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TSE  August 2013

TSE August 2013

Subject:

Re: TWL as ground.

From:

Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sat, 24 Aug 2013 06:04:21 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (295 lines)

See Ellen Meiksins Wood, _Peasant Citizen & Slave: The Foundations of Athenian Democracy_.

C

> -----Original Message-----
> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of P
> Sent: Saturday, August 24, 2013 1:23 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: TWL as ground.
> 
> And Aristotle?
> P.
> 
> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> >As an antidote to Plato I would suggest Damasio, Descartes' [sic] Error.
> >
> >Plato's epistemology is grounded in his politics. Implicit in all the
> >dialogues (and explicit in most) is the analogy between the person and the
> >state, and this analogy depends on a radical separation of thought and
> >action / brain (mind) and body. Deny this separation and the argument in
> >this dialogue is empty.
> >
> >Carrol
> >
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> >> Behalf Of Tom Colket
> >> Sent: Friday, August 23, 2013 2:30 PM
> >> To: [log in to unmask]
> >> Subject: FW: TWL as ground.
> >>
> >>
> >> In case anyone is interseted, I found a 2008 post of mine in the TSE
> >archives
> >> in which I explored the topic of Phlebas in more depth. I'm re-posting it
> >> below.
> >>
> >>
> >> -- Tom --
> >>
> >> =======================================
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> Subject: Re: Dans le Restaurant
> >>
> >>
> >> From: Tom Colket [log in to unmask]
> >>
> >>
> >> Reply-To: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.
> >>
> >>
> >> Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 11:43:49 -0400
> >>
> >>
> >> 10/9/08
> >>
> >> In an essay on "Dans le Restaurant", William Arrowsmith asserts that the
> >> name "Phlebas" is a reference to one of the dialogues of Plato, namely,
> >> the "Philebus". It is interesting to note that the name "Philebus" means
> >> "youth lover".
> >>
> >> I've read the dialogue, and it certainly contains lines that directly
> >> relate to some of the themes of the poem that we have been discussing.
> >> For example, the poetic reference to Phlebas as being 'handsome and
> >> tall' seems to come almost verbatim from passage 48d and 48e cited later
> >> in this email.
> >>
> >> Before I get into specific passages, I'll note that I'm using the
> >> on-line translation from http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/. Search for
> >> "Philebus" to bring up the lines cited in this email.
> >>
> >> The basic discussion in this Plato dialogue is between Philebus, who
> >> argues that pleasure is the greatest good, and Socrates, who argues that
> >> the greatest good is found in things like wisdom and knowledge and
> >> memory.
> >>
> >> Here is a statement of the main issue of the dialogue:
> >>
> >> --------------------
> >> [11b]
> >> Socrates
> >> Very well: Philebus says that to all living beings enjoyment and
> >> pleasure and gaiety and whatever accords with that sort of thing are a
> >> good; whereas our contention is that not these, but wisdom and thought
> >> and memory and their kindred, right opinion and true reasonings,
> >> [11c] are better and more excellent than pleasure for all who are
> >> capable of taking part in them, and that for all those now existing or
> >> to come who can partake of them they are the most advantageous of all
> >> things. Those are pretty nearly the two doctrines we maintain, are they
> >> not, Philebus?
> >>
> >> Philebus
> >> Yes, Socrates, exactly.
> >> ------------------------------
> >>
> >> I found it interesting that "memory" is a topic of the dialogue. In
> >> "Dans", the waiter is haunted by a childhood memory that lasted for only
> >> an "instant of power and delirium" but that he has remembered his entire
> >> adult life. Also, Plebas, in death, is noted as "forgetting" the
> >> adventure/money/sex that drove him during his lifetime.
> >>
> >> Here is a passage about memory from "Philebus", where Socrates points
> >> out that the **memory** of pleasure is as important a component as the
> >> original pleasure itself:
> >>
> >> ----------------------------
> >> [21c] Socrates
> >> And likewise, if you had no memory you could not even remember that
> you
> >> ever did enjoy pleasure, and no recollection whatever of present
> >> pleasure could remain with you; if you had no true opinion you could not
> >> think you were enjoying pleasure at the time when you were enjoying it,
> >> and if you were without power of calculation you would not be able to
> >> calculate that you would enjoy it in the future; your life would not be
> >> that of a man, but of a mollusc or some other shell-fish like the
> >> oyster.
> >> --------------------------------
> >>
> >>
> >> In this next passage, the point is made that 'desire' comes from a
> >> person's soul, not from the needs of the body:
> >> -------------------------------------
> >> [34e]
> >> Socrates
> >> We say of a thing on any particular occasion, "it's thirsty," do we not?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Of course.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> And that means being empt[35a] Socrates
> >> Of drink, or of being filled with drink?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Of being filled, I suppose.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> The man, then, who is empty desires, as it appears, the opposite of what
> >> he feels for, being empty, he longs to be filled.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> That is very plain.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> Well then, is there any source from which a man who is empty at first
> >> can gain a comprehension, whether by perception or by memory, of
> >> fulness, a thing which he does not feel at the time and has never felt
> >> before?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> It cannot be done.
> >>
> >> [35b] Socrates
> >> And yet he who desires, desires something, we say.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Of course.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> And he does not desire that which he feels; for he is thirsty, and that
> >> is emptiness, but he desires fulness.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Yes.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> Then somehow some part of him who is thirsty can apprehend fulness.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Yes, obviously.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> But it cannot be the body, for that is empty.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> True.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> The only remaining possibility is that the soul apprehends it,
> >> [35c] which it must do by means of memory; for what other means could
> it
> >> employ?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> No other, I should say.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> And do we understand the consequences of this argument?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> What are the consequences?
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> This argument declares that we have no bodily desire.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> How so?
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> Because it shows that the endeavor of every living being is always
> >> towards the opposite of the actual conditions of the body.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Yes, certainly.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> And the impulse which leads towards the opposite of those conditions
> >> shows that there is a memory of the opposite of the conditions.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Certainly.
> >>
> >> [35d] Socrates
> >> And the argument, by showing that memory is that which leads us
> towards
> >> the objects of desire, has proved that all the impulse, the desire, and
> >> the ruling principle in every living being are of the soul.
> >> ----------------------------------------------------------
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> In this section, the point is made that people fool themselves with
> >> false ideas about money, their physical appearance, and their own
> >> virtue. This passage seems highly likely to be the intended allusion of
> >> Phlebas being 'handsome and tall'. In this passage, it is stated that
> >> people falsely regard themselves to be more handsome or taller than they
> >> really are:
> >>
> >> -----------------------------------------------
> >> [48d].
> >> Socrates
> >> Must not all those who do not know themselves be affected by their
> >> condition in one of three ways?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> How is that?
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> First in regard to wealth; such a man thinks he is
> >> [48e]
> >>  richer than he is.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Certainly a good many are affected in that way.
> >>
> >> Socrates
> >> And there are still more who think they are taller and handsomer than
> >> they are and that they possess better physical qualities in general than
> >> is the case.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Certainly.
> >>
> >> [49a] Socrates
> >> But by far the greatest number, I fancy, err in the third way, about the
> >> qualities of, the soul, thinking that they excel in virtue when they do
> >> not.
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Yes, most decidedly.
> >> --------------------------------------
> >>
> >>
> >> Finally, near the end of the dialogue, Socrates sums up the points made
> >> about pleasure versus wisdom:
> >>
> >>
> >> -----------------------------
> >> [60a]
> >> Socrates
> >> Philebus says that pleasure is the true goal of every living being and
> >> that all ought to aim at it, and that therefore this is also the good
> >> for all, and the two designations "good" and "pleasant" are properly and
> >> essentially one; Socrates, however, says that they are not one,
> >> [60b]
> >> but two in fact as in name, that the good and the pleasant differ from
> >> one another in nature, and that wisdom's share in the good is greater
> >> than pleasure's. Is not and was not that what was said, Protarchus?
> >>
> >> Protarchus
> >> Yes, certainly.
> >> ----------------------------------
> >>
> >>  I hope these passages stimulate some interesting discussions.
> >>
> >> -- Tom --
> >>

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