Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rhetoric Book Notes (all over the map)

(Originally written January 4, 2007)

On Rhetoric
Aristotle

pp. 72-79

Ch. 8 Topics About Constitutions Useful in Deliberative Rhetoric

The most important concept to grasp in the art of persuasion is an understanding of all forms of constitutions and the advantages of each form.

All people are persuaded by what is advantageous.

Four forms of Constitution
1) Democracy
2) Oligarchy
3) Aristocracy
4) Monarchy/Tyranny

The end of democracy is freedom. The end of oligarchy is wealth. The end of aristocracy is education and tradition. The end of monarchy/tyranny is self-preservation.

Ch. 9 Epideictic Rhetoric

Kalon - honorable, fine, noble
Airskhron - shameful

Kalon and aiskhron are the focus of Epideictic rhetoric.

Kalon describes whatever is praiseworthy, whatever is pleasing because it is good.

Virtue is necessarily kalon

Virtue [arete] is an ability [dynamis]

Epideictic rhetoric deals with bestowing honor on to what is honorable in appropriate means and manner.

Ch. 10 - 15: Judicial Rhetoric

Cultural difference between Aristotle's Greece and Modern Western Society:
1) Assumption of naturally having personal enemies
2) A right to vengeance

In judicial rhetoric one must grasp:
1) Purpose for wrongdoing
2) Mental dispositions of wrongdoers
3) Who they wronged and why

Wrongdoing [toadikein]: doing harm willingly in contravention of the law

Vice [kakia] and weakness [akrasia] are the reasons why people do wrongdoings.

People act either on their own initiative or not on their own initiative.

Acts not on their own initiative are done by:
1) Chance
2) Nature
3) Compulsion

Acts on their own initiative are done by:
1) Habit
2) Desire

Habit and desire are sometimes rational, sometimes irrational.

Every act is caused by one of these seven causes:
1) Chance
2) Nature
3) Compulsion
4) Reason
5) Anger
6) Longing
7) Habit

Anger and longing are irrational

Actions by chance have no purpose. Actions by nature have a cause that is in the action and ordained. Actions by compulsion are the actor's own doing, but against their will/desire. Actions by habit occur because they do it often. Actions by reason occur because the action seems advantageous on the basis of goods. They are a means to some end. Actions by anger/desire deal with vengeance. Actions by longing are done for pleasure.

Book II - Pisteis, Or the Means of Persuasion in Public Address (Cont'd)

Three Artistic modes of persuasion
1) Presenting the character (ethos) of the speaker as favorable
2) Awakening emotion (pathos) in the audience
3) Showing the content of the speech to be probable by means of logical argument (logos)

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Rhetoric is concerned with making a judgment

Speakers are persuasive for 3 reasons:
1) Practical wisdom [phronesis]
2) Virtue [arete]
3) Goodwill [Eunoia]

The emotions [pathe] are why people differ in their judgments.

Chapters 2-11: propositions about emotions useful to a speaker in all species of rhetoric. These chapters are the earliest systematic discussion of human psychology.

Aristotle sees emotions as temporary states of mind, not attributes of character or natural desires.

Chapter 2: Ogre or Anger

The definitions and causes of anger:

Anger: "desire, accompanied by mental and physical distress, for apparent retaliation because of an apparent slight that was directed, without justification, against oneself or those near to one" (116).

Belittling: "an actualization of opinion about what seems worthless"

3 species of Belittling:
1) Contempt
2) spite
3) Insult

Belittling breeds pleasure in the belittler

The young and rich are prone to insult because it makes them feel superior to who they have insulted.

The state of Mind of those who become angry:

The longing for something, but being frustrated in their efforts becomes angry.

A person is easily angered when the opposite of what he expects to happens, happens.

Introduction to Dialectic From Aristotle Topics 1, 1-3

Rhetoric is a counterpart to dialectic.

Syllogism is a statement (logos)

Apodeixis (logical demonstration) occurs when the syllogism is drawn from things that are true and primary.

A syllogism is dialectic when it is drawn from endoxa (common opinion)

Endoxa seems right to the wise, but is not as certain as apodeixis

Syllogism is eristical (contentious) when it appears to be derived from endoxa, but it is not. Eristical syllogisms appear to syllogize, but do not.

Paralogisms are syllogisms derived from premises concerned with specific sciences.

Dialectical is useful in three ways:
1) Mental training
2) Serious conversation
3) Sciences along philosophical lines

Dialectic is investigative.

Chapters 12-17 (BK II) Topics about Ethos, useful in adapting the character of the speech to the character of the audience.

Socrates maintains that a true art of speech is impossible without knowledge of the soul.

Aristotle uses the term 'ethos' primarily as 'moral character.

Ch. 12 Introduction; the characters of the young.

Young men are pleasure loving, impulsive and optimistic

Ages of life:
1) Youth
2) Prime
3) Old Age

The song are prone to desires and impulsiveness.

Deepest desire for the young; sex, and they are powerless against this

Youth long for superiority, honor and victory.

Youth is not cynical, not lovers of money, trusting and filled with hopes.

Hope is future; memory is past. For the young, future is long and past is short.

Youth is courageous, sensitive to shame, fearless, magnanimous, live by natural character rather than calculation. They are fond of friends. They live in excess. They are witty. They are insolent.

Ch. 18-26: Dialectic features of Rhetoric common to all 3 species

Ch. 18 Introduction

All three speech genres must make use of the common premises [koina]. These are the possible and impossible.

All use diminution and amplification

Ch. 19 The Koina: the possible and the impossible, past and future fact, degree of magnitude or importance

The Possible and Impossible

If one of two things is possible, the other is likewise possible.

The whole of which is possible of which the parts are possible.

If the species is possible, so too is the genus.

If double is possible, so too is half.

Past and Future Fact

It is probable that one who was going to do something has done it.

Ch. 20-22 Koinai Pisteis, or common modes of persuasion

Common Pisteis are of two kinds:
1) paradigm
2) enthyme

Paradigm is similar to an induction; induction is a beginning.

2 Species of Paradigm
1) Comparison [parabole]
2) Fables [logoi]

p.s. I'm so freaking horny its not funny.

Fables are fictional, comparisons are historical.

Enthymemes should be used if available and paradigms as witnesses to enthymemes.

If paradigms are used as the primary then many must be supplied. But, if paradigms are merely used as witnesses to enthymemes, then only a few will suffice.

Specific Topics of Enthymemes

Praise or blame must be based on relevant facts.

Common: those facts the subject shares with other subjects.

Specifics [idia] those facts particular to subject "X".

Two species of enthymeme:
1) Demonstrative
2) Refutative

Ch. 23

Topic 1: From Opposites
- topos of demonstrative
- if the opposite predicate is true of the opposite subject, the argument is refuted.

Topic 2: From grammatical form
- The same predicate ought to be true or not true

Topic 3: From Correlations

Topic 4: From the more and the less
ex. "If not even the gods know everything the humans know even less"

Ch. 24 Real and Apparent, or Fallacious Enthymemes

A rhetorical syllogism may be either an enthymeme or only appear as such.

Fallacious topic 1: From Verbal Style
Fallacious topic 2: From combination/division, fallacy by omission
Fallacious topic 3: From exaggeration
Fallacious topic 4: From an unnecessary sign
Fallacious topic 5: From an accidental result
Fallacious topic 6: Affirming the consequent
Fallacious topic 7: Post-hoc, ergo propter hoc

Odysseus: A Life

From my Goodreads review...

It feels somewhat wrong to give the same number of stars to this book as The Iliad and The Odyssey; however, I've done just that because Charles Rowan Beye has made Odysseus extremely accessible without this book being overly scholarly, and thus, overly dry. The style of the work is good and reconstructs Odysseus' life and times that a neophyte Greek historian like myself can digest. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to understand either of Homer's works a little more clearly.

I had just finished up the aforementioned books before getting into this one and it was very good to get a recap at the end. I only wish I had read the Aeneid prior, but chest la vie? Now it's on to Ulysses (and if my previous encounter with Joyce is a harbinger of things to come, a commentary on that as well).

Assessment of the Odyssey

I finished The Odyssey earlier this month, but I've been slack on my digitization and compiling of my notes on this here blog. But, I'm trying to catch up. Here is what I wrote, in my Goodreads review.

What a slog! Going back to back on The Iliad and The Odyssey. Don't get me wrong, they are both great. They're just big, wordy books. I think that I prefer The Odyssey, but just slightly.

There are a number of great stories wrapped up into The Odyssey. Some are triumphant, others gory, others happy and some sad. The whole thing oozes emotion. One short little one stuck out to me thought. The little interaction between Argos, Odysseus' dog, was especially poignant. In that tiny bit of a minor passage you see how Homer can weave contradictory powerful emotions together into a unity.

Rhetoric Class Notes 1.4.07

(Originally written January 4, 2007)

Definitions:

Rhetoric - an antistrophos to dialectic (30)
Rhetoric - an ability, in each case to see the available means of persuasion (37) [main def.]
Rhetoric - knowledge of the available means of persuasion and looking at all possible outcomes (266)
Rhetoric - an offshoot of dialectic (39)

Rhetoric is not a product! Rhetoric is a process

Canon of Rhetoric
-Invention
-Arrangement
-Style
-Memory
-Delivery

Dialectic v. Rhetoric

Similarities:
-Each deal with universal questions
-Each deal with questions that do not belong to a specific science or art
-Each can reason on both sides
-Each starts with endoxa (common opinions)

Differences
- In purpose, dialectic tests an argument; rhetoric defends an idea or self.
- In practitioner, dialectic has expert dialecticians; rhetoric is done by ordinary citizens
- In Method, dialectic is Socratic, in rhetoric it is speech
- In issue, dialectic deals with generalities, rhetoric deals with particulars
- In audience, dialectic audience is small, rhetoric audience is large
- In argument, dialectic uses syllogism, rhetoric uses enthymeme
- In proofs, dialectic uses argument, rhetoric uses argument, character and emotions

Dialectic is part of rhetoric, but rhetoric does not always have to use dialectic.

Rhetoric deals with debatable and refutable things.

Rhetoric is a combination of analytic knowledge (dialectic) and knowledge of characters.

Does Aristotle mean pathos in the way we understand psychology?

Rhetoric includes:
1) Knowledge of logic
2) Knowledge of pathos
3) A grasp of constitutional politics
4) a basis of common beliefs

Rhetoric:
-Ability
-Tool
-Needs knowledge on content/subject

Audiences

Rhetoric must consider emotions and values of the audience.

Enthymeme is the foundation of Rhetoric

An enthymeme is to Rhetoric as a syllogism is to logic (dialectic)

Enthymeme is a claim (Aristotle: proposition) and a reason (for/because).

Enthymeme - something in the mind

Enthymemes are based on:
1) Facts (not usual)
2) Theories
3) Cultural Assumptions

Enthymemes are derived from
1) Probability
2) Signs

Enthymeme (aka Rhetorical syllogism)

Structure of an Enthymeme
1) State the claim (topoi)
2) Back it up with reason

Enthymemes are about general and specific things

Contradiction?

Aristotle's three most common general propositions rhetoricians must know"
1) Advantageous and opposite
2) Just and Unjust
3) Honorable and Dishonorable

Dissection of Aristotle's Enthymemes:
"Rhetoric is an antistrophos to dialectic" [The claim] "for both are concerned with such things as are..." [The reason]

"There is persuasion through character [Claim]... for we believe fair-minded people..." [Reason]

Claim is normally separated from the reason by "for" or "because"

Reasons normally follow the claim, but it can go both ways. "Claim for the Reason" or "Reasons for the claim".

Example and Sign

A necessary sign (tekmerion) is a thing that follows that demands a prior thing to have occurred.

A contingent sign is a thing that follows that states a prior thing may have, but not necessarily, happened.

Logic/Logos components:
-Enthymeme (most important)
-Signs
-Examples

Non-artistic components of Logic/Logs
-Documents
-Witnesses
-Torture

Types of Rhetoric
1) Deliberative
2) Judicial
3) Demonstrative

Rhetoric Class Notes 1.3.07

(Originally written January 3, 2007)

Class Notes

Background for the emergence of Rhetoric

Greek Era (same as)
1) Homeric Epic
2) Josiah, King of Israel

Political Reforms:
1) Solon's Reforms (594 BC)
- Middle ground between poor and rich
- Four classes of people based on income
2) Cleisthenes (500 BC)
- Established direct involvement in government
3) Pericles
-Citizenship law
-Finanial support for government

Wars (as Foundation)
1) Athens v. Sparta (Peloponnesian)
2) Greece v. Persia (Persian)

Athenian Empire united Greece for trade, culture and rhetoric. Melting pot of culture cultivated rhetoric.

Intellectual Background
Thales - Solar Eclipse
Thales, Anaximander, Miletus - physical world governed by natural law
Protagoras (480-410 BC)
- traveled and taught for a fee
- taught Pericles and Socrates
- moral codes based on social construction
- neither denied nor affirmed the gods
- 'man is the measure of all things'

Rhetoric Beginnings

Gorgias to Athens (427 BC)
War with Corinth (395 - 387 BC)
Isocrates opens school in Athens (393 BC)
Isocrates - "Against the Sophists" (391 BC)
Plato founds the Academy (386 BC)
Aristotle joins the Academy (367 BC)
First Plebeian consul elected (367 BC)

Aristotle (384 - 322 BC)
"On Rhetoric" 360 - 344 BC
Tutored Alexander 335 - 332 BC
"Rhetoric is a combo of analytical knowledge and knowledge of characters"

Definitions of Rhetoric:
1) Antistrophos of dialectic
2) Ability to see the available means of persuasion.

Aristotle takes rhetoric (a knack in Plato) as an academic discipline

Purpose of Rhetoric
1) Duty
2) To give appropriate judgment
3) To become a political science which educates to prudence

Place of Rhetoric in Aristotle's work

4 Branches of the Organon:
1) Dialectic
2) Rhetoric
3) Prior Analytics
4) Posterior Analytics

Main Components
1) Pisteis (Proof)
2) Appeals:
Ethos - arete (excellence), phronosis (good sense) eunoia (good will)
Logos - syllogism (primarily in dialectic), enthymeme
Pathos - Emotions and appearance of character

Three types of Discourse
1) Epideictic - praise and blame
2) Forensic - legal, judicial
3) Deliberative - legislative, policy, future

The Rhetorical Triangle

Speaker - Ethos
Subject - Logos
Audience - Pathos
Text - Grammar

Rhetoric Book Notes Ch. 1-4

(Originally written January 3, 2007)

Well, That paper really helped me to get a 'B' in epistemology. But that was last semester. Now, it is J-Term. This will now be the Notebook of ENG 370 "Classical Rhetoric"

On Rhetoric: A theory of Civic Discourse

Aristotle, trans. George A. Kennedy
Oxford University Press
NY, 2007

pg. 27 - 55

Book 1: Pisteis, or the Means of Persuasion in Public Address

BKs I & II deal with the public speaker's art of persuasion through:
1) Presenting one's character as trustworthy
2) Persuasive Arguments
3) Moving the emotions of the audience

This part of Rhetoric has become known as "invention" Aristotle calls it "dianoia" (thought).

BKs I & II appear to be originally linked together, but BK III appears to be a separate work that was added later.

Chapters 1-3: Introduction

Ch. 1 Introduction to Rhetoric for students of Dialectic

Ch. 1 is very Platonic

Dialectic was taught by Aristotle as the art of philosophical disputation.

Topics is Aristotle's textbook of the Dialectic.

Dialectic:

Student 1 - state Thesis "X"
Student 2 - Refute "X" by asking yes/no questions

If student catches student 1 in a contradiction, "X" is refuted.

Dialectic proceeds by question and answer. It is merely proof and refutation.

Logical argument is the only acceptable argument in Dialectic. Rhetoric is broader.

Both dialectic and rhetoric build arguments on commonly held opinions (endoxa) and deal with probability, not logical certainty.

Dialectic examines generalities; rhetoric seeks answers to specific particulars.

BK I's Ch. 1 denies the use of emotional appeals in rhetoric which contradicts BK III. The best explanation of this is (according to Kennedy) Aristotle uses chapter 1 to portrait ideal rhetoric in an ideal society; but, Book III deals with the corrupt, but real society of Athens and the need for emotional appeals in real rhetoric.

"Rhetoric is an anistrophos to dialectic" (Kennedy, 30). [antistrophos = counterpart, correlative, coordinate]

Both are independent of any specific science.

All people share in both to some extent.

People can participate in Rhetoric either accidentally or through an ability acquired by habit. Those acting on the latter are participating in the art [tekhné] of Rhetoric.

"Pisteis are artistic" in rhetoric. [pisteis are proof, means of persuasion]. Aristotle uses pisteis here to relate 'logical proofs'.

Enthymemes is the 'body' of persuasion.

Verbal attacks, pity, emotions are part of the mind (psykhé) that do not appeal to reason.

In persuasion it is imperative to have an introduction [prooemion] and a narrative [diégésis] and other parts to engage the audience.

Artistic method deals with pisteis; pistis (singular form of pisteis) is a sort of demonstration [apodeixis].

Rhetorical apodeis is enthymeme. (Strongest of the pisteis).

Enthymeme is a type of syllogism.

Commonly held opinions = endoxa.

Enthymeme - somehting in the mind, striking thought (Isocrates), "a syllogism from probabilities or signs" (Aristotle).

Enthymeme in Aristotle is differentiated from syllogism in that syllogism deals with logical necessity and absolute truth; whereas, enthymeme deals with probability.

The Usefulness of Rhetoric

Rhetoric is useful because:
1) "The true and the just are by nature stronger than their opposites" (Aristotle)
2) Knowledge needs to be aided by speech in persuading others.

The function [ergon] of rhetoric is to see the available means of persuasion in particular cases, not to persuade.

Proairesis - Deliberate Choice

Ch. 2 Definition of Rhetoric, Pisteis, or the means of persuasion in public address: Paradigms, Enthymemes, and their Sources; Common Topics, Eidé and Idia

Rhetoric is "an ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion" (37).

Pisteis are either a technic (non-artistic) or entechnic (embodied in art, artistic).

A technic pisteis are proof that are preexisting the speaker's deliver. Entechnic pistes are those provided to the audience by the speaker.

There are three species of pisteis provided through the speech:
1) Those in the character of the speaker [ethos]
2) Those in the disposing of the listener
3) Those in the speech itself [logos]

Character is almost the most authoritative form of persuasion.

Persuasion in the pathos is the art of persuasion via emotional appeal.

Persuasion via showing the truth from whatever is persuasive occurs through the arguments [logoi].

Fair-mindedness = epikikeia

Rhetoric is an offshoot of dialectic and ethical studies (politics).

Rhetoric is partly dialectic. It mirrors dialectic.

Dialectic has the syllogism and the induction [epagoge]. Rhetoric has the enthymeme (syllogism) and the paradeigma (example).

Dialectic syllogism mirrors Rhetoric enthymeme. Dialectic induction mirrors rhetoric paradeigma.

Some rhetorical utterances are paradigmatic (rhetorically inductive), some are enthymematic (rhetorically syllogistic). Some orators are paradigmatic, others are enthymematic. Enthymematic speeches are more exciting and more favorable to audience reaction than paradigmatic ones.

Rhetoric forms enthymemes from things customarily debated.

Enthymemes and paradigms must be drawn from few premises that are not necessarily true.

Enthymemes are derived from probabilities [eikota] and signs [semeia].

Probability = eikos. Probabilities = eikota.

A necessary sign is a tekmerion. Tekmerions are irrefutable, also other signs can be refuted.

Demonstrative - apodeiktikai

The Topics of Syllogisms and Enthymemes

Topos - place (literal meaning)
Topos - forms of arguments (Isocrates)
Topoi - Topos

"Species" of knowledge refers to a specific set of premises unique to a particular science. Topoi are premises common [Koinei] to all.

Ch. 3 The Three Species of Rhetoric

There are three species of rhetoric.

There are three classes of hearers.

A speech consists of three things: a speaker, a subject and an audience.

The objective [telos] of the speech relates to the audience.

A hearer must be either an:
1) Observer [theoros]
2) Judge [Krites]

A judge deals with either post or future events. An observer is concerned with the ability of the speaker.

The three species/genera of rhetoric:
1) Deliberative [symbouleutikon] - is either protseptic (exhortation) or apotreptic (dissuasion)
2) Judicial [dikanikon] - is either accusation [kategoria] or defense [apologia]
3) Demonstrative [epideiktikon] - is either praise [epainos] or blame [psogos]

Deliberative rhetoric deals with the future. Judicial rhetoric deals with the past. Demonstrative rhetoric deals with the present.

The end of deliberative rhetoric is the advantageous (sympheron). The end of judicial rhetoric is the just (dikaion) and the unjust. The end of demonstrative rhetoric is the honorable (salon) and the shameful.

Propositions common to all species of rhetoric:

Koina are the common things in rhetoric. Idia are the particular things in rhetoric.

It is necessary for all rhetoricians to have propositions [protaseis] about possibilities and impossibilities.

It is necessary for all rhetoricians to have propositions about "greater" and "lesser", about generals and specifics.

Chs. 4-15: Idia,  or specific topics, in each of the three species of rhetoric.

There are three classes of dialectical propositions:
1) Ethical
2) Physical
3) Logical

Ethical propositions include political.

Physical and logical propositions are of no use to rhetoric. Ethical propositions are widely used.

Chapters 4-8: Deliberative Rhetoric

Chapter 4: Political Topics for Deliberative Rhetoric

Idia - Specifics

Rhetoric as a tool (in Aristotle) includes a practical knowledge of a subject matter it is used in. This is not an exhaustive knowledge though.

Political Rhetoric deals with only the possible good and evil that can come to pass. It doesn't deal with what necessarily exists or what is impossible to exist.

Rhetoric is a combination of analytical knowledge and knowledge of characters.

The most important political rhetoric topics are finances, war and peace, national defense, imports and exports and the framing of laws.

Someone who wishes to engage in deliberative rhetoric on any political topic should have a basic, foundation and practical knowledge of these five categories.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Quick notes & Barebones Outline of a lost Epistemology Paper

(Originally written December 9, 2006)

Ok, it's Saturday about 1:00 pm. I have a major epistemology paper due at 9:00 am on Monday, which I have not ben diligent in working on. So, it's research time!

Thesis (preliminary) all knowledge is analytic in nature. Synthetic nature is artificial.

Louis Pojman
The Theory of Knowledge 3rd Edition

VII.2 An Empiricist Critique of A priori knowledge - A.J. Ayer

No matter of fact can be shown to be logically necessarily or universally true (Hume).

Ayer states that no proposition with factual content is necessarily true.

Every empiricist must accept the thesis that no factual propositions can be necessary truths.

Empiricism faces difficulties with this thesis in dealing with mathematics and logical truths. There are two ways of dealing with this:
1) They are not necessary truths (in this case their universalness must be somehow explained).
2) They have no factual content (in this case they must be able to explain why a proposition without factual content can be true and useful and surprising).

If both of these prove unsatisfactory, empiricism is proven wrong and rationalism is vindicated.

Rationalism states that thought, independent of experience is a more reliable source of knowledge than experience.

John Stuart Mill adopted the thesis that mathematic and logical truths are not necessary. He maintained that they were merely inductive generalizations based on a very large number of experiences. Thus, these mathematical and logical truths were very probable, but not certain.

The difference between Mathematical and logical truths and scientific generalizations was a difference of degree, not kind.

Ayer admits that by rejecting Mill's approach, empiricists are obliged to be somewhat dogmatic.

The Irrefutability of the Propositions of Mathematics and Logic

In every instance when a mathematical or logical truth appears to be refuted we can easily find a way to show that it has not. Truths of logic and mathematics are analytic propositions or tautologies.

The Nature of Analytic Propositions

Kant's definition of an analytic proposition, "one in which the predicate B belonged to the subject A as something which was covertly contained in the concept of A" (Pojman, 381).

Analytic judgments add nothing to the subject; whereas synthetic judgments do.

Analytic judgments provide no factual content and it is for this reason no experience can refute them.

Because analytic judgments provide no factual content it does not follow that they are senseless.

Analytic propositions provide us with some new knowledge. They clarify. They show new linguistic usages.

Analytic judgments allow us to make explicit what was implicit.

The Propositions of Geometry

Kant believed that geometry was the study of the properties of physical space.

Non-Euclidean Geometry has proven that geometry is not the study of physical space. We merely use geometry to reason about physical space.

Necessary truths are devoid of factual content. A priori truths are always analytic. They are always tautologies.

How can Tautologies be surprising?

The power of logic or mathematics to surprise us has its origin solely in the limitedness of our minds, not in their content.

All a priori truths are tautologies. Tautologies serve to guide us in our empirical search for knowledge, they do not contain any information about any matter of fact.

Monadology and Other Philosophical Essays
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
translated by: Paul Schrecken and Anne Martin Schrecker

The Unity of Leibniz's philosophic thought

There is a pervasive inner unity that flows through all of Leibniz's work.

Leibniz held a belief in a universal language.

Reflections on knowledge, truth, and ideas

All knowledge is either obscure or clear. Clear knowledge is either confused or distinct. Distinct knowledge is either adequate or inadequate. Distinct knowledge is either symbolic or intuitive.

"The most perfect knowledge is that which is both adequate and intuitive" (Leibniz, 3).

Knowledge is obscure when it is insufficient to recognize what it represents.

Knowledge is clear when it is sufficient to recognize the object it represents.

Clear knowledge is confused when it cannot be distinguished from other objects in description. It is recognizable, but only to me.

Distinct knowledge is distinguishable and explicable knowledge. It is distinct when we can explain it to others.

Perfect knowledge is both adequate and distinct, but Leibniz doubts whether or not man can give a true account of this, but numbers come close.

Intuitive knowledge occurs when the whole of simple idea is known at once. Symbolic knowledge is knowledge o highly complex notions where the whole is known without full knowledge of all the parts.

There is a difference in definitions:
1) Nominal definitions - contain only marks to distinguish the defined thing from other things
2) Real definitions - actually describing the object in its fullest

By distinguishing these definitions we refute Hobbes' notion that all truths are arbitrary. (Hobbes' assumption rests on all definitions being nominal ones).

An idea is true when it is possible (it is false when it involves a contradiction).

Possibility is known either a priori or a posteriori

Causal definitions are known a priori.

A posteriori possibility is known when we experience a thing in reality.

When we have adequate knowledge we also possess a priori knowledge of a possibility.

Thought experiment - when we perceive green we are unaware that we are actually perceiving blue + yellow. Thus, what is green is known, analytically, as yellow+blue.

On the Universal Science: Characteristic XIV

All certain knowledge is established through demonstration or experiments.

Science is based on reason.

We need some exact language, or a form of truly philosophical writing in which ideas are reducible to a kind of "alphabet of human thought"

Leibnizian demonstrations involve two principles:
1) What implies contradiction is false
**2) Reason can be given for any truth, the predicate concept always inheres in its subject concept, either explicitly or implicitly

Necessary truths can be reduced to identical propositions

Contingent truths require an infinite analysis which can be performed solely by God. Only God can know contingent truths a priori.

Contingent truths are truths of fact.

XV

"All human reasoning uses certain signs or character" (Leibniz, 17).

Knowledge is symbolic.

All human ideas can be reduced into a few primitives. (cogitationes -> primitivas)

Critical remarks concerning the General Part of Descartes' principles

One must, in searching for truth, doubt everyone at some point in one's lifetime.

2. That what is doubtful should be considered false.
-There is no advantage to this.

4. Why one can place in doubt the truth of sensible things.
-All we need to know is that they are consistent among themselves.

Linehan - This is interesting, but unhelpful to my research. I'm skipping it.

On the Improvement of Metaphysics and on the concept of substance

Mathematics possesses clarity; metaphysics possesses obscurity.

The cause of metaphysical obscurity is that the general concepts of metaphysics are ambiguous.

Metaphysics needs clarity and clearness and certitude even more than mathematics.

Force is inherent in substance. Force is the faculty to act, action itself and requires effort.

What is nature? Reflections on the force inherent in created things and on their actions

What does nature consist of?

Do created things posses an energy?

The whole of nature is the perfect work of God's making.

Robert Boyle states that nature is the mechanism of bodies.

Linehan - I think I have exhausted my resources in this book for my epistemology paper. But, just reading a little bit of Leibniz has restored my love and respect for him and rationalism in general.

So now it is time for the paper!

Paper Structure:

I. Thesis
II. Definitions
  A. Historical
      i. epistemological/metaphysical/semantical categories
       1. Kant's 4 Quadrants
       2. A.J. Ayer's a priori
       3. Leibniz divisions of knowledge
  B. Personal
III. Thought Experiments (proofs of I)
    1. Logical
    2. Mathematical
    3. Propositional
IV. Objections and responses
V. Closing

Thesis: Knowledge is...
1) Analytic (semantical)
2) Tautological (semantical)
3) A Priori (epistemological)
4) Necessary (metaphysical)

Knowledge has three major components
1) Epistemological
2) Semantical
3) Metaphysical

Epistemological and semantical knowledge are closely related and focused on together, mainly because of Kant. Metaphysical knowledge has been intertwined with epistemological and semantical, though less explicit.

Definitions of Knowledge

Leibnizian distinctions lead to my definition.

First of the three components: Epistemological
definition of a priori (Pojman, 367)
definition of a posteriori (Pojman, 367)
Kantian definition of analytic propositions
Ayer definition of a priori truths

2nd of the 3 components: Semantical
definition of analytic
definition of synthetic
Ayer's distinction
Leibnizian definition/personal additions
Ayer's truth of logic (mathematics)
Thought experiments
1) Logic
2) Mathematics
3) Empirical (most controversial)

3rd of 3 Components: Metaphysical
definition of necessary truths
definition of contingent truths
Hume's objection (needs more research)
Ayer's factual content necessary truth?
Metaphysical difficulties for the empiricist

Ayer has satisfactory proved factual content but he has not eliminated rationalism. Explain why and you'll be able to demonstrate all three parts of your thesis and vindicate your definition of knowledge (conclusion).