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meaning of "pragma"

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meaning of "pragma"

Postby Junya » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:10 pm

Hi.

In Liddell and Scott, "pragma" is defined "thing, a concrete reality".
But I don't understand it.
Please explain for me. (I am Japanese.)

At first, I guessed it may mean "a material thing" like "diamachontai peri tou leukon e^ me^ leukon einai to pragma" and "ta meteo^ra pragmata", but there are sample sentences that don't match it, like "he^ aule^sis (flute-playing) esti ti pragma".
Junya
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Re: meaning of "pragma"

Postby cb » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:31 am

hi, no it doesn’t just mean a material thing. it has a wide range of meanings.

the quick way to see this range of meanings is to read all of the LSJ article on πρᾶγμα, not just sII.2 (the bit you referred to above):
http://archimedes.fas.harvard.edu/cgi-b ... lter=CUTF8

to get a fuller sense of what it means, read a bit more on where the word comes from.

the word πρᾶγμα and the verb πράσσω have the same root.

πρᾶγμα means basically the action or result of πράσσειν. see smyth s841(2):
http://www.archive.org/stream/agreekgra ... 2/mode/1up

πρᾶξις also can express the action or result of πράσσειν (and comes from the same root). the difference is that πρᾶγμα tends to be more concrete than πρᾶξις (chantraine, dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque).

have a look at all the different meanings of the verb πράσσω, and think (for each of those meanings) the action or result, and you’ll get a bit more of a general sense of the possible range of meanings for πρᾶγμα – it’s wide.

to figure out what πρᾶγμα actually means in any particular text, you can use this strategy (like for any abstract word which is potentially ambiguous): ask yourself, can you guess what would be the contrary meaning to πρᾶγμα here? (aristotle gives this as a tactic for discovering ambiguity in words in topica 106a10)

sometimes authors make the contrary to πρᾶγμα clear, eg. demosthenes in the third philippic contrasts πράγματα with ὀνόματα (s15):
ἀλλ᾽ ἔστιν, ὦ πρὸς τοῦ Διός, ὅστις εὖ φρονῶν ἐκ τῶν ὀνομάτων μᾶλλον ἢ τῶν πραγμάτων τὸν ἄγοντ᾽ εἰρήνην ἢ πολεμοῦνθ᾽ αὑτῷ σκέψαιτ᾽ ἄν; οὐδεὶς δήπου.

other times the author does not say expressly the contrary of πρᾶγμα in the particular context, and so you need to try to work this out yourself, what it generally means in this particular context.

sometimes you might think the meaning is vague or ambiguous, rather than definitely falling within one particular section of the LSJ article on πρᾶγμα - no problem here, there's no reason to assume that grk authors attributed to every abstract word they used a crystal-clear and fixed meaning. the best you can do here is think about the word in the context, having in your head the range of possible meanings it could have.

cheers, chad
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Re: meaning of "pragma"

Postby Junya » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:15 am

I'm sorry for making you write so much for me. I thank you for the advice. I will remember it. (I am especially nicely informed when you told me Greek writers using an abstract word didn't give really crystal-clear meaning to it.)

But, I am still not answered.
I, as you advised me, saw all the headings under pragma in LSJ, and the definitions given at other headings were no problem, but
the heading 2. 2 "thing, a concrete reality", I didn't clearly understand the English "a concrete reality", even having read all the sample sentences I still don't clearly understand it, so I wanted to be explained about the phrase with an easier English wording. (I guessed it may mean "a material thing".)
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Re: meaning of "pragma"

Postby cb » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:30 pm

ah i see, your question is not about πρᾶγμα, but about the meaning of the english words "concrete reality" used in the definition.

that's a question for the academy forum i think. i'll leave it to others to respond better than me.

cheers, chad
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Re: meaning of "pragma"

Postby Junya » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:08 pm

Chad, I'm sorry for having bothered you. Give me another profitable advice when I post a question the next time.
Junya
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