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Pl. Ap. 30a

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Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby pster » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:37 am

I get the meaning, but the syntax eludes me. Below is my interlinear style gloss.

...ὀνειδιῶ ὅτι τὰ πλείστου ἄξια περὶ ἐλαχίστου ποιεῖται, τὰ δὲ φαυλότερα περὶ πλείονος.

...I would reproach (him) because/for the of most valuables (he) of least importance considers,
but the more worthless (he) of more importance (considers).

1) I'm assuming that the genitive singular is found after each instance of περὶ because this is
an idiomatic expression. But why genitive singular πλείστου? Shouldn't this be nominative
plural?
2) And why not just get rid of πλείστου altogether and use the superlative of ἄξια?

For Extra Credit :) :

3) And isn't Socrates being a bit sloppy here with respect to mass terms vs. countable terms?
More vs. many, etc?

Sometimes I doubt I have ever mastered a sentence of Greek that has more than 10 words in it.
This one has 13.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:38 am

There are two genitives of worth here, albeit in different constructions: πλείστου, a genitive of worth, is going with the substantive τὰ ἄξια,
which often appears with genitives to indicate worth, that which is worth the most; περὶ πλείστου ποιεῖται, an idiomatic phrase, chiefly Platonic,
meaning to reckon x (to be) of the utmost importance. Plato plays with his phrase here, using a superlative, ἐλαχίστου, for that which is worth
the most, and a comparative to that superlative, πλείονος, much more, for the more trivial things. Perhaps he didn't use περὶ πλείστου in the second
clause because he'd already used it in the first one and it might be dissonant to some ears (I'm just tossing here; I wouldn't really know the first
thing about such matters), or perhaps Plato had chosen to portray Socrates as one who had not reproached people too harshly.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby pster » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:11 pm

(ignore browser acting up!)
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:23 pm

I don't understand the last sentence of your question; hope you're still online to edit it.

I think to edit my translation to fit the adjectival meaning, perhaps we should regard πλείστου as having an implied ποιεῖσθαι,
that is, that which is worthy of his utmost consideration he considers the least, whereas the more trivial things, he considers much more.

With regard to ὅτι, I think it can have both meanings here, but I lean more towards in that/because.
Last edited by NateD26 on Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby pster » Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:26 pm

Thanks Nate. I feel a little better about everything now. What I think now contradicts much of what I wrote and some of what you wrote.

ὀνειδιῶ: "I shall reproach"

ὅτι: ? Do you translate this with "because"? How could it mean "that"? "I shall reproach (him) because" OK, but "I shall reproach (him) that"??

τὰ πλείστου ἄξια: This is an accusative object phrase. τὰ ἄξια is an (incomplete) adjectival substantive meaning crudely "the things worth _" that takes the genitive just because that is the way this Greek word works. So I disagree with you when you say that this is a genitive of value because strictly speaking a genitive of value could be left out but this substantives requires a genitive object (hence my saying that it is incomplete). And it takes the singular because (tendentious claim warning) Socraties is saying that each thing is worth the most rather than that the things collectively are worth the most. That is probably wrong and most likely neither Greek nor English has particularly clear semantics with respect to these superlatives. And hence I guess Socrates is not being as sloppy about mass terms vs. countable terms.

"we should regard πλείστου as having an implied ποιεῖσθαι" Helm agrees and I guess I do to. :)
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:30 pm

pster wrote:ὅτι: ? Do you translate this with "because"? How could it mean "that"? "I shall reproach (him) because" OK, but "I shall reproach (him) that"??

I thought that ὅτι could be followed by the contents of said reproach, i.e., that, or the reason for it, i.e., in that/because,
but it's probably the latter, as you said.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby Imber Ranae » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:16 pm

pster wrote:1) I'm assuming that the genitive singular is found after each instance of περὶ because this is
an idiomatic expression. But why genitive singular πλείστου? Shouldn't this be nominative
plural?


Nominative? You mean like τὰ πλείστα ἄξια? I believe that would mean "the majority of worthy things".

pster wrote:2) And why not just get rid of πλείστου altogether and use the superlative of ἄξια?


He could, I suppose, have just written τὰ ἀξιώτατα "the worthiest things", though this would introduce some ambiguity that τὰ πλείστου ἄξια doesn't have. This is because the word ἄξιος doesn't always necessarily have a positive meaning, just as in English we often say "worthy of contempt". It's true that the English word "worthy" without a modifying "of" prepositional phrase almost always has positive connotations, but according to the LSJ ἄξιος alone can sometimes mean "cheap", as in "worth the (low) price".

pster wrote:For Extra Credit :) :

3) And isn't Socrates being a bit sloppy here with respect to mass terms vs. countable terms?
More vs. many, etc?


Not really. These genitives are all neuter, which indicates "indefinite value". They don't refer to anything countable at all. So τὰ πλείστου ἄξια means "things worth the most", i.e. "things of greatest worth". τὰ πλείστων ἄξια would mean "things worthy of most [other things/people]", which doesn't make a whole lot of sense in this context.

NateD26 wrote:I thought that ὅτι could be followed by the contents of said reproach, i.e., that, or the reason for it, i.e., in that/because,
but it's probably the latter, as you said.


Seems like a distinction without a difference to me.
Ex mala malo
bono malo uesci
quam ex bona malo
malo malo malo.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:29 pm

Imber Ranae wrote:
NateD26 wrote:I thought that ὅτι could be followed by the contents of said reproach, i.e., that, or the reason for it, i.e., in that/because,
but it's probably the latter, as you said.

Seems like a distinction without a difference to me.

Care to explain your reasons?
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:30 am

Imber Ranae wrote:
NateD26 wrote:I thought that ὅτι could be followed by the contents of said reproach, i.e., that, or the reason for it, i.e., in that/because,
but it's probably the latter, as you said.


Seems like a distinction without a difference to me.

Since Imber Ranae hasn't replied yet, would anyone else care to explain why there is no difference
in this particular sentence between that and because?
The way I read it, if the verb ὀνειδιῶ is followed by the contents of the reproach, there's
an implied/embedded λέγων in it, whereas if it is followed by the reason, there is none.
Seems like a rather big difference to me. :?
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby pster » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:22 pm

I think it's a good question Nate. Semantically (as opposed to metaphysically) is the reproach a propositional attitude that governs indirect speech or is it just a mental state with causes and effects? That's what you are asking isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong. Sorry, I'm too tired today to be of much help.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby IreneY » Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:01 am

Well, you don't really need a "λέγων" do you? Why is it necessary?
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:22 am

IreneY wrote:Well, you don't really need a "λέγων" do you? Why is it necessary?

You don't, but it can explains better why I think both possibilities, though different,
are perfectly acceptable:

I shall reproach him (saying/by saying) that he does so and so
or
I shall reproach him because he does so and so.

To say that this is a distinction without a difference is beyond me.
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby IreneY » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:19 am

I think I see what you mean:

In case A what you are going to say is actually "you do so and so" . In case B you may very well say "You sir are a scoundrel" for instance (I just love this word! :D ).

Did I get it right?
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby NateD26 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:25 am

Yes.

I love that word too. :)
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Re: Pl. Ap. 30a

Postby pster » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:59 pm

OK, I've been reading up on this whole "reproach" matter. I'm not sure whether Nate and Irene are still interested, so I'll keep it brief. I'm willing to elaborate if anybody wants.

There is a basic and important philosophical distinction in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language between what are called "propositional attitudes" and other non-propositional mental states. You can take beliefs and pains as examples of each. Beliefs necessarily have propositional content. Pains do not. Propositional content is signaled by a "that" clause. You have a belief that Paris is in France. You can't have a pain that Paris is in France. You just have a pain. Maybe it is in your foot, but it has no propositional content. Other propositional attitudes are desires, intentions, fears, hopes, etc. Other non-propositional mental states are sensations, orgasms, tingly feelings, etc. But while only the PAs take "that" clauses, both can govern "because" clauses, as can just about any verb if for no other reason than everything has a cause. Now Attic is pretty similar to English in that propositional attitudes are typically marked by oti or ws as we see when we study indirect speech; there you see many many verbs for various PAs that take oti or ws to spell out their content. LSJ calls them "Verbs of seeing or knowing, thinking or saying". So when faced with the unfamiliar ὀνειδιῶ, the question arises: what kind of thing is this? Is it a PA? Or not? Does it take oti in the sense of "that" or only in the sense of "because". Now I found LSJ rather annoying as I tried to figure it out. It seems that the most basic meaning is to reproach (dative) someone (accusative) something. But if you work through all the examples they give you find a few things.
1) A lot of the examples have neither the dative nor the accusative, just some anger floating around.
2) A lot of the examples just have the dative: somebody is mad at somebody.
3) LSJ, I was surprised to learn, actually misquote people more than once in just that one entry. I guess it is for pedagogic reasons, but I wasn't happy about it. :x
4) LSJ do say that ὀνειδιῶ can take a relative clause instead of the accusative and cite the very passage from the Apology that got us started and a passage from Homer: τὼ νῦν Ἀτρεΐδῃ Ἀγαμέμνονι ποιμένι λαῶν ἧσαι ὀνειδίζων, ὅτι οἱ μάλα πολλὰ διδοῦσιν ἥρωες Δαναοί: σὺ δὲ κερτομέων ἀγορεύεις. We cannot use the Apology to shed light on the Apology. As for Homer, it seems that this can be read either way.

What I want to ask you guys is what is the main way to translate "because" into Attic? If oti is not a common way, then I guess one has to grudgingly grant that this is a PA. But if oti is a common way, then I'm somewhat inspired to resist thinking of it that way primarily because there is a real paucity of evidence. Perhaps the best thing to do is adopt an intermediate position. Generally when we reproach or upbraid someone a direct object is in order. I reproach myself my laziness vis. a vis. my textkit postings. But we can force a "that" clause and say: I reproach myself that I haven't posted my thoughts sooner.

Nate, I'm not inclined to add legwv as I think that just muddies the water.
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