Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rethink reads “Modern Science, Metaphysics, and Mathematics”.
In ancient times there was a famous Greek scholar who traveled everywhere lecturing. Such people were called Sophists. This famous Sophist, returning to Athens once from a lecture tour in Asia Minor, met Socrates on the street. It was Socrates’ habit to hang around on the street and talk with people, for example, with a cobbler about what a shoe is. Socrates had no other topic than what the things are. “Are you still standing there,” condescendingly asked the much-traveled Sophist of Socrates, “and still saying the same thing about the same thing?” “Yes,” answered Socrates, “that I am. But you who are so extremely smart, you never say the same thing about the same thing.”
I do say that Socrates possessed the beings based on this story and a few other passages in the Memorabilia. But we need not go that far to understand the importance of mathemata. It seems he has mathemata, and they are probably apprehended natures. The relation between “being” and “nature:” “With Aristotle, however, this “force,” dynamis, the capacity for its motion, lies in the nature of the body itself”. Nature seems to be being in time, at the least (in Introduction to Metaphysics: nature is the thing’s striving toward being).

Is Hippias wrong to change his opinion? Not at all. Only: he was changing his opinion for money and thus moving from place to place. (We learn later in the essay that “nature” includes place. Bodies move toward the places they belong). The Socratic investigation: ask someone with a natural talent for doing or making something what he does or makes. The inquiry’s conclusion – the inquiry itself – only appears to be at hand.
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