Tag Archives: Sappho

On Plato’s Republic, 7

Index to this series

(Note added October 23, 2022.) As I return to the analysis of the philosopher in the Republic, I think of two or three recent encounters with resistance to what I would call philosophical thought. See my comments added at the end. Meanwhile, here is a table contents for this post:

The Philosopher

We are going to define the lovers of knowledge or wisdom: the philosophers. Socrates’s definition is at Stephanus 480a, at the end of our seventh reading in Plato’s Republic. The reading constitutes, of Book V, the latter part, beginning at 472a. Socrates concludes,

Τοὺς αὐτὸ ἄρα ἕκαστον τὸ ὂν ἀσπαζομένους
φιλοσόφους ἀλλ’ οὐ φιλοδόξους κλητέον.

We might translate the first part word by word as follows.

τοὺς αὐτὸ ἄρα ἕκαστον τὸ ὂν ἀσπαζομένους,
those-who-are itself therefore each thing-that-is being delighting-in.

The whole sentence then is literally,

Therefore those who are delighting in each thing that is being, itself,
are to be called philosophers, but not “philodoxers.”

Here are five published translations; take your pick.

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Thoreau and Anacreon

Gray clouds over blue sky over white clouds over buildings

At the beginning of Walden, the author says he wrote its pages, “or rather the bulk of them,” in the isolated house he had built by the pond of that name. He lived there, 1845–7. He wrote there also A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. He had spent the week of the title with his brother, who died of tetanus in January, 1842. Writes Laura Dassow Walls,

Into the narrative of his 1839 river trip with John, Henry had woven everything he ever felt, thought, and experienced …

This in Henry David Thoreau: A Life (University of Chicago Press, 2017). Weaving is Thoreau’s metaphor, used in Walden in a consideration of what is worth doing in life.

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Some Say Poetry

In a poetry review, a remark on being a student has drawn my attention:

In My Poets, a work of autobiographical criticism with occasional ventriloquial interludes, McLane recalls two “early impasses in reading,” freshman-year encounters with Charles Olson and Frank O’Hara. She writes about not “getting it” but wanting to get it, about a desire to get it that was left wanting by code-breaking and analysis and satisfied by hearing and feeling.

This is from the second half of a “New Books” column by Christine Smallwood, in the Reviews section of Harper’s, July 2017. After quoting Smallwood’s review, I want to say something about learning and creating, in poetry and also in mathematics.

Potted palms with plaster farm animals on hillside behind

Kuzguncuk, 2017.11.05

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Feyhaman Duran

Born on the Asian side of Istanbul in Kadıköy in 1886, İbrahim Feyhaman was orphaned nine years later. His father had been a poet and calligrapher. His mother’s dying wish was that Feyhaman attend the Lycée Impérial Ottoman de Galata-Sérai; his maternal grandfather, Duran Çavuş, saw that this happened. Some time after graduation, headmaster Tevfik Fikret had Feyhaman come back to Galatasaray to teach calligraphy.


Garden of Aşiyan, September 10, 2015

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