JL: >>CUSTOMER: So, what _was_ the problem, Mister Geary. GEARY: Well, the air-compressor short-circuited to ground. CUSTOMER: Why? GEARY: Humidity. I am claiming that, with strokes of pen, Geary can explain to a customer why the air-compressor short-circuited to ground WITHOUT the customer knowing the meaning of the relevant phrases.<< In truth, when asked 'why' something happened I usually shrug my shoulders and say: "I guess that's the way God wanted it." Satisfies most Southerners. Mike Geary Memphis ----- Original Message ----- From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sent: Friday, November 23, 2007 6:54 AM Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: In Latronem Boum Eric Yost: >I know it as The Homeric Hymn to Hermes ... it describes baby Hermes' >theft, Baby Hermes' invention of the lyre, and his trade of it to Apollo >for theft of the cattle. It was a public library book read years ago, so >I don't know the translator or press. ---- Thanks. Yes, one bad thing about that Dict. of Myth. is that it does not give sources. Thank you, Eric. I'm supposed to have that volume. The Homeric Hymns were first published by Loeb in the HESIOD volume, but now they have published it under a separate category, the EPIC volume. I do have the Hesiod volume, and read from the Hymn to Hermes: "Muse, sing of Hermes, the son of Zeus and Maia -- the daughter of Atlas. "Ermen humnei, Mousa, Dios kai Maiados huion. "Maia bare a son, a robber, a thief" "leister, puledokon" ----- "Born with the dawning, in the evening he stole the cattle of Apollo". "hesperios bous klepsen Apollonos" "So soon as he had leaped from his mother's womb, he sprang up and sought the oxen of Apollo". "boas Apollonos" "At Pieria, he cutt off from the herd 50 loud-lowing kine." "cut up the rich, fatted meat, and pierced it with wooden spits and roasted flesh" "but did not eat" "Then Hermes went hurriedly to his cradle" "'I am able to be a prince of robbers'". Apollo inquires a tiller, who says, "I marked a child, whoever the child was, that followed long-horned cattle -- an infant" "Apollo finds evidence of the sacrifice" "Hermes squeezed head and hands and feet together in a small space, like a new born child seeking sweet sleep, though in truth he was wide awake." "Apollo failed not to see Hermes, albeit a little child and swathed so craftily". The following dialogue ensued: APOLLO: Child, lying on the craddle. Make haste and tell me of my cattle. "O pai, hos en likno katakeiai, menue moi bous thasson." "Or I'll chain you in Tartarus HERMES: Sir, what harsh words are these you have spoken? And it is cattle of the field you are come here to seek? I have not seen them. I have not heard them. No one has told me of them. I was born yesterday. Nevertheless, if you will have it so, I will swear a great oath ... and vow that neither am I guilty myself, neither have I seen any other who stole your cows -- whatever cows may be; for I know them only by hearsay". "mete tin allon opopa boon klopon humeteraon, haí tines hai bóes eisí, to de kléos oíon akoúo." APOLLO: O rogue, deceiver, crafty in heart. You talk so innocently that I most surely believe that you have brokne into many a well-built house and you have made more than one poor wretch sit on the floor" HERMES: It is not I who stole your cows, nor did I see another steal them -- wheatever cows may be, and of that I have only heard report." "ou gar ego ge huymeteras eklepsa boas oud'allon ópopa, aitines hai bóes eisí, to de kléos oion akoío." "So Hermes and Apollo kept stubbornly disputing each article of their quarrel: Apollo speaking truly; but he, Hermes, tried to deceive Apollo with tricks and cunning words." "Soon they came, these lovely children of Zeus, to the mount of Olympus." ZEUS: Apollo, why come you driving this spoil a child new born that has the look of a herald? APOLLO: Here is a child, a burgling robber. He stole away my cows. As soon, he lay down in his cradle, and himself said, 'I have not seen them: I have not heard of them: no man has told me of them. I could not tell you of them, nor win the reward of telling. HERMES: Apollo has the rich bloom of glorious youth, while I was born but yesterday. Believe my tale (for you claim to be my own father) that I did not drive his cows. "And Zeus laughed out loud". [Yeovah would have killed them on the spot. JLS] Note that I have entitled the thing, "In Latronem Boum" alla Cicero's In Catilinam -- i.e., 'in' followed by accusative meaning 'contra'. The thing reminds vaguely what Grice distinguishes (after Donnellan) between --- attributive and --- referencial use of expressions. Grice's example (in "Vacuous Name") is by way of what he calls "stroke of the pen". "Mr. Johnson's butler, whoever he may be, mixed our coats and hats." --- Grice wants to say that one can use a referential expression without one having purely causal links to it, but merely attributive. Similarly, I would analyse Hermes's utterances, (1) I did not steal the cows, whatever they may be. Apparently this is a common Greek expression, "whatever they may be" (or whoever he or she may be for _personal_ expressions). The Greek is used twice in the passage above, "haitínes hai bíes eisí" -- There are possibly ways of using 'scare quotes' here: (2) I did not steal the cows, whatever a 'cow' is. Still, I would condemn Hermes -- hence the 'in' in the subject matter, contra -- for I don't think it can justify a thief that he or she does not know what he is stealing. R. Paul will possibly say that the thief must have some _concept_ of what he or she is stealing -- besides the knowledge that the thing is not _his_ (or _hers_). This is all in connection with Geary's dialogue: CUSTOMER: So, what _was_ the problem, Mister Geary. GEARY: Well, the air-compressor short-circuited to ground. CUSTOMER: Why? GEARY: Humidity. I am claiming that, with strokes of pen, Geary can explain to a customer why the air-compressor short-circuited to ground WITHOUT the customer knowing the meaning of the relevant phrases. The explanation, if learned, may run: "The air-compressor, whatever that may be, short-circuited to ground, whatever that may be, because of humidity" There you are. Americans are very confident on meteorological explanations, so that should do for Geary. Cheers, JL Philosopher, etc. Buenos Aires, Argentina ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Check out AOL Money & Finance's list of the hottest products and top money wasters of 2007.