Authors
Gaetano Chiurazzi
Università degli Studi di Torino
Abstract
Plato’s Theaetetus sets the problem of the definition of science; moreover, what there is in question is the problem of the definition in general. Defining means measuring, referring to definite parameters what is initially indefinite. But it is not a case that the dialogue opens with the discussion about the commensurable and incommensurable numbers: the search for what is common to all sciences is the search for their common measure, for the term to which various elements are or can be commensurated. The apories Plato is showing in refuting the Protagorean thesis appear clearly as an objection against the absolute commensurability of all things: each sense is a parameter of a determinate sensible object and then results as quite incommensurable with another sense; a present sensation is incommensurable with a non present one, either past or future; all these facts question the possibility of the definition, for they reduce the knowledge, and the reality, to a set of atomic and quite unrelated elements. In the same way, the other definitions of science are rejected because of their incompleteness. But the negative conclusion of the Theaetetus regarding the definition of science must be assumed in a positive way: every operation of defining constantly presents an excess which belongs to the incommensurability and leaves every definition in a state of incompleteness. Through a comparison with the problem of the commensurable and incommensurable numbers, what is eventually shown is that the Being itself, as a mean between subject and predicate in the proposition, constitutes the diagonal element of every process of definition, irreducible to the elements that come into play. Being is, literally said, the incommensurable
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI wcp22200821180
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 56,999
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Case of Theaetetus.Gokhan Adalier - 2001 - Phronesis 46 (1):1 - 37.
The Case of Theaetetus.Gokhan Adalier - 2001 - Phronesis 46 (1):1-37.
Incommensurability.Harold I. Brown - 1983 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):3 – 29.
Justification in Memory Knowledge.Andrew Naylor - 1983 - Synthese 55 (2):269 - 286.
The Functions of Definition in Science.Peter Caws - 1959 - Philosophy of Science 26 (3):201-228.
On Ostensive Definitions.Janina Kotarbinska - 1960 - Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-22.
Spinoza's Definition Of Attribute: An Interpretation.Henk Keizer - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (3):479-498.
The Impossibility of Incommensurable Values.Chris Kelly - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 137 (3):369 - 382.
Nominal Definition in the Writings of Ibn Taymiyya.Sobhi Rayan - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):123 – 141.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-04-04

Total views
42 ( #240,246 of 2,410,436 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #540,320 of 2,410,436 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes