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Volume 2 number 2

e-ISSN 20841043

Kraków, December 2012, volume 2, number 2


Leading theme of the issue:

Non-being, Nothingness and Emptiness

edited by Wojciech Hanuszkiewicz
thematic adviser Seweryn Blandzi

emptiness_photo by Marzenna Jakubczak

Editor’s note

Articles and treatises

Piotr BŁASZCZYK, Kazimierz MRÓWKA, Podwójna negacja w B 2 poematu Parmenidesa (pp. 235-244)

Abstract & Contribution
Double Negation in B2 of Parmenides’ Poem. In our article we focus on the analysis of the structure of double negation in the poem of Parmenides, paying attention to the fragment B 2. The starting point of the analysis is submitted to the classification of varieties of negation contained in Diogenes Laertius (VII.69-70): negation, denial, privation and double negation. We write an example of double negation given by Diogenes as: “Not (is not a day) ↔ it is a day”. In terms of the poetic expression the law of double negation serves to strengthen the goddess’ speech. However, in the context of Parmenides’ ontology, the law of double negation serves as an affirmation of “is”. Our goal is to give a detailed analysis of the structure of double negation. In the next step we introduce Euclid’s proofs by contradiction. We show that all four forms of negation indicated by Diogenes occur in the Elements and there is a richer set of the linguistic forms used as expression of negation, including the double negation. Finally, we show that Parmenides applies consciously the law of double negation, and the poem is the first philosophical text confirming the use of this law. In short, a double negation can be summarized as follows: for the Stoics, in Diogenes Laertius (VII.69-70): “not (is not a day) ↔ is a day”; for Euclid: “not (is not-equal) ↔ is equal” (Elements, I.6). “is not like that (…. is not around …) ↔ is around” (Elements VI.26); and in Parmenides: “is ↔ not (is not to be)” (B 2, v. 3).
Keywords: Parmenides’ poem, Euclid, Elements, Diogenes Laertius, Stoics, negation, double negation, hypernegation, privation, denial
Contribution of the co-authors: contribution to the general conception of the paper (K.M. 50%, P.B. 50%); a part addressing Parmenides (K.M. 100%); a part addressing Euclid (P.B. 100%); translation of the analysed passages form Greek into Polish (K.M. 50% i P.B. 50%).

Seweryn BLANDZI, Gorgiasza meontologia vs. nihilizm (pp. 245-263)

Meontology of Gorgias vs. Nihilism. The purpose of this paper is to challenge Gorgias’ image of a “nihilist existentialist”. The original thesis ouden estin, too frequently rendered as „nothing exists”, thus reducing the verb “to be” to denote “bare” existence, and ouden to denote “nothingness”. On close inspection, it turns out that, in Gorgias, neither do we have a negation of reality nor an affirmative treatment of the word “nothingness”.Therefore, ouden” should not be understood as a negation of all reality or a kind of affirmative “nothingness”, whereas “estin” should not be reduced to “bare” existence. (When existence is negated what we obtain is annihilation). Such practices still affect the various translations of Gorgias’ treaty On the non-being or on Nature. Gorgias’ “sophist” thought is typically interpreted as a joke or a parody of dialectical thinking of the Eleatics. In fact, as it turns out, he made no parody of dialectic but applied the elenctic, apagogic method in Zeno’s masterly manner. He did so not for an artificial purpose but to prove the absurdity of the hypothesis of absolute, transcendent (hence incognizable) one Truth-Being, which eliminates the non-being of becoming as absolute non-being. Gorgias argued in earnest in favour of relative being as such, Becoming as the only reality, which from the point of view of absolute being is after all non-being, but not-this-being, or relative non-being but not non-relative non-being, as the Eleatics had claimed. Gorgias’ positions appears to be an apologia of non-being which is, that is of Becoming. We do not transform the “nothing” into a “no thing”. The main question of the treaty is: what is predicated by the word “nothing”? Gorgias’ position can be recapitulated as “nothing is sc. true, there is no criterion because, after all, everything is opinion. It is reinforced further by meontological, i.e. anti-eleatic Gorgias’ emphasis: “No thing is Being (substance)”, because everything is Becoming. Thus the title if Gorgias’ treaty can thus be treated as as an antithesis to that of Melissos’, which – in our opinion – is to emphasize the “non-beingness” of nature, the non-substantiality of things. Therefore, if Gorgias’ text was polemical, and it questioned (while at the same time maintaining the positivity of Becoming as non-being) only the immutability of things, and thus we cannot speak of the existence or the cognizability of natures or of essences of things. In sum, the reasoning of Zeno and Melissos was of a kind that is apt to cut both ways, and that is what Gorgias showed. The argument given as peculiar to himself was to this effect. “What is not” is not, so, it is just as much as “what is”. It is as if the onset of the issues that Plato will take up in The Sophist as the problem of non-being understood as difference. The axis of Gorgias’s anti-eleatic critique, in our view, is his polemic with Parmenides’ famous thesis B3 regarding the relationship of identity or equality between noein and einai. It is an additional and perhaps the most important point of his critique that aims at demonstrating that such relationship is impossible. In brief, things are not words just as thoughts are not words.
Keywords: Gorgias, Zeno’s elenctic method, existential nihilism, relative non-being, becoming, metaphysics of creation

Jan BIGAJ, Rola negacji w opisie świata według arystotelesowskiej Metafizyki (pp. 265-291)

The Role of Negation in the Description of the World According to Aristote’s Metaphysics. The notions of ‘being’ and ‘non-being’ have entered philosophical language, forming the basis of ontology and meontology, as the counterparts of the Greek expressions to on and to me on (nominalised forms, affirmative and negative, of the participle of the verb einai). Originally, however, these expressions did not have any objectifying meaning, but played the role of meta-language names, representing the copula einai in all its forms, most generally in its affirmative and negative forms. The copula itself, which in later philosophy took on the existential meaning, had functioned only as a semantically empty connective of predicates. Over time the participle on has been used as a universal name of all predicates.
The above-mentioned expressions became central in Greek philosophical terminology thanks to the debates, initiated by Parmenides, on the role of negation in the description of the world. Parmenides himself proposed a complete excision of negative sentences as describing by elimination, and created a positive-monistic system which abandoned multiplicity, divisibility, and variability. Later philosophers defended negation, fighting back against the paradoxes formulated by the Eleatics and later by the Sophists.
Plato observed that without negation it is impossible to describe the multiplicity of things. He also distinguished a relative negation which does not eliminate anything but makes it possible to confront some things with others. According to the atomists, the divisibility of physical things forces us to accept that they consist of a positive element in the form of an impenetrable body, and of another element lacking any characteristics, i.e. the void. Finally, Aristotle, when analysing the process of change, justified the consistency of the statement that something comes out of “not being” and “being”, under the assumption that the former is understood as being actual, and the latter as being potential. In all these conceptions there is nothing non-existent, there are only proposals of how to identify the aspects of reality whose explanation justifies the use of negation.
The affirmative and negative forms of the above expressions have also provoked reflection on the problem of truth and falsity. It has been observed that they are used in everyday language not only to state an agreement or disagreement with the actual facts of the matter, but also to affirm or deny something.
Keywords: Aristotle, Parmenides, being, non-being, predicate, object, change, possibility, truth, falsity, assertion

Anna I. WÓJCIK, Krótki przegląd najważniejszych kontekstów, w jakich stosuje się kategorię pustki i nieistnienia w klasycznej filozofii konfucjańskiej i daoistycznej (pp. 293-308)

A Brief Overview of the Most Important Contexts in Which the Categories of Emptiness and Non-Existence are Used in Classical Confucian and Daoist Philosophy. The text presents a proposal to systematize the most important contexts in which such categories as non-being and emptiness were considered in the two most influential philosophical schools in ancient China, namely in Confucianism and Daoism.
Keywords: nonbeing, emptiness, dao, wuwei, classical Chinese philosophy, Confucianism, Daoism

Paweł SAJDEK, Doświadczenie poznania unicestwiającego w myśli adwajtystycznej (pp. 309-316)

The Experience of Annihilating Cognition in the Philosophy of Advaita. The well-known anecdote about Śaṅkara fleeing from a charging bull indicates the existence of some kind of reality and inherent logic in the empirical world. It also implies a hierarchy of reality as far as the existence rooted in avidyā is concerned. The article gives an account of two divergent opinions on such a hierarchy in advaita philosophy, each advocated by an eminent scholar – E. Deutch and P. Hacker. Unquestionably, the hierarchy concerns exclusively the superimposed reality. From the point of view of the vidyā all the levels of the phenomenal existence are no longer valid. The cognition of the ultimate reality is called ‘sublation’ by Deutch and ‘contradiction’ by Hacker. The present article includes a suggestion of a new, presumably more adequate term – ‘the annihilating cognition’, since the cognition of the ultimate reality inevitably involves the certainty of the non existence and the illusory nature of the phenomenal world.
Keywords: Indian philosophy, advaita, vedanta, superimposition, Śankara

Marcin POLAK, Urojone-nic. Pojęcie zasady w Être, Monde, Imaginaire Stanislasa Bretona (pp. 317-331)

Imaginary-Nothing. The Concept of Principle in Stanislas Breton’s Être, Monde, Imaginaire. Philosophical study of the concept of the principle was conducted by Stanislas Breton in his two books: Du principe and Être, Monde Imaginaire, the first of which was dominated by analytical and abstract style, while the second was speculative and imaginary. This article undertakes the task of reconstructing the idea of the principle contained in the latter position. In the first part of the article the author presents two currents of thought concerning the principle: ontological, which is based on the category of logos, and ontomythological, for which the leading category is mythos. After discussing the differences between these two fields of thought and its corresponding fields of being, the author undertakes an attempt of describing the absolute source of reality – imaginary-nothing. The attempt is accompanied by the presentation of the way on which the ineffable principle produces the Word whom original expression is prattle. The article concludes with the analysis of the fable as the original form of expression of the imaginary-nothing, from whom arise two trunks of rationality mentioned above: ontological and ontomythological.
Keywords: principle, being, illusion, nothingness, ontology, ontomythology, Stanislas Breton

* * *

Maria POPCZYK, Fear and Anxiety in the Dimensions of Art (pp. 333-346)

In the paper I am concerned with various manifestations of aesthetic fear and anxiety, that is, fear and anxiety triggered by works of art, which I am discussing from aesthetic as well as anthropological perspectives. I am analysing the link between fear and pleasure in catharsis, in Edmund Burke’s notion of the sublime, and in reference to Goya’s Black Paintings and to Paul Virilio’s thought. Both aesthetic fear and aesthetic anxiety exist alongside other emotions, such as pity and sadness, and, most notably, with pleasure which is autonomous or arises from the fascination with evil.
Keywords: aesthetic fear, emotions, art, sublime, Edmund Burke, Paul Virilio, Francisco Goya

Zuzana BLAŽEKOVÁ, Searching for Own Self: on the Boundary between the Ethical and Religious Stage (pp. 347-361)

In the article author deals with analysis of Kierkegaard`s categories of leap and instant which predicate of human existence in some way. Man as an original and unique being in himself is hard apprehensible and effable. Kierkegaard`s in some sense existential philosophy offers conspicuous reflection of man and his inner life. Method of indirect communication used by Kierkegaard indicates that if we want to grasp human existence phenomenon we have to manage with only indirect and particular assumption. Even a concrete man is not able to grasp his existence in a whole way and at any time. There is only one place where the possibility of self-understanding and self-ownership becomes open. It is just a boundary or range of ethical and religious stage of life. That is the reason why the aim of the article becomes a searching for an answer on a question: „What is happening on the boundary between ethical and religious?“
Keywords: instant, leap, boundary, individual, God, Either/Or, Kierkegaard, existentialism, philosophy of religion, religious experience

Wojciech HANUSZKIEWICZ, Problem syntetyczności sądów a priori w ujęciu Hermanna Lotzego (pp. 363-375)

The Problem of the Synthetic a priori Judgements According to Hermann Lotze. The present article compares Kant’s and Lotze’s concepts of synthetic judgements. Lotze’s aim is a renewing of the Kant’s solutions, what he achieves thanks to introduction of the distinction between analytic (identical) content and synthetic form of these judgements which Kant recognised as synthetic. This distinction makes possible to lay down the concept of intentional sense which has influence over Frege and Husserl.
Keywords: Immanuel Kant, Hermann Lotze, synthetic a priori judgements, epistemology, theory of knowledge

Anna MICHALSKA, Nauka – dyskurs czy propaganda? „Kampania” Galileusza w świetle anarchizmu Feyerabenda oraz koncepcji działania komunikacyjnego Habermasa (pp. 377-396)

Science – Discourse or Propaganda? Galileo’s “Campaign” in the Light of Paul Feyerabend’s Anarchism and Jürgen Habermas’ Concept of Communicative Action. In the article Galileo’s campaign in favor of Copernican system is examined in terms of two different frameworks: Paul Feyerebend’s methodological anarchism and Jürgen Habermas’ formal pragmatics. It is argued that while Feyerabend has been essentially right in defending scientific pluralism, he has gone too far when maintaining that Galileo’s endeavor deserves the name of propaganda. Since, as it is demonstrated in the course of analysis, the account of scientific method against which Feyerabend comes out does not exhaust the notion of reason, a wider conception of rationality is required so that the crucial episodes in the history of science be explained. Drawing on the Habermas’ theory of discourse, the author of the article sets out to reinterpret Galileo’s enterprise and portray it as a fine example of a versatile implementation of the principles of reason.
Keywords: scientific method, methodological anarchism, discourse, propaganda, rationality

Translations into Polish

Michał FURMAN, Josiah Royce i Księga Hioba (pp. 397-403)

Josiah Royce, idealism, theodicy, evil, suffering, Job

Josiah ROYCE, Problem Hioba transl. Michał FURMAN (pp. 405-423)

Keywords & Acknowledgement
Job, suffering, evil, paradox, the sufferer God
Acknowledgement: ROYCE, Josiah (1898): Problem of Job. [W:] Studies of Good and Evil, New York: D. Appleton and. Co., s. 1–28

Reviews, notes and reports

Bertrand RUSSELL, Badania dotyczące znaczenia i prawdy Łukasz SOCHACKI (pp. 425-429)

Bertrand Russell, truth, falsity, meaning, knowledge, experience, language, logic, justification, verification

Maciej Artur SOSNOWSKI, Pokochać dialektykęEliza KĄCKA (pp. 431-438)

Søren Kierkegaard, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Lew Tołstoj, idea/definition of love, dialectics, repetition, mediation

Announcements and invitations