previously originated and formed. And this only added to his glory. This glory came solely from “speaking well” and “knowing how to speak”. Indeed, all the Rhetor could wish for was never to run out of themes.

This is precisely what the Heraclitean Antithesis of Philosophy assured him: the River of Heraclitus brought, without ever drying up, water to the mill of Rhetoric and the Heraclitean Fire fed endless “discussions” between the Rhetoricians supporting contrary “theses”. Plato clearly saw this by tracing back to Heraclitus (and beyond him to “Homer”) all the well-spoken, cultivated rhetoricians of his time. We only understand Plato’s anger and, in general, the hatred that the philosophers had for Rhetoric (very virulent hatred still in a Philo) if we remember that in the time of the Sophists, the discovery of good speaking has literally fascinated everyone with its never-before-seen appeal, which prevailed for long centuries, despite the plethora of endless discourses, where the ancient rhetoricians had developed anything and everything with the sole concern of speaking well and, if possible, to speak better to / than others.

We can even say that the whole (parathetical) philosophy of Plato (and Aristotle) was intended to silence the Rhetoricians by telling them something that they could no longer contradict and would have to content themselves with re-saying: – as they see fit, moreover (at least according to Aristotle), if not perfectly fine (as Plato seems to have wished).

However, to achieve this, it was necessary “to refute” Heraclitus by causing the Heraclitean River to dry up and extinguish its Fire; by causing it to act contrary to itself. However, neither Plato nor Aristotle can accomplish this end, so much so that the endless rhetorical discourse, even that one without a goal or term, reappears even in Kant’s synthetic Parathesis. [[[More generally, by way of a footnote: /// Parmenides’ Silent Knowledge is absolute in that it is both Truth (discursive) and Error (discursive) which, by definition, are mutually exclusive. As for Hegelian discursive Knowledge, it is absolute because it implies both the True and the False, insofar as the latter has completely and definitively ceased to be false, after having been so for a certain time (which is , moreover, a certain or historical time). On the other hand, Heraclitean discursive Knowledge is relative in the sense that it involves both the True and the False, which are everywhere and always mutually exclusive as discursive truths and errors, which change all the time in content or subject, but which remain indefinitely in their reciprocal opposition, the True becomes ‘erroneous’ from the fact that the False becomes ‘truthful’. Finally, the Para-thesis strives in vain to find a discursive Knowledge which would not be relative simply because it would exclude (discursive) Error in favour of the only (discursive) Truth. The set of these truths is meant to be the (discursive) revelation of the True (or Good), which supposedly excludes the False (or Evil) while continuing to oppose it everywhere and always (or oppose it while claiming to have excluded it from everywhere forever.]]]. If nowadays, no one dares openly to take up the Heraclitean Anti-thesis of Philosophy, which exalts the “infinite” or in-definite character of the discursive controversy which it thereby deprives of all meaning, we nevertheless stubbornly refuse to close the discussion, resigning ourselves to repeating what Hegel had said, even when one admits that it is not the “Truth” that one is going to say.

It is also wrong to be astonished that at the dawn of Rhetoric, a Heraclitus was able to satisfy himself by believing to discover that, even by necessarily contradicting himself everywhere and always, man will nowhere and never be obliged to be silent or to repeat himself.

Once again, I in no way mean to say that Heraclitus was himself only a Rhetorician or a Sophist. But the fact is that all Sophists and Rhetoricians can lay claim to him, and many of them have indeed done so. Moreover, if Heraclitus is not a Skeptic in the proper sense of the term, all Skeptics are more or less ”Heracliteans” or ”Zenonians” (it being understood that Zeno minus Parmenides [or Xenophanes] is nothing other than Heraclitus interpreted sceptically”).

Thus, Protagoras seems to have claimed Heraclitus, and he is in any case considered by Plato and by tradition as a Heraclitean; now, according to Heraclitus, it is “true” to say of everything S that it is both P and Non-p (which is not “sceptical”); Protagoras usually modifies these sayings, by suggesting that it is “just as true” to say of any S that it is P as to affirm that it is not, being Non-P; and he furthers ‘spatialises’ the situation (thus making it ‘parathetic’) by admitting that one can just as well say in one hic et nunc that S is P only to affirm in another hic et nunc that S is Not-P only (which is already a “relativistic Skepticism”).

Similarly, Cratylus is generally considered a faithful follower of Heraclitus; however, he is a Skeptic (nihilistic) who reduces everyone (including himself) to silence by contradicting everything that has been said; he is, therefore, silent because he admits, with Heraclitus, that one can say of any S that it is both P and Not-P, without conceding with his master that one speaks the truth when one says that S is P and Not-P or that S is and is not P. [Gorgias claims to be Eleatic; but in fact, he re-says Zeno without admitting the conclusion that Parmenides draws; he admits, with Zeno, that one can contradict everything one says and that this contradiction reduces all discourse to silence; but he does not attribute to Silence the value attributed to it by Parmenides and the authentic Eleatics; he wants to continue talking, and contradiction is thus, for him, only a discursive game; moreover his famous writing on Nothingness is only a parody of Zeno, and we do not know what his personal doctrine was. The situation is perfectly understood and expressed by Aenesidemus (according to Sextus Empir.): Skepticism leads to Heracliteism in the sense that (in the hypothesis of the ‘coincidence’ of what one says in truth with what one speaks in this way) if one can contradict everything one says, one can only say the Truth by affirming that everything one speaks about is at the same time what is said about it and the opposite of what is said about it; now, this is precisely what Heraclitus affirms, by denying the necessity of Silence, confirmed by Parmenides.

Be that as it may, it is indisputable that Plato saw in Heraclitus the father of Sophistry and Rhetoric: to say, with Heraclitus, that all S is P and Not-P “at the same time” is to say nothing at all or to speak in order to say nothing, even to speak for the sole pleasure of saying anything. This judgment of Plato is admitted by Aristotle, for whom Heraclitus denied the Principle of contradiction, so he could not say that he said the Truth without contradicting himself by the very fact that he said it. [[[More generally on this point, by way of a footnote: /// It is interesting to note that Aristotle fully realized the situation (seeing very well that the “philosophers” who “speak” to deny the very possibility of Discourse [properly speaking, that is to say, having a de-finite meaning and thereby developing into a discursive Knowledge which is integrated into the System of Knowledge] are nothing other than the sophisticated Rhetoricians, headed by Heraclitus, who does not accept the ” Principle of contradiction”). According to Aristotle, one cannot “refute” (i.e. contradict) someone who does not claim to be telling a “truth” (i.e. who does not say that he is speaking In the proper sense of the term); but he who says that he discursively affirms the impossibility of all discourse, speaks in the proper sense of the word and “contradicts himself” in doing so, since he contradicts (in speaking) what he says (in speaking of the Discourse as such and therefore also of the discourse which is its own) (cf. Met., K, 5; 1062, 32-1062, 11). That last 1 was for “our times” as well.]]]. Moreover, according to Aristotle, Plato imagined his theory of Ideas only to avoid Skepticism of Heraclitean origin, which he had been wrong to take seriously, admitting, following Heraclitus, that any phenomenon S is effectively ״at the same time״ P AND Not-P [while, according to Aristotle, it is only potentially so, being in actuality either P or Not-P.]

Finally, we can mention that already for Heraclitus Philo-sophy probably meant Philo-logy (that is to say, love not of the discursive Wisdom of true Discourse, but of Discourse as such and whatever the meaning of the latter (cf. Diels, 1, 12, B, 35); in any case, the substitution of Philology (Polymathis) for Philosophy is expressly demanded by Eratosthenes, and it is not impossible to trace the “sources” of it back to Heraclitus.

However poorly appreciated, the noisy antithetic or Heraclitean confines of Philosophy are even today more populated than the silent regions of its Parmenidean thetic frontier. This is true in my case as well, but perhaps it should not be so. Thus, this discourse on chatter may call for some Parmenidean Silence on my part from now on. WAIT, What?! Time will tell. Okay, then.


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