[hist-analytic] Zeno's Epicheiremata -- The Oxford Revival
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Jlsperanza at aol.com
Sat Jul 18 10:16:10 EDT 2009
S. R. Bayne comments interestingly on R. B. Jones's ref. to Aristotle.
>>We have these two kinds of predication (essential and accidental)
>>which involve "terms", which, if Aristotle's syllogistic logic
>>is to be sound cannot be empty. However syllogistic reasoning
>>is not sound (it seems) for accidental (or inter categorial)
>>predication anyway so its not clear how much weight one
>>can place on Aristotle's logic when considering his metaphysics.
>the predication issue really goes back to Plato's
>_Sophist_. Kneale and Kneale, actually,
>locate the origins of the syllogism by going back to this.
>_The Development of Logic_.
Beautiful. I always enjoyed Kneale (a Rylean, I think!) having giving those
lectures in Oxford as -- to me the more euphonic title, "The _growth_ of
I _think_ it may relate to Zeno's famous book, as per header, the
"Epicheirema". Apparently, one of the oldest books ever written by a philosopher.
Now, I don't know what Davidson would say of 'saying that' as applied to
the Pre-Socratics, but all those 'disquotational' remarks don't do, seeing
that the Greeks didn't have a proper grammar full with quotation marks in the
So, I understand, what we do know is that "Zeno, in his epicheiremata
[singular, epicheirema], suggest a "he eis to adunaton apagoge", _reductio_ not
necessarily _ad absurdum_ but more exactly, to the 'transconsistent'. The
standard 'indirect proof' that Grice uses in "Vacuous Names" for:
(~, +) p p
If ____ and ________, ~p
-- If I'm correct, this may relate to Bayne's connection with 'predication'
in the Sophist. The issues involved in the subtleties of Greek grammar
here have been, in my view, _best_ treated by (my once correspondent) David
Bostock, of Merton -- the greatest logician that ever lived [in Merton! -- I
love him]. In "The Journal of Ancient Philosophy", I think the title of the
journal is, he wrote on "Plato on 'is-not'" and the essay is full of the
classicist's delight of chapter and verse.
Wiggins, whose portrait at the Ryle Group (shouldn't we have an "Austin"
group -- it does look like a bit of a mixed bad --) one can see online --
very handsome man --, did contribute to a Vlastos compilation on 'negation'.
When I was researching on Grice, -- and reading Chapman -- she notes, words
to that effect, he felt he was a DIS-senting rationalist. Indeed, as
"Prejudices and Predilections" has it, an 'irreverent, dissenting conservative"
(or words to that effect). And it amuses me that the FIRST ever publication
by Grice that remains is one entitled, "No!" -- almost! i.e. "Negation"
(his account is 'verificationist' though but makes some good pragmatic
points), i.e. a sort of Zenoan 'epicheirema' -- with a vengeance. (Grice returned
to 'Negation' early in 1961, etc.)
The topic of negation has a long history in 20th. Oxford philosophy
starting with an infamous symposium by Mabbott (of St. John's) and Ryle, in the
annals of the Aristotelian Society. Mabbott recalls in "Oxford Memories"
that's how he met 'Witters' -- and a bit of a shock he gave him, as I recall.
Diogenes's bio of Zeno is on the gossipy side, "He was a _tall_ man", he
said with some reverence. And so was Grice, there! (Diog. adds: "And
Aristotle, in his Sophist [sic] says that he was the inventor of dialectics".
Why predication and negation? Well, for
Parmenides-Zeno-Plato-Aristotle-Grice etc. it is _true_ to say
It is not the case that Pegasus flies.
since, well, nodoby has ever seen him fly -- let alone _him_. For Strawson
('terrific' as he was, I agree!) that's a presupposition-, ground-less
thing to say, rather!) -- And if _one_ thing motivated Grice to deliver the
"Logic and Conversation" lectures was Strawson's 'misunderstandings' (if
that's the word) of his (Grice's) teaching logic to Strawson back at St. John's
before the 'Phoney' War. ('Phoney' very ironic and well meant seeing that,
counterfactually, we should not be talking about them even as _unphoney_ as
J. L. Speranza
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