[lit-ideas] Re: Ousia, Essentia

  • From: palma <palmaadriano@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:40:48 +0200

the issue was delat with by t Burge decades ago

On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 8:47 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>  I would once again invoke the analogy of doctors and the medical
> language. While medical terms such 'arthritis' may be used by non-doctors,
> such uses are derived by hear-say from medical uses. We don't tell doctors
> to investigate how 'ordinary people' use the word arthritis to find out
> what it means, but instead we refer the 'ordinary people' to professionals
> to obtain a better understanding of what it means from them, when needed.
> (For example, if they suspect that they have arthritis.) Some such might
> well be the case with philosophical terms.
>  Another thing is, medical terms change their meaning within 'the
> language game' as new discoveries are made, and so other words in the
> language may change their meanings as new ideas are introduced. The word
> 'rights' scarcely had the same meaning in the Middle Ages that it has now.
> There are possibilities besides relying entirely on established usage and
> 'talking nonsense'.
>  O.K.
> On Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 8:22 PM, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
> wrote:
>> >It's  when you engage in some higher order discourse that you can
>> meaningful use terms  in Greek or Latin like 'ousia' and 'essentia' --
>> they don't
>> correspond to a  first-oder proposition with variables for individual,
>> and
>> predicates which are  'observational' in nature. But one could play a bit
>> with
>> this.>
>>   What is the authority for all these claims? What theory of language
>> validates them? And how?
>>  The first claim is surely obviously mistaken: in ordinary language the
>> term "essence" may be used without "some higher order discourse" e.g. "Time
>> is of the essence" or "His pen portrait captured the essence of the man."
>>  Philosophers need to stop telling us what language means, according to
>> them and their stipulations, and actually look at what it means - that is
>> one essential element of the later Wittgenstein's approach.
>>  Dnl
>>  Ldn
>>  Btw, just a reminder that no one came close (except in their own
>> imagination) to providing an explanation of the naming-relation that
>> provides us with an account where we can determine in a stateable way
>> that a word is being used as a name (and not otherwise).
>>   On Monday, 16 June 2014, 16:24, "dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <
>> dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> There is something circular about McEvoy's comments -- it's best to
>> there
>> being something square about them.
>> The idea is, as O. K. pointed out, that there are philosophical
>> dictions,
>> and non-philosoophical ones.
>> "Essentia" seems to be a philosophical one. Cfr. English 'essence' as in
>> 'essence of vanilla'.
>> The circularity may amount to this, since McEvoy was talking about fly
>> in
>> fly bottles. A few dictions are recognisably philosophical in origin --
>> 'essence' may be one of them -- as opposed to 'being', that O. K. also
>> quotes
>> --.
>> If someone feels the need (as Aristotle did) to use 'essence' or
>> 'category', then (even when I don't favour the use of 'then' in
>> 'conditionals')  he
>> or she IS a philosopher.
>> "Essentia" (and "Essence") and "Ousia" are feminine nouns, originally,
>> and
>> seem to have been conceived to express some philosophical generalisations
>> -- and  yes, Witters thought that one bad thing about philosophers
>> (implicating, he  wasn't one?) was that they craved for them!
>> In a message dated 6/16/2014 3:15:03 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
>> donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
>> 'essence' are scarcely meaningful in  every-day modern English.>
>> 2. The essence of any good relationship is  trust.
>> 4. To complete the recipe add some essence of vanilla.
>> 8. In  essence, the idea that philosophers have access to privileged
>> meanings, denied  to ordinary users of language, is based on a mistake or
>> set of
>> mistakes about  the character of language.
>> I think O. K's point was that 'ousia' and  'essentia' were Greco-Roman
>> terms -- and I would add feminine nouns of some  abstract nature. Since
>> we were
>> discussing first- and second-order statements  (re: 'meta-legal'), I
>> would
>> think that the GREEK and ROMAN uses of 'ousia' and  'essentia' made a
>> (however tacit) reference to some higher order.
>> It's  when you engage in some higher order discourse that you can
>> meaningful use terms  in Greek or Latin like 'ousia' and 'essentia' --
>> they don't
>> correspond to a  first-oder proposition with variables for individual,
>> and
>> predicates which are  'observational' in nature. But one could play a bit
>> with
>> this.
>> "The  essence of a any good relationship is trust".
>> If 'essentia' was the  strict translation of 'ousia', the above may be
>> re-stated as a proposition to  the effect that, for any "John" (or
>> Smith), or,
>> 'Smith and Jones', if Smith does  not trust Jones and Jones does not
>> trust
>> Smith, they are NOT related.
>> "To  complete the recipe add some essence of vanilla".
>> Of course I would not  say that this is a different 'sense' (Do not
>> multiply senses beyond necessity).  But this may be retranslated in
>> chemical terms.
>> Of course 'essence of vanilla'  may be totally artificial, and no vanilla
>> involved, but at the chemical level,  there must be some equation between
>> what you add to the recipe and the chemical  composition of 'real'
>> vanilla.
>> "In essence, the idea that philosophers  own meanings is mistaken."
>> This seems to have the form,
>> "In  essence, p."
>> It seems to be merely emphatic towards the truth of _p_,  without which
>> _p_
>> would cease to exist (and then the ultimate allusion to Greek  'ousia'
>> and
>> Latin 'essentia'.
>> The Greeks thought the elements were four,  and the Romans,
>> mistranslating
>> this and thinking they had come across a further  element, spoke of
>> 'quintessence', the fifth element. While this has a very  literal
>> meaning, it can be
>> used metaphorically, and I submit that 'In essence'  may thus relate to
>> "quintessence". Then we may consider the adverbial quality of  'in
>> essence':
>> 'essentially', or 'Philosophers are quintessentially mistaken in
>> thinking
>> they own meaning" -- but Davidson made a few mistakes there -- oddly
>> thinking
>> he owned the meaning of adverbs!
>> Oddly, Humpty Dumpty did own  the meaning of them all -- even _verbs_
>> (*).
>> Cheers,
>> Speranza
>> "'They've a temper, some of them —  particularly verbs: they're the
>> proudest — adjectives you can do anything with,  but not verbs — however,
>> I can
>> manage the whole lot of them!"
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