Cratylus

 

Aristotle [384-322 BCE], National Museum, Athens.

In old Athens, they were giving Aristotle a hard time. The philosophers in the generation before Aristotle, more alert to the Self-Loop, refused to give the Principle of Contradiction the status of ‘Law’.

And this, Aristotle thought was just not fair. [Modern Scientists and Philosophers are made of tougher stuff. They don’t wait for approval from any Village-Elder.]

‘The First Principle of Rational Knowledge’ Aristotle called it. He, after all, founded Classical Logic as we know it.

In Metaphysics, Aristotle complains:

Those who are genuinely perplexed believe…[the] co-presence of contraries is an elementary fact..

So Anaxagoras declares everything to be mingled in everything else.. Democritus too says that the Void and the Plenum are alike present in any part..

Empedocles say’s: ‘As men themselves changed, so came a corresponding change of mind.’ Homer too is said apparently to have held the same opinion.

Parmenides declares himself..in the same way: ‘What fills [Man’s] body fills his thought.’

Xenophanes [who was the teacher of Parmenides] seems not to have understood..material or formal explanation, but gazing at the whole sky says: ‘Unity is God!’.

And from this conviction there blossomed the most extreme of their doctrines, the philosophy of Heraclitus as held by Cratylus, who finally thought one ought not to speak at all, but simply pointed his finger and censured Heraclitus for saying that it is impossible to step into the same river twice- for he himself believed that one could not do so even once.’

 


Logic, as the Greeks knew and in contrast to the forgetfulness of their modern inheritors, begins in the presumptions of Ontology. Along with the Principle of Contradiction, they form the foundational origins of the subject.

The old geezers around the fountain in ancient Athens were a tough, stubborn bunch. They did the same thing, refusing to grant the status of ‘Law’ to the other fundamental principle of Modern Science: the Principle of Induction. See ‘The Laws of Science‘.

If the Parmenides laid bare the innocence of the modern academic thinker on the pervasive infiltration of the Self-Loop, his interpretation of Plato’s Cratylus confirms his incomprehension on the nature of the originating and referencing nature of Sign and Symbol, the snares of NamaRupa [literally ‘Name and Shape’, a conceptual grab.]

Cratylus and Socrates are the two preeminent influences on Plato and his authoring of his Dialogues, itself a founding text of Academic Philosophy.

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