Re: [evforum] None of the poets
- Wm McKane remarks
"Is Plato's Socrates being patently absurd when he says that none of the
poets have sung of it?"
There is another possibility, hinted at as the quote continues: "Or ever
Of some things, no speech is possible. Only silence.
Please recall that Plato refers to such silence in his 7th letter.
>I certainly agree about the significance of the 7th letter. I had avoided
mentioning it in this discussion so far, because there are those who deny its
Still, the thing about Plato's silence, or Wittgenstein's, or any other
apophatic writer's is that they aren't silent about it. A language of the
unsayable is not coherent. But, it's out there anyway. Language is designative
and expressive. At either of the two limits it seems to becomes strange,
tautological on the one side, paradoxical on the other.
To clarify a bit, my question about 'Phaedrus' was rhetorical. It was intended
to call attention to contextual support for the suggestion that Plato's use of
epekeina in the dialog is unusual in so far as a "beyond" the Olympian Gods
hasn't been previously sung. In other words, the dialog presents Socrates'
claim but does not present a denial of the claim. That's hardly philological
certainty. But, it might be more than nothing. Voegelin does claim that
Plato's use of epekeina is novel. In one exchange, Gadamer seems to concur with
him about that. I wouldn't even have a clue about how to research such a
question. Regardless, the role of novelty in language is important for Voegelin.
- The "animus/anima" thread seems to have died, and I don't recall if anyone
already brought up the uses of the word I'm about to introduce, but I just
read this in one of my sources and thought I'd share it.
In addition to Aristotle's uses of variants on these words in his discussion
of the soul, Epicureans used the words "animus" to denote the "rational
soul" and "anima" to denote the "sensitive" soul. Of course the Epicureans
believed both arose from the body. These uses were combined with
Aristotelian uses by Gassendi in his Opera Omnia (1658), who held to the
Epicurean distinction between animus and anima but, contrary to the
Epicurerans, argued for the incorporeality of the animus, or rational soul.
This is summarized from Margaret J. Osler's "Gassendi on the immortality of
the soul" in _Religion, Science, and Worldview: Essays in Honor of Richard
S. Westfall_ (Cambridge UP 1985). Most of the volume is devoted to Newton.
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