Plotinus on That Guy in Your Philosophy Seminar

Plotinus, Ennead 6.7

And the following cannot be dismissed, what some super-cranky man might say, that “you people, why do you puff yourselves up and down with words, claiming that life is good, saying that thought is good, and that there is something beyond these things? Why should thought be good? Or what that is good can the thinker of the ideal forms derive while he hunts for each of them? If he is deceived and feels pleasure in them, well then he might soon say that it is god and that life is because it is pleasant.

But what if he remains in a state free of pleasure, why would he call them good? Is it just because this exists? What difference could there be in existing or totally not existing, unless someone establishes affinity for these things as the cause for it? Then, he would have to concede that the good of these things is posited because of this natural kind of deception and fear of the loss of these things.”

κἀκεῖνο δὲ οὐκ ἀφετέον, ὃ τάχ᾿ ἄν τις δυσχεραντικὸς ἀνὴρ εἴποι, ὡς “ὑμεῖς, ὦ οὗτοι, τί δὴ ἀποσεμνύνετε τοῖς ὀνόμασιν ἄνω καὶ κάτω ζωὴν20ἀγαθὸν λέγοντες καὶ νοῦν ἀγαθὸν λέγοντες καί τι ἐπέκεινα τούτων; τί γὰρ ἂν καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἀγαθὸν εἴη; ἢ τί ὁ νοῶν τὰ εἴδη αὐτὰ ἀγαθὸν ἔχοι αὐτὸ ἕκαστον θερῶν; ἠπατημένος μὲν γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἡδόμενος ἐπὶ τούτοις τάχα ἂν ἀγαθὸν λέγοι καὶ τὴν ζωὴν ἡδεῖαν οὖσαν· στὰς δ᾿ ἐν 25τῷ ἀνήδονος εἶναι διὰ τί ἂν φήσειν ἀγαθά; ἢ τὸ αὐτὸν εἶναι; τί γαρ ἂν ἐκ τοῦ εἶναι καρπώσαιτο; ἢ τί ἂν διαφέροι ἐν τῷ εἶναι ἢ ὅλως μὴ εἶναι, εἰ μή τις τὴν πρὸς αὑτὸν φιλίαν αἰτίαν τούτων θεῖτο; ὥστε διὰ ταύτην τὴν ἀπάτην φυσικὴν οὖσαν καὶ τὸν φόβον τῆς φθορᾶς τὴν 30τῶν ἀγαθῶν νομισθῆναι θέσιν.”

Image result for medieval manuscript classroom
From this website.

Gendered Knowledge and the Impossibility of Love?

Plato, Alcibiades 127a-c

Socrates: Hey, Alcibiades, do you think that a man can agree with a woman about wool-working when he doesn’t know anything about it and she does?

Alcibiades: Not. At. All.

Soc. Yeah, that’s not right at all. For that’s a woman’s kind of learning.

Alc. Yup.

Soc. What about this: Can a woman agree with a man about being a soldier when she hasn’t learned anything about it?

Alc. Not. At. All.

Soc. So, perhaps you would say that that is a masculine kind a knowledge.

Alc. Yes I would.

Soc. So according to your argument there are women’s types of knowledge and men’s kinds of knowledge?

Alc. How wouldn’t there be?

Soc. So in these matters, then, there’s no agreement between women and men?

Alc. Nope.

Soc. And there’s no love, if love is truly agreement?

Alc. It does not seem so.

Soc. So, because they do their own thing, women are not loved by men?

Alk. I guess not.

Soc. And men aren’t loved by women, because they do their own thing?

Alk. Nope.

 

ΣΩ. Οἴει ἂν οὖν, ὦ Ἀλκιβιάδη, ἄνδρα γυναικὶ περὶ ταλασιουργίας δύνασθαι ὁμονοεῖν, τὸν μὴ ἐπιστάμενον τῇ ἐπισταμένῃ;

ΑΛΚ. Οὐ δῆτα.

ΣΩ. Οὐδέ γε δεῖ οὐδέν· γυναικεῖον γὰρ τοῦτό γε μάθημα.

ΑΛΚ. Ναί.

ΣΩ. Τί δέ; γυνὴ ἀνδρὶ περὶ ὁπλιτικῆς δύναιτ᾿ ἂν ὁμονοεῖν μὴ μαθοῦσα;

ΑΛΚ. Οὐ δῆτα.

ΣΩ. Ἀνδρεῖον γὰρ τοῦτο γε ἴσως αὖ φαίης ἂν εἶναι.

ΑΛΚ. Ἔγωγε.

ΣΩ. Ἔστιν ἄρα τὰ μὲν γυναικεῖα, τὰ δὲ ἀνδρεῖα μαθήματα κατὰ τὸν σὸν λόγον.

ΑΛΚ. Πῶς δ᾿ οὔ;

ΣΩ. Οὐκ ἄρα ἔν γε τούτοις ἐστὶν ὁμόνοια γυναιξὶ πρὸς ἄνδρας.

ΑΛΚ. Οὔ.

ΣΩ. Οὐδ᾿ ἄρα φιλία, εἴπερ ἡ φιλία ὁμόνοια ἦν.

ΑΛΚ. Οὐ φαίνεται.

ΣΩ. Ἧι ἄρα αἱ γυναῖκες τὰ αὑτῶν πράττουσιν, οὐ φιλοῦνται ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνδρῶν.

ΑΛΚ. Οὐκ ἔοικεν.

ΣΩ. Οὐδ᾿ ἄρα οἱ ἄνδρες ὑπὸ τῶν γυναικῶν, ᾗ τὰ αὑτῶν.

ΑΛΚ. Οὔ.

Women working with wool, scenes on an Attic black-figure lekythos of the third quarter of the VI century B.C. in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Right, spinning; left, folding woven cloth. F. Chamoux, La civilisation grecque, Paris, 1963, fig. 143.
Black figure Lekythos, MET

The Opposite of Wisdom?

Plato, Alcibiades 2

Socrates: “I suppose you remember agreeing that madness is the opposite of wisdom?

Alkibiades: Yes, I do…

Soc. And isn’t it also the case that there is no third stage in the middle which makes a person neither wise nor mad?

Alk. I agreed to that too.

Soc. For, clearly, there how could there be two opposites for a single thing?!

Alk. Yeah, that’s not happening.

Soc. So, then, foolishness and madness run the risk of being the same thing.

Alk. It appears so.”

ΣΩ. Οὐκοῦν μέμνησαι ὁμολογήσας ὑπεναντίον εἶναι μανίαν φρονήσει;
ΑΛΚ. Ἔγωγε.
ΣΩ. Οὐκοῦν καὶ μηδὲν εἶναι διὰ μέσου τρίτον πάθος, ὃ ποιεῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον μήτε φρόνιμον μήτε ἄφρονα εἶναι;
ΑΛΚ. Ὡμολόγησα γάρ.
ΣΩ. Καὶ μὴν δύο γε ὑπεναντία ἑνὶ πράγματι πῶς ἂν εἴη;
ΑΛΚ. Οὐδαμῶς.
ΣΩ. Ἀφροσύνη ἄρα καὶ μανία κινδυνεύει ταὐτὸν εἶναι.
ΑΛΚ. Φαίνεται.

Image found here

Plotinus on That Guy in Your Philosophy Seminar

Plotinus, Ennead 6.7

And the following cannot be dismissed, what some super-cranky man might say, that “you people, why do you puff yourselves up and down with words, claiming that life is good, saying that thought is good, and that there is something beyond these things? Why should thought be good? Or what that is good can the thinker of the ideal forms derive while he hunts for each of them? If he is deceived and feels pleasure in them, well then he might soon say that it is god and that life is because it is pleasant.

But what if he remains in a state free of pleasure, why would he call them good? Is it just because this exists? What difference could there be in existing or totally not existing, unless someone establishes affinity for these things as the cause for it? Then, he would have to concede that the good of these things is posited because of this natural kind of deception and fear of the loss of these things.”

κἀκεῖνο δὲ οὐκ ἀφετέον, ὃ τάχ᾿ ἄν τις δυσχεραντικὸς ἀνὴρ εἴποι, ὡς “ὑμεῖς, ὦ οὗτοι, τί δὴ ἀποσεμνύνετε τοῖς ὀνόμασιν ἄνω καὶ κάτω ζωὴν20ἀγαθὸν λέγοντες καὶ νοῦν ἀγαθὸν λέγοντες καί τι ἐπέκεινα τούτων; τί γὰρ ἂν καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἀγαθὸν εἴη; ἢ τί ὁ νοῶν τὰ εἴδη αὐτὰ ἀγαθὸν ἔχοι αὐτὸ ἕκαστον θερῶν; ἠπατημένος μὲν γὰρ ἂν καὶ ἡδόμενος ἐπὶ τούτοις τάχα ἂν ἀγαθὸν λέγοι καὶ τὴν ζωὴν ἡδεῖαν οὖσαν· στὰς δ᾿ ἐν 25τῷ ἀνήδονος εἶναι διὰ τί ἂν φήσειν ἀγαθά; ἢ τὸ αὐτὸν εἶναι; τί γαρ ἂν ἐκ τοῦ εἶναι καρπώσαιτο; ἢ τί ἂν διαφέροι ἐν τῷ εἶναι ἢ ὅλως μὴ εἶναι, εἰ μή τις τὴν πρὸς αὑτὸν φιλίαν αἰτίαν τούτων θεῖτο; ὥστε διὰ ταύτην τὴν ἀπάτην φυσικὴν οὖσαν καὶ τὸν φόβον τῆς φθορᾶς τὴν 30τῶν ἀγαθῶν νομισθῆναι θέσιν.”

Image result for medieval manuscript classroom
From this website.

Sneezing Your Way Toward Virtue: Socrates’ Divine Inspiration

Plutarch’s De Genio Socratis (“On the Sign of Socrates”) differs from much of the work lumped together in his Moralia in that (1) it is a dialogue not a treatise and (2) it is historical, set around 379 BCE. In it, a group debates events around the rise of Theban hegemony; but they also argue about whether or not Socrates had special communiques from the gods.

“My father interrupted and said ‘Galaxidoros, I myself have heard instead from a certain Megarian, who heard it from Terpsion, that Socrates’ divine sign was a sneeze, either his own or one from others. So, when someone sneezed on his right side, whether in front of him or behind him, he went to action there; if on the left, he turned away.  One of his own sneezes was a confirmation either to continue what he was about to do or to stop if it happened after he had begun.

But it seems surprising that Socrates would use a sneeze as such a sign and yet he used to tell his friends that it was a divine signal that hindered or encouraged him, and not that. This, my friend, is some kind of empty and meaningless claim, not one of truth and simplicity which we might credit as true in a great man who differed from so many, that he might be so dumfounded by a voice from without or some sneeze that he would refrain from action and give up something he had planned.’ ”

ὑπολαβὼν δ’ ὁ πατήρ ‘ἀλλὰ μήν’ ἔφη ‘καὶ αὐτός, ὦ Γαλαξίδωρε, Μεγαρικοῦ τινος ἤκουσα, Τερψίωνος δὲ ἐκεῖνος, ὅτι τὸ Σωκράτους δαιμόνιον πταρμὸς ἦν, ὅ τε παρ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ ὁ παρ’ ἄλλων. ἑτέρου μὲν γὰρ πταρόντος ἐκ δεξιᾶς εἴτ’ ὄπισθεν εἴτ’ ἔμπροσθεν ὁρμᾶν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὴν πρᾶξιν, εἰ δ’ ἐξ ἀριστερᾶς, ἀποτρέπεσθαι· τῶν δ’ αὐτοῦ πταρμῶν τὸν μὲν ἔτι μέλλοντος βεβαιοῦν τὸν δ’ ἤδη πράσσοντος ἐπέχειν καὶ κωλύειν τὴν ὁρμήν. ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνό μοι δοκεῖ θαυμαστόν, εἰ πταρμῷ χρώμενος οὐ τοῦτο τοῖς ἑταίροις ἀλλὰ δαιμόνιον εἶναι τὸ κωλῦον ἢ κελεῦον ἔλεγε· τύφου γὰρ ἂν ἦν τινος, ὦ φίλε, κενοῦ καὶ κόμπου τὸ τοιοῦτον, οὐκ ἀληθείας καὶ ἁπλότητος οἷς τὸν ἄνδρα μέγαν ὡς ἀληθῶς καὶ διαφέροντα τῶν πολλῶν γεγονέναι δοκοῦμεν, ὑπὸ φωνῆς ἔξωθεν ἢ πταρμοῦ τινος ὁπηνίκα τύχοι θορυβούμενον ἐκ τῶν πράξεων ἀνατρέπεσθαι καὶ προΐεσθαι τὸ δεδογμένον.