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Aporreta and Plato's Unwritten Doctrines

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  • vaeringjar
    Greetings, this is my first post and I hope it is relevant to the group. I am searching for occurrences of the term aporreta used to refer specifically to
    Message 1 of 12 , Dec 5, 2002
      Greetings, this is my first post and I hope it is relevant to the
      group.

      I am searching for occurrences of the term 'aporreta' used to refer
      specifically to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines. Normally in most of the
      commentators such as Simplicius the term used is 'agrapha', but I
      have found one possible instance in a fragment of Porphyry's History
      of Philosophy in which I believe he is using 'aporreta' in this
      sense. I know also of the one fragment of Numenius's work <Peri ton
      para Platoni aporreton> (would certainly be interesting to have the
      rest of that), but its one extant fragment doesn't shed any light on
      this issue. (I am using the edition of des Places).

      I was going to dig around a bit in Proclus also (I know he refers to
      Pythagorean aporreta), but unfortunately I don't have ready access to
      the Greek texts of the Parmenides, Timaeus, or Republic commentaries.
      Any help appreciated, thanks.

      PS I have always wondered why there is no modern edition of the
      Proclus commentary on the Parmenides. I have of course the
      translation into English of Morrow and Dillon. Does anyone know of
      any plans for one to appear? I did see that there is a new text and
      translation of Iamblichus <On the Mysteries> done in part by Dillon
      coming out soon. That will certainly be welcome.

      Dennis Clark
      San Francisco
    • Cosmin I. Andron
      ... I have put for you on the Files section a PDF document with some occurrences (others tan the one from Porph. Phil. Hist. 222 F p.244-5 Smith), the
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 6, 2002
        >I am searching for occurrences of the term 'aporreta' used to refer
        >specifically to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines.
        .........
        >but unfortunately I don't have ready access to
        >the Greek texts of the Parmenides, Timaeus, or Republic commentaries.

        I have put for you on the 'Files' section a PDF document with some
        occurrences (others tan the one from Porph. Phil. Hist. 222 F p.244-5
        Smith), the reference and the full text in Greek. You will not need any
        special font to read them since PDF preserves the format. There might be
        more (?) but these are those I have knowledge of.



        >I have always wondered why there is no modern edition of the
        >Proclus commentary on the Parmenides. I have of course the
        >translation into English of Morrow and Dillon. Does anyone know of
        >any plans for one to appear?

        Prof. Carlos Steel at Leuven works on it for Coll. Univ. des France, aka
        Bude, aka Les Belles Lettres. More details are here:
        http://cwisdb.cc.kuleuven.ac.be/research/P/3H00/project3H000577.htm

        JM Dillon's translation was done using the published and unpublished work
        done by Stell mainly on the Latin version of Moerbeke, thus it is relatively
        based on a newer text than Cousin's.


        >I did see that there is a new text and
        >translation of Iamblichus <On the Mysteries> done in part by Dillon
        >coming out soon. That will certainly be welcome.

        There is also in libraries/bookshops the fresh edition with English
        translation and commentary of Iamblichus' De anima produced by JM Dillon and
        JF Finamore and published by Brill.

        With every best wish, yours
        Cosmin


        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Cosmin I. Andron BA, MA (Cluj), PhD cand.

        Department of Classics
        Royal Holloway College
        University of London
        Egham
        Surrey TW20 OEX
        England

        Phone: 0044 (0) 7759 188 337
        Email: C.I.Andron@...

        Web page: www.cosmin-andron.com
        ---

        Outgoing mail from Mr. C.I. Andron is certified Virus Free.
        Checked by Norton Antivirus 2002 (http://www.symantec.com).
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      • John Dillon
        ... The adjective aporrhetos is indeed used frequently by Proclus in his Timaeus and Republic commentaries, as a look at the indices of the Teubner editions
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 6, 2002
          on 6/12/02 3:42 am, vaeringjar at vaeringjar@... wrote:

          > Greetings, this is my first post and I hope it is relevant to the
          > group.
          >
          > I am searching for occurrences of the term 'aporreta' used to refer
          > specifically to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines. Normally in most of the
          > commentators such as Simplicius the term used is 'agrapha', but I
          > have found one possible instance in a fragment of Porphyry's History
          > of Philosophy in which I believe he is using 'aporreta' in this
          > sense. I know also of the one fragment of Numenius's work <Peri ton
          > para Platoni aporreton> (would certainly be interesting to have the
          > rest of that), but its one extant fragment doesn't shed any light on
          > this issue. (I am using the edition of des Places).
          >
          > I was going to dig around a bit in Proclus also (I know he refers to
          > Pythagorean aporreta), but unfortunately I don't have ready access to
          > the Greek texts of the Parmenides, Timaeus, or Republic commentaries.
          > Any help appreciated, thanks.
          >
          > PS I have always wondered why there is no modern edition of the
          > Proclus commentary on the Parmenides. I have of course the
          > translation into English of Morrow and Dillon. Does anyone know of
          > any plans for one to appear? I did see that there is a new text and
          > translation of Iamblichus <On the Mysteries> done in part by Dillon
          > coming out soon. That will certainly be welcome.
          >
          > Dennis Clark
          > San Francisco
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > neoplatonism-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
          >
          >
          The adjective aporrhetos is indeed used frequently by Proclus in his Timaeus
          and Republic commentaries, as a look at the indices of the Teubner editions
          will confirm. As regards the Parmenides commentary, a Budé edition by Carlos
          Steel and Alain Ségonds will begin to appear within a year or so, but I
          would not hold my breath. JMD
        • gstamap <gstamap@yahoo.com>
          Dear Dennis, There is an interesting use of the word apporetos in Plotinus IV.8.1.31: Plato says that the soul is fettered and buried in the body, and that
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 8, 2002
            Dear Dennis,

            There is an interesting use of the word 'apporetos' in Plotinus
            IV.8.1.31: "Plato says that the soul is fettered and buried in the
            body, and that the 'esoteric saying is a great one', which asserts
            that the soul is 'in custody'... The superiority of the apporetos
            logos is an indirect recognition to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines or
            just a direct reference to the Phaedo 62b, or both? The whole
            discussion in this chapter involves Heraclitus, Empedocles,
            Pythagoras as well as the Phaedrus and the Timaeus. The subject-
            matter is the relationship between soul and body. Can we suppose that
            in this passage Plotinus had in mind some Platonic hidden doctrines
            besides the observed ones?

            Giannis Stamatellos
          • vaeringjar <vaeringjar@yahoo.com>
            ... commentaries. ... 5 ... Thanks very much for the passages, that was extremely kind. The two from the Timaeus commentary, especially the last one referring
            Message 5 of 12 , Dec 8, 2002
              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Cosmin I. Andron"
              <c.i.andron@g...> wrote:
              > >I am searching for occurrences of the term 'aporreta' used to refer
              > >specifically to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines.
              > .........
              > >but unfortunately I don't have ready access to
              > >the Greek texts of the Parmenides, Timaeus, or Republic
              commentaries.
              >
              > I have put for you on the 'Files' section a PDF document with some
              > occurrences (others tan the one from Porph. Phil. Hist. 222 F p.244-
              5
              > Smith), Date: 25/11/2002

              Thanks very much for the passages, that was extremely kind. The two
              from the Timaeus commentary, especially the last one referring to
              Syrianus' making clear the "aporrheta noemata" of Plato, seem hard
              not to equate with the Unwritten Doctrines, but one still could
              interpret the phrase in a more general way, rather as referring to
              the most intimate understanding of any teachings, the kernel reserved
              for only the true and hardest delving cognoscenti. But then again,
              wouldn't that kernel in fact represent the "agrapha dogmata"?

              I also found the term used in Proclus in the Commentary on Euclid's
              First book, (Friedlein 90,11) and the Commentary on the Cratylus
              (Pasquali, 19,13). It's not obvious in those cases he is referring
              specifically to the Unwritten Doctrines - I need to study the Euclid
              one more however.

              I also found it in two passages of Damascius' De Principiis, where it
              definitely is not used to refer to the doctrines: once referring to
              the First Hypothesis of the Parmenides terming the one
              as "aporrhetos" = "ineffable" (Westerink & Combes 12, 14) and the
              other using it to describe the "ineffable" sanctuary of the soul (22,
              15).

              The original passage which prompted me to look into this is Frag.
              XVII Nauck (unfortunately I don't have a copy of Smith), which really
              struck me because according Cyrillus' report, Porphyry quotes almost
              word for word the enigmatic passage found in the Second Letter of
              Plato ("peri ton basilea panta esti kai ekeinou heneka panta..."),
              introduced as "ho autos Porhyrios peri Platonos: dio en aporrhetois
              peri touton ainittomenos phesi."

              This is very curious to me for several reasons - through the use
              of "en aporrhetois" does he mean to associate this passage, obviously
              from the Second Letter, with the Unwritten Doctrines? Why isn't the
              passage identified as coming from the letter, or would that merely
              have been expected to be understood? If the Second Letter is indeed a
              forgery as some think, then the implication is that Porphyry didn't
              think so. If Plato didn't create this riddling bith, then what is the
              provenience of this passage? Porphyry is accepted as a reliable
              source, I believe, so if he included this passage in his history then
              I think it deserves our attention and understanding, correct?

              One other point I am not clear on, since the full context of
              Cyrillus' text is not given in Nauck (is it in Smith, I wonder?) is
              the antecedent of "touton" in "peri touton" in the introductory
              portion - concerning what things did Plato riddlingly say all this?
              (That "riddingly" pops up in the later writers also.)

              Then the next fragment, XVIII, has another interesting feature: the
              introductory for it goes like this: "phesi gar ho Porphyrios en
              tetartwi biblioi philosophou historias hws eipontos Platonos peri tou
              agathou: ..." That "peri tou agathou" really jumped out, because I
              immediately thought this must be another fragment of Plato's (in)
              famous Lecture on the Good. But it is not included in any of the
              collections that I have of the most relevant fragments to the
              discussion of the Unwritten Doctrines - Gaiser, <Platons
              Ungeschriebene Lehre>, Findlay, <The Written and Unwritten
              Doctrines>, and Kraemer, <Plato and the Foundations of Metaphysics>
              (curiously enough Gaiser does include as his number 52 Nauck frag. 15
              but not either of the above). One thing I wonder about however is the
              exact spelling, "tou agathou": usually plato's lecture (certainly in
              Aristotle) is always referred to as "tagathou". Is this
              insignificant, or is Porphyry just referring to The Good itself,
              rather than the lecture?

              This has probably all been discussed somewhere that I am not aware
              of, since I am an amateur in these areas and certainly do not have
              full command of all the secondary sources let alone the primary. (I
              have a MA in Classics but have never taught or done real research).
              It does seem to be that a study of the later commentators'
              relationship to the Unwritten Doctrines would be of interest. I
              realize it has been a controversial subject and am not even aware of
              the current consensus (assuming there is one!) on it. I did notice
              that the later writers tend to refer to the "agraphae sunousiai"
              taking the "seminar" view, I gather. Another question I have is
              exactly from where did they take their information? Was
              Aristotle's "Peri Tagathou" still extant in Porphyry's time but no
              longer by the time of Simplicius et al? If it wasn't, then where did
              the later commentators get their information - from a purely oral
              tradition? Even that of course might make sense, wouldn't it,
              considering it was, after all, "aporrheton"!

              Dennis Clark
              San Francisco
            • vaeringjar <vaeringjar@yahoo.com>
              ... his Timaeus ... editions ... by Carlos ... but I ... Thanks for the advice, I am continuing to dig in Proclus and elsewhere, as per my above response. If I
              Message 6 of 12 , Dec 8, 2002
                > The adjective aporrhetos is indeed used frequently by Proclus in
                his Timaeus
                > and Republic commentaries, as a look at the indices of the Teubner
                editions
                > will confirm. As regards the Parmenides commentary, a Budé edition
                by Carlos
                > Steel and Alain Ségonds will begin to appear within a year or so,
                but I
                > would not hold my breath. JMD

                Thanks for the advice, I am continuing to dig in Proclus and
                elsewhere, as per my above response.

                If I held my breath on getting ANY Bude's here, which seem to be
                printed in very few numbers, I would be long past blue in the face! I
                finally managed to scrounge the entire Platonic Theology after a long
                search. I suppose the wonder is that it is done at all now, like the
                dog walking on his hind legs.

                I am really looking forward to the Iamblichus' Anima which is
                actually being shipped to me now, since all I have is the
                Festugiere's translation, and of course the de Mysteriis later on. I
                was wondering if you are by any chance including in that edition the
                text of Porphyry's original letter, if I might be so bold as to ask?
                I don't know why Nauck didn't include it in the Opuscula, and I don't
                think I know if anyone has ever edited it in modern times - ? Thanks!

                Dennis Clark
                San Francisco
              • vaeringjar <vaeringjar@yahoo.com>
                ... that ... Dear Giannis, Thanks for the reference - I hadn t looked in Plotinus at all. He does seem to be referring to the Phaedo here, but interestingly
                Message 7 of 12 , Dec 8, 2002
                  --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "gstamap <gstamap@y...>"
                  <gstamap@y...> wrote:
                  > Dear Dennis,
                  >
                  > There is an interesting use of the word 'apporetos' in Plotinus
                  > IV.8.1.31: "Plato says that the soul is fettered and buried in the
                  > body, and that the 'esoteric saying is a great one', which asserts
                  > that the soul is 'in custody'... The superiority of the apporetos
                  > logos is an indirect recognition to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines or
                  > just a direct reference to the Phaedo 62b, or both? The whole
                  > discussion in this chapter involves Heraclitus, Empedocles,
                  > Pythagoras as well as the Phaedrus and the Timaeus. The subject-
                  > matter is the relationship between soul and body. Can we suppose
                  that
                  > in this passage Plotinus had in mind some Platonic hidden doctrines
                  > besides the observed ones?
                  >
                  > Giannis Stamatellos

                  Dear Giannis,

                  Thanks for the reference - I hadn't looked in Plotinus at all.

                  He does seem to be referring to the Phaedo here, but interestingly
                  enough the quoted "esoteric saying is a great one" is not to be found
                  at 62b where the appropriateness of suicide is being discussed and
                  how Philolaus spoke against it. There Socrates' actual words
                  referring to the teaching on this subject are "ho men oun en
                  aporrhetois legomenois peri auton logos." This is just not "ton en
                  aporrhetois legomenon megan einai," which also sounds rather like an
                  independent saying capable of standing on its own. But Plotinus is
                  otherwise in the passage clearly referring to Plato's discussion of
                  the soul starting with the Phaedo. He does follow this however
                  immediately with a mention of the soul's ascent from the cave, which
                  I assume he takes from the Republic I looked there for any usage of
                  aporrheta and found two uses which are not relevant to this
                  discussion.

                  I looked up the modern commentators on the Phaedo that I know of,
                  Burnet and Rowe, and both point out that the notion of the soul in
                  custody was considered an Orphic one, but Philolaus has just been
                  mentioned and Rowe points out the common association of Orphic with
                  Pythagorean ideas. Burnet adds that Socrates is speaking ironically
                  and couldn't possibly believe such a thing (right, uh-huh), and Rowe,
                  that Plato is not above making up ancient and secret doctrines to
                  support a point he is making. Well. And of course the notion of
                  reincarnation that is so important later is also considered Orphic.

                  But I have to thank you for pointing out this passage, because it has
                  caused me to examine the commentary of Damascius on the Phaedo where
                  the term aporrhetos, even from Westerink's section headings, appears
                  to mean "esoteric" as in an esoteric interpretation vs an exoteric,
                  and the remains we have of the commentary start with this discussion
                  of these two types of interpretations of this specific passage in the
                  Phaedo. Obviously I need to study this work more, because at first
                  glance it certainly looks interesting in the context of nnwritten
                  doctrines vs written. Is this "esoteric" only in a limited
                  Neoplatonic usage (I gather from glancing at the Westerink edition
                  that Damascius is responding to Proclus' views), or does this reflect
                  an older tradition going back to Plato? Or is it just what the
                  Neoplatonists devised (rather hieratically) as what they thought
                  Plato's Unwritten Doctrines were or should have been, to be used as a
                  means of interpreting his writings? Again my lack of experience with
                  this material may showing here - perhaps there are answers to these
                  questions already worked out. Any help is appreciated - before
                  finding this list I have never had any contact with anyone
                  knowledgeable in this subject, so I have to ask for some indulgence.
                  Thanks all,

                  Dennis Clark
                  San Francisco
                • Cosmin I. Andron
                  ... I am quite certain that this passage does not refer to Plato: alloi... is my reason. I would guess Proclus is referring here to Orac. Chald. but I have
                  Message 8 of 12 , Dec 10, 2002
                    ON DENNIS:

                    >I also found the term used in Proclus in the Commentary on Euclid's
                    >First book, (Friedlein 90,11)

                    I am quite certain that this passage does not refer to Plato: 'alloi...' is
                    my reason. I would guess Proclus is referring here to Orac. Chald. but I
                    have no proof for it.

                    >and the Commentary on the Cratylus (Pasquali, 19,13).

                    In this case as well I am sure it is not a reference to Plato but to
                    'symbola' and 'signs' used in teurgy. On this issue you can consult:

                    John M. Dillon,"Image, symbol and analogy: three basic concepts of
                    Neoplatonic exegesis","The significance of Neoplatonism",ISNS, Norfolk, Va,
                    1975, pp 247-262

                    Anne D.R. Sheppard,"Proclus'attitude to theurgy", ''Classical Quarterly'',
                    Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1982, pp 212-224;
                    Anne D.R. Sheppard,"Phantasia and Analogia in Proclus.","Ethics and
                    Rhetoric...",Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1995, pp 343-351;
                    Anne D.R. Sheppard,"Phantasia and inspiration in Neoplatonism","Studies in
                    Plato and ...", Ashgate Variorum, Aldershot, 1997, pp 201-210;
                    Anne D.R. Sheppard,"Image and Analogy in Later Neoplatonism","Metaphysik und
                    Religion.", K G Saur, München-Leipzig, 2002,pp 639-647
                    Robert, M. van den Berg,"Proclus' Hymns. Essays, Translations,
                    Commentary.'', Leiden: Brill, 2001.


                    >I also found it in two passages of Damascius' De Principiis, where it
                    >definitely is not used to refer to the doctrines:

                    Damascius' use of 'aporia' and its derivations is mainly related to his own
                    metaphysics rather than to doxographical issues.

                    >The original passage which prompted me to look into this is Frag.
                    >XVII Nauck (unfortunately I don't have a copy of Smith),

                    As opposed to Nauck, the frg. in Smith covers Cyr. 'Contra Iul.' I 47, 19-48

                    >Why isn't the passage identified as coming from the letter, or would that
                    merely
                    >have been expected to be understood?

                    You can find a good discussion of the issue in Procl. Theol. Plat. (ed.
                    Saffrey-West.) vol. II, pp. XLIX ff.

                    >Then the next fragment, XVIII, has another interesting feature (...)
                    >That "peri tou agathou" really jumped out, because I
                    >immediately thought this must be another fragment of Plato's (in)
                    >famous Lecture on the Good. But it is not included in any of the
                    >collections that I have of the most relevant fragments to the
                    >discussion of the Unwritten Doctrines

                    'Porphyry relates ... that Plato talked like this about the good..' However
                    the structure of ''hos eipontos Platonos peri tou agathou houtos'' is
                    rather tricky. Segonds in his ed. makes it depend to 'historei'...
                    Therefore, in this context, I would be inclined to answer to you question:
                    ''is Porphyry just referring to The Good itself, rather than the lecture?''
                    Probably yes.

                    >I realize it has been a controversial subject and am not even aware of
                    >the current consensus (assuming there is one!) on it.

                    No consensus whatsoever.


                    ON GIANNIS AND DENNIS ON GIANNIS:

                    (Giannis)
                    > There is an interesting use of the word 'apporetos' in Plotinus
                    >IV.8.1.31 (...) The superiority of the apporetos
                    >logos is an indirect recognition to Plato's Unwritten Doctrines or
                    >just a direct reference to the Phaedo 62b, or both?

                    Enn. IV 8 1.31-32 ''kai to en aporretois legomenon logon ...'' I think
                    refers here to the Pythagorean tradition/writings of which in this passage
                    Plato seems to approve of, i.e. HE (Plato) considers 'a great truth' the
                    sayings of the 'mysteries' (maybe) here, quite logically Pythagorean.


                    (Dennis)

                    >Is this "esoteric" only in a limited
                    >Neoplatonic usage (I gather from glancing at the Westerink edition
                    >that Damascius is responding to Proclus' views), or does this reflect
                    >an older tradition going back to Plato? Or is it just what the
                    >Neoplatonists devised (rather hieratically) as what they thought
                    >Plato's Unwritten Doctrines were or should have been, to be used as a
                    >means of interpreting his writings?

                    'aporrhetos' is actually 'un-utterable', 'un-sayable'. According to the
                    context, it might refer to:

                    I.] (arguably) hypostasis in the Neoplatonic hierarchy, i.e. Iamblichus
                    (n.1) and Damascius (n.2)

                    II.] 'attributes' of the 'one' Plotinus et alii including the
                    Middle-Platonists

                    III.] 'mysteries' or secret doctrines esp. religious, i.e. Orphic,
                    Pythagorean and Chaldaean (as it is in Plotinus Enn. IV 8 1.31-32)

                    IV.] it may refer also to Plato, but hinting to the depths and 'secrets' of
                    his philosophy rather than to a 'corpus'. 'Agrapha Dogmata' -if I am right-
                    would be used to point to the latter.

                    -----------------
                    (n.1) not quite enough information to draw a definite picture
                    (n.2) I do not believe in the 'Ineffable' as hypostasis in Damascius, but I
                    am rather against the current here... The modern interpreters (esp. Combès)
                    seem to see it that way.


                    With every best wish, yours
                    Cosmin


                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Cosmin I. Andron BA, MA (Cluj), PhD cand.

                    Department of Classics
                    Royal Holloway College
                    University of London
                    Egham
                    Surrey TW20 OEX
                    England

                    Phone: 0044 (0) 7759 188 337
                    Email: C.I.Andron@...

                    Web page: www.cosmin-andron.com
                    ---

                    Outgoing mail from Mr. C.I. Andron is certified Virus Free.
                    Checked by Norton Antivirus 2002 (http://www.symantec.com).
                    Version: 8.07.17C and also
                    Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
                    Version: 6.0.427 / Virus Database: 240 - Release Date: 06/12/2002
                  • Giannis Stamatellos
                    ON COSMIN ... Dear Cosmin, Your observation on the Pythagorean influence in Enn. IV.8.1.31-2 is extremely interesting and can be also supported with Diels fr.
                    Message 9 of 12 , Dec 10, 2002
                      ON COSMIN
                      > Enn. IV 8 1.31-32 ''kai to en aporretois legomenon
                      > logon ...'' I think
                      > refers here to the Pythagorean tradition/writings of
                      > which in this passage
                      > Plato seems to approve of, i.e. HE (Plato) considers
                      > 'a great truth' the
                      > sayings of the 'mysteries' (maybe) here, quite
                      > logically Pythagorean.

                      Dear Cosmin,

                      Your observation on the Pythagorean influence in Enn.
                      IV.8.1.31-2 is extremely interesting and can be also
                      supported with Diels fr. 13 and 7 on the Pythagorean
                      'apporeta'. But, in my view, Plotinus' passage refers
                      clearly to Plato since it belongs to whole discussion
                      starting in 1.23 'o theios Platon' and 'ti oun legei o
                      filosofos outos?' as well as the word 'os' personified
                      in line 33. In fact, Plato's discussion follows the
                      Pythagorian tradition in lines 21-23 on the soul's
                      exile from the gods. In all propability, if there is
                      any indirect reference this can be redericted to
                      Empedocles. This can be justified by Plotinus'
                      identification in line 33-34 of Plato's 'cave' with
                      Empedocles' 'den' (fr. 115). I am not sure that
                      Plotinus traces back to Pythagoras as the later
                      Neoplatonists does in similar cases and subjects. Now,
                      whether Plotinus connects Empedocles to the
                      Pythagoreans is another problem. The only evidence we
                      have is that in 1.17-22 deals both within the same
                      context of the descnet of the soul.

                      All in all, I think that there is lots of interesting
                      things to investigate on the Presocratic background of
                      Plotinus especially in Ennead IV.8.

                      Best Wishes
                      Giannis


                      __________________________________________________
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                    • vaeringjar <vaeringjar@yahoo.com>
                      Again thanks very much for all the references! I have some of those actually at home. ... to his own ... I assume you meant to type aporrheta here. ... would
                      Message 10 of 12 , Dec 13, 2002
                        Again thanks very much for all the references! I have some of those
                        actually at home.
                        >
                        > Damascius' use of 'aporia' and its derivations is mainly related
                        to his own
                        > metaphysics rather than to doxographical issues.
                        >

                        I assume you meant to type aporrheta here.


                        >
                        > >Why isn't the passage identified as coming from the letter, or
                        would that
                        > merely
                        > >have been expected to be understood?
                        >
                        > You can find a good discussion of the issue in Procl. Theol. Plat.
                        (ed.
                        > Saffrey-West.) vol. II, pp. XLIX ff.

                        Well, now I do feel silly - this was right under my nose on my own
                        bookshelf! Definitely thanks for pointing this one out. I am going
                        through this in some detail and digesting it.


                        >
                        > 'aporrhetos' is actually 'un-utterable', 'un-sayable'. According to
                        the
                        > context, it might refer to:
                        >
                        > I.] (arguably) hypostasis in the Neoplatonic hierarchy, i.e.
                        Iamblichus
                        > (n.1) and Damascius (n.2)
                        >
                        > II.] 'attributes' of the 'one' Plotinus et alii including the
                        > Middle-Platonists
                        >
                        > III.] 'mysteries' or secret doctrines esp. religious, i.e. Orphic,
                        > Pythagorean and Chaldaean (as it is in Plotinus Enn. IV 8 1.31-32)
                        >
                        > IV.] it may refer also to Plato, but hinting to the depths
                        and 'secrets' of
                        > his philosophy rather than to a 'corpus'. 'Agrapha Dogmata' -if I
                        am right-
                        > would be used to point to the latter.
                        >

                        well, it is still ambiguous, isn't it? I am also pursuing the more
                        general idea that if, as more and more scholars are coming to accept
                        (e.g. Reale), the Unwritten Doctrines were really central to Plato's
                        mature thought, then wouldn't that make the basic tenets of
                        Neoplatonism closer to Plato's thought? I am thinking of the One
                        primarily. And the Neoplatonists considered themselves as
                        Platonists, didn't they? That "Neo" is a modern construct. I say this
                        is something I am trying to work towards, and I also realize there is
                        not consensus on the Unwritten Doctrines, whether they really were
                        central to Plato and even in some cases exactly what their content
                        was or really meant.

                        By the way, I found this interesting article online regarding
                        Speusippus and the Third Man argument, but it also deals with the
                        Unwritten Doctrines, and whether Plato answered the challenge of the
                        Third Man:

                        http://www2.kenyon.edu/people/pepplej/

                        Again, my problem is I need a better grounding, especially in the
                        secondary literature, so I grope my way forward. But I certainly am
                        glad for this group - it has reenergized me to keep on. Thanks,

                        Dennis Clark
                        San Francisco, California
                      • Melanie Brawn Mineo <melonyfelony@yahoo.
                        I ve been reading this string of messages with interest, and wanted to say that I am familiar with the article on the Third Man argument you mention. For
                        Message 11 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
                          I've been reading this string of messages with interest, and
                          wanted to say that I am familiar with the article on the "Third Man
                          argument" you mention. For myself, the "Unwritten Doctrines" that
                          particularly interest me are the ones that Plato may be pointing to in
                          his 7th Letter: 7.341CD. Plato himself states that there does not, nor
                          will there ever, exist any treatise of his dealing with "this subject,"
                          for knowledge of it does not at all admit of verbal transmission from a
                          teacher like other studies. Coming as a result of individual, continued
                          application to the subject itself and communion (sunousia) therewith,
                          knowledge of it is suddenly (exaiphnes) brought to birth in the soul by
                          direct experience, "as light that is ignited by a leaping fire, and
                          thereafter is self-generating and self-nourishing." The written word
                          can only point to the "unwritten," living realities of which it speaks.
                        • vaeringjar <vaeringjar@yahoo.com>
                          ... in ... nor ... subject, ... from a ... continued ... therewith, ... soul by ... word ... speaks. Yes, I am are referring to the same doctrines. Hard to
                          Message 12 of 12 , Dec 14, 2002
                            --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Melanie Brawn Mineo
                            <melonyfelony@y...>" <melonyfelony@y...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I've been reading this string of messages with interest, and
                            > wanted to say that I am familiar with the article on the "Third Man
                            > argument" you mention. For myself, the "Unwritten Doctrines" that
                            > particularly interest me are the ones that Plato may be pointing to
                            in
                            > his 7th Letter: 7.341CD. Plato himself states that there does not,
                            nor
                            > will there ever, exist any treatise of his dealing with "this
                            subject,"
                            > for knowledge of it does not at all admit of verbal transmission
                            from a
                            > teacher like other studies. Coming as a result of individual,
                            continued
                            > application to the subject itself and communion (sunousia)
                            therewith,
                            > knowledge of it is suddenly (exaiphnes) brought to birth in the
                            soul by
                            > direct experience, "as light that is ignited by a leaping fire, and
                            > thereafter is self-generating and self-nourishing." The written
                            word
                            > can only point to the "unwritten," living realities of which it
                            speaks.

                            Yes, I am are referring to the same doctrines. Hard to ignore what
                            Plato says here, isn't it, as wrenching as it is, making you wonder
                            then exactly how he valued all the dialogues that were written down?
                            Unless of course, as some, you discount the entire letter, so that
                            this particular point just disappears as evidence.

                            But what he says about not writing such a specific type treatise
                            actually makes sense to me, when I consider that through dialectic
                            one attempts to arrive at the truth, and dialectic implies engaged
                            discussion, not merely passive reading. (I think this would be true
                            also for even the ancient Greek habit of reading a text aloud in
                            preference to the modern practice of silent reading.)

                            And if I may, I know from my own experience that something about the
                            physicality of the back and forth of discussion, the drama of it, if
                            you will, brings me to a heightened perception of whatever I am
                            considering, and often insights come to me that probably wouldn't if
                            I were just sitting and thinking, or just reading to myself. So I
                            think that Plato's very clear statement in this letter that he will
                            never write down such things in a final form, is actually quite
                            consistent with the method of his dialogues. They are after all often
                            investigations, not pronouncements and include a lot of loose ends.

                            Whether he tied them together in his own mind, and then shared that
                            only with his students, and occasionally if also embarassingly with
                            some public, as at the infamous lecture on the Good attended by
                            Aristotle and others, is another matter and not so easy to determine
                            with assurance.

                            Dennis Clark
                            San Francisco
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