Prof. Joseph Arel of No. Arizona State has published an insightful piece elaborating on recollection in Meno and bringing in connections between self-awareness and blindness averted or inverted. He does this with much vigor and clarity, without swagger. He also and makes ample references to Derrida’s work the ‘aveugle’
Here, in this pair of links, you will see a set of singular signs of A. De Morgan’s achieving witty results based upon subjects in ancient physics, especially the ideas of Thales of Miletus. He plays artfully on the word ‘niemand‘. If we take this word (improperly) as a proper name, we are reminded of ancient models of such impropriety, either Plato’s disapproved predecessors the Atomists or his much approved classical Homer and Homer’s many troped hero Odysseus. Recall the adopted proper name : when our hero is imprisoned inside the Cyclops Polyphemus’ lair. Odysseus is not often credited with a Sisyphus kind of wit there in Polyphemus’s auditorium. His logician’s mask or guise: ‘ou-tis‘ [ Οὔτις ]. The giant’s infinite appetite (alas for us all, a specifically anthropophagous appetite !) is heard to reach its end with this very mortal. This is the man whose name might be called his ‘prosrhEma’. This is a rare word for ‘name’in Plato, found only 6 times in any of its inflected forms singular or plural — extreme rarity when compared to over 450 specimens of onoma/onomata in the entire Plato. Cratylus positively overflows with the terms onoma/onomata this is natural and also nearly necessary from its subject: one specimen of onomata is its very title. It is not until Chapt 34, however, that we find the first specimen of ‘prosrEsis’. But it is not only its striking rarity, this term for a mask or nickame or moniker pops up.
More emphatic does this rarity become in what Crat. Chapt XXIV brings along behind the mask or guise. We can safely indulge in language and coding on which John Cooper has expressed his strong scepticism and aversion: the code-encrusted shudder-quotation markngs , thus my temporary willingness (pace JCooper — he will please count me as sharing his strong aversion to the DRobinson and Oxford Text conventions). Sedley’s work on Cratylus indicates that he too shares this feeling of aversion to the code-encrustings, i.e. the cumbrous and non-Plato encrustations I am temporarily seeming willing to use): ταύτης τῆς προσρήσεως “τοῦ εἶναι” (‘this moniker “Being” ‘) Crat. 423e4, with the inclusion of my intrusive encrustation.
Now to return from fancy to fact. In the mere 90 lines — plus or minus a few lines in varying editions — the roughly synonymous ‘onoma’ words outnumber prosrEma’s by a 10:1 ratio. Imagine the fate of poor Odysseus were his guise and mask “τὸ μὴ εἶναι” removed from the front of his prosopon (call this ‘his polytropic face’). It would require a veritable Truth Team to do just the correct unmasking of this Person. Perhaps such experts as we have been recently been calling by Rep. I‘s moniker “hoi to onti logistikoi” , Kripke Wiggins, Barnes and the vestiges or shadows or ‘hyperreal neighbours’ of WVQuine — to borrow language from R. Goldblatt on hyperreal numbers). It might be tempting, — if also a properly resisted temptation — to go along with recent writers on Neutrosophy. This would allow us, improperly enough. to seek out a middle (neutral) value halfway between ” τοῦ εἶναι ” and “τὸ μὴ εἶναι” Albert M. Sweet’s 3-valued assigns a third value after 1 and 0 (he assigned the prosrEma ‘2’) , but I believe he always denied that this was to be halfway between 1 and 0. He and I were fond of calling it ‘shrug’. Clearly Sweet should be on the Truth Team for our neo-Socratic purposes. Plenty of logical caution is naturally required if one ventures to add-one atop one’s two valued logic. At every border there are absurdities lurking, serious enough to draw a stern rebuke from the man gaining maturity by the day and contemplating his role as ‘founding the sciences of logic (and zoology)’ as J Barnes rightly describes Aristotle. “You might as well be arguing against a vegetable or other plant-based subhuman as argue against the man who toys with the fancy that he will disregard Non-Contradiction.” (my paraphrase, but the text is not remote from this, in Metaphys III if I am recalling it aright).
For the purposes of this present website on Socrates-Alternate (yet other alternate masks being ‘Amphinomus’ of unknown city — say Ithaka, or ‘Krates’ of unknown city — say Ithaka)This rare usage notably includes the case of , including notably a specimen at the beginning of Chapt. 10 in LAWS XII, This usage is striking, and deserves scholarly attention, especially here, where Philip of Opus tips his hand, so to speak unmasking himself. ) was said to be ‘Outis‘. Thales’s publications — none are now extant — are illustrative of the atomists’s prosrhEma for the void, h.e. the ou- part of their ou-den. Democritus exercised his wit in having each half of the guise refer separately, the first ‘ou‘ to the Void and the second (only in fancy separable) ‘den‘ to the Beings in his reductive universe.
Siem Slings devoted some intensive scholarly attention in his interpreting of Rep. VI, and its elaborate wordplay on ‘ourano’ and a soundalike word ‘orato’, signifying seeing. Here Slings can rely on having divined Plato’s intent in this witty byplay, in that Plato’s text confesses to the peccadillo in point. That is the little prank on the reader which is to shift about amongst the cognate sounds and not-remote meanings. [an extremely recent display of a heavenly kilonova event by laser interferometric observatory has drawn special notice, in that for millenia now the heavenly motions and changes have only been observable via humans’s sense of sight. As of two very recent decades, these hyper-special devices are able to deliver observations to the human EAR, thus putting the first quarter of the XXI century A.D. into a quite different position and posture in re our celestial surroundings. Perhaps there had been a singular example of human sense of touch in the case of the mid XX century moon-walk). In any case seeing or hearing observational data from a carefully anticipated gravity wave is truly quite new, and will remain amazing even to experts for decades to come.
We owe it to the special dedication and sophisticated graphic work based at the New York Times, and to the careful reporting by Dennis Overbye, that we are able to visualise something not appreciably removed (physically or mathematically) from what R. Goldblatt’s ‘Lectures on the Hyperreal Numbers’ referred to, to be sure with shudder-quotes surrounding his phrase: ‘the point at infinity’. Please do have a look, at the same time understanding that the sphere-shaped blackish object and its rapid plummeting down through our local universe’s space-time matrix:
But the gravity wave emanating from that mysterious point some 2 billion light-years distant calls for discourse Campbell a century ago (1894) called ‘facetious’ usage, often deployed by Plato, especially in his late writings. Here in our Anglo-America it is customary to have speakers offering their ‘apologies’ for seeming to perpetrate a pun or play a trick of words on an interlocutor. We prize our democracy and its parrhEsia and (near) indicipline of tongue in various matters, political matters included, where we speak sarcastically or facetiously in a manner that might make Elder Socrates blush. Clearly in Plato’s Athens one could find those offended by exhibits of philological and lexical looseness. Plato locates this following wicked word-play in the penultimate chapter of the middle Book (Book 5) of his masterwork, Republic. This is the passage noted above, closely studied and annotated by Siem Slings. Notice Plato’s signalling his own self-consciousness and conscientiousness over this remark near this seeing-or-heaven passage:
εἰπὼν σοι σοφίζεσθαι περὶ τὸ ὄνομα [509d3] [= ‘I seem to be speaking a sophism over the word.’ ]
In the myth at the end of Phaedo, recall, the soul is meant to see with newfound power after being freed from its erstwhile body; it is calculated to be advantaged with a new heaven-specific clarity of vision. One will see well enough, soon enough (I might echo some idiomatic present-day French.)
Plato’s own wit, especially when challenged by his two students Aristotle and Philip of Opus, clearly provoked him, especially late on, to further writing. Amongst the provocations will have been young Aristotle’s P. Ouranou and an anonymous Aristotle-similar soul who authored the π. κοσμου. I judge this little work to have been authored by Philp of Opus, a.k.a. Younger Socrates. Some of my arguments are supplied elsewhere. In any case this work makes efforts at witty etymologies, especially in its seventh and final chapter, analysing the names of gods. I refer to Chapt.. 7 of the π. κοσμου (=De Mundo).
One argument is as follows. Let us begin by some detailed decipherment of the little anacoluthon in our best texts of Timaeus 28b, a little aside which seems to be executing a play of wit: call your book what you may, they both look to me to be about The All. This little aside continues ‘. . . or whatever else we may opt to entitle it’. The text uses the optative of urbanity here, a usage which earned the title optativus urbanitatis. It is a common urbanity within Plato, often one he has issuing from an Athenian and addressing another speaker from that same city. But it is just as fitting if a Londoner such as Jonathan Barnes is addressing a fellow Oxonian J. Annas. Something we might imagine Plato to have added here might read this way : ‘. . .my good and early editors might one day want to add the alternate title : π. πύσεως ( =p, Physews ) .
This last title would match nicely our Timaeus text’s added phrase ‘…or whatever else we may opt to name it [i.e. ‘other than Physews or Ouranou or Kosmou]’ Were Plato to emulate Philodemus and his tradition he might opt for the Latin version, De [rerum] Natura. Each of you two, my early academic disciples may opt differently, Aristotle in certifiable fact opting for Π. οὐρανοῦ (De Caelo) and Philip on my authorship hypothesis Π. κόσμου It now appears in Aristotle’s Bekker edition, the roughly 10 Bekker pages prior to and including the final theological chapter, on p. 401. There continues to be lively scholarly debate, including by J. Barnes of France about its true authorship. A moderate view mediating between those who have it written centluries after Aristotle, and the extreme view that it comes directly from Aristotle is the position here: it comes direct from Aristotle’s early days at the Academy, near to the date of his DeCaelo, from the hand neither of Aristotle nor his famous teacher. Rather from the teacher assigned him by the Vita Marciana, Socrates Alternate.
An additional follower of Plato, Holger Thesleff, has for many decades now admired Plato’s wit. There are many of us Plato-admirers, both “Quick and Dead” as A.E. Taylor wrote. He exercised a specialist wit in thus including himself as one amongst the dedicatees, even today. Some of us are still quick today. Plato, the man and his work. One can reasonably say even that Holger is a major participant in the Ideal of Platonic Wit. Thesleff’s admiration of Plato is very durable indeed, and he exhibits many of the virtues of Plato-lovers all. A notable virtue, which Thesleff is witty in his own naming of it. I feel sure he will plead guilty, before St. Peter, of the seeming vice, ‘The Over-Attentive Reader’. Where do we find a more worthy subject for such extreme reading, than the writer Plato ? A subject author of very distinctly lower value, the author of Epinomis and De Kosmou. can be compared. Each stands as by a ‘pseudigraphos’ in their appendings, — one to Plato’s corpus and one to Aristotle’s. I believe the author of both to be the same man, namely Philip of Opus, a.k.a. Younger Socrates.
Denniston’s posthumous book on Greek Prose Style made various depreciatory remarks about Plato’s very latest writing, especially in LAWS. One could hardly seek out in a more likely place for samples of what Denniston calls puerille writing by Plato near the end of his life. Consider a case, here exhibited in our best ms. (75 years prior to Ephraim’s fine ms. T). It manifests at the end of the end chapter (#14) of the end book (#12) of all Plato’s writings. Philip of Opus can well be awaiting the two events, Plato’s writing his final lines and his personal death, so that he can both add on his own little piece ‘Epinomis’, and perhaps trim away mercifully any embarrassing childishnesses on the part of his teacher. Denniston has it that puns and overelaborate wordplay, such as he had formerly mocked mocking when critically of Gorgias or Prodicus are signs of the very old man indulging himself in juvenilities ? Consider this example where so hyperrefined a wordplay as shortening a word’s initial vowel, then pleonastically letting it redound in the listener’s ear with near nothing added to the content: ἤθεσιν καὶ ἔθεσιν· It is only a minor addition to the cognitive vacuousness of this formula that its author, — perhaps a Plato very near his death — seems to want to locate it at the endpoint of this sentence, near the end of Chapt. 14, the work’s final chapter. Plato’s own life seems to have been very near its end as he wrote this final work.
Let me permit myself a small excursus here, by way of innoculating this website against an alas not uncommon error of judgment. I mean the error which amounts to the overbold and even arrogant manner sometimes found here on the American side of the Anglo-American field of Plato scholarship, Some brash youngster presuming that he or she can command respectful attention in the larger world just by levelling sharply critical remarks about a writer so masterful as Plato (or Homer). This rashness is alas not restricted to us ‘overseas’ anglicans: witness the overbold and harsh deprecation of Plato words from KJ Dover in his recent edition of Symposium. AJ Ayer was after all English.
Please take it as an innoculant against any such rashness here on the worldwide web [such a grand claim — I am old enough to remember confidently asserting to many friends in the late 1950s, HUMBUG, how can this little coterie of dreamers, writing in their multi-versioned Whole Earth Catalogue in San Francisco, how can they possibly delude themselves to think such a science-fiction world-wide network can sprint up in my lifetime ? These self-deluders (so I used to continue my rant) — they will have it sprouting up and becoming so vast as to put Kiev and San Francisco into a kind of worldwide ‘neighborhood’, etc., etc. Skeptical wisdom, as deeply wrong as I was then emphatic in offering it to my listeners. Now today I experience a parallel skepticism — which I really want to be as deeply wrong as that other — the current skepticism is centered on what can be called ‘neighbourhoods’ by the school of Abraham Robinson. These followers, R. Goldblatt among them, think with a wondrous coherence about making a kind of ‘neighbourly’ gathering, pairs that are all-but-continuous, only infinitesimally disjoined. Hyperreally close neighbours, in other words. We must look ahead to a descendant of one or another of today’s Socrates-Alternates to get a good grasp of all of this. Meantime let me say here that an offprint I sent Robinson in 1972 provoked a short but non-dismissive reply from him — he mentioned Euclid’s Book 5.
Well these words I used to utter some 60 years ago now went something like this. How can they possibly be so bold, to write in their Whole Earth Catalogue this claim about anything worldwide of such an unimaginable sort? Surely the www people are bold, but also delirious. But do look at the gracious words from Cornford’s student WKC Guthrie, so gracious and urbane even as he condemns a work by Plato as follows:
I may cite this remark written in a letter of date nearly 58 years ago (January 31, 1972). [a recently written podcast bears the provocative title “Back when I was older”. Is its pronoun non-referring ? Dover’s edition of Symposium came out some decade later, when Guthrie’s volumes on Plato and Aristotle had been finished. Citing Guthrie’s letter now: “I don’t see why Plato shouldn’t nod if Homer could”. I am lifting this from a letter to a youngish man by an then-elderly scholar, W.K.C. Guthrie of Cambridge. I will insert here a facsimile of his letter, to give it some context and added color. Certainly the gracious manner of his disparagement is vastly less unfriendly to Plato than that in K.J. Dover’s 1980 edition of Symposium. Dover’s deprecating preface leaves the reader wondering why he even troubled to put out an edition of a writer whose cherished doctrine of Forms might be meaningless. Dover writes as if he thought: “Plato is forever, maybe even eternally, nodding”. It bears repeating, about Guthrie’s humble remarks. They are respectful and even gracious as he expresses his disapproval. Do consider his eloquent
Here at the very end of Plato’s LAWS, where this same disciple was to fasten on his respectful but divergent appendage to the work (=Epinomis) may have been already doing some editing. It is not one of the more common opinions in Plato scholarship, but still there are a few of this number who even suppose Philip to have been the primary author of the LAWS themselves.
Here is our best ms. which I am so bold as to say, either Plato did not himself write them or Philip did, or Plato was nodding :
In any case it can be reasonably proposed that it was this same Philip with such broad expertise in astronomy that his name is cited repeatedly in F. Lasserre’s collection of ‘Die Fragmente des Eudoxos’, this same Philip will have written appendages books of ‘Elements’ due to be assembled and edited into more finished form by Euclid in Alexandria two generations later. There are strong evidences that someone attached to the ends of to Books IV and VI and XIIA of this later work, Elements. In this last case — that of Euclid XIIA — he published a tract which we could rightly give the title ‘stereometric Episkepseis, based on its repeated application of its specialist usage of the phrase ‘toioutes gignomenEs episkepsews’ . In bulk it contains more than Euclid’s standard Book XII, in that it supplies duplicates of the final theorems of stereometric Book XI, as well as the ‘episkepsis‘ version, which has no episkepsis arguments at all.
He contrived to make it over-attentively Platonistic. I spell out elsewhere more about this last case. It may be that the Academic-sounding neologism ‘epidhmiourgein’, now found in scholia to Euclid, is also responsibly traced back to the writings of Philip. If so, he will have earned our descriptive name ‘pseudo-Eudoxus’. One very modernistic way to put a formula on his Episkepsis arguments is to say of them that they at once stand as falsely Eudoxus-like arguments, which contrive to claim a kind of hyper-platonic position in number theory where, in the words of Feynman ‘we find a way to sweep infinities under the rug. Current day work in mathematics, cosmology and logic is continuing. Some of this researclh today proudly claims to prosper, and even to have helpful theological results, ‘without any need to sweep infinities under the rug.’ But this 2019 speculation seems to me ‘over the top’, especially its efforts at ‘neutroscopic’ logic not limiting itself to 2 values, and best left at some distance from speculations offered here, neither under any rug nor off any wall, but grounded in solid texts from the early Academy.
The add-on book at the end of Plato’s LAWS is named from its position as an add-on, “Epinomis“. In antiquity it was reported to have been written by Plato’s student, Philip of Opus. It was the part of the platonic corpus on which B. Einarson was doing a commentary when he died in the late 1970s. We can reasonably hope that one of his students and followers, — say Wm M. Calder III — might publish an edition of all or portions or portions of Einarson’s not-completed work. If so, the very great powers of Einarson’s writing would likely result in more light than we today get from parallel scholarly drafts or publications, Here following you will see an excerpt from its final chapter, from folio 299r of our best ms.,(A):
Using variation of dialects and dialectal spellings within Plato to help isolate the work of Socrates Alternate.
One key divergence from Plato’s standard Attic-KoinE is conveyed in a major way by Ephraim’s Tenth Century hand, rendering Plato to us. Consider the pair of alternate spellings of the same keyword AIEI and AEI in the following specimen:
Can we illustrate the duality of spellings, AIEI and AEI elsewhere at the Early Academy ? Consider the following evidence, which brings in the contemporary writer Xenophon:
Are there examples from antiquity of this curious Venetus (Ephraim) position-switching? This occurs within a numeral (or other numeral sign) — the tens position reversed with the units position ? A precise analogue within our present (Arabic) numeral system, if we were to write ’91’ when intending ’19’ or ’81’ when intending ’18’. A serious dislocation, truly.
Yes, in John the Syrian (=Lydus). numeral words written out in full [no inflection]. John does this switching frequently. He is also known for his unreasonably high esteem for greater antiquity in his style and manner. Please look:
We can get a special insight into Plato’s writing efforts if we follow the good example of E.R. Dodds’s introduction to his text of Gorgias. Dodds allow himself to start from the position of that singular editor, Plato himself, editing an earlier version of this text. He puts this later Plato into his editor’s chair at roughly the time of his authoring Seventh Letter. Diogenes of Halicarnassus gives the Dodds attitude a serious backing. DH has Plato curiously still continuing his self-editing — perhaps just a few words, such as the opening words of Republic — when on his death bed. Another example is that of an editor of Euclid, who may be identical to the man traditionally located in Alexandria after Aristotle’s time. But do we know if this dating and placing are true? Holger Thesleff once said to me he has the doubt: the character in Phaedo, Euclides may be more nearly true to fact. Be this as it may — Non liquet, to use another of Thesleff’s curiously Finnish locutions — editors or self-editors have choice locations within the work at hand to execute their emendations or supplementings.
These choice locations are ‘at the joints’, as Plato himself speaks of articulations inside a piece of literature. This means at the very end of the work or at the end of an internal articulation, such as Book- or Chapter-ending. This way there is less risk of spoiling the work’s organic integrity. Three examples come to mind, two from Euclid’s Elements, one from Plato’s Laws. In Euclid the editor or self-editor has added a final proposition at the end of Book VI (proportion as applied to plane rectilineal figures). Here there is direct reporting from a copyist, who makes it a notable feature of this book that it had an earlier edition, lacking the proposition altogether. Fortunately, we have excellent quality mss. both with the added [‘by Theon’] and the same work in its pre-edited form. In the case of Laws there are ancient reports attributing the entire final book, Epinomis, to a different author. The other notable example from Euclid is the final proposition of Bk IV (planimetric constructions aimed mainly toward Bk XIII, its ‘Five Platonic polyhedra’). That final planimetric construction is of a regular ‘pentakaidekagon’, or 15-sided polygon, useful in astronomy as charting out the ecliptic, — but it is entirely gratuitous here in the Elements of Geometry. It only adds a further pair of oddities in this supplemental proposition that it twice mis-spells ‘pentakaidekagon’ πεντεκαιδεκάγωνον [noted by Heiberg] and that it draws on 3 non-Euclid expressions (1) δείξις , (2) οἷων. . . τοιούτων (3) τε. . . καὶ (1) DEIXIS, (2) HOIWN …TOIOUTWN and (3) TE KAI (rare outside of verse, as being too pleonastic, according to Denniston. Quite possibly it is a pure co-incidence, the point that Philip of Opus, alongside his known interests in ethics (his tract ‘De Ira’) and likely mineral sciences, this same Philip was an accomplished writer on astronomy (On Eclipses, a work listed in the SUDA).
This editing had once been boldly thought to give us indicators as to earlier and later drafts, due to Plato’s student Philip of Opus. Some German scholars of the late 19th Century were bold enough to think of our now restoring this last work of Plato’s to discriminate between Plato’s own writing and that of Philip. This seems a heraclean task, not likely to be moved forward in this website. On the other hand, various indicators outlined here point toward identifying ‘Younger Socrates’ both with Aristotle’s teacher and with Plato’s immediate student, namely the locrus-born Philip of Opus. He may have arrogated to himself this exact academic/socratic identity there by the elderly Plato in Athens. This will have put him into direct contact with the young Aristotle.
This dating and identifying would also put Younger Socrates late enough to help Plato re-edit his final Laws, as we know Philip did. Yet he will have been early enough to be a kind of ‘Socrates-the-Teacher’ to Aristotle. Epistle II tends to corroborate these identifications when it outlines a claimed ‘Socrates Reborn’. This gives the concept a footing in antiquity, perhaps as early as the Olympic Games of -364. And it would or ‘the Second Socrates’ or ‘Alternate Socrates’ (this last is a name interchanged with ‘Younger Socrates’ in our Venetus T ms, at its folium 67r. There seem to be touches of the Locrian or Heraclean dialect curiously strong amongst the various late-dialogues. This idea becomes especially confirmed if we take as relics from antiquity, somewhat before the ‘tavole di Eraclea’, as preserving an assortment of Locrianisms. Some of this backward-looking manuscript evidence points in just the right direction. That is the direction of the epizephyrian Locrus, and its nearby towns Heraclea and Tarentum. Do have a close look at a ms. some two generations earlier than our Ephraim, copyist of Venetus T.
the Venetian San Marco ms. is now online here:
A selection of pages has been annotated by Prof. Brown. The annotations spotlight certain patterns that point to evidence not generally paid special notice by Plato scholars. To view the largest size available, click on the image, then click on View Full Size on the bottom right corner of the gallery page, then mouse-over the image and click on the “+” sign within the viewfinder.
stage leftmost is a symbolic figure, representative of the celestial constellation “Ophiouchos”.
stage rightmost is the somewhat arrogant and “authadEs” Friend of the Earth, Philip of Opus, a.k.a. “Amphinomus”
At summer solstice in Athens at 8:30 PM the constellation Serpent Bearer and its First Magnitude star Alpha Ophiouchus will have been a striking calendaric marker. First to de-occultate star there and then. It was bright enough, on a clear evening, to have cast a shadow at 9PM for Eudoxus and Phillip of our ‘early astronomy lab ! Please see Curtis Wilson’s calculation, echoed elsewhere On youngersocrates.com .