Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

what is reality?

Expand Messages
  • ytl
    Richard Sorabji opens his justly acclaimed book, Time Creation, and the Continuum, with the question, Is time real? But what is reality? Specifically, assuming
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 29, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Richard Sorabji opens his justly acclaimed book, Time Creation, and the
      Continuum, with the question, Is time real?

      But what is reality? Specifically, assuming that reality is a technical term
      in philosophy, what Greek words are used to convey the concept? I observe
      that on a single page of Sorabji's book (p. 95), three different
      formulations, employing Greek terms that enjoy other, more usual
      translations, are rendered as reality:

      1. Critolaus and Antiphon are said to have said that time is not a reality
      (hupostasis).
      2. Themistius is said to have denied that time has a reality of its own
      (phusis oikeia).
      3. Boethus is said to complain that a measure has no existence in reality
      (hupo tes phuseos).

      I would be thrilled to be enlighented.

      Tzvi Langermann
      Dept of Arabic
      Bar Ilan University
      Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
      tel: 972-2-673-7837
      fax: 972-2-673-3480
    • Icastes
      ... The best on this subject is Aristotle in the Physics and elsewhere. Time is nothing but a measure of motion, and it has no being. It is merely a number, a
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 29, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        > Tzvi Langermann writes:

        > Richard Sorabji opens his justly acclaimed book, Time Creation, and the
        > Continuum, with the question, Is time real?
        >
        > But what is reality? Specifically, assuming that reality is a technical
        > term
        > in philosophy, what Greek words are used to convey the concept? I observe
        > that on a single page of Sorabji's book (p. 95), three different
        > formulations, employing Greek terms that enjoy other, more usual
        > translations, are rendered as reality:
        >
        > 1. Critolaus and Antiphon are said to have said that time is not a reality
        > (hupostasis).
        > 2. Themistius is said to have denied that time has a reality of its own
        > (phusis oikeia).
        > 3. Boethus is said to complain that a measure has no existence in reality
        > (hupo tes phuseos).
        >
        > I would be thrilled to be enlighented.

        The best on this subject is Aristotle in the Physics and elsewhere. Time is
        nothing but a measure of motion, and it has no being. It is merely a number,
        a measure. Time does not exist on its own. Moreover, there is no past and no
        future. The past is just the wake of the boat, and there is no future. We
        live in the present at all times, and the only reason we think about time is
        when we need a measure. Otherwise, we are totally unaware of it.

        As for being enlightened, you already are. All you have to do is to
        recollect that.

        Best regards,

        Kalev Pehme
      • John Dilon
        ... You have a good point there. Something like to ontôs on is the best bet, I think. JMD
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 29, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          on 29/1/04 12:44 pm, ytl at ytl@... wrote:

          > Richard Sorabji opens his justly acclaimed book, Time Creation, and the
          > Continuum, with the question, Is time real?
          >
          > But what is reality? Specifically, assuming that reality is a technical term
          > in philosophy, what Greek words are used to convey the concept? I observe
          > that on a single page of Sorabji's book (p. 95), three different
          > formulations, employing Greek terms that enjoy other, more usual
          > translations, are rendered as reality:
          >
          > 1. Critolaus and Antiphon are said to have said that time is not a reality
          > (hupostasis).
          > 2. Themistius is said to have denied that time has a reality of its own
          > (phusis oikeia).
          > 3. Boethus is said to complain that a measure has no existence in reality
          > (hupo tes phuseos).
          >
          > I would be thrilled to be enlighented.
          >
          > Tzvi Langermann
          > Dept of Arabic
          > Bar Ilan University
          > Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
          > tel: 972-2-673-7837
          > fax: 972-2-673-3480
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          > To visit your group on the web, go to:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/neoplatonism/
          >
          > 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/
          >
          >
          >
          You have a good point there. Something like to ontôs on is the best bet, I
          think. JMD
        • Giannis Stamatellos
          Following John Dilon s claim and by considering Plotinus’ definition of Time as the restless (intelligible-discursive) movement of the Soul we can admit that
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 30, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            Following John Dilon's claim and by considering
            Plotinus� definition of Time as the restless
            (intelligible-discursive) movement of the Soul we can
            admit that for the Greeks time was a reality. A
            reality related to the nature of Being. Actually as
            Sorabji shows in his book the discussion of eternity
            and time is a long issue in Greek philosophy which
            begins with Parmenides� timeless Being. Actually, the
            whole concept of aion and chronos in Greek philosophy
            is strongly related to the idea of Life. Just to
            mention the connection of Plotinus� thought with the
            earlier tradition and the continuation of his
            philosophy within the flow of Greek thought.

            G. Stamatellos

            __________________________________
            Do you Yahoo!?
            Yahoo! SiteBuilder - Free web site building tool. Try it!
            http://webhosting.yahoo.com/ps/sb/
          • ytl
            My original query concerned not the question of the reality of time--though I would be happy if a thread developed on the topic--but the way the concept would
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 30, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              My original query concerned not the question of the reality of time--though
              I would be happy if a thread developed on the topic--but the way the concept
              would be expresed in Greek. I aproach the subject mainly as an historian of
              Arabic and Hebrew science, who would be interesed inter alia in tracing the
              lineage of dscussions in materials I study to Greek sources. With that in
              mind--but also with regard to the basic question--Sorabji's translation of
              phusis and hupostasis as reality is confusing.

              Joh Dilon's remark is most pertinent. See e.g. Proclus, Elements, para. 88,
              where the phrase to ontos on is used to convey the idea of the relationships
              between "true being" (Dodds' translation) and Eternity. Note that more than
              one relationship is specified, and they all appertain to Eternity; time
              (khronos) is not mentioned. This would fit in neoplatonic and, I suppose
              Platonic teachings about the reality not of time as experienced down here,
              but as it stands (but does not move) up there (or no-where).

              In any event, every discussion I can think of "reality" or "being" in Arabic
              or Hebrew has been traced indeed to to on, or to ontos on. Phusis is
              rendered by words that mean, or have come to mean, nature. Hupostasis--well
              that's another story, for some other time.


              Tzvi Langermann
              Dept of Arabic
              Bar Ilan University
              Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
              tel: 972-2-673-7837
              fax: 972-2-673-3480
            • Melanie Brawn Mineo
              PS...A Perseus (Liddell-Scott) lookup gives several references to the use of hupostasis as substance, actual existence, reality ...See esp. refs. @ III, ktl.
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 30, 2004
              • 0 Attachment
                PS...A Perseus (Liddell-Scott) lookup gives several references to the
                use of hupostasis as "substance, actual existence, reality"...See esp.
                refs. @ III, ktl. M

                http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%23109195

                Hupostasis--well that's another story, for some other time.
                >
                >
                > Tzvi Langermann
                > Dept of Arabic
                > Bar Ilan University
                > Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
                > tel: 972-2-673-7837
                > fax: 972-2-673-3480
              • Michael Chase
                ... M.C. I agree that translating *phusis* by reality is incorrect and misleading; reality for *hypostasis* seems better attested, although it often has
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 30, 2004
                • 0 Attachment
                  Le vendredi, 30 jan 2004, à 14:13 Europe/Paris, ytl a écrit :

                  > My original query concerned not the question of the reality of
                  > time--though
                  > I would be happy if a thread developed on the topic--but the way the
                  > concept
                  > would be expresed in Greek. I aproach the subject mainly as an
                  > historian of
                  > Arabic and Hebrew science, who would be interesed inter alia in
                  > tracing the
                  > lineage of dscussions in materials I study to Greek sources. With that
                  > in
                  > mind--but also with regard to the basic question--Sorabji's
                  > translation of
                  > phusis and hupostasis as reality is confusing.

                  M.C. I agree that translating *phusis* by "reality" is incorrect and
                  misleading; "reality" for *hypostasis* seems better attested, although
                  it often has the nuance of "concrete, objective reality" as compared
                  to, say, imaginary or purely mental existence (*epinoia*).

                  Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that the English term
                  "reality" is itself a *pollakhôs legomenon*. The OED gives six main
                  meanings, each with various sub-meanings, for the term. Which one are
                  we talking about? If we're speaking in a Platonic context of the
                  contrast between appearance and reality, then John Dillon's *ontôs on*
                  or perhaps just plain *ousia* would do. If we're using the word to
                  describe substantive existence, I might choose *hupostasis*. Finally,
                  if we're speaking of the non-metaphysically charged sense of the "the
                  everyday realities of life", then I might translate by *pragma*.
                  >
                  > <snip>
                  >
                  > In any event, every discussion I can think of "reality" or "being" in
                  > Arabic
                  > or Hebrew has been traced indeed to to on, or to ontos on.

                  M.C. This strikes me as a fairly sweeping generalization. "Being" does
                  strike me as the standard and correct translation of *to on*, but
                  "reality" can, with the qualifications stated above, just as well be
                  rendered by *hupostasis*, *pragma*, *ousia*, *eidos* or, at least from
                  the time of Porphyry and Damasicus, *huparxis*. Which Arabic term are
                  you thinking of : *al-haqq*?

                  >
                  Michael Chase
                  (goya@...)
                  CNRS UPR 76/
                  l'Annee Philologique
                  Villejuif-Paris
                  France


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Sarah Pessin
                  ... comments have been quite interesting on this question, and i certainly don t mean to stymie discussion by raising the following, but there seems another
                  Message 8 of 9 , Jan 30, 2004
                  • 0 Attachment
                    >2. Themistius is said to have denied that time has a reality of its own
                    >(phusis oikeia).
                    >3. Boethus is said to complain that a measure has no existence in reality
                    >(hupo tes phuseos).

                    comments have been quite interesting on this question, and i certainly don't
                    mean to stymie discussion by raising the following, but there seems another
                    kind of answer which is simply this:

                    of course 'phusis' does not literally translate to 'existence' or 'reality',
                    but isn't part of the job of a translator to try best to grant readers
                    access to the idea (and not the individual words) being conveyed in the
                    original text?

                    granted, perhaps some footnoting is helpful in cases where one translates
                    'hupo tes phuseos' as 'existence in reality', but that aside, it seems the
                    translation is helpful in getting across the point

                    what would a better translation of 'hupo tes phuseos' be (note: a better
                    translation which gives readers a chance of understanding the point)?


                    sarah pessin

                    _________________________________________________________________
                    Learn how to choose, serve, and enjoy wine at Wine @ MSN.
                    http://wine.msn.com/
                  • ytl
                    It seems clear that in any discussion in the Platonic and neoplatonic contexts, a hypostasis stands below some higher entity. Obviously the ultimate entity is
                    Message 9 of 9 , Jan 31, 2004
                    • 0 Attachment
                      It seems clear that in any discussion in the Platonic and neoplatonic
                      contexts, a hypostasis stands below some higher entity. Obviously the
                      ultimate entity is real, but whether the hypostases are real, or how real
                      they may be, must be clarified. If these hypostases are called ousia, then
                      they are real, insofar as a substance does exist. But in the passage I cited
                      from Sorabji, ousia does not appear.

                      Speaking specifically of time, we can get a good idea of the possible
                      terminological embroilments--but also the possibility of clear Engllish
                      expression without misleading translations--from this passage in Sambursky's
                      essay, in the introduction to Sambursky and Pines, The Concept of time in
                      Late Neoplatonism, p. 12:

                      "...with Iamblichus, there began a radically new conception,
                      substantializing time as a hypostatic entity of its own in a way that
                      differed from anything said before of the nature of time."

                      Well, here we have just about all of the buzz words that have come up in
                      this discussion--except reality. A nitpicker could have fun with the
                      combination of substantializing and hypostasis, given that substans is the
                      literal translation of hypostasis. But I won't do that, nor will I pick on
                      the phrase, "the nature of time" (remember phusis?), because that's not
                      fair. In fact Sambursky's explanation is far clearer than anything I can get
                      out of Iamblichus. Moreover, the discussions in my medieval Arabic souces
                      follow Sambursky quite well, rephrasing (or anticipating) some of his
                      explications.

                      In sum: if time is a substance it is real. Fakhr al-Din al-Razi says that
                      according to Plato, time is a jawhar, or substance. If it is a hypostasis,
                      its reality is unclear. In fact, Fakhr al-Din, following (sorry,
                      anticipating) Sambursky, points to the ambivalence of the middle entity in
                      Iamblichus system. If it is real, we can perhaps speak of its nature--unless
                      it be one of those higher hypostases that are above nature.

                      Tzvi Langermann
                      Dept of Arabic
                      Bar Ilan University
                      Ramat Gan, ISRAEL
                      tel: 972-2-673-7837
                      fax: 972-2-673-3480
                    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.