Img 1706 S IS P a bit of into Plato s Dialectic
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S IS P (a bit of/into Plato’s Dialectic )

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.

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Empedocles’s Poem, Philosophically Taken

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.

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פילוסופיה

(On the way to silence?)

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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Shopify Impact Final A NOTE ON Parmenides
אפלטון, אריסטו, פילוסופיה, קוז׳יב

A NOTE ON Parmenides

A NOTE ON Parmenides Parmenides must have and perhaps hoped to fascinate, if not to captivate with the paradoxical, everyone, by asserting (if he really did) that Being is more or less “identical” to thought or, more exactly, that Thought [or: that to think, that is to say the fact, the very result of thought, even the act of thinking (of what is)] is more or less the same thing as Being [or: that to be, the fact of being, the it of the is, even of existing]. -But we must admit that we do not understand quite well the meaning of the “fragment” that has come down to us (Diels; 18, B, 5), where Parmenides is supposed to say it. -For nothing prevents us from supposing that this fragment only affirms that “one and the same thing can be conceived and can be” (trans. Burnet), which would have the disadvantage of being much less profound and with a weakening of the beta before any different attempt to stare the alpha of philosophy differently. -Indeed, it would even be less “Cartesian”. However , it might have, thus, the advantage of no longer being as “paradoxical” and alarmingly restrictive, while remaining “original”, that is to say new compared to what the “predecessors” of Parmenides said (to judge it from what we know). Anyway, until proof to the contrary, we can admit that the meaning that Parmenides himself attached to the morpheme of the fragment in question was correct. Thought = Being. -Now, it would obviously be contrary to common sense to assert that to think of gold or of health, for example, is the same thing as to have money or to be healthy. Because, obviously, you can sometimes think of tons of gold without having a penny, just as it often happens to be perfectly healthy without thinking about “health” or being healthy”. -What is rather curious (and relatively rare) is that we can think of the gold we have or the health we enjoy. What is certain and clear is that Parmenides distinguishes between Thought and Being if only to establish between them a relation of inclusion or “identity”. -It is to say that the “thoughts” existed for him in the same way as what one thinks about. Again, Parmenides speaks explicitly not only of what one speaks about, but also of what one says about it, that is to say of the speeches themselves which speak about it. In addition, he explains from the beginning of his Poem the intention (which he makes his own) of the “Goddess” to speak (to him) (so that he can say it again) about all the speeches whatever they are, including that which will henceforth be his own and which is clearly distinguished from all other discourses. Namely (at least initially) the discourses of others, that is to say those of the many. -Therefore, even before beginning the development of his own discourse [which must say (for the use of others) all that the “Goddess ii (him) had said], Parmenides pre-said (of course : after the fact) that this discourse will say (and partly re-say), all that we can say (even while contradicting oneself), while also speaking of what it says itself- even and by the very fact that he says so. In other words [by making his own the discursive intention of the Goddess], Parmenides intends (by definition” conscious and voluntary”) to speak like a philosopher. -Thus, the discourse which contains the Preamble of his Poem is indeed an actualization of the Hypothesis of Philosophy. And we can add that, for us, this text constitutes the first indisputable actualization of the Intention-to-speak “as a philosopher”. -However, the intention to speak as a philosopher is realized, by definition, in and by a discourse which develops the CONCEPT meaning of the notion Concept (whatever the morpheme of this notion). We must therefore see whether Parmenides explicitly posed the question of the Concept and whether he also answers it in any way (explicitly or implicitly). -Fortunately, the preserved fragments allow us to answer in the affirmative to this double question. If only by interpreting the fragment which “identifies” Thought and Being. -Without doubt, this fragment does not (explicitly) assert that the Thought in question is discursive nor, consequently, that the act-of-thinking is that of discourse (by discursively developing the meaning of a notion or by summarizing in and by a notion the meaning of a speech). -But neither does he deny it (at least not explicitly). In another fragment (ib., 4, 12-13), Parmenides distinguishes between the act or the fact of knowing and that of expressing it verbally. Lastly: though he denies that we can know and express Non-being or That-which-is-not, there is no doubt that he admits (on the other hand) the possibility of knowing the Being or That-which-is. -We can conclude, a contrario and by analogy, that we can also verbally express (everything) that is. The “Thought” of which the fragment in question speaks about would therefore be (everywhere and always}, or could at least be (by actually being it somewhere at a given moment), a “Dis-course”. OR: he(a)re it comes again: Parmenides could and must have surprised everyone when he said: SO WE SAID and so we tried Thought [which thinks or conceives the Concept] and! ‘Being [that is this one] are but one and the same thing [to know! ‘Eternity (or!’ One-all-alone-motionless); where the “is is the Concept itself] (cf. Diels, 18, B, 5); is also to say, to be sure: that the act-of-thinking (noeïn} and that-cause-and-in-view-of-what is thought (noema) are one-and-the-same-thing. It is a surprise, a contradiction really, for you could not find an act of-thinking without the That-which-is (éontos), where this act is expressed verbally; it is as is, as there is, and there will never be anything other than What-which-is, because Destiny (Moïra) chained it so as to be whole [(that is to say without multiple parts) or one] and immutable”. -Now, the Immutable notion is not discursive. There is therefore no sense in saying that, for Parmenides, Being “is” Thought. On the contrary, it is the so-called “Thought” (by a non-discursive definition), which is identical to That-which- is, identical even to the “objective” Eternal Being. -In other words, the Eternity (or the all-alone-still One), which the Concept is supposed to be, cannot be “at the same time” as those “deaf and dumb” objects we speak of, and as the very “being” conceived or thought in and by a notion developable in a discourse of meaning, which is something other than the essence, being corresponded to an object. -Insofar as it is, the Concept is not and cannot be thought or conceived discursively: it “is” eternally silent, just as the Eternal-Being is silent as it is “necessarily” MOTIONLESS, ALL-ALONE ONE, always having been everywhere, and always remaining everywhere.

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הנהר של הרקליטוס

הפילוסופיה של הרקליטוס להיות חכם, לדבר באופן תבוני, זה לומר את האמת; ואנחנו יכולים לעשות זאת רק על ידי דיבורים על הקוסמוס הזה, שהוא זהה לכולם ( שם, …

הנהר של הרקליטוס
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The Sophistic Theory of Protagoras

I would like to briefly analyze the best known Sophistic Theory, namely that of Protagoras.

If we take literally what is said about Protagoras in the Theaetetus (161, a -168, c), we see that Plato ranks Protagoras among the “Heracliteans” (in the broad sense). Indeed, Plato puts in the mouth of Protagoras the following summary of his doctrine: “everything moves ”; “What seems to each one is, as such, real, to the individual as to the City “(Th., 168, b).

Now, if everything moves, it is because everything about which one speaks becomes different from what it has been said to be; it becomes, at the limit, the opposite. We say of a thing which is A that it is A and it is true “; then this thing becomes (No -A =) B and it is then false to say that it is A; but it is “true” to say that it is B (= Non-A); it would however be “false” to say of the thing which is (still) A, that it is (already) B. Thus, it is just as “true” to assert that the thing about which one speaks is A as to deny it, by asserting that it is Non-A or B. If we define Truth by the “coherence” of discourse, we must then admit that it is just as coherent ”to affirm A as to deny it by affirming No-A. And if we define Truth by “the adequacy” of what we say to what we talk about, we must admit that what we are talking about is just as much A as Non-A. Without doubt, to say that something is A and Non-A is to contradict oneself and therefore discursively annul everything that one has said.

Now, to say nothing is to speak of nothing or to say that what we are talking about is Nothing or pure Nothingness: to say of something that it is A and Non-A, is to say that what we have thus spoken of (“In truth”) is (more) nothing. Thus, the thing of which we have spoken annihilates itself to the very extent that we annul all that we say about it, having said “in truth” that it is A and T Non-A. Everything about which we speak is annihilated just as much as the discourse which speaks of it is annulled (by counter-saying itself).

Only, if everything moves (without ever stopping anywhere), the thing which is annihilated only gives way to a thing which is and which is also another thing, which is not No -A or B, but C (forgetting, like Heraclitus, that Non-B = Non-non-A = A!). Now, by definition, what is C is also Non-C or D; and so on, indefinitely. Thus, the Speech develops without end: while contradicting itself everywhere and always, it never cancels itself anywhere; and it is “true” always and everywhere, both according to the criterion of coherence (of each of its contrary elements) and according to that of adequacy (partial and total). This is true not only of all “individual” (“positive” or “negative”) discourse, but also of “collective” discourse (“positive” AND “negative”; and therefore, it is true of discourse as a whole, even of the Speech as such. All this is authentically Heraclitean. But if Heraclitus himself, as a Philosopher, was interested not (only) in what one speaks, but (again; in what the One says about it, that is to say to the Speech as such, Protagoras (at least according to the Theaetetus) seems to be interested in the Speech as such only to “justify” what he himself says. Protagoras is therefore not a Philosopher properly speaking (nor even a Para-philosopher), but a Theorician or an Intellectual in the proper sense of the word.

As a Sophist, Protagoras claims to be able to give an
“adequate”(ib., 167, cJ.
education to his students; that is to say, “Morality” in the broad sense: he is therefore a Moralist. In so far as he “teaches” he talks to someone (namely his students) and he is then a Practitioner of Morals or a Moralist of practice. But insofar as he also speaks of his “teaching” (moral) (without speaking however of what he says about it), he is an Intellectual, namely a Moral Theorist or a theoretical Moralist.

As a theoretical, the moral or moralistic discourse of Protagoras is, by definition, exclusive. By saying of moral behavior that it is (or must be) A, he therefore excludes statements according to which this same behavior is not A, being Non-A. However, as we will see immediately, his assertions about moral behavior are not axiomatic, but dogmatic. And they are so because he is skeptical, in relation to axiomatic affirmations: he admits (following Heraclitus it seems) that a given axiom is neither more nor less true (in the sense consistency and adequacy) than the contrary axiom which contradicts it, “without anyone having false opinions” (ib., 167, d).

Protagoras excludes all moralistic statements “contrary” to his own solely on the basis of the exclusive effectiveness of the latter. Now, this “efficiency” is an “experimental” and therefore non-discursive criterion. Those who contradict Protagoras’ statements (moralists) can be, according to him, just as coherent as he himself is. And what one says, by counter-saying it, of a moral behavior contrary to that of which he speaks, can be, according to him, just as adequate. There is therefore no discursive criterion which would allow Protagoras to exclude the dissenters who contradict his own. Such an exclusion criterion can only be found outside the Speech and, for Protagoras, that criterion is effectiveness.

Those who contradict him speak (in principle, in a coherent and adequate way) of ineffective behavior: he alone speaks (in a coherent and adequate way) of an “exclusively” effective behavior.

If one defines discursive Truth by coherence or by adequacy, the moralist discourse of Protagoras is, for him, neither more nor less “true” than the discourse which contradicts it. But his (exclusive)speech is the only one to have a (non-discursive) efficiency value: we can therefore maintain it alone, to the exclusion of all the others.

It is also possible to say, if you will, that this discourse is the only one to be “true”; but we must then add that the criterion of this “discursive truth is a criterion which is not discursive.” “For me, they (opinions) are more valuable than each other;(ib., 167, b). Now, if the Sage “tells the truth”, while the Madman “is mistaken”, we can say “that there are people, each wiser than the next, without anyone having false opinions ”(ib., 167, d). And this wisdom is discourse. Only it is not philosophical, but “theoretical”, because it is“ exclusive ”and because the criterion of its “exclusivity” is non-discursive. Thus, in fact and for us, Protagoras is (even for himself) not a wise man properly so called, but an Intellectual, more exactly a dogmatic theoretical Moralist.

In addition, the dogmatic theoretical Morality of Protagoras is fundamentally pagan, even “biological” and not really “human”. Because, if the effectiveness that he has in view is for him a Virtue, this Virtue is nothing other than Health, even Happiness what this health brings to the healthy. Also Protagoras compares himself (as “Sophist”) to the Physician (cf. ib., 167b). “This is how I define … the Sage:..and at ease, knows how to invert the meaning of things so that they appear to him and are to him
good ”(ib., 166, d). For example: honey is “bad” (bitter = unpleasant) for the patient and the patient says “true” when he says so; it is “good” (soft = pleasant) for the healthy man and this one says “true” when he says it (by counter-saying what claims the disease); the “Sage” (= Doctor) “invert iridescent”, so that the sick person (while recovering) can counter say what he said (as sick), by saying (as healthy) that honey is “good”; the criterion of “Wisdom” (medical) is non-discursive approval, and not the meaning of what one says.

[According to Plato (cf. ib., 167, c) Protagoras “justifies his“ salary ”by the“ efficiency ”of his“ teaching n. But we can also say that this salary is the criterion of the “truth” of Protagoric discourse: Protagoras’ discourse is “effective” because it brings him a salary; Protagoras receives a salary because the discourse which he emits is “effective” in the sense that it makes “happy”, that is to say “healthy”, the one who absorbs it; however, only a happy speech is “true”; and the happy man says of himself what Protagoras says about it; the salary received by it therefore “shows” (without discursively demonstrating it)
the “truth” of what Protagoras says. And what is valid for the individual also applies to the City, or even the whole of Humanity, which would be quite “Hegelian”, if it were not about Happiness (animal), but Satisfaction (human), that is to say Recognition.

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Athens Empedocles and the Parmenidean Poem
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Empedocles and the Parmenidean Poem

Judging from the evidence that has come down to us, Empedocles’ philosophical value seems to be inferior even to that of Anaxagoras. In any case, we are not shocked by the mockeries of Plato (cf. in particular Soph., 242, a) and the (quite relative) praise of Aristotle (cf. Met., 985 4-22 and 1000 “25) seems to us rather undeserved. Moreover, tradition seems 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 of the word. In other words, one can wonder if Empedocles spoke and wanted to speak (also) about what he said himself if he wanted and could answer the question of knowing what “is” the Concept as such and whether it is or not.

Undoubtedly, the beginning of Empedocles’ Poem consciously and voluntarily imitates that of the Parmenidean Poem. But Empedocles imitates Parmenides only to emphasize 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 to listen to him is to hear 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 so doing allows him to imagine that he knows more than a man can and to believe wrongly that he sits on “the heights of Wisdom” (cf. ib., 4, 3-8).

However, the errors of common men consist in the illusion of having found the Whole 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 is for him the basic error of Parmenides.

So it is for him above all: “while walking [like Parmenides] from top to top, not to walk until the very end only one Path [as this same Parmenides did”] (ib., 24).

Therefore, for Empedocles there is nothing which is one in itself and unique in its kind, being everything that can both be and be conceived (if only in silence) 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 n the Concept, like Heraclitus, in this sense at least that for him too all that is, while also being able to be conceived”. It is by definition that the Temporal as/is a set of all – which is temporary.

But if he was so, Empedocles would only re-say Heraclitus. Now, in fact, he also re-says Parmenides.

And he contradicted himself to such an extent by telling them both that we have the impression that he did not understand exactly what they were saying and did not know that they were talking about the Concept. In this case, he himself would speak of the Concept only “unconsciously”, or even only in one, i.e., implicit, way, and would therefore not be a true philosopher.

However that may be, there is no doubt for us that Empedocles indeed re-said Parmenides, without however re-saying everything he had said; and he does this by also re-saying part of what Heraclitus said.

He also realized it himself, as well as his contemporaries. And it is probably to defend oneself against the reproaches of reprimands, even of “Plagiarism”, which he said (by provoking the mockery of Plato; cf. Gorg., 498, e) that “what is right can well be said even twice” (ib., 25).

Indeed, is it not re-saying Parmenides to say:

“The fools! Their thought is short, for they imagine that what was not previously exists or that something can perish and be destroyed; for as it cannot be that anything 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 in whatever place it is placed [that is to say, everywhere]; and in the Whole, there is nothing empty and nothing too full; in the Whole, there is nothing empty; whence, consequently, could come something which augments it ”(ib., 11-14).

However, even if one disregards the dubious “consequence” contained in the end of the last sentence and the other small “imperfections”, this is not at all what Parmenides says.

For Empedocles speaks not of the One-all-alone, nor the One-which-is-all, nor even of the All-which-is-one, but of a set of particular, multiple, and varied things, which appear to be transient.

He also contradicts himself when he says, on the one hand, that nothing that is [by constituting in its entirety the All that is the Cosmos] can neither be born nor perish and, on the other hand, affirms that “we mortals are not even anything at all before been composed, and after being dissolved” (ib., 15, 4).

But this “contradiction” arises only from the general imprecision of Empedocles’ discourse. What is more symptomatic and more serious is that he expressly claims to be able to “reconcile” Parmenides with Heraclitus (whom, moreover, he does not name) in and by an “eclectic” system.

With the latter, he does not aim at a “balanced” or “synthetic” ending point, when his point of departure to correct Parmenides is rather antithetical, that is to say predominantly Heraclitean.

Now, this alleged “synthesis” of Empedocles is a veritable monstrosity from a philosophical point of view. However, it is through it that he mainly acted (especially on Aristotle) and it is therefore in the interest of stopping here a little.

The parathesis qua the eclecticism of Empedocles is “classic” and well known. Empedocles wants to reconcile the Parmenidean “Sphere” with the “River” that Heraclitus opposed to the One.

“Classically” a parathesis should partially affirm the two contrary theses, by not having any, if not in part: everything about which one speaks or, if one prefers, the Whole of which one speaks (and which is for Empedocles the Cosmos and not the Concept) is “At the same time” in part “River” and in part “Sphere”.

Only, the parathetic contradiction would then be too apparent, since, according to the Parmenidean Thesis, there is only the one all alone, motionless, while, according to the Heraclitean Anti-thesis, everything is “fluid” only.

This is why Empedocles uses a synthetic solution, replacing the co-existence in two opposites “which would be spatially limited to each other, by a succession in Duration, where one succeeds the other (by limiting itself temporally or temporarily) so that each can be unlimited in its extent, namely, during its entire duration.

To be sure: quite the contrary, Heraclitus was made to argue. it is the “eternal return”, even the purely spatial character, of the phenomenon in question.

Because there, where there is Tourbillon, there is no flow in the proper and Heraclitean sense of the word, that is to say, a certain flow where what flows disappears forever, as that which flows being fed by a spring from which new waters always flow.

Without doubt, 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 bodily sense and this to the point that he believes it useful to insist that the Cosmos in its spherical state has neither feet, nor knees, nor genitals [what Plato Will say but ironically so that 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 Platonist scholar (cf. Tim., 33, bd)].

But if we interpret what Empedocles says about it by believing to re-say Parmenides again, we have to say that he is in fact talking about what the latter was talking about, namely, the Concept itself.

Or, the parathetic character of this so-called re-saying will then appear clearly to us, because we will see that according to these statements, the “spherical” Concept is the Eternal and not Eternity. Not only ! Because it is (spatially) unlimited like the One which is or the Being-one of Mélissos (cf. Diels, 21, B, 28) [which means that it extends and lasts by consequent at least in the sense that it is everywhere present “at the same time”, that is to say in a Present which is distinguished from the Past and from! Future], but also and above all because it has a (temporal) limit which is natural ”or“ necessary ”(in the sense that it is everywhere and always the same).

It carries Love (“spherical” or “Parmenidean”) and Hate (so that the Past of the “amorous Sphere” is the same as its future, while being different from its Present (cf. ib., 30).

Therefore, the Concept of which Empedocles speaks without knowing it is not! ‘Eternity.

And it is the Eternal only insofar as the Past of his past and the Future of its future are the same as the Present of its own presence; and it is eternal by its “relation” with Eternity which is the Eternal Return (already Aristotelian) of all things and hence, that which is the extended duration of these.

Empedocles is, moreover, perfectly aware of this himself, at least with regard to his picture of the Cosmos or the Whole of which he speaks and which constitutes the everything of which he speaks. In any case, he says so explicitly, over and over again.

… and does not deny trust to any of the other parts of your body through which there access to thought exists, but only thinks of each particular thing as to the extent that it presents itself clearly [ through the senses] ”(ib., 4, 9 and 12-13).

Undoubtedly, Empedocles attacks here eternity which is the transcendent Concept of Parmenides.

But Aristotle will not speak otherwise when he criticizes the “transcendence” of the (or: -Structured) Eternal-Multiple, that is, the Platonic Concept as “Cosmos noétos”.

However, the anti-Eleatism of Empedocles has a distinctly Heraclitean allure. And it is indeed there that the only interest of his Poem resides from the point of view of the history of Philosophy.

By going back to the sources, even the Empedocleean analogies of Aristotle’s philosophy, we see more clearly than if we only considered the latter, how well Plato saw things when he affirmed (notably in the Theaetetus, the Sophist and the Politician) that Aristotelianism (inspired by the Science of its time, as it was embodied in Eudoxus) had as a distant origin (if we disregard the views “of Homer and of Hesiod) the Anti Heraclitean thesis of the Thesis of Parmenides.

The Analogy between Aristotle and Empedocles is, moreover, almost complete in the sense that neither of them fully exploits the Heraclitean idea of Measurement in a quantitative or mathematical sense ”(as ‘have already done in their time, probably Theaetetus and certainly Eudoxus and his emulators).

Without doubt Empedocles speaks of a sworn contract “which forever determines this time” or the duration of the Cosmic Cycle (cf. ib., 30). But, just like Aristotle, he does not even try to measure the “Great Year” (as some have tried to do, if the Timaeus is to be believed).

This Cycle “is, for Empedocles, a “law”, fundamentally qualittive, just as the cyclical laws “of Aristote, as being determined “in the last analysis by the revolution of the First Heaven”., will be qualitative.

As well, they both seek their “laws “much more in the domain of Life and} “History than in the purely bodily domain”, where the Scientists themselves will soon attempt to establish this “measurable” relationship.

Anyway, it seems that the main, if not the only this philosophical merit of the eclectic system of Empedocles lies in the fact that he was perhaps the first to seek the Eternal “concept״ which “stabilizes” the Speech as Truth “) not outside or beyond” the Heraclitean river (by anchoring, as Plato does, this discursive Eternal in the ‘silent Eternity of the Parmenidean Hereafter), but in this River itself, by making it flow in circles ”and by discovering there whirlpools, “Cartesian” in nature, which Aristotle will also see there.

It seems in any case that Heraclitus correctly developed the Anti-thesis of Philosophy, at least in the sense that the Temporal had for him neither beginning nor end, being everywhere and always new, instead of being re-produced cyclically so as to be always and everywhere, even before or eternally, “the same, never becoming” as well as what it is “from all eternity.

Without doubt, Heraclitus seems to admit the “Cycle” which transforms Earth into Fire, Fire into Air, Air into Water and Water into Earth, etc: c – = :; – T – + F– + A – + E (cf. ib., 12, B, 76); Empedocles said again, speaking of: the “Cycle “c – = – + A – + E – + T – + F (cf. ib., 21, B, 115, 9-11).

But the fragment in the question of Heraclitus is obscure, mutilated, and doubtful, while, generally speaking, 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 glimpsed the impasse of the Antithesis in intuition of the parathesis, he deliberately did not commit to it, preferring to develop the Anti-thesis proper.

On the other hand, if the fragment in the question of Empedocles belongs to his religious Poem “, all that we know of the scientific poem” shows us that the notion of the parathetic Cycle “is at the very basis of everything that he said there.

All in all, if it is possible that it was Empedocles who made the great discovery of the “Eternal Return” or of the Eternal cyclic that is supposed to be “Eternity in this Time ”(that is to say in the Extended Duration of the Empirical Existence)- so dear to Aristotle- it is certain that he neither knew how nor wanted to expose it himself, either philosophically or scientifically.

He seems to have been too impressed by the Heraclitean River and by the River-Discourse, predicted by Heraclitus, to try, as Aristotle will do, to build anything that is definitive”, stable” or “eternal”, even prone to the permanent side, on the mobile basis of the “whirlwinds” that he had seen there.

He also seems to have resigned himself (moreover quite easily) to a “skeptical” Relativism, which soon takes on, among the neo-Heraclitean Sophists, a “sociological” or “historicist” appearance.

In any case, he warns us from the beginning of his scientific poem “that we will find there, to tell the truth, only “hypotheses”, which are as little certain “as those of which Plato will mock in Timaeus (cf. above all ib., 2 and 4).

No doubt he said to his friend-lover: “However, it is always the fact of low spirits to be wary of strong spirits; but you, learn as the revelations of our [in the sense of: my] Muse order, after his speech has passed through the sieve of your knowledge ”(ib., 5). But we are very far from the “Goddess” of Parmenides.

The “Muse” of Empédocles is only a literary mask (and perhaps a parody) which barely hides its own face and he is very close to admitting that what he is going to say can be contested.

In any case, he warns us that everything he is going to tell us will be only human, not to say “too human” (cf. ib., 2, 9). And he doesn’t worry too much.

However, his (rather great) ambition is far from being satisfied by a disillusioned skeptical “Relativism”, which only allows him not to be “worse than another.” He would also like to be “the best of all”. However, it is not in and through Philosophy that he wants to be: it suffices here to counteract Parmenides and “dethrone” his Wisdom (cf. ib., 4).

Neither is it a political role in the state that tempts him, nor the “wisdom” which would be recognized as a reward for a rigid “morality”. Empedocles wants to be great among the Great (and says he is) as a “religious” and 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 mute heart” (ib., 3).

However! This appeal to xenophano-Parmenidean silence is found in his “scientific” Poem, addressed to a young man whose father was perhaps very wise (cf. ib., 1), but who himself was considered to be his “Cute”.

This means that Empedocles was “in truth neither a Prophet nor a Sage, but a skillful dilettante and a more or less charlatanic” diviner “, who moreover seems to have ended badly (and still not as a hero of ‘a famous German prose poetry).

In any case, he does not seem to have seen what the Question of the Concept was and if he has glimpsed the Eternity-in-time that is the Eternal Concept of the antithetic Parathesis, we will have to wait for Aristotle to find out this parathesis of Philosophy to be developed in a philosophically complete and correct way.

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