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Sorabji: concepts

quarta-feira 26 de janeiro de 2022


The Stoics define reason (logos  ) as a collection of concepts and preconceptions (ennoiai, prolepseis, Galen   PHP 5.3 = SVF 2.841). Neoplatonists sometimes used the plural, logoi  , which in its more general use means any kind of rational principle, for concepts, that had to be deployed or projected (proballein, proballesthai  ) for the purpose of perceptual judgment (krinein  , krisis), recognition (gnorisis) and understanding (sunesis). The reception of data from the external world is not enough for this purpose, although it was debated whether animals could manage more than this (see Sorabji  , Animal   Minds and Human Morals). Whether the concepts projected are empirically gained, like the doxastikos logos   discussed above by Alcinous   and Priscian, or whether they are innate concepts recollected in Plato  ’s manner, is not made particularly clear. Peter Lautner has pointed out that at Proclus   in Tim. 1,223,16-26 it is the recollected concepts, because scientific distinctions are there being projected by discursive thought (dianoia  ), and we shall see that Proclus is following the treatment of recollected concepts in Alcinous Didaskalikos ch  . 4. But it would be interesting to know whether opinion (doxa) can also project the concepts (logoi) which Proclus says it has of perceptibles at in Tim. 1,293,3. I am not clear whether at Hermeias in Phaedr. 171,16-25, an empirically gained concept of equal is said to be projected.

Porphyry   On Ptolemy’s Harmonics adds that reason (logos) with its concepts can correct inaccuracies in sensory information. Elsewhere it is suggested that in geometry our innate concepts can be used to correct our empirically gained ones, Syrianus   in Metaph. 95,29-36; Proclus in Eucl. 1 12,9-13,26; Olympiodorus   in [37] Phaed. Lecture 12.1, 9-25 Westerink.

Aristotle   allows rudimentary concepts to animals. For his theory of concept formation and his remark at An. Post. 2.19, 100a17, that after all perception is of the universal  .

In Plotinus   the appeal to concepts is still limited. He speaks of the need to employ concepts already available in the intellect for recognising instances of beauty (1.6 [1] 3) or goodness (5.3 [49] 3) or fire (6.7 [38] 6). He also says that discursive reason uses forms (eide) which it has in itself, to pass judgement (epikrisis) on images provided by sense   perception, 1.1 [53] 9 (18-20). In perceiving fire, one fits what one receives to fire in the world of Forms, 6.7 [38] 6 (1-7). But for recognising Socrates   (5.3 [49] 3), although discursive reason (dianoia) is needed, it relies only on memory and on analysing the data stored in images (phantasia  ). [excerto   resumido de SorabjiPC1]