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Platão (República:L6:509d-511e) – as quatro operações da alma

LIVRO VI

segunda-feira 15 de novembro de 2021

PLATÃO. A República. Tr. Maria Helena da Rocha Pereira. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2017

Rocha Pereira

[509d] — Imagina então — comecei eu? — que, conforme dissemos, eles [1] são dois? e que reinam, um na espécie? e no mundo? inteligível?, o outro? no visível. Não digo «no céu?», não vás tu julgar? que estou a fazer? etimologias com o nome? [2]. Compreendeste, pois, estas duas espécies, o visível e o inteligível?

— Compreendí. [310]

— Supõe então uma linha cortada em duas partes desiguais; corta novamente cada um dos segmentos segundo a mesma proporção, o da espécie visível e o da inteligível; e obterás, no mundo visível, segundo a sua claridade ou obscuridade relativa, uma secção, a das imagens?. Chamo imagens, em primeiro? lugar, às sombras?; seguidamente, aos reflexos? nas águas, e àqueles que [510a] se formam em todos os corpos? compactos, lisos e brilhantes, e a tudo o mais que for do mesmo? gênero?, se estás a entender-me.

— Entendo, sim.

— Supõe agora? a outra secção, da qual esta era? imagem, a que nos abrange a nós, seres vivos, e a todas as plantas? e toda a espécie de artefactos.

— Suponho.

— Acaso? consentirías em aceitar? que o visível se divide no que é verdadeiro? e no que não o é, e que, tal como a opinião? está para o saber?, assim está a imagem para o modelo??

[b] — Aceito perfeitamente.

— Examina agora de que maneira se deve cortar a secção do inteligível.

— Como?

— Na parte? anterior, a alma?, servindo-se, como se fossem imagens, dos objectos que então eram imitados, é forçada a investigar? a partir de hipóteses?, sem poder caminhar? para o princípio?, mas para a conclusão?; ao passo que, na outra parte, a que conduz ao princípio absoluto?, parte da hipótese, e, dispensando as imagens que havia no outro, faz caminho só com o auxílio das ideias?.

— Não percebí bem o que estiveste a dizer.

[510c] — Vamos lá outra vez? — disse eu — que compreenderás melhor o que afirmei anteriormente. Suponho que sabes que aqueles que se ocupam da geometria?, da aritmética? e [311] ciências? desse gênero, admitem o par e o ímpar, as figuras, três espécies de ângulos, e outras doutrinas irmãs destas, segundo o campo? de cada um. Estas coisas? dão-nas por sabidas, e, quando as usam como hipóteses, não acham que ainda seja necessário? prestar contas? disto a si mesmos nem aos outros, uma vez que são evidentes para todos. E, partindo daí e analisando todas as fases, e tirando as consequências [d], atingem o ponto? a cuja investigação se tinham abalançado.

— Isso, sei-o perfeitamente.

— Logo, sabes também que se servem de figuras visíveis e estabelecem acerca delas os seus raciocínios, sem contudo pensarem neles, mas naquilo com que se parecem; fazem os seus raciocínios por causa do quadrado em si ou da diagonal e em si, mas não daquela cuja imagem traçaram, e do mesmo modo? quanto às restantes figuras. Aquilo que eles modelam ou desenham, de que existem as sombras e os reflexos na água?, servem-se disso como se fossem imagens, procurando ver? o que não pode avistar-se, senão pelo pensamento?.

[511a] — Falas verdade?.

— Portanto, era isto o que eu queria dizer com a classe? do inteligível, que a alma é obrigada a servir-se de hipóteses ao procurar investigá-la, sem ir ao princípio, pois não pode elevar-se acima das hipóteses, mas utilizando como imagens os próprios originais dos quais eram feitas as imagens pelos objectos da secção inferior?, pois esses também, em comparação com as sombras, eram considerados c apreciados como mais claros.

— Compreendo que te referes ao que se passa na geometria e nas ciências afins dessa.

[b] — Aprende então o que quero dizer com o outro segmento do inteligível, daquele que o raciocínio? atinge pelo poder da dialéctica?, fazendo das hipóteses não princípios, [312] mas hipóteses de facto?, uma espécie de degraus e de pontos de apoio, para ir até àquilo que não admite hipóteses, que é o princípio de tudo, atingido o qual desce, fixando-se em todas as consequências que daí decorrem, até chegar à conclusão, sem se servir em nada? [c] de qualquer dado? sensível?, mas passando das ideias umas às outras, e terminando em ideias.

— Compreendo, mas não o bastante — pois me parece que é uma tarefa? cerrada, essa de que falas — que queres determinar que é mais claro o conhecimento? do ser e do inteligível adquirido? pela ciência da dialéctica do que pelas chamadas ciências, cujos princípios são hipóteses; os que as estudam são forçados a fazê-lo, pelo pensamento, e não pelos sentidos?; no entanto, pelo facto [d] de as examinarem sem subir até ao princípio, mas a partir de hipóteses, parece-te que não têm a inteligência? desses factos, embora eles sejam inteligíveis com um primeiro princípio. Parece-me que chamas entendimento? [3] e não inteligência, o modo de pensar? dos geómetras e de outros cientistas, como se o entendimento fosse algo de intermédio entre a opinião e a inteligência.

— Apreendeste perfeitamente a questão? — observei eu —. Pega agora nas quatro? operações da alma e aplica-as aos quatro segmentos: no mais elevado, [e] a inteligência, no segundo, o entendimento; ao terceiro entrega a fé?, e ao último? a suposição?, e coloca-os por ordem?, atribuindo-lhes o mesmo grau? de clareza que os seus respectivos objectos têm de verdade.

— Compreendo — disse ele —; concordo, e vou ordená-los como dizes.

Leroux

– Alors, repris-je, représente-toi bien, en suivant notre manière de nous exprimer, qu’il existe deux souverains : l’un règne sur le genre intelligible et sur le lieu? intelligible, l’autre, de son côté, règne sur l’horatón, c’est-à-dire sur le visible (je ne dis pas ouranós, le ciel, de peur? de paraître vouloir? faire un jeu? de mots? sophistiqué). Tu vois bien de toute façon qu’il y a là deux genres différents, le visible et l’intelligible ?

– Je le saisis bien.

– Sur ce, prends, par exemple, une ligne coupée en deux segments d’inégale longueur ; coupe de nouveau, suivant la même proportion que la ligne, chacun des deux segments – celui du genre visible et celui du genre intelligible – et tu obtiendras ainsi, eu égard à un rapport réciproque de clarté et d’obscurité dans le monde visible, le second segment, celui des images. [509e] J’entends par images d’abord [510a] les ombres, ensuite les reflets qui se produisent sur l’eau ou encore sur les corps opaques, lisses et brillants, et tous les phénomènes? de ce genre. Tu comprends ce que je veux dire ?

– Mais je comprends bien.

– Pose alors l’autre segment auquel celui-ci ressemble, les animaux qui nous entourent, et tout ce qui est soumis à la croissance, aussi bien que l’ensemble du genre de ce qui est fabriqué.

– Je le pose, dit?-il.

– Accepterais-tu aussi de dire, repris-je, que la division a été effectuée sous le rapport de la vérité et de la non-vérité, de telle sorte? que l’opinable est au connaissable ce que l’objet? ressemblant est à ce à quoi il ressemble. [510b]

– Je l’admets absolument, dit-il.

– Examine aussi comment il faut couper la section de l’intelligible.

– De quelle façon ?

– Voici. Dans une partie de cette section, l’âme, traitant comme des images les objets qui, dans la section précédente, étaient les objets imités, se voit contrainte dans sa recherche de procéder à partir d’hypothèses ; elle ne chemine pas vers un principe, mais vers une conclusion. Dans l’autre section toutefois, celle où elle s’achemine vers un principe anhypothétique, l’âme procède à partir de l’hypothèse et sans recourir à ces images, elle accomplit son parcours à l’aide des seules formes? prises en elles-mêmes.

– Je n’ai pas bien compris, dit-il, ce que tu viens d’exposer. [510c]

– Eh bien, reprenons, dis-je. Tu comprendras mieux après ce que je vais dire maintenant. Tu sais bien, je pense, que ceux qui s’occupent de géométrie, de calcul? et d’autres choses du même genre font l’hypothèse du pair et de l’impair, des figures et des trois espèces d’angles, et de toutes sortes de choses apparentées selon la recherche de chacun, et qu’ils traitent ces hypothèses comme des choses connues ; quand ils ont confectionné ces hypothèses, ils estiment n’avoir à en rendre compte d’aucune façon, ni à eux-mêmes ni aux autres, [510d] tant elles paraissent évidentes à chacun ; mais ensuite, en procédant à partir de ces hypothèses, ils parcourent les étapes qui restent et finissent par atteindre, par des démonstrations progressives, le point vers lequel ils avaient tendu leur effort? de recherche.

– Eh oui, dit-il, je sais parfaitement cela.

– Aussi bien dois-tu savoir qu’ils ont recours à des formes visibles et qu’ils construisent des raisonnements à leur sujet?, sans se représenter? ces figures particulières, mais les modèles auxquels elles ressemblent ; leurs raisonnements portent? sur le carré en soi et sur la diagonale en soi, mais non pas sur cette diagonale dont ils font un tracé, et de même pour les autres figures. [510e] Toutes ces figures, en effet, ils les modèlent et les tracent, elles qui possèdent leurs ombres et leurs reflets sur l’eau, mais ils s’en servent comme autant d’images dans leur recherche [511a] pour contempler ces êtres en soi qu’il est impossible de contempler autrement que par la pensée.

– Tu dis vrai.

– Eh bien, voilà présenté ce genre que j’appelais l’intelligible : dans sa recherche de ce genre, l’âme est contrainte d’avoir recours à des hypothèses ; elle ne se dirige pas vers le principe, parce qu’elle n’a pas la force de s’élever au-dessus des hypothèses, mais elle utilise comme des images ces objets qui sont eux-mêmes autant de modèles pour les copies de la section inférieure, et ces objets, par rapport à leurs imitations, sont considérés comme clairs et dignes d’estime. [511b]

– Je comprends, dit-il, tu veux parler de ce qui relève de la géométrie et des disciplines? connexes.

– Et maintenant, comprends-moi bien quand je parle de l’autre section de l’intelligible, celle qu’atteint le raisonnement lui-même par la force du dialogue? ; il a recours à la construction d’hypothèses sans les considérer comme des principes, mais pour ce qu’elles sont, des hypothèses, c’est-à-dire des points d’appui et des tremplins pour s’élancer jusqu’à ce qui est anhypothétique, jusqu’au principe du tout. Quand il l’atteint, il s’attache à suivre les conséquences qui découlent de ce principe et il redescend ainsi jusqu’à la conclusion, [511c] sans avoir recours d’aucune manière à quelque chose? de sensible, mais uniquement à ces formes en soi, qui existent par elles-mêmes et pour elles-mêmes, et sa recherche s’achève sur ces formes.

– Je ne comprends pas parfaitement, dit-il, tu évoques une grande entreprise, me semble-t-il ; tu veux montrer que la connaissance de l’être et de l’intelligible, qu’on acquiert par la science du dialogue, la dialectique, est plus claire que celle que nous tirons de ce qu’on appelle les disciplines. Dans ces disciplines, les hypothèses servent de principes, et ceux qui les contemplent sont contraints pour y parvenir de recourir à la pensée, et non pas aux sens ; [511d] comme leur examen cependant ne remonte pas vers le principe, mais se développe à partir d’hypothèses, ceux-là ne te semblent pas posséder l’intelligence de ces objets, encore que ces objets seraient intelligibles s’ils étaient contemplés avec le principe. Tu appelles donc pensée, me semble-t-il, et non intellect?, l’exercice habituel des géomètres et des praticiens de disciplines connexes, puisque la pensée est quelque chose d’intermédiaire entre l’opinion et l’intellect.

– Mais tu me suis parfaitement, repris-je. Et maintenant, adjoins à nos quatre sections les quatre états mentaux de l’âme : l’intellection, pour la section supérieure, la pensée, [511e] pour la deuxième ; donne le nom de croyance? à la troisième, et à la dernière celui de représentation?, et range-les selon la proportion suivante : plus les objets de ces états mentaux participent à la vérité, plus ils participent à l’évidence.

– Je comprends, dit-il, je suis? d’accord et je dispose le tout? comme tu dis. »

Taylor

“Understand then,” said I, “that we say these are two; and that the one reigns over the intelligible genus and place, and the other over the visible, not to say the heavens, lest I should seem to you to employ sophistry in the expression: you understand then these two species?, the visible and the intelligible?” “I do.” “As if then you took a line, cut into two unequal parts, and cut over again each section according to the same ratio, both that of the visible species, and that of the intelligible, you will then have perspicuity and obscurity placed by each other. [509e] In the visible species you will have in one section images: but I call images, [510a] in the first place, shadows, in the next, the appearances in water, and such as subsist in bodies which are dense, polished and bright, and every thing of this kind, if you understand me.” “I do.” “Suppose now the other section of the visible which this resembles, such as the animals around us, and every kind of plant, and whatever has a composite nature?.” “I suppose it,” said he. “Are you willing then that this section appear? to be divided into true and untrue? And that the same proportion, which the object of opinion has to the object of knowledge, the very same proportion has the resemblance to that [510b] of which it is the resemblance?” “I am, indeed,” said he, “extremely willing.” “But consider now again the section of the intelligible, how it was divided.” “How?” “That with respect? to one part of it, the soul uses the former sections as images; and is obliged to investigate from hypotheses, not proceeding to the beginning?, but to the conclusion: and the other part, again, is that where the soul proceeds from hypothesis? to an unhypothetical principle, and without those images about it, by the species themselves, makes its way through them.” “I have not,” said he, “sufficiently understood you in these things.” “But again,” [510c] said I, “for you will more easily understand me, these things having been premised. For I think you are not ignorant, that those who are conversant in geometry, and computations, and such like, after they have laid? down hypotheses of the odd and the even, and figures, and three species of angles, and other things the sisters of these, according to each method?, they then proceed upon these things as known, having laid down all these as hypotheses, and do not give any further reason? about them, neither to themselves nor others, as being? things obvious to all. But, beginning [510d] from these, they directly discuss the rest, and with full consent end at that which their inquiry pursued.” “I know this,” said he, “perfectly well.” “And do you not likewise know, that when they use the visible species, and reason about them, their dianoëtic power is not employed about these species, but about those of which they are the resemblances, employing their reasonings about the square itself, and the diameter itself, and not about that which they describe? [510e] And, in the same manner, with reference to other particulars, those very things which they form and describe, in which number, shadows and images in water are to be reckoned, these they use as images, seeking to behold those very things, which a man can no [511a] otherwise see than by his dianoëtic part.” “You say true,” replied he.

“This then I called a species of the intelligible; but observed that the soul was obliged to use hypotheses in the investigation of it, not going back to the principle, as not being able to ascend higher than hypotheses, but made use of images formed from things below, to lead to those above, as perspicuous, as objects of opinion, and distinct from the things themselves.” “I understand,” [511b] said he, “that you speak of things pertaining to the geometrical, and other sister arts?.” “Understand now, that by the other section of the intelligible, I mean that which reason itself attains, making hypotheses by its own reasoning power not as principles, but really hypotheses, as steps and handles, that, proceeding as far as to that which is unhypothetical, viz. the principle of the universe?, and coming into contact with it, again adhering to those things which adhere to the principle, it may thus descend to the end; [511c] using no where any thing which is sensible, but forms themselves, proceeding through some to others, and at length in forms terminating its progression.” “I understand,” said he, “but not sufficiently. For you seem to me to speak of an arduous undertaking: but you want, however, to determine that the perception? of real? being, and that which is intelligible, by the science of reasoning, are more conspicuous than the discoveries made by the arts, as they are called, which have hypotheses for their first principles; and that those who behold these are obliged to behold them with their dianoëtic power, and not [511d] with their senses. But as they are not able to perceive, by ascending to the principle, but from hypotheses, they appear to you not to possess intellect respecting them, though they are intelligible in conjunction with the principle. You also appear to me to call the habit? of geometrical and such like concerns, the dianoëtic part, and not intellect; the dianoëtic part subsisting between opinion and intellect.” “You have comprehended,” said I, “most sufficiently: and conceive now, that corresponding to the four sections then: are these four passions? in the soul; intelligence answering to the highest, [511e] the dianoëtic part to the second; and assign faith to the third; and to the last assimilation. Arrange? them likewise analogously; conceiving that as their objects participate? of truth so these participate of perspicuity.” “I understand,” said he, “and I assent?, and I arrange them as you say.”

Jowett

You have to imagine, then, that there are two ruling powers, and that one of them is set over the intellectual world, the other over the visible. I do not say heaven, lest you should fancy that I am playing upon the name (οὐρανός, ὁρατός). May I suppose that you have this distinction of the visible and intelligible fixed in your mind??

I have.

The two spheres of sight and knowledge are represented by a line which is divided into two unequal parts.

Now take a line which has been cut into two unequal parts, and divide each of them again in the same proportion, and suppose the two main divisions to answer, one to the visible and the other to the intelligible, and then compare the subdivisions in respect of their clearness and want of clearness, and you will find that the first section in the 510sphere of the visible consists of images. And by images I mean, in the first place, shadows, and in the second place, reflections in water and in solid, smooth and polished bodies and the like: Do you understand?

Yes, I understand.

Imagine, now, the other section, of which this is only the resemblance, to include the animals which we see, and everthing that grows or is made.

Very good.

Would you not admit that both the sections of this division have different degrees of truth, and that the copy is to the original as the sphere of opinion is to the sphere of knowledge?

Most undoubtedly.

Next proceed to consider the manner in which the sphere of the intellectual is to be divided.

In what manner?

Images and hypotheses.

Thus:—There? are two subdivisions, in the lower of which the soul uses the figures given by the former division as images; the enquiry can only be hypothetical, and instead of going upwards to a principle descends to the other end; in the higher of the two, the soul passes out of hypotheses, and goes up to a principle which is above hypotheses, making no use of images as in the former case, but proceeding only in and through the ideas themselves.

I do not quite understand your meaning, he said.

The hypotheses of mathematics?.

Then I will try again; you will understand me better when I have made some preliminary remarks. You are aware that students of geometry, arithmetic, and the kindred sciences assume the odd and the even and the figures and three kinds of angles and the like in their several branches of science; these are their hypotheses, which they and every body are supposed to know?, and therefore they do not deign to give any account of them either to themselves or others; but they begin with them, and go on until they arrive at last, and in a consistent manner, at their conclusion?

Yes, he said, I know.

In both spheres hypotheses are used, in the lower taking the form of images, but in the higher the soul ascends above hypotheses to the idea? of good.

And do you not know also that although they make use of the visible forms and reason about them, they are thinking not of these, but of the ideals which they resemble; not of the figures which they draw, but of the absolute square and the absolute diameter, and so on—the forms which they draw or make, and which have shadows and reflections in water of their own, are converted by them into images, but they are really seeking to behold the things themselves, which can only be seen with the eye? of the mind?

511That is true.

And of this kind I spoke as the intelligible, although in the search after it the soul is compelled to use hypotheses; not ascending to a first principle, because she is unable to rise above the region of hypothesis, but employing the objects of which the shadows below are resemblances in their turn as images, they having in relation? to the shadows and reflections of them a greater distinctness, and therefore a higher value?.

I understand, he said, that you are speaking of the province of geometry and the sister arts.

Dialectic by the help of hypotheses rises above hypotheses.

And when I speak of the other division of the intelligible, you will understand me to speak of that other sort of knowledge which reason herself attains by the power of dialectic, using the hypotheses not as first principles, but only as hypotheses—that is to say, as steps and points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order that she may soar beyond them to the first principle of the whole; and clinging to this and then to that which depends on this, by successive steps she descends again without the aid of any sensible object, from ideas, through ideas, and in ideas she ends.

Return to psychology.

I understand you, he replied; not perfectly, for you seem to me to be describing a task which is really tremendous; but, at any rate, I understand you to say that knowledge and being, which the science of dialectic contemplates, are clearer than the notions of the arts, as they are termed, which proceed from hypotheses only: these are also contemplated by the understanding?, and not by the senses: yet, because they start from hypotheses and do not ascend to a principle, those who contemplate them appear to you not to exercise the higher reason upon them, although when a first principle is added to them they are cognizable by the higher reason. And the habit which is concerned with geometry and the cognate sciences I suppose that you would term understanding and not reason, as being intermediate between opinion and reason.

Four faculties?: Reason, understanding, faith, perception of shadows.

You have quite conceived my meaning, I said; and now, corresponding to these four divisions, let there be four faculties in the soul—reason answering to the highest, understanding to the second, faith (or conviction) to the third, and perception of shadows to the last—and let there be a scale of them, and let us suppose that the several faculties have clearness in the same degree that their objects have truth.

I understand, he replied, and give my assent, and accept your arrangement.


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[1Entenda-se: o Sol e a Ideia do Bem.

[2Se chamasse ao Sol «rei do céu» (βασιλεὺς οὐρανοῦ), pareceria sugerir o parentesco entre οὐρανός («céu») e ὁρατόν («visível»), gênero de etimologia popular que provavelmente era corrente no tempo de Platão (e que, de resto, não destoaria de muitas outras que o filósofo aceitou no Crátilo).

[3Esta definição de διάνοια, que é da autoria de Platão, parece querer sugerir, como nota Adam, uma suposta etimologia que tirasse de διά («entre») o sentido de «entre νοῦς («inteligência») e δόξα («opinião»)».