Archive for December 2007

Lecture 45

9 December, 2007

Do these ideas really exist?  How did Plato know that these ideas exist?

Unfortunately apart from these two sentences the tape is blank!  This was the final tape – so this series of lectures has now come to an abrupt end.   Sorry!

Lecture 44

9 December, 2007

In connection what we were doing last time I handed out 1967 lecture point counter point – at this stage go back and read them and find how much more you get out of them. Page 5 of that lecture it says:

That does not mean we do not have a controversy on with the men of our time for the abandonment of metaphysically established substances [people don’t believe in substance any more, replaced by function, Prof Cassier, one of the great German minds …]

does not mean as so many moderns have gratuitously assumed that we are left with only an assortment of functional processes in this world which the special sciences are intended to explain. For in the first place It is the unity of things we experience when in life we turn our attention to rocks and trees and dogs and other human beings. We experience each of these things as a unity and not as an aggregate of a number of distinct functions by its very abstracting nature science cannot succeed by explaining this unity yet our experience of the unity remains to be explained. Moreover, when we reflect scientifically on several functional process that occur in all created things we discover that our experience is not just of a number of functions as an aggregate but iof an order in the functions, a functional coherence.

Our scientific analysis drives us beyond science to explain as men the unity of things to which this functional coherence points. Far from being a rehabilitation of the old metaphysics, with its doctrine of this is simply a persistent effort to to explain what occurs to us phenomenology in our experience. [There is no such thing as mind, mind is a substantialisation of a logical function with someother higher functions, a cluster of functions regarded as some underlying substance.] This state of affairs and this problem confronts every man.

The Greeks – I want to say something about the Greeks, before get on to Plato, to get onto the development after Plato before get on to the repristination of that later Greek thinking in the renaissance. Some of this is in 2nd lecture: p 65 – end of 2nd lecture Scriptural Religion and Political Tasks

The three classes of thinkers: resigned, conservative and radical believers.

In the way of what we have been talking about the most basic problem for any philosopher is how a man responds to the question: what is law? Law is the most fundamental problems of any system – not law in law school, but cosmic law, the whole of creation is subject to the law word of God.

We find that in every way, law for the numerical, for the spatial, the kinematic and so on.

Spoke of difference laws of the natural side, up to the psychically, in which the law for the functionality is embedded in the functionality, doesn’t mean function is the law, beginning with logical they are norm laws, they may be repudiated, they have to be positivised

Two differences, there is the law of religious concentration and we say it is this that we find now diversified in all these modal laws. The whole creation is subject to the law of God, called decrees, statutes etc in the OT.

You won’t have this pointed out to you in textbooks, but see that this is what is being talked about – there is a blindness in the discussion.

The Greek background: a coming together of two cult religions: natural and cultural. Through geographic, military expansion, though living side by side. The Greeks all that background have to recall, the early Greek philosophers have a simple ontology (read Relation of Bible to Learning – distortions of law p 77-85).

The earliest Greek philosophers, didn’t know God of the Scriptures, they don’t know a sovereign law giver. How could they have a correct view of the law? If the law if the word of the sovereign God? Every Greek philosopher thinks immanetistically about the law – up to Plato. The idea of substance hasn’t been developed. They talk about stuffs: fire, air, water, earth, fiery cloud (between fire and air) Aristotle just used the four. They always occur in this order. they see some kind of cosmic order. fire is identified with nous, mind, logical functions, rational thought. Firery cloud comes in as psuche, the psychical modality, feeling. The air pneuma relates to organic these become the sub-organic, for example water becomes blood, earth becomes flesh and rocky ground becomes bone. There is a kind of a cosmic order, it doesn’t go higher than the analytical.

The earliest Greeks were universalists. There were three answers to the question of the universal to the individual [universalism, individualism and partial universalism]. Most people think there are universalists or individualists: macrocosm and microcosm. These are individual things, perhaps just men, perhaps animals and men, sometimes plants, animals and men grouped together, but they are all macrocosm, there is only one macro-cosm the world of universal stuff. The macrocosm is the law for the individuals and the individuals are structured like individual things every individual, the microcosm, mimics the structure of the macrocosm.

Fire is not just fire, firery cloud, air water, earth, for we said was nous, universal nous, the big universe of heaven and earth is looked upon as a great big human being or a god, the universl is more long lasting, it abides through many generations of microcosm. Every microcosm resembles the structure of the macrocosm.

When talk about fire and nous, talk about divine nous, to which human nous corresponds. Lot of this in Plato and early Aristotle moisis Latin simulitudo.

The earliest Greek philosophers were subjectivists – they don’t know God and they don’t know his word, as God’s creatures in God’s world, they are uncomfortable, they sense the presence of law and they are driven to give answers for it. Where do they place the law? They don’t know the depth of the human person in his religiois concentration, the heart, they only have a number of different ways of functioning:

nous – analytical
psuche – sensitive

Somewhere there they must find law. As we saw, there are subject and object functions. Earliest Greek philosphers put law on the side of the subject function, they are subjectivists.

In that functional diversity they talk about the law – they only recognise subject functions. Look at Aristotle:

the warm and the dry – fire
the warm and the moist – air
the cold and the moist – water
the cold and the dry – earth

What are these warm, cold, moist? They are psychical object functions.

When we experience things we experience the basic subject functions in constitutive structure of things for sure. That what the earliest Greek philosophers talked about. They talked about fire, earth, air, water as “stuffs”, stuffs that are they experienced; they talked about them as things with certain subject functions.

Later Greeks, who we’ll call objectivists, who saw that fire is always accompanied by certain qualities had certain qualities associated with this stuff – the stuffs represent the basic subject functions, the qualities represent certain psychical object functions.

From Aristotle the stuffs are always accompanied by these qualities – the earliest philosophers hadn’t go to that yet. They hadn’t distinguished water as cold as being different from water. They hadn’t distinguished psychical object functions, so they can’t be described philosophically as objectivists.

Subjectivists locate the law in subject functions.
Objectivists locate the law in object functions.

After the Greek subjectivists came the objectivists. Objectivism was a richer – more complicated – ontology. They only knew a certain number of functions, but distinguished the subject and object. They placed the law in the object.

It is just as false as subjectivism, despite being more analysis or complicated. There is no such thing as mere analysis; functionings always comes from the heart, which is directed towards God or towards falsehood. We can’t arrive at truth by careful scientific analysis.

Plato distinguishes subject and object he puts behind this whole world he puts his ideas, the primal mathematicals, and this background world becomes the law for the foreground world – I’ll explain next time. We get subject functions, object functions and law. But the law is not a law as a command or ordinance it is a thing, a purely intelligible thing, as opposed to sensible and material things. One of the big things Plato did was to make a soft distinguish between knowing and thinking and sensing. But his law is things: paradigms and models. This background world is a world of medols. There is not a word of truth in this! He is seeing some things, his organisation of it all is false. His more complicated thinking is equally false, analysis doesn’t bring us to the truth.