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Plato versus Diogenes

NiqashMotawadi3
Posts: 1,895
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3/15/2014 12:19:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm not sure if this story is historic or simply an oral tradition, but anyways, it made me think...

Plato was discoursing on his theory of ideas and, pointing to the cups on the table before him, said while there are many cups in the world, there is only one `idea' of a cup, and this cupness precedes the existence of all particular cups.
"I can see the cup on the table," interrupted Diogenes, "but I can't see the `cupness'".
"That's because you have the eyes to see the cup," said Plato, "but", tapping his head with his forefinger, "you don't have the intellect with which to comprehend `cupness'."
Diogenes walked up to the table, examined a cup and, looking inside, asked, "Is it empty?"
Plato nodded.
"Where is the `emptiness' which proceeds this empty cup?" asked Diogenes.
Plato allowed himself a few moments to collect his thoughts, but Diogenes reached over and, tapping Plato's head with his finger, said "I think you will find here is the `emptiness'."

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I think it could be said in defense of Plato that Diogenes is violating the law of non-contradiction since emptiness is not really an innate property such as cupness, but an absence of properties, though scientifically speaking, emptiness in the universe( or vacuum) is not absence, and therefore something which according to traditional Platonism, should have a property.
Blade-of-Truth
Posts: 5,020
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3/15/2014 4:52:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/15/2014 12:19:34 PM, NiqashMotawadi3 wrote:
I'm not sure if this story is historic or simply an oral tradition, but anyways, it made me think...

Plato was discoursing on his theory of ideas and, pointing to the cups on the table before him, said while there are many cups in the world, there is only one `idea' of a cup, and this cupness precedes the existence of all particular cups.
"I can see the cup on the table," interrupted Diogenes, "but I can't see the `cupness'".
"That's because you have the eyes to see the cup," said Plato, "but", tapping his head with his forefinger, "you don't have the intellect with which to comprehend `cupness'."
Diogenes walked up to the table, examined a cup and, looking inside, asked, "Is it empty?"
Plato nodded.
"Where is the `emptiness' which proceeds this empty cup?" asked Diogenes.
Plato allowed himself a few moments to collect his thoughts, but Diogenes reached over and, tapping Plato's head with his finger, said "I think you will find here is the `emptiness'."

-----------

I think it could be said in defense of Plato that Diogenes is violating the law of non-contradiction since emptiness is not really an innate property such as cupness, but an absence of properties, though scientifically speaking, emptiness in the universe( or vacuum) is not absence, and therefore something which according to traditional Platonism, should have a property.

Furthermore, for clarification purposes, when Plato discusses the idea of 'cupness' what he is referring to is the idea of the cup. We can look at all sorts of cups throughout our life, many taking different shapes and forms, but we still consider the object a cup no matter what its external features are. For instance, if we look at a table and see a coffee cup and a child's sippy cup we can see that there are differences in the shape, size, perhaps color, ect... but they are both still 'cups'. This is the idea of 'cupness' that Plato was talking about. All of this is related to his theory of forms. The difference between a plate and a cup is the 'plateness' vs the 'cupness' i.e., the essence of the object we are perceiving. Diogenes was a smartass who, while clever, totally failed to grasp the knowledge Plato was intending to share with him.
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R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,730
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3/15/2014 7:24:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
That most certainly wasn't Plato. Not his style at all.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Blade-of-Truth
Posts: 5,020
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3/16/2014 11:52:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/15/2014 7:24:44 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
That most certainly wasn't Plato. Not his style at all.

What, the theory of forms?
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AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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3/17/2014 3:52:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Riveting discussion here guys. I especially liked Blade-of-Truth's clarification. I'd have been lost without it. 'Cupness' . . . huh, who knew?
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,730
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3/17/2014 9:28:42 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/16/2014 11:52:50 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 3/15/2014 7:24:44 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
That most certainly wasn't Plato. Not his style at all.

What, the theory of forms?

Plato's style has a sense of humility to it, and he makes his points by assuming ignorance and then asking you questions to trip you up. He doesn't come off as a pompous jackass; this example epitomizes the very opposite of his style.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Blade-of-Truth
Posts: 5,020
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3/17/2014 9:35:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/17/2014 9:28:42 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 3/16/2014 11:52:50 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 3/15/2014 7:24:44 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
That most certainly wasn't Plato. Not his style at all.

What, the theory of forms?

Plato's style has a sense of humility to it, and he makes his points by assuming ignorance and then asking you questions to trip you up. He doesn't come off as a pompous jackass; this example epitomizes the very opposite of his style.

O, I see where the confusion is. I said Diogenes is a jackass, not Plato. Plato was the man.
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R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,730
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3/17/2014 9:52:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/17/2014 9:35:08 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 3/17/2014 9:28:42 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
At 3/16/2014 11:52:50 PM, Blade-of-Truth wrote:
At 3/15/2014 7:24:44 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
That most certainly wasn't Plato. Not his style at all.

What, the theory of forms?

Plato's style has a sense of humility to it, and he makes his points by assuming ignorance and then asking you questions to trip you up. He doesn't come off as a pompous jackass; this example epitomizes the very opposite of his style.

O, I see where the confusion is. I said Diogenes is a jackass, not Plato. Plato was the man.

Being enlightened, to me, is simply about uncovering the different ways in which Plato had the universe figured out.
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.