[hist-analytic] The Dawn of Analysis
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Feb 14 22:07:40 EST 2009
Q: What's your opinion on the future of analytic philosophy?
A: You mean _me_ qua analytic philosopher?
-- in Aristotle's Prior Analytics!
"hêi" (Pr.Anal. 49a11-b2, Met. Z 1003a21)
-- No, reader, this is not a boring stretch on philology!
It's about the DAWN of Analysis in Aristotle!
Isn't Byrne (cited below) _right_ when he goes to the core of what
Aristotle means by 'analyse' an argument in terms of 'muddled', 'enthymemic'
premisses. And would it surprise you if an Aristotelian scholar like Anscombe
mis-read him, too?
'hei', qua, and "sub specie"
S. R. B. In a message dated 2/14/2009 in "qua".
>There is some good stuff here. I am going to focus on 'qua'. In particular,
>Aristotle Pr. Anal. 49a11-b2. in connection with what I said earlier
>about Anscombe (Collected Papers vol. III. p. 208.) along with some of
>There is a sort of logical "forcing" of the modifier ('qua') to
>the major premise
> very particular syntactic facts.
So here is Aristotle's text with my comments (by courtesy of R. B. Jones --
online available). My, it may be good stuff, but a bit dry for a Saturday
night! (Just joking).
I'm pleased Aristotle uses 'qua'. I enjoyed his example
"man is perishable qua an object of sense"
which I'd take to be equivalent to
"man, qua an object of sense, is perishable"
----- so there _seems_ to be some 'syntactic freedom' of the qua, but as you
say, Aristotle is clear that he wants the 'qualification' or expansion to be
'included' in the subject-term.
I found this link below: an online book by Byrne on Analysis in Aristotle,
that quotes the passage (found it googling for 'qua an object of sense' -- for
surely that's an Aristotelian hapax legomenon, almost!):
Analysis and Science in Aristotle - Google Books Result by Patrick Hugh
Byrne - 1997 - Philosophy - 303 pages
... or goat-stag an object of knowledge qua not existing, or man perishable
qua an object of sense: in every case in which an addition \qua . ...
Of course I'm trying to trace the Greek for 'qua', for surely the ablative
feminine (of Latin qua) _beats_ me! (I also notice that Anscombe Coll. Pap. 2,
p. 208 is on the 'double effect', right? Found some online discussion of
that, but it's _so_ catholic! :)).
Byrne is right in finding this all Gricean!
Aristotle, like Grice, is into 'enthymeme', 'implicit reasoning' made
explicit! -- for what can be more explicit than adding 'qua this' and 'qua that'?
If people were ever so careful!
---- Although the man being perishable qua an object of sense beats me!
It's like reading one of the Mitfords (qua duchess of Devonshire), "I was
annoyed by the review to the film -- 'sport' 'qua enjoyable activity'. For what
other 'qua' can we think of? I cannot see how 'man' can NOT be perishable, --
'object of sense' confuses me in that I wouldn't think the Greeks had a
developed epistemology like _that_!
"a term which is repeated in the premisses ought to be
joined to the first extreme, not to the middle. I mean for example
that if a syllogism should be made proving that
There is knowledge of justice,
that it is good.
'that it is good'
should be joined to the first term. Let
knowledge that it is good
It is true to predicate A of B.
For of the good there is knowledge that it is good.
Also it is true to predicate B of C.
For justice is identical with a good.
In this way an analysis of the argument can be made.
But if the expression
'that it is good'
were added to B, the conclusion will not follow:
for A will be true of B, but B will not be true of C.
For to predicate of justice the term
'good that it is good'
************Byrne 'modernises' the syllogism as:
1. Of all good there is knowledge that it is good
2. All justice is good
3. Therefore, of all justice there is knowledge that it is good.
(Byrne, op. cit., p. 63).
Byrne goes on to say that this is perhaps 'trickier in English' than Greek,
and uses symbolism:
B1, "good that it is good"
Byrne quotes from the other illustrations of this type of 'ambiguity' given
by Aristotle. The illustrations concern
and my 'favourite'
-- 'man' 'an object of sense', 'perishable'.
"Similarly if it should be proved that
the healthy is an
object of knowledge qua good,
of goat-stag an
object of knowledge qua non-existing
qua an object of sense:
in every case in which an addition is made to the predicate, the addition
must be joined to the extreme.
Apparently, Prof. Baeck has written on these 'qua propositions', "in which
Aristotelianism abounds" he notes!
the 'qua' is in Greek, apparently, 'hei', and this leads me to whom Grice
calls 'the greatest living philosopher' in "Logic and Conversation, i": Martin
On Heidegger and Language - Google Books Result by Joseph J. Kockelmans -
1980 - Philosophy - 380 pages
... expression commonly used in referring to beings as the subject matter of
metaphysics : to on hei on. The expression is ambiguous in more than one
This above in connection with
theorei to on hei on (Met, Z, 1003a 21). metaphysics as 'the theory of being
The position of the terms is not the same when something
is established without qualification and when it is
qualified by some attribute or condition, e g. when
the good is proved to be
an object of knowledge and when it is proved to be an object of
knowledge that it is good. If it has been proved to be
an object of knowledge without qualification,
we must put as middle term 'that which is', but if we add the
qualification 'that it is good', the middle term must be 'that which is something'.
Let A stand for 'knowledge that it is something', B stand for 'something', and
C stand for 'good'. It is true to predicate A of B: for ex hypothesi there
is a science of that which is something, that it is something. B too is true
of C: for that which C represents is something. Consequently A is true of C:
there will then be knowledge of the good, that it is good: for ex hypothesi
the term 'something' indicates the thing's special nature. But if 'being' were
taken as middle and 'being' simply were joined to the extreme, not 'being
something', we should not have had a syllogism proving that there is knowledge
of the good, that it is good, but that it is; e.g. let A stand for knowledge
that it is, B for being, C for good. Clearly then in syllogisms which are thus
limited we must take the terms in the way stated.
--- Well, one problem with Aristotle -- I've been told -- is that he tends
to _murder_ the Greek (my intuitions are hardly native there, so how could I
tell?). I wouldn't be surprised if this 'hei' is idiolectal. Although it is
better, and more polite, as S. R. Bayne says, to see Aristotle as "forcing"
things here and there! It has also been said that perhaps not so much
'idiolectal' but plain 'dialectal', as he is using a sort of Northern Greek dialect.
Must say I _like_ the 'qua', though.
Bayne is right that this may connect with Davidson -- D. Frederick has been
defending Davidson's 'action-sentences'. If we follow a Davidsonian approach,
then it seems to be _all_ about 'qua' if not 'intentions'? (I'm speaking
Another phrase with the proper 'scholastic' tones is 'sub specie...'. If we
treat primary substances, then it's things like _me_ or _you_ than can get
qualified qua this or qua that:
Steve, the stage manager, fired the employee, JL.
But Anscombe seems to be wanting to apply the 'qua' to 'descriptions' not of
this and that (primary substances, Aristotle, 'tode') but notably other
categories (actions qua qualifications of primary substances).
I must say that the goat-stage example puzzles me. Surely 'non-existent',
but necessarily so? Don't think so. Look at modern genetics!
It's odd, but understandable, that Aristotle was obsessed with 'qua' as it
applied to especially _two_ words: the "good" (cfr. above Byrne for B1 and B2
-- and the alleged 'ambiguity' of 'good') and "is" -- for the latter, I am
with Code and Grice in using, instead izzing and hazzing for whatever it was
that Aristotle found ambiguous in Greek!
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