Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018.03.16

André Laks, Glenn W. Most, Early Greek Philosophy. 9 Volumes. Loeb Classical Library, 524-532. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016.

Reviewed by Alexander P. D. Mourelatos, The University of Texas at Austin (apdm@austin.utexas.edu)

Version at BMCR home site

[The set comprises ISBN 9780674996540, 9780674996892, 9780674996915, 9780674996922, 9780674997066, 9780674997073, 9780674997080, 9780674997097, 9780674997103. Full bibliographic data and preview links appear below.]

This is the second part of a two-part review. Part I, which appeared in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018.03.15, described the scope and structure of this new Loeb set (referred to there and hereafter in acronymic abbreviation of its title as "EGP"), and it also discussed the set's relation and its standing vis-à-vis Diels-Kranz and other collections of texts for the pre-Socratics. Except for some remarks on corrigenda, critical comments in Part I were limited to ones that apply to the set as a whole. The present Part II selects for critical discussion mainly certain issues of translation. As already noted in Part I, Laks and Most candidly and conscientiously advise readers at many points that translations and interpretations different from the ones they offer are possible. What I am taking up here are issues that involve deeper conceptual repercussions, not ones that reflect only differences of exegetic opinion in isolated cases. (For readers who start with the present Part II, I need to explain that the letters "D" and "R" in citations of passages from EGP refer, respectively, to text lemmata that represent "doctrine" of the author at issue, and to texts that constitute "reception," i.e., appropriations, transformations, or criticism in later authors of themes and ideas that are attested in the D section. The letter "T" is used as lemma-prefix in those EGP chapters that do not focus on a particular figure—as, for example, chapter 29 on "Early Greek Medicine," or 30 on "The Derveni Papyrus.")

In the otherwise very useful Glossary in vol. 1 of EGP, at the alphabetic position where one would expect to find an entry for the important modal terms χρή or χρεών ἐστιν, one only finds a (partial) cross-reference: "khreôn (χρεών): obligation, necessity. See anankê." (p. 239). The explication offered at the entry for anankê is this: "Greek does not distinguish systematically between anankê and other terms such as aisa . . . heimarmenê . . . khreôn . . . moira . . . or potmos . . . to designate the physical necessity or the moral obligation resulting in certain events, processes, or states of affairs" (vol. 1, p. 223). This rather terse statement is a half-truth. And specifically in the case of χρή and χρεών ἐστι(ν), it is seriously misleading. A major semasiological French study, from as far back as 1953, demonstrated amply that these modal terms, especially in Greek authors of the archaic and classical periods, import predominantly and characteristically an appeal to norms, whether of society or of ethics or of rationality—not to externally imposed "necessity" or "constraint" or "need."1 In French the character of this modal notion is captured by expressions such as "il sied," "il convient," "il faut," "il est à (+ noun or pronoun)." In English, the translation would generally be served better by "should," "ought," "is right," "is fitting," "is appropriate," or equivalent paraphrase, rather than by the more peremptory "must" or an unqualified "is necessary." (This is not to deny that the translation "is necessary" is often admissible, if it is otherwise made clear that the germane sense is that of "right necessity," a necessity that inherently arises from social, ethical, or logical norms.)2

Many of the translations in EGP capture well, and in different ways, the semantic component of normativity that is characteristic of χρή: Anaximander D6 " . . . according to obligation (κατὰ τὸ χρεών) . . . pay penalty and retribution" (vol. 2, p. 285); Aeschylus T1 "If I am to (χρή) cast truthfully the futile weight" (vol. 2, p. 89); Democritus D311 "One should (χρή) either be a good man or else imitate one" (vol. 7, p. 301); D347 "One should (χρεών) speak the truth" (vol. 7, p. 317); R56 "[T]he shapes of Democritus . . . ought (<ἐ>χρῆν) also to produce . . . ordered affections" (vol. 7, p. 417).3 And yet, rather in line with the assimilation of khreôn to anankê in the Glossary, what we find in most (quite surprisingly) of the translations of χρή or χρεών ἐστι in EGP is the peremptory "must" or an equivalent expression of "necessity," either of which risks suppressing the all-important component of normativity.4

In fact, there are scores of cases in which translating with "must" or "constraint" suppresses important nuances in the text. Let me take up just three examples from the Heraclitus chapter in vol. 3. If for D63 we translate, as EGP does, ". . . all things come about by strife and constraint" (κατ᾽ ἔριν καὶ χρεών, p. 167), we rub out the important Heraclitean message that "what is right is found in strife." For D112, the better translation surely is, "One ought to [not 'must'] extinguish arrogant violence more than a conflagration" (p. 195). No doubt, extinguishing a fire is a "must"; but the moral obligation is an "ought" that overrides any need or necessity—far stronger even than the exigent necessity of putting out a fire. Likewise, for D105, "Those who speak with their mind [i.e., 'with intelligence,' ξὺν νόῳ] should properly (or 'ought to,' or 'are to,' or 'must rightly'—not bare 'must') rely on what is common" (p. 193).

More seriously, there are translations in EGP in which "must" or "is necessary" does worse than deemphasize the normativity of χρή—it distorts or confuses the message of the Greek text. In vol. 6, in the Anaxagoras chapter, lemma R17 (p. 141) is a text in which Simplicius quotes Alexander of Aphrodisias objecting to a certain way of arguing against Anaxagoras. The EGP translation reads: " 'But perhaps,' says Alexander, 'it is not necessary [χρή] to refute the argument in this way . . . . ' " Now once the whole of R17, as quoted in EGP, is read, it is clear that Alexander was not suggesting that the refutation was "not necessary," i.e., gratuitous or pointless; rather, in spite of Alexander's polite start with ἀλλὰ μήποτε, his rejoinder is that the refutation is uninformed and wrong. The better translation for those opening lines of R17 is: "Perhaps it is not right [or 'not appropriate' or 'not correct'] to refute the argument in this way." Staying with Anaxagoras examples, the repeated χρὴ δοκεῖν in D12 and D13 and the χρὴ γιγνώσκειν of D16 are not jussive statements concerning what "one must think" or what "one must recognize" (so translated, respectively, pp. 61 and 65); they represent the philosopher's proud claim as to what is the best and right way for judging the matters at issue.

Likewise strained are several translations from the chapter on the Atomists in vol. 7: D319 "Justice is to do what is necessary (τὰ χρὴ ἐόντα), injustice, not to do what is necessary"; and D320 "[F]or him who disregards justice and does not do what is necessary (τὰ χρέοντα/ χρηέοντα mss), all . . . things cause dissatisfaction" (p. 305, for both). The translation is obviously superior with "what is right" or "what one ought to do."5 More glaringly unsuitable is the "must" at D387 "One must (χρεών) refrain [better 'one is to refrain'] from wrong actions (ἁμαρτημάτων) not from fear but from duty (τὸ δέον)" (p. 335). What we have in this text is a contrast between the compelling drive of fear and the calm acceptance of one's duty. A few pages later, at D398, translating χρή with "it is necessary" results in the logically bizarre collocation, "it is necessary, as far as it is at all possible" (p. 341). Transparently, the better translation is: "It is most proper [or 'it is best,' χρή] to bequeath one's wealth to one's children in shares which, as far as possible, are equal (μάλιστα . . . τῶν ἀνυστῶν δατεῖσθαι). "

Translating χρεών with "necessary" even leads to misconstruing the syntax at Parmenides D8.58-59 (=Diels-Kranz B8.53-54): μορφὰς γὰρ κατέθεντο δύο γνώμας ὀνομάζειν/ τῶν μίαν οὐ χρεών ἐστι. Laks and Most translate, "For they have established two forms to name their views, of which the one is not necessary" (vol. 5, p. 51), as though the text read μία (nominative), and the syntax did not involve (as it quite obviously does) the modal expression χρεών ἐστιν, with ὀνομάζειν as its complement. The correct and now widely accepted translation is " . . . two forms, of which one it is not right to name." Moreover, translating Parmenides' τί δ᾽ ἄν μιν καὶ χρέος ὦρσεν at D8.15 (= Diels-Kranz B8.9) with "what need could have impelled it?" makes very poor sense, since the μίν refers to something that has not yet come into existence—how could it have a "need"? After the "besides" (δέ) of line D8.15, which serves to bracket any considerations of origin or of causality, Parmenides' τί χρέος question demands the "warrant" or "sufficient reason" for entertaining the supposition that something can "pop" (as it were) into being at some particular time tn.

Indeed, there is good reason for avoiding the translation "is necessary" for χρή and for related Greek expressions. For in connection with negation, the modal "is necessary" is semantically bipolar, allowing for distinguishing between "it is not necessary to V" and "it is necessary not to V." But the expressions of the χρή family are unipolar. Behaving in this respect like English "should," "ought," "it is right," and even "must," they do not distinguish between "not khrê to V" and "khrê not to V." We have already seen instances of such misguidance apropos the translation "not necessary" in Anaxagoras R17 and in Parmenides D8.15.6

The entry on phusis (φύσις) in the Glossary in vol. 1 (p. 250) offers two explanatory comments: (i) "phusis designates indissociably both the nature of a thing and the fact that it grows, and then, by extension, is born"; and (ii) "The verbal forms phun(ai) (φῦν) and phuesthai (φύεσθαι) signify, respectively, 'to be born' . . . and 'to grow' ." The broad readership of this Loeb set would have been helped if this entry of the Glossary had included a reminder that the Greek root phu- is a cognate of English "be" (as in "to be," "being"), also of the fu- (cf. fui, futurus, etc.) of Latin and of Romance languages, as well as of the root by- ("to be") of the Slavic languages—all descendants of Indo-European *bheu-.7 These facts of historical linguistics show that the semantic affinity which words of the phu- stem (both φύσις and the verbal forms) have with the idea of Being is fundamental, direct, and paramount. But whereas ἔστι/εἶναι/ὄντ- and all derivatives envisage Being primarily as durative and stative, the words of the phu- stem envisage Being in dynamic terms, focusing on the inceptive moment or phase, the "coming into being." It is precisely this semantic component of the inception-of-being or of advent-into-being or of the realization (of the subject at issue) that explains why and how the verbal forms of the phu- stem can convey the seemingly distinct senses of "be born" and "grow" noted in (ii) above.

Bearing these facts of historical and comparative linguistics in mind, one can perceive that some of the translations of words of the phu- stem with "grow" and even "be born" miss the mark. In vol. 2, we have the following translation of two lines from the Derveni papyrus that speaks of gods that came to be after the πρωτόγονος: "And upon him (τῶι δ᾽) all the immortals grew (προσέφυν)" (T12b, p.75). Surely the verb προσφῦναι refers not to some process of "overgrowth" but to a certain epigenesis, the subsequent advent of the rest of the gods: "all others came to be after him." In the same volume, in the chapter on "Reflections on Gods and Men," in an excerpt from Aeschylus' Agamemnon (pp. 88-89), we have the phrase ὃς δ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽ ἔφυ. EGP translates "And as for him who was born later." But just three lines above we have "whoever earlier [i.e., in the past] was [or better 'had been', ἦν] great." So, the pairing is between someone's being great in the remote past and someone's coming to be great, or achieving greatness at a subsequent time. The whole passage is a marvelous expression of the poignantly pessimistic sentiment: "the one who had been great (ἦν μέγας) over his whole life is no longer remembered; but even among our contemporaries (cf. ἔπειτα), the one who at some point achieves greatness (ἔφυ μέγας) is liable to being surpassed by another (τριακτῆρος οἴχεται τυχών)."

In the same volume and chapter, we have the following line from an excerpt from Sophocles Ajax, Τ11 (pp. 100-101): "time makes all unseen things grow (φύει τ᾽ ἄδηλα)." Surely, "time brings on (or 'brings forth')," this said in reference to unanticipated events that break out. Still in the same chapter, from Solon's elegiac poems, T25a: "Lawfulness (Εὐνομίη) . . . withers (αὐαίνει) the blooming (φυόμενα) flowers of disaster" (pp. 114-115). But Solon's point is not that lawfulness (or "good governance") can abate the effects of disaster after these have "bloomed" into full-scale calamity; the image implied by αὐαίνει is that of a spring frost that kills or withers buds (inceptive sense of φυόμενα). Good governance "nips disaster in the bud."

In the main chapters on individual philosophers, the EGP translation in chapter 19, has Parmenides asking at D8.15 (=Diels-Kranz B8.10) why we should suppose that something could "grow (φῦν) later rather than sooner, if it had had nothing for its beginning" (vol. 5, p. 45). But the challenge is more rudimentary. It concerns not "growth" but the sheer coming-into-being of something in the total absence of cause or antecedents. The inceptive sense of φύεσθαι is reinforced in the Greek by the perfective aspect of the aorist φῦν: "burst into being" or "break into being." And quite significantly, Simplicius (who famously knew the full text Parmenides' poem) paraphrases the line at issue with "And why was it at this precise moment that it came about (ἐγένετο), and not also earlier or later?" (R21, vol. 5, p. 111). In chapter 22, on Empedocles, hewing to the translation "grow" results in a rather contorted translation: D156 "Many grew (φύεσθαι) double of face and double of chest" (vol. 5, p. 501). There is no suggestion in the text of a process of growing double faces or double chests. Quite plainly, Empedocles is speaking of the "emergence" or "birth" or spontaneous "generation" of two-headed and double-breasted monsters.

Of more limited compass in exegetic repercussions, but nonetheless interestingly problematic, is the translation in EGP of the adverb πάντοθεν. Laks and Most are certainly aware that the -θεν suffix has ablative sense, conveying the sense "from [someone/something/somewhere]." They do give the correct translation, for instance, in chapter 33, for Socrates P18b,8 "from all directions" (vol. 8, p. 315), or for chapter 34, for Prodicus P3, "from outside" (vol. 8, p. 419), or in chapter 41 for Dissoi Logoi 26, "from everywhere" (vol. 9, p. 181). But, in the two contexts in which πάντοθεν plays a crucial role in the characterization of a metaphysical entity, they translate "on every side" and "on all sides," as though the reading was πάντοσε ("outgoing" -σε suffix). The two contexts are the comparison (cf. ἐναλίγκιον) in Parmenides D8.48 of "what is" or of Being to a "well-rounded ball" (vol. 5, p. 449), and the description of the cosmic "One" as a spherical god (Σφαῖρος) in Empedocles D90 (vol. 5, p. 449). The translations "on every side" and "on all sides" are imprecise in that they could be taken to describe the geometry of any symmetrical object—say, a cylinder, or one of the regular solids. But the use of πάντοθεν, "from all sides," in both contexts captures effectively a property that belongs uniquely to the sphere and to no other solid: no matter from where (from whatever angle or whatever distance) it is viewed, the shape it displays is the same. And that is why total unification of Being is achieved in a spherical shape—or, if we should lean on ἐναλίγκιον in the case of Parmenides D8.48—a sphere is the perfect analogue for totally unified Being.

It is perhaps incumbent on me, in view of work I have done on Parmenides and on Xenophanes, to add some general comments on the chapters on these two philosophers, as well as on the chapter on the "virtual" Eleatic, Melissus. In the case of Xenophanes, the materials are judiciously selected and effectively organized so as to correct the fault that mars many of the accounts and studies of this pioneer in philosophical and social critique: the short-shrifting of his natural philosophy. The translation of the crucial Diels-Kranz B28 (on the "unlimited depth" of the earth, D41 in the EGP numbering) shows effectively the cosmic division, by one single essentially planar boundary, of the two "unlimited" domains of water/air above and earth below. That boundary is none other than the one that is obvious and familiar to all of us, viz., the surface of the ground right under our feet: "This is the limit of the earth: . . . one sees it at our feet" (vol. 3, p. 51). The R section for Xenophanes documents amply the assimilation of Xenophanes' doctrines and concepts to those of Parmenides and Melissus—the unfortunate "Eleatization" in the ancient tradition that has correspondingly skewed many modern interpretations. Also provided in the R section are fruitfully suggestive texts on Xenophanes' epistemology, and in particular on whether he should be taken as a skeptic and satirist or rather as a critically minded dogmatikos, a thinker putting forward positive claims along with his critique.

The chapter on Parmenides markedly reverses, in allotment of pages, the balance in the division between "Truth" and "Opinions" (δόξαι) that is familiar to us from Diels-Kranz and from similar modern collections. The contrast with the latter is inevitably exaggerated, to be sure, by the blank spaces that intervene, in the EGP formatting, in the display of the more numerous but shorter texts for "Opinions." Nonetheless it is still striking that, in number of lines, the EGP section on "Opinions" exceeds by about 70 the familiar count of about 120 lines for "Truth. The even longer and very rich R section for Parmenides can serve as a lesson in humility to modern interpreters. For in its 73 texts (27 of which have no counterpart in Diels-Kranz) one is likely to recognize anticipations of most of the Parmenides-interpretations that have been put forward by modern scholars.

Worth separate mention is a detail of text with respect to which EGP differs not only from Diels-Kranz but from all editions of the Parmenides fragments. The long-standing but misguided emendation νυκτιφαές for one of the two Parmenides fragments on the moon, B14 (D27 in EGP), is set aside in favor of νυκτὶ φάος, which is the actual reading that is clearly preserved in the Plutarch MSS and is convincingly supported by the Plutarch context. The EGP translation, "A light in the night," is perhaps overly cautious and weak. For it fails to bring out what stands out in Plutarch's use of the line, viz., that what the moon brings derivatively into the night is φάος, the "light of day," "the light of the sun." The collocation νυκτὶ φάος has the virtue of stating yet more directly than is conveyed by the allusive ἀλλότριον φῶς, "a light from elsewhere" (as EGP renders the phrase), that the moon derives its light from the sun.9

Melissus of Samos is not assigned, as historical considerations would dictate, to volume 8, which includes the "Later Ionian Thinkers," but to vol. 5, "Western Greek Thinkers, Part 2," right after the two Eleatics proper, Parmenides and Zeno. Indeed, it would almost seem that this late Ionian has narrowly escaped being represented only in a first sub-section in the R section for Parmenides. For, as Laks and Most comment, "Melissus' greatest [my emphasis] interest resides in the fact that he provides us, by recomposing Parmenides' poem, with the earliest critical reading of it" (p. 229). In the R section that is properly the one for Melissus, of great value are the fifteen pages of selections from Simplicius —none of which appeared in Diels-Kranz. In these texts, R 20-R23, the charitably minded Neoplatonist commentator works out rejoinders to the refutations of Melissus by Aristotle and Alexander. The editors offer this sagely balanced estimate: "Melissus surely merits such contempt [the one shown toward him by Aristotle] just as little as he deserves Simplicius' spectacular rehabilitation" (p. 229).

In this Part II of the review, as also more curtly in Part I, I have offered only a sample of passages with respect to which there is good reason to quarrel with the translation in EGP. But this does not detract from, or qualify, the strongly favorable evaluation of the entire nine-volume set I have offered in Part I. It is relevant to recall here that the community of scholars in the area of early Greek philosophy has for over more than one century been questioning or disputing translations in Diels-Kranz, while at the same time acknowledging the authority of Die Vorsokratiker and the consummate accomplishment represented both by the original creation of that collection by Diels and by the subsequent revised editions. I pointed out in Part I that just as Diels-Kranz was right for the quite special readership it had envisaged, EGP is admirably right for the large and pluralistic readership it is bound to have in the twenty-first century. Worth repeating and reemphasizing here are the many points of advance of EGP over Diels-Kranz: substantially more ample selection of texts; broader conception of the scope of early Greek philosophy; painstakingly careful utilization of "editions of reference" and of post-Diels-Kranz scholarship; far greater accessibility; philosophically perceptive and thematically helpful organization and articulation of the material.

The separate titles of the volumes in the set are as follows:

Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume 1: Introductory and Reference Materials. Loeb classical library, 524. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 258 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674996540.
Preview

Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume II: Beginnings and Early Ionian Thinkers, Part 1. Loeb classical library, 525. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 400 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674996892.
Preview

Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume III: Early Ionian Thinkers, Part 2. Loeb classical library, 526. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 352 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674996915.
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Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume IV: Western Greek Thinkers, Part 1. Loeb classical library 527. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 464 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674996922.
Preview

Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume V: Western Greek Thinkers, Part 2. Loeb classical library, 528. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 816 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674997066.
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Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume VI: Later Ionian and Athenian Thinkers, Part 1. Loeb classical library, 529. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 448 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674997073.
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Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume VII: Later Ionian and Athenian Thinkers, Part 2. Loeb classical library, 530. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 512 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674997080.
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Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume VIII: Sophists, Part 1. Loeb classical library, 531. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 576 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674997097.
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Laks, André and Glenn W. Most (edd., trans.). Early Greek Philosophy, Volume IX: Sophists, Part 2. Loeb classical library, 532. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2016. 370 p. $26.00. ISBN 9780674997103.
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Notes:


1.   Georges Redard, Recherches sur χρή, χρῆσθαι: étude sémantique, Bibliotheque de l'École des Hautes Études, 303 (Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, 1953), see esp. pp. 47-62.
2.   And in some such cases, translating with "must" or even "need" is likewise admissible. Examples from EGP: Dissoi Logoi, 7, "[T]he people themselves must (χρή) watch out" (vol. 9, p. 201); Hippias D5 "what he must do (ἃ χρή) in order to show himself a valorous man" (vol. 9, p. 527).
3.   More examples: Heraclitus R104 "One should (χρή) practice having much intelligence" (vol. 3, p. 331); Gorgias D25 "For where could I turn to (τραπέσθαι με χρῆν, vol. 8, p. 201), and "How can one (πῶς χρή) trust a man like that . . . ?" (vol. 8, p. 207); Aristophanes T10c "Why should anyone (τῷ χρή) believe that?" (vol. 9, p. 273); Aristotle T8 "One should (χρή) also collect them [premisses in argument] from written books" (vol. 2, p. 15).
4.   To be sure, given the looseness in the use of English "must," this infelicity is in many contexts barely noticeable and thus tolerable. I offer the following as examples of tolerable infelicity. Heraclitus D40 "men . . . must be investigators into very many things" (vol. 3, p. 157); Melissus D10 "The question whether it is full or not must be decided in this way" (vol. 5, p. 249); and R21 "But since Melissus is a wise man . . . the objections that have been raised against him must be resolved" (vol. 5, p. 295).
5.   Cf. Atomists D382 "One must (χρή) kill [animals] that cause damage unjustly (παρὰ δίκην)"; and D383 "Just as a law has been made regarding hostile foxes and reptiles, it seems to me to be necessary (χρεών) to act in the same way against human beings too" (p. 333, for both). Surely, "One ought to kill" or "It is right (or 'it is just,' 'it is licit᾽) to kill," and "that it is right to act," respectively.
6.   Two and one paragraphs above, respectively. The misguidance is aggravated in the case of modern interpretations of Parmenides that have actually exploited the bipolarity of "is necessary" in the following way. Since in Diels-Kranz B2 (= EGP D6) Parmenides distinguishes between two "routes of inquiry," (i) "is and necessarily is" and (ii) "is not and necessarily is not," he must also have allowed (so it is supposed, pace the proclamations of B2=D6) for a "third route," viz., (iii), "is, but not necessarily is," and even for (iv) "is not, but not necessarily." See my "Two Neo-Analytic Approaches to Parmenides' Metaphysical-Cosmological Poem: Critical Discussion of John Palmer, Parmenides and Presocratic Philosophy (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); and Michael V. Wedin, Parmenides' Grand Deduction (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), Rhizomata, 4 (2016), 257-268.
7.   Cf. Walter W. Skeat, An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1879-1882, repr. 1963), p. 52, s.v. "be"; Charles H. Kahn, The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek, Foundations of Language, suppl. series, 16 (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1973), and independently reprinted but with the same pagination (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett, 1973), p. 198 n. 20.
8.   The prefix "P" marks the lemma as one that provides personal, i.e., biographical testimony.
9.   I have argued for the thematic superiority of the Plutarch reading vis-à-vis the venerable emendation νυκτιφαές in "The Light of Day by Night": nukti phaos, Said of the Moon in Parmenides B14," in Presocratics and Plato: Festschrift at Delphi in Honor of Charles Kahn, edd. Richard Patterson, Vassilis Karasmanis, and Arnold Hermann (Las Vegas, Nevada: Parmenides Publishing, 2012), pp. 25–58.

1 comment:

  1. Il y a eu, en France, un débat entre Redard et Chantraine, dans lequel il s'agissait de savoir comment χρή, qui ne comportait pas la notion de "nécessité", mais d'obligation en est venue à comporter l'idée de nécessité. Je me suis immiscé dans le débat (premier chapitre de "Sophocle, lecteur de Freud", Lang, Berne, 2009) en procédant à une analyse sémantique de la famille appartenant à la même racine que latin "hortor" (exhorter). J'ai montré que χρή signifie "il y a invitation à..." / "sollicitation de..." faire, mais jamais "il est nécessaire" ; l'oracle n'a fait peser aucune fatalité sur Oedipe; il l'a "averti" en le mettant en garde: "il serait sollicité" d'épouser sa mère, précisément en résolvant l'énigme que lui posait la sphinx.

    L'ouvrage est resté ignoré ; une des raisons : il conteste la lecture par Vernant et Detienne de la "tragédie" athénienne. Les ambiguïtés ne sont pas "structurelles", elles sont strictement liées à la spécificité de la "communication théâtrale", dans laquelle il y a toujours deux destinataires, situés à deux niveaux différents, le public et des personnages.

    Vous avez raison d'attirer l'attention sur l'insuffisance de l'analyse des notions dans la publication dirigée par Laks.

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