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Forms & Ends

I've just noticed (on my sixth reading of the book) that Plato wrote about the difference between inductive and deductive logic, formal and final causation, and the epistemology of the whole lot in Book VI, Stephanus 510b of The Republic. That would contradict Aristotle's claim that his old teacher only contributed the discovery of formal causation to material and efficient causes. In addition, if Voegelin's view of the over-arching meaning of the Republic-Timaeus-Critias trilogy is correct -- if the first is meant as the final nod to the philosophy of Socrates, the second to the Pythagoreans, and the last to the aristocratic tradition of Athens -- and the incidental remarks made by Adeimentus regarding the interests of the literary Socrates [506b] can be taken for generally true of the original model, then the first consideration of both formal and final causation would antedate even Plato, and originate with Socrates.

Interesting.

Edit: Originally wrote Stephanus [506a] when I meant to write [506b].

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
anosognosia
Sep. 18th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
Final causation is discussed in the Timaeus as well.
ccord
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Final causation is discussed in the Timaeus as well.

I'll have to pay attention for it then when next I'm going through it.
anosognosia
Sep. 19th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
Don't be silly! It's at 68e-69a! And look at also 47e-48b and 46c-e.
ccord
Sep. 21st, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
Well, that does certainly narrow it down a bit! I'll take a look, thank-you.
notebuyer
Sep. 18th, 2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
I've always thought that Voegelin's ways of linking the dialogues were good models for grouping them. I'm pleased with your connection of the Adeimentus statement and the origin of final causation. Would it be possible to explore this in the Xenophon archive?
ccord
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
I didn't expect to find anything in Xenophon's works, but a quick search on the Perseus database led to a short conversation on the ends of physical attributes in Xen. Mem. 1.4. Not very substantial, but not nothing either.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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