Relations in Aristotle.
Now, I am going to juxtapose to the above ontological definition of relation one of the first philosophical treatments, in a broad sense, of the concept of relationality, according to the work of Aristotle and particularly Chapter 7 of his Categories.5 Literally speaking, in his philosophy, Aristotle has never mentioned the word ‘relation’ in any definitive way. Instead he was talking about the category of “τα πρός τι,” a very ambivalent term, which was responsible of many quandaries in post-Aristotelian philosophies. This term is usually rendered in English as “relative things,” although its circumlocutory rendition would be something like “those referring toward something” – there is no word “thing” in the Greek expression. In any case, Aristotle defines τα πρός τι as follows in Greek: “Πρός τι δὲ τὰ τοιαῦτα λέγεται, ὃσα αὐτὰ ἅπερ ἐστὶν ἑτέρων εἶναι λέγεται ἤ ὁπωσοῦν ἂλλως πρός ἓτερον” (Cat., 6a36-7). I would formulate a translation of this definition (slightly modifying the existing English translation) in the following way: “We call ‘those referring toward something’ (or the ‘relative things’) those which belong as such to something else or somehow they are referring toward something else.” In the next sentences, Aristotle explains that by “those which belong as such to something else” (using the genitive case in order to signify belongingness) he means some sort of comparison. And he adds that “those which are referring toward something else” (using the preposition πρός) are meant according to the faculties of habit (ἓξις), disposition (διάθεσις), perception (αἲσθησις), knowledge (ἐπιστήμη) and attitude (θέσις).6 Furthermore, throughout the whole Chapter 7 of his Categories, Aristotle was making the following four main conceptual claims on relatives, which are listed here alongside the corresponding formulations of the above-mentioned relational ontology:
(A1) Relatives may have contraries or admit a variation of degree, but not all of them do (Cat., 6b15-27). Ontologically: every relation is either binary-existential or oppositional or valued.7
. (A2) All relatives are correlatives, in the sense that every relative is reciprocated by another one – up to a linguistic terminological modification or coinage of new words (Cat., 6b28-7b14). Ontologically: every relation is (by definition) reversible.
. (A3) Relatives may not exist simultaneously in time (Cat., 7b15-8a12). Ontologically: every relation is conjugating multiples that may exist in time either synchronously or asynchronously.
. (A4) No “primary substance” (individual) is relative and most of “secondary substances” (species)8 may not; only certain secondary substances are relatives (Cat., 8a13-8b24). Ontologically: there exist multiples, which are always either reflexive or isolated with respect to every relation.
In what site do you see this text of Philoponos ?
Ἐντεῦθεν κοινὸν συμπέρασμα ἐπάγει τῶν γνωστικῶν ἐνεργειῶν. ἔστι
δὲ τὸ συμπέρασμα ὅτι πάντα τὰ ὄντα ἢ αἰσθητά ἐστιν ἢ νοητά· καλεῖ δέ,
ὡς εἴπομεν, τὰ νοητὰ ἐπιστητά. καὶ ταῦτα διαιρεῖ εἰς τὸ δυνάμει καὶ
ἐνεργείᾳ καὶ δείκνυσι ταῦτα πάντα ἐν τῇ ψυχῇ ὄντα, καὶ τὸ μὲν δυνάμει
ἐπίστασθαι τὰ δυνάμει, καὶ τὸ ἐνεργείᾳ τὰ ἐνεργείᾳ.
in the philos. of Arist., opp. δύναμις, actuality, Metaph.1048a26, al.; opp. ὕλη, ib.1043a20; ἡ ὡς ἐ. οὐσία, substance in the sense of actuality, ib.1042b10; opp. ἐντελέχεια, as actuality to full reality, ib.1050a22, 1047a30; ἐνεργείᾳ actually, opp. δυνάμει, ib.1045b19, al., etc.
The meaning of such phrases really is very context-dependent, which is why we all find it difficult to help you without both the context where it's presented and a certain amount of background in the theoretical framework. On its own "ta pros ti" is very vague -- the preposition alone can express a number of different things.
I also suggest that you may want to track down secondary literature on Aristotle and use that when trying to understand his texts............A good philosophical commentary of, say, the Categoriae will refer to the Greek terminology and offer an interpretation.
You also may find the following books helpful:
F.E. Peters, Greek Philosophical Terms. A Historical Lexicon. New York University Press, 1967
J.O. Urmson, The Greek Philosophical Vocabulary. London: Duckworth, 1990
"relative term" (which is just as unclear to me as the Greek without spending a long time working with the theory)
But the Greek could really mean just about anything without knowing the context: two pronouns put in some relationship with one another using a preposition. "the [things] towards/relating to something" would be a literal translation, but I imagine you can figure that out for yourself if you have a decent understanding of Greek grammar. It doesn't clarify what Aristotle is saying at all.
Read about Aristotle in your native language. Become acquainted with his theories............Then go back to Aristotle and grapple with the Greek.
Honestly. I'm not trying to discourage you from tackling the Greek if you want, but you're trying to do things just about the hardest way possible. Even without a lot of resources there are ways to approach this that are easier.
Junya wrote:Usually, I choose to tackle with a Greek text without reading the extant translations beforehand.
I feel like trying a translation work by myself alone, as a way of studying Greek.
(That the translations are not available to me without buying, is one reason, though. I don't have an access to a university. I live in a rural area.)
But if people here think that's a most foolish way (or a hardest way ?), I can correct my way.
You know, I study all alone, without a teacher, so my way of working may be transgressing the right course.
There are many english versions online for the Greek "canon" but some of the less well known works are not so easy to get help with. I had never even heard of the author in this tread until you posted.
............With a familiar author and an easy text then reading without a version is a good idea. ............I always eventually consult a translation when working outside of biblical greek. With Attic tragedy I consult numerous translations. I don't always wait until I have reached the "wall" to do it. But it is good to struggle a while with the original before grabbing a version.
Junya wrote:I read many translations long ago, but they were all bad translations, translating only literally, so the sentences are totally incoherent and meaningless without an interpretor of the translation.
Almost all the translations of ancient philosophy I read were like that.
So I got an aspiration to create a new type of translation, which is not literal translation, not with meaninglessly difficult wordings, but with a very plain language and very explaining in itself.
I used to be a big fan of the Richmond Lattimore style which is formal equivalence. I still like to have a formal translation handy when I am working on Tragedy or Thucydides.
Translation theory is project I have dabbled in for 30 years. I was really into it in the early 90s. Not so much now.
What's the "formal equivalence" ?
A formal equivalence to Greek wording ?
Is it a kind of literal translation ?
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