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Medicina Mentis

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  • vaeringjar
    I finally managed to get a copy of a translation of this work, which I thought was some sort of Pythagorean (i.e., Neo-, I assumed) work, though only in a
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 4 2:47 PM
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      I finally managed to get a copy of a translation of this work, which
      I thought was some sort of Pythagorean (i.e., Neo-, I assumed) work,
      though only in a non-scholarly edition of a version by Thomas Taylor,
      published by the Shrine of Wisdom in Britain in 1974. Unfortunately
      there is no help in the edition for any information on what original
      Taylor is translating here, assuming in fact it is some original and
      not his own making. I rather think it's not his. The edition has a
      rather floridly written biography of Taylor, and then his translation
      followed by what I assume are Taylor's own notes. No mention of the
      original text, what edition he was working from - again I assume he
      was not accessing some original manuscript, but who knows? The work
      itself however is quite odd indeed.

      It is a not that lengthy schema of mathematical formulae, which are
      annotated in the text (again, are they original or Taylor's
      additions? I think original, otherwise the work wouldn't make much
      sense at all) with glosses of the philosophical meaning, of what is
      being represented mathematically in each formula. But the glosses are
      not Neopythagorean at all, rather they reflect the full-blown
      procession of the theological philosophy of Proclus or at any rate
      the later Neoplatonists.

      It starts off with:

      A representation in symbols and numbers of the procession of things,
      from the One.
      x bound
      y the infinite
      --
      yx being
      yx
      --
      y squared
      x squared [both with exponents which I can't type here]
      yx bound and infinite multiplied
      --
      y cubed x cubed
      --
      y cubed x cubed life Intelligible Triad

      and it goes one for several pages, with the exponents getting
      progessively much, much (!) larger as we proceed farther from the
      One, including mention of the various gods in their appropriate
      Proclan positions in the scheme of things.


      I really don't know what to make of this thing. I haven't spent a lot
      of time with Taylor's explanation; he notes there first off that
      multiplication should be equated with progession, hence the basic
      notion of the schema with multipliers and exponentiation. Also there
      is something relating back to the Decad and its relation to One, and
      how the exponents are defined, and so there is I suppose a
      Pythagorean element after all. I would have much more into Taylor's
      notes to get the gist here, and some of it is to be honest rather
      abstruse to me.

      I just wanted to share this with all, since it seems most curious. I
      like the idea of trying to come up with a nice mathematical formula
      to represent progression, though frankly it's a little hard
      personally at first sight to get that excited about multiplication. I
      just wonder what the background is here. The subtitle of the work,
      again whether it's Taylor's or not I cannot say, is "A Specimen of
      Theological Arithmetic".

      Is it possible this thing somehow goes back to one of the lost works
      of Iamblichus in his Pythagorean series?

      Dennis Clark
    • Goya
      As far as I know, the Medicina Mentis is by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (1651-1708). Sorry, no Iambichus here, I m afraid. Best, Mike ... Michael Chase
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 4 11:27 PM
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        As far as I know, the Medicina Mentis is by Ehrenfried Walther von
        Tschirnhaus (1651-1708). Sorry, no Iambichus here, I'm afraid.




        Best, Mike
        >



        Michael Chase
        CNRS UPR 76
        Paris-Villejuif
        France
      • vaeringjar
        ... Hi, Mike. I hope this posting isn t doubled. I posted it earlier and Yahoo died in the middle. I am aware, though only from Web research, of Tschirnhaus
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 5 12:08 PM
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          --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > As far as I know, the Medicina Mentis is by Ehrenfried Walther von
          > Tschirnhaus (1651-1708). Sorry, no Iambichus here, I'm afraid.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Best, Mike
          > >
          >
          >
          >

          Hi, Mike. I hope this posting isn't doubled. I posted it earlier and
          Yahoo died in the middle.

          I am aware, though only from Web research, of Tschirnhaus and his
          work with the same name, but I really thought I had read mention of
          this as an actual ancient, Pythagorean work. Unfortunately I can't
          recall where I read that, though I do recall it was in some reputable
          scholarly source.

          Or was Tschirnhaus interested in Neoplatonism and produced this?

          Dennis Clark
        • Goya
          ... M.C. I confess I don t know enough about T. to say (also my curiosity has now been piqued: friend of Leibniz and Spinoza, inventor of porcelain,
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 6 1:42 AM
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            >>
            >
            > Hi, Mike. I hope this posting isn't doubled. I posted it earlier and
            > Yahoo died in the middle.
            >
            > I am aware, though only from Web research, of Tschirnhaus and his
            > work with the same name, but I really thought I had read mention of
            > this as an actual ancient, Pythagorean work. Unfortunately I can't
            > recall where I read that, though I do recall it was in some reputable
            > scholarly source.
            >
            > Or was Tschirnhaus interested in Neoplatonism and produced this?

            M.C. I confess I don't know enough about T. to say (also my curiosity has
            now been piqued: friend of Leibniz and Spinoza, inventor of porcelain,
            wood-burniong kilns and techniques for glass-casting, eniment
            mathematician...

            The mathematics you describe seem reminiscent of the Tschirnhausen cubic.
            But it is true that most describe his philosophical approach as empiricist
            (Cf. M. Schonfeld, "Dogmatic metaphysics and Tschirnaus' methodology",
            Journal of the history of Philosophy 36.1 1998; C.A. Von Peursen, "E. M.
            von Tschirnhaus and the ars inveniendi", Journal of the history of ideas
            54.3 (1993), 395-410).

            Could the work you have be an application by Taylor himself of
            Tschirnhausian mathematics to Neoplatonic metaphysics? I note that the
            same Prometheus volume that contains the Medicina mentis also contains
            other esays by Taylor such as The Elements of a new arithmetical notation
            and the Elements of the true arithmetic of infinites.

            Best, Mike.



            >
            > Dennis Clark
            >
            >


            Michael Chase
            CNRS UPR 76
            Paris-Villejuif
            France
          • vaeringjar
            ... and ... of ... reputable ... curiosity has ... porcelain, ... cubic. ... empiricist ... methodology , ... Peursen, E. M. ... ideas ... the ... contains
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 6 10:19 AM
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              --- In neoplatonism@yahoogroups.com, "Goya" <goya@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > >>
              > >
              > > Hi, Mike. I hope this posting isn't doubled. I posted it earlier
              and
              > > Yahoo died in the middle.
              > >
              > > I am aware, though only from Web research, of Tschirnhaus and his
              > > work with the same name, but I really thought I had read mention
              of
              > > this as an actual ancient, Pythagorean work. Unfortunately I can't
              > > recall where I read that, though I do recall it was in some
              reputable
              > > scholarly source.
              > >
              > > Or was Tschirnhaus interested in Neoplatonism and produced this?
              >
              > M.C. I confess I don't know enough about T. to say (also my
              curiosity has
              > now been piqued: friend of Leibniz and Spinoza, inventor of
              porcelain,
              > wood-burniong kilns and techniques for glass-casting, eniment
              > mathematician...
              >
              > The mathematics you describe seem reminiscent of the Tschirnhausen
              cubic.
              > But it is true that most describe his philosophical approach as
              empiricist
              > (Cf. M. Schonfeld, "Dogmatic metaphysics and Tschirnaus'
              methodology",
              > Journal of the history of Philosophy 36.1 1998; C.A. Von
              Peursen, "E. M.
              > von Tschirnhaus and the ars inveniendi", Journal of the history of
              ideas
              > 54.3 (1993), 395-410).
              >
              > Could the work you have be an application by Taylor himself of
              > Tschirnhausian mathematics to Neoplatonic metaphysics? I note that
              the
              > same Prometheus volume that contains the Medicina mentis also
              contains
              > other esays by Taylor such as The Elements of a new arithmetical
              notation
              > and the Elements of the true arithmetic of infinites.
              >
              > Best, Mike.
              >
              >
              >
              > >

              I have been wondering the same thing, if this is after all a work by
              Taylor himself, who started out studying mathematics, by the way. The
              other main work on "theological arithmetic" in that Prometheus volume
              is indeed his own, and he certainly could have known Tschirnhaus'
              work.

              Yes, Herr Tschirnhaus does sound interesting, though apparently
              somewhat ignored.

              I just wish I could remember where it was I first saw mention of
              this, but of course it's slipped my mind. It was definitely the title
              I read about first, and that set me off looking for more information,
              of which only this piece by Taylor was all I could find anywhere, but
              I haven't been to the library and any standard work of reference such
              as Pauly.

              Though to be honest, "medicina mentis" hardly sounds ancient, does
              it? Much more like something from a much later period, such as the
              Renaissance or 17th century.

              Dennis Clark
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