οὕτω καὶ ὅτε θάτερον λέγει ὅτι ἕτερον καὶ θάτερον (Aristotle, De Anima 426b [Book 3, ch. 10-12]) -> So, too, that faculty is one and the same when it says the one thing is other than the other thing

mbr · 2 · 1658


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Moderator's note:  For those wishing to work on this text, it is from the De anima (Περὶ ψυχῆς) 426b (Book 3.10-12).  Original ancient Greek text, with parallel modern Greek translation, here: http://www.mikrosapoplous.gr/aristotle/psyxhs/3_02.html.

This is from the following sentence in De Anima (maybe this is the place to call it Περὶ Ψυχῆς) with the relevant clause in bold,

ὥσπερ γὰρ τὸ αὐτὸ λέγει ὅτι ἕτερον τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ κακόν, οὕτω καὶ ὅτε θάτερον λέγει ὅτι ἕτερον καὶ θάτερον (οὐ κατὰ συμβεβηκὸς τὸ ὅτε, λέγω δ', οἷον νῦν λέγω ὅτι ἕτερον, οὐ μέντοι ὅτι νῦν ἕτερον, ἀλλ' οὕτω λέγει, καὶ νῦν καὶ ὅτι νῦν)· ἅμα ἄρα

And, at the bottom you'll find all the context you could want in one big block.  

Anyway, I don't know if this is something you do in this forum, but I'm not looking for a "smooth" or idiomatic translation. Available translations of the preceding paragraph are, in my view, overly helpful - instead of assuming that Aristotle was an incompetent writer of moth-eaten texts, I like to read him like a pre-Socratic. This isn't the time or place to debate the legitimacy of my approach - I'll just say its served me well.  
The discrimination of black from sweet cannot be accomplished by sight or taste. Neither will distinct powers do - the latter's explained thus: if I perceived sweet and you perceived white, it would be manifest that they are different. Translators often assume an error in the manuscript here, and reverse the meaning, saying that the difference between white and sweet would not be manifest to either of us. One refers us to William James similar argument: take a dozen men and a sentence of a dozen words, tell each man one word. line them up any way you like - nowhere is there consciousness of the meaning of the whole. James was a brilliant psychologist, but the examples misses the point. Look around the room your in, pick an object; I've picked one too - they're different. That my object isn't yours, and that yours isn't mine, is obvious to each of us respectively. that they are different is manifest; not yet manifest is the difference. At the end of the sentence Aristotle says  δεῖ δὲ τὸ ἓν λέγειν ὅτι ἕτερον - he hasn't used λέγειν yet in the passage, he's used κρίνειν. So, I'm one sense, you're another; and I'm looking at these letters, "o-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y" and you're looking at "these."  That λέγειν's entered the fray indicates to me that, just in the way I've now made you the One to whom the difference (between my object and your object) Is, so too does the difference between white and sweet become manifest. To me, the transition from judging to saying, as it unfolds in the example of two men's senses, is lovely for its belligerence/elegance. A little like the Seinfeld where Kramer starts getting wrong numbers from people trying to dial MoviePhone - they punch digits and he guesses movies, until, finally: "Why don't you just Tell me the name of the movie you'd like to see."  Now then, the clause is translated with something like "one sense/faculty/power must say they are different." Further along, we find similar formulations, with τὸ αὐτὸ replacing τὸ ἓν, the same faculty/power/etc replacing one faculty/etc. So, each sense is always aware of One sensible (book 3.1), and we perceive number by the negation (ἀποφάσει) of the continuity of those sensible. Also, its as unified that the senses sense each others proper objects. It stand to reason, I think, that The One says or, The Same says, they are different, is the best translation. The speech isn't secretions of the Pineal gland; its the objects of sense, qua commensurable desiderata.
The self-sameness of the thing sensed is asserted per se in the thing's being-sensed. One small problem - it's why "The One says..." becomes "The Same says..." We say "the same" and signify the unity of a multiplicity, or else it refers to one unified thing which we happen to be using as two. The white I see is one; when I say its not pain, I say of (pain+white) that it is not, i.e., I negate it. The best way I've found to feel this phenomenon (and also the best way to see why this passage concludes its chapter) is to stand out in the cold. The pain of coldness presents itself in spite of our being-focused on some white thing. Staring at something and saying it's not the music you hear was of little help to me - you have to sort of switch your focus back and forth. With cold or hot, or "hurts," you get to kind of look down on it from above. Get to the point!: the white isn't the cold is a truth you feel in your eye, insofar as you feel your eye as an organ that's yours to order around.  Translating "The Say say X, does this, skips," is unnatural, to say the least. But these are seminal concepts in ancient Greek philosophy; Plato frequently speaks of them in this way, as if they were things.
In the little phrase I'd like translated (οὕτω καὶ ὅτε θάτερον λέγει ὅτι ἕτερον καὶ θάτερον) I'm looking for all the improbable, unintuitive, possible alternatives to "so also the time at which it asserts the one to be different and the other to be different is not accidental to the assertion."

This is my first post - you'll forgive me, I hope, if I over-zealously executed your command: provide context.

ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ τὸ λευκὸν καὶ τὸ γλυκὺ καὶ ἕκαστον τῶν αἰσθητῶν πρὸς ἕκαστον κρίνομεν, τινὶ καὶ αἰσθανόμεθα ὅτι διαφέρει. ἀνάγκη δὴ αἰσθήσει· αἰσθητὰ γάρ ἐστιν. ᾗ καὶ δῆλον ὅτι ἡ σὰρξ οὐκ ἔστι τὸ ἔσχατον αἰσθητήριον· ἀνάγκη γὰρ ἂν ἦν ἁπτόμενον αὐτὸ κρίνειν τὸ κρῖνον. οὔτε δὴ κεχωρισμένοις ἐνδέχεται κρίνειν ὅτι ἕτερον τὸ γλυκὺ τοῦ λευκοῦ, ἀλλὰ δεῖ ἑνί τινι ἄμφω δῆλα εἶναι-οὕτω μὲν γὰρ κἂν εἰ τοῦ μὲν ἐγὼ τοῦ δὲ σὺ αἴσθοιο, δῆλον ἂν εἴη ὅτι ἕτερα ἀλλήλων, δεῖ δὲ τὸ ἓν λέγειν ὅτι ἕτερον· ἕτερον γὰρ τὸ γλυκὺ τοῦ λευκοῦ· λέγει ἄρα τὸ αὐτό· ὥστε ὡς λέγει, οὕτω καὶ νοεῖ καὶ αἰσθάνεται
« Last Edit: 27 Feb, 2011, 10:27:34 by billberg23 »


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O.K., I'll bite — just translating the phrase you asked to be translated, no more, no less:
"So, too, that faculty is one and the same when it says the one thing is other than the other thing."  
W.D. Ross warned that this passage was fraught with difficulties.  Student shorthand, no doubt.  (-;
Looks like lots of good bibliography here, but you've probably read it all:
« Last Edit: 26 Feb, 2011, 02:23:47 by billberg23 »


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