The initial paradox is simple: The ideal state, as Plato describes it, is composed of un-ideal individuals. Both the warrior class and the masses are deprived of reason and must be governed by the philosopher-king. How can one legitimately call a community perfect when so many of its members are imperfect ? My point here is logical; the word ‘ideal’ is used in a self-inconsistent manner.
This paper is based on the "cratylus", although there is occasional reference to other dialogues. In plato's contrast between the language of the gods and the language of mortals, we may discern something like the contrast between ideal and ordinary language. By names he means terms which have both reference and sense necessarily; such terms are also verbs, for verbs are names of actions and actions are realities; for instance, a blow. The criterion for the identity of names is that (...) they mean the same thing. "statements".unlike names, statements have meaning without necessarily having any reference. A word is a name "only" if what it names exits, whereas a statement may be false. A statement achieves meaning by purely internal criteria as to its composition. "the structure of statements". A statement is not a list of names; it is a unity and has meaning only in its character as a unity. Ryle's view that the terms in a sentence are not independent constituents and that their meaning is contextual is presented. The author concludes that plato is undecided on this matter. (shrink)
My beliefs during the first stage of my philosophical career were a mixed brew of ingredients taken from the Greek and Christian traditions. My tastes were conservative and even reactionary. I believed in the reality of substance, material and mental; I held that there are universal and necessary connections in nature which can be known. In short, I was a naive objectivist about things and about structures. I was a realist about values too. I believed that there are such traits (...) in nature as good and bad, right and wrong, beauty and ugliness, independently of my preferences. I was convinced further that goodness was a supreme causal agent; that—to paraphrase the familiar quotation—righteousness is power. I believed in God. With Plato I maintained that causality is not only efficient but final too; that nature exhibits both a mechanical and a moral order. And these two propositions were, to my view, but twin aspects of the one proposition that nature will not deceive my expectations. (shrink)