03 December 2005

'being in the strictest sense true'

I've hesitated to continue on to the second text in the Metaphysics which, according to Crivelli, recognizes 'states of affairs', because the issues are much more complex than with the first. (And, besides, who is not busy this time of year?)

And if Δ 29 has been dealt with, couldn't we simply cite the philologist's law, "twice is always; once is never", and dismiss Θ 10 accordingly? (We might call that 'Hume's law' as well--uh, Hume's 'custom'.)

But perhaps all will work out if things are set out in order and without haste. As a start, then, here is Crivelli's translation of the most important Θ 10 text. Tomorrow I'll give his discussion of it.

T 2 Given that what 'is' and what 'is not' are spoken of, in some cases with reference to the figures of predication, in others with reference to the potentiality or the actuality of these or to their opposites, and in others by being in the strictest sense true or false, and this [sc. to be in the strictest sense true or false], in the case of objects, is to be combined and to be divided, so that he who thinks of what is divided that it is divided, and of what is combined that it is combined is right, while he who is in a state contrary to that of the objects is wrong, when is it that what is called true or false 'is' or 'is not'? For it must be investigated what it is that we call this. For it is not because we truly think that you are white that you are white, but it is because of your being white that we who say this are right. (1051a34-1051b9)
Note that 'objects' is pragmata, and 'is right' is aletheuei. Of the three uses of 'is' distinguished here, the first two are introduced in the same way ('with reference to', kata), and the crucial third use is introduced in a different way. There is a dispute as to whether 'in the strictest sense' (kuriotata) separately qualifies 'being' (on), in which case the phrase seems out of place, or both terms together qualify 'true or false' (as Crivelli construes it).

T 2 is the text as regards which, as I mentioned earlier, Crivelli says: "But the items with regard to which Aristotle in T 1 uses 'object' are probably states of affairs. It can then be plausibly inferred that the items with regard to which Aristotle in T 2 uses 'object' are also states of affairs."--so that his interpretation of this text depends, it seems, on his interpretation of Δ 29, which we have contested.

Here is the Greek from Perseus:

e)pei\ de\ to\ o)\n le/getai kai\ to\ mh\ o)\n to\ me\n kata\ ta\ sxh/mata tw=n kathgoriw=n, to\ de\ kata\ du/namin h)\ e)ne/rgeian tou/twn h)\ ta)nanti/a, to\ de\ kuriw/tata o)\n a)lhqe\j h)\ yeu=doj, tou=to d' e)pi\ tw=n pragma/twn e)sti\ tw=| sugkei=sqai h)\ dih|rh=sqai, w(/ste a)lhqeu/ei me\n o( to\ dih|rhme/non oi)o/menoj dih|rh=sqai kai\ to\ sugkei/menon sugkei=sqai, e)/yeustai de\ o( e)nanti/wj e)/xwn h)\ ta\ pra/gmata, po/t' e)/stin h)\ ou)k e)/sti to\ a)lhqe\j lego/menon h)\ yeu=doj; tou=to ga\r skepte/on ti/ le/gomen. ou) ga\r dia\ to\ h(ma=j oi)/esqai a)lhqw=j se leuko\n ei)=nai ei)= su\ leuko/j, a)lla\ dia\ to\ se\ ei)=nai leuko\n h(mei=j oi( fa/ntej tou=to a)lhqeu/omen.